Crafting Your Flexible Career to Match Your Lifestyle

Crafting Your Flexible Career to Match Your Lifestyle

This is an exciting time for working women!  We are exploring flexible career options this month with two brilliant authors, Flex Career Expert, Kathryn Sollmann and Encore Career Expert, Nancy Collamer.

I’ve been fortunate to have designed a flexible career both when my daughters were young, and later when my step-father and mother needed me to step in as the Designated Caregiver®. I actually built an office onto my home and saw clients there. I later moved back to the corporate office while my daughters were in school, but ten years later when I was  47, I retired from my financial planning career to work virtually from home again to launch Smart Women’s Empowerment and Smart Women’s Coaching so I could write, speak, and teach women how to create prosperity and while living their purpose.

If you want to spend more time with your children or be available for aging parents or an ailing spouse and feel that your only option is to take a hiatus from your career, think again!  Kathryn Sollmann says, “Any time out of the workforce comes at a big price:  a woman loses up to four times her salary each year she’s out of the workforce.”  As a financial advisor, I can attest to this. Kathryn will be sharing how time out of workforce it affects not only your Social Security, pensions, and retirement savings, but also your confidence and ability to get back into the workforce later. Kathryn will discuss many new options, so don’t miss her show!

If you’re planning for retirement or already at ‘retirement age’ but want to continue working—whether to supplement your income or to stay mentally and physically active—veteran career coach Nancy Collamer shows how to identify your favorite interests and expertise and repackage them into more than fifty ways to earn income.

I’ve always advocated that you want to retire to something rather than from something, by working at something you love during retirement — something where you can again make a difference, perhaps your legacy.  Plus, earning just $10,000 a year in your encore career is equivalent to having an extra $250,000 in your retirement account.  You may be thinking, “How can that be?”  It’s because you really shouldn’t be taking more than 4% from your portfolio if you want it to last for 30 years or more.  So you would need $250,000 earning 4% to provide you with an additional $10,000 in retirement income. Now ask yourself, which is easier:  Earning $10,000 doing something you love or trying to save another $250,000 so you can retire?

This is your chance to explore your options. It’s your opportunity to learn from two very smart women!  Get ready for some exciting shows.  Please help us share Smart Women with other women in your life.  Invite them to visit so they can receive this ezine and get free access to the Smart Women’s Academy!

Katana Abbott, CFP® practitioner, is a Wealth Coach™, host of the Smart Women Talk Radio™, founder of the Smart Women Companies with over 1 million subscribers globally, inspirational speaker and author of several books. She began her financial planning career in 1987 and became a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner. In 2003, Katana created Smart Women’s Coaching® to offer financial coaching and educational workshops for women in transition who are dealing with caregiving, death of a loved one, divorce, retirement or looking to create or grow a business.  She founded Smart Women’s Empowerment in 2008 to bring free financial empowerment resources and programs to women around the world through her team of Contributing Experts. To learn more about Katana Abbott visit

Five Steps to a Sensational Second-Act Career

Five Steps to a Sensational Second-Act Career

Thinking about a second-act career? When you are freed up from having to work a traditional nine-to-five job, the options for how, when, and where you might choose to work expand exponentially. But choosing from that world of possibilities can feel downright overwhelming. How do you begin to make sense of it all? In my book, Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement I outline a five-step process that I use to help my own clients. Here is a summary of the steps:

Step 1: Envision the Life You Want. When you think back to the last time you planned your career (junior year in college?), it’s likely that your decisions were based more on practical concerns, like paying the rent and putting food on the table, than on your personal hopes and dreams. But now it is time to switch things up. Instead of allowing your career to dominate your life, it’s time for your life to take center stage. Think about the role you want work to play in your life: How many hours do you want to work? Do you want to run your own business? What type of balance do you want to strike between work, family, community, play, and self? Once you’ve defined the type of life you want to lead, it will be far easier to focus in on the types of businesses and part-time careers that will best support your lifestyle goals.

Step 2: Look to the Past for Clues to Your Future. Your past experiences – from childhood to the present – hold important clues to your future direction. Of course, remembering fifty-plus years of information is no easy task. So before delving into the assessment piece of this process, I think you’ll find it invaluable to dust off the mental cobwebs by reviewing old photo albums, reading through performance evaluations, and making time for quiet reflection. I know it sounds like a lot of work. But you know what?  I think you’re going to discover that this trip down memory lane is actually a lot of fun–you’ll find yourself thinking about people, accomplishments, and events that you haven’t thought about in years.

Step 3: Ask, Analyze and Assess. As you reflect on and analyze your past accomplishments and experiences, you’ll start to see very clear patterns emerge about what you love, what you do best, and what you find most meaningful in your life and work. Those unique patterns hold important clues to what you’ll be happiest doing in the future and will allow you to make decisions based on a lifetime of data, as opposed to decisions that are made in reaction to your most recent life experiences.

Step 4: Research the World of Possibilities. The world of work has changed dramatically since we all started our careers (back in the prehistoric twentieth century). People are now earning income in ways that we never could have even imagined just a few short years ago: selling on the Internet, self-publishing books on demand, and teaching webinars online. Jobs we aspired to when we were younger have become obsolete, and new careers–like virtual assistants, app designers, social media consultants, and bloggers–have filled the void. Take the time to browse, consider and compare the full range of options. After all, if you’re going to make the effort to start something new, don’t you owe it to yourself to familiarize yourself with the full range of possibilities?

Step 5: Try It Out! No matter how intriguing a career idea sounds, you’ll never know if it is truly a good match until you’ve had a chance to try it out. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to test-drive potential new directions, including volunteering, interning or taking on freelance work. Going “back to school”, even if it is just a short workshop or seminar, will provide you with an opportunity to meet new people who can stimulate your thinking about your future career plans. Adult education is a big business these days, and there are more opportunities than ever for people over fifty to indulge in lifelong learning.

Finally, even if you can only do one thing each week, do start planning your second act sooner rather than later. Career reinvention is a process that can take months, or even years, to fully evolve. The earlier you start, the better off you’ll be.


Nancy Collamer is a semi-retirement expert and the author of Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement. She writes a monthly blog on work and purpose for (PBS site for people 50+) and and publishes a free bi-monthy newsletter about second-act careers.  In private practice since 1996, Nancy holds a MS in career development from the College of New Rochelle and a BA in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

To learn more about Nancy Collamer, go to





Our Experts Answer Attendees Questions On All Things Belize

Our Experts Answer Attendees Questions On All Things Belize

At last week’s Live and Invest in Belize Conference, host Lief Simon and his dozens-strong team of Belize experts and expats answered hundreds of questions from attendees in the room… for example:

Q: Can I bring my pet with me?

A: Yes. Domesticated pets are allowed to enter Belize when the owner presents a veterinary certificate of health, including a valid rabies vaccination; a valid import permit; and a US$25 fee (a US$12.50 entry fee plus a US$12.50 fax fee). Your pet will be inspected by the quarantine officer when entering the country.

Q: Should I ship my car?

A: Ordinarily, we recommend against shipping a vehicle with you when you move overseas. However, when moving to Belize, it can make sense to bring a car with you. The inventory of vehicles available for sale in this country is limited, and what is available is expensive.

On the other hand, Belize imposes high import duties on vehicles, which can argue against bringing a car with you. Remember, though, residents under the QRP (Qualified Retired Persons) program are exempt from these taxes. Our residency expert walked through the costs associated with bringing a car into Belize… as well as the particulars of qualifying for QRP status.

Q: How do I get a driver’s license?

A: You can drive in Belize on your foreign license for three months. Then you’ll need to get a local driver’s license. On it will be a picture of a short old man. This is Tata Duende, who lives in the woods and taunts people passing through, trying to lead them astray. That’s the local legend. Why is Tata Duende on every Belize driver’s license? The Belizean sense of humor, I guess.

Again, our experts walked through the details associated with applying and qualifying for a driver’s license in Belize step by step.

Q: Can I own a gun?

A: Yes, but understand that gun ownership in this country is a privilege, not a right. Strict gun laws are strictly enforced, and draconian measures apply for anyone found with an unlicensed gun or ammunition.

Q: Is Belize disabled-friendly?

A: The short answer is no, but the real answer depends on how seriously your mobility is limited.

If you require a wheelchair to get around, your only realistic option would be San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. There you could navigate the roads and sidewalks (sometimes with some effort) and have a full life.

Elsewhere in this country, you would find day-to-day life very challenging.

Q: Is the LGBT population welcome?

A: In 2016, the law was changed to make homosexuality legal in Belize. This was groundbreaking legislation for the region. San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, would be the most accepting location for LGBT residents.

Q: Living in Belize, would I lose my original citizenship?

A: No, your residency status abroad has no effect on your citizenship.

Residency and citizenship are two different things. If you’re a U.S. citizen, the only way to lose your U.S. citizenship is to renounce it formally. This is a serious step that you can’t take accidentally.

Q: Do I need to let my home government know that I’m leaving the country?

A: No. If you’re an American, you can register your presence in your new country with the local U.S. Embassy if you like, but you are not obligated to do so. In my experience, most overseas residents don’t register.

Q: Do I need any vaccinations?

A: No, none are required for entry into the country. I’ve been traveling to Belize for 30 years and have never worried about being vaccinated for the trip.

That said, the Centers for Disease Control does recommend some. If you’re an abundantly cautious person, you could take a look here for the details.

Q: Can I drink the water?

A: In most of the country, yes. If you’re concerned, though, stick with bottled water, available everywhere.

Q: Can I still receive my U.S. Social Security payments?

A: Yes. If you’re eligible for U.S. Social Security, you can even have your monthly check direct-deposited into your Belize bank account.

Q: Will Medicare cover me?

A: No. No exceptions. As an American abroad, you need to make another plan for covering your medical expenses overseas. I recommend, though, keeping your Medicare as a major medical backup. Should you ever need or want to, then, you could return to the United States for medical care that would be covered by Medicare.

Q: Can I vote in local elections?

A: Anyone residing in a village (foreign resident or local citizen) can vote in village elections. However, only Belize citizens can vote in municipal and national elections.

Remember, residency is not the same as citizenship.

Q: What is the relationship between Belize and Guatemala? Is the border safe?

A: Yes, the Belize-Guatemala border is safe… friendly, even. Children living near the border in Guatemala cross back and forth daily to attend Belize schools.

To better understand the relationship between Guatemala and Belize requires a Belize history lesson. In 1859, Guatemala signed a treaty with the British setting the borders that exist still today. As part of the allowances of the treaty, the British were to build a road from Belize City to Guatemala City. The British never built this road, and Guatemalan politicians worked their constituents into a frenzy saying that the British had, therefore, stolen the land from them.

Then, in 1945, Guatemala drew up a new constitution including a clause declaring the disputed Belize territory as part of Guatemala. At the time, Belize was still British Honduras and under the full support of Great Britain. In 1975 British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, was asked offhandedly if, should Guatemala ever invade Belize to force its claim, he would send the British Navy to defend his colony. The prime minister’s response in the negative inspired Guatemala to send a 12,000-man army to the border.

PM Wilson must have reconsidered his off-the-cuff remark. He sent in the British infantry and a squadron of Harrier jets. That stopped the Guatemalans in their tracks. The two contingents sat on their respective sides of the border for two weeks, watching and waiting…

Then, 200 miles away in Guatemala City, the earth shook. The Guatemalan army packed up to return to the capital to help with the earthquake relief.

To this day, Guatemalans argue that the land was stolen from them. Belizeans, meantime, hold that were it not for Guatemala looming to their west threatening to invade, they would have pushed for their independence from Britain decades sooner.

Q: What’s the first step for making a move to Belize?

A: Buy a plane ticket.

Belize is a quirky place; its inhabitants, both the locals and the expats who’ve chosen to make Belize their adopted home, are an eclectic mix. This is a beautiful, welcoming, sun-soaked country where everyone speaks English, the cost of living can be a global bargain, and the day-to-day experience of life is simple and sweet.

Belize is both the best of the Caribbean at a discounted price and, inland, the best place on Earth, I’d argue, to escape the stresses, concerns, and woes of our current age, to check out of the daily grind and embrace a back-to-basics lifestyle supported by thousands of like-minded folks doing the same.

However, Belize is not for everyone. The only way to know if it could be the right place for you to launch your adventures overseas is to go see it for yourself. Do your due diligence, carry out your online research, and then get on a plane.

Visit the country for two weeks at least; four or six weeks is better. Stay long enough to begin to get a feel for what it would be like to be a resident of Belize, rather than a tourist. Rent a house or condo on the beach, rather than staying in a hotel. Shop at the local markets. Prepare your own meals. Use local transportation. Make the effort to make friends, both Belizean and expat.

Then, when your visit is over, take stock, paying attention to your instincts and being honest with yourself. Is this a place you’d like to call home? If not, worst case, you’ve accumulated great memories of a grand Belize adventure holiday.

Kathleen Peddicord

Norm Brodsky Receives INC. Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Norm Brodsky Receives INC. Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award

At this year’s Inc. 5000 Conference in San Antonio, TX, our own Norm Brodsky was awarded Inc. Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award. We are extremely proud of him and this remarkable recognition! I caught up with Norm upon his return to his office, a modest trailer in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, from which he oversees his entrepreneurial portfolio. — Lewis Schiff

Lewis: Norm, welcome back from the Inc. 5000 conference. You’ve been the “Master of Ceremonies” at the Inc. 500/5000 conference for 20 years now. How was this one different? (more…)

9 Critical Issues To Consider Before Deciding To Live Overseas

9 Critical Issues To Consider Before Deciding To Live Overseas

The 9 Questions To Answer Before Launching A New Life In A New Country

The first and perhaps most important step you must take to make sure that you arrive where you want to be in your new life overseas is to understand what, really, you want your new life overseas to be.

What’s important to you? What are your priorities? Your agendas? Your preferences?

What are you not willing to give up from your current lifestyle… and what would make you miserable in your new one?

Your challenge, as you begin the process of deciding where to launch your live- or retire-overseas adventures, is to consider the world in the context of your personal circumstances and objectives. Then you can connect the dots between the world’s most interesting and appealing places to spend time… and your own situation. (more…)

Wills and Trusts: What You Think You Know … But Really Don’t

Wills and Trusts: What You Think You Know … But Really Don’t

A s a family estate planning attorney, clients often come to me with ideas about wills & trusts that they learned from friends, neighbors, and the internet. I’ve come to realize that a lot of people think they know about wills & trusts – but they don’t. Unfortunately, most people don’t ever find out they don’t know, because by the time it comes to light, it’s simply too late.

Here are some frequently misunderstood facts about wills & trusts:

1.  Many people think that if they have a will, they will avoid probate…not true.  A will is, essentially, your ticket into probate court.

2. Everything that your will says is completely public. Even worse, any property that passes through a will is public record. This can be bad for those left behind, because this tells the whole world things about your loved ones you may wish to keep private – for their sake.

3. What is probate? I tell my clients the TRUTH: “Probate is a lawsuit you file against yourself, with your own money, on behalf of your creditors.” What this means is your creditors, not your family, will get first dibs on your property.

4. A will only controls what you own in your sole name when you die. If you have assets that are jointly owned, or have beneficiary designations (IRA’s, 401Ks, bank accounts) the property passes according to different rules – and they may not be the rules you intended.

5. A will is subject to what we call “the State’s rulebook.” What this means to you is that, regardless of what the will says, probate is a court process that means your property passes according to the timeframe and the rules the State has…not your rules.

6. On the other hand, a trust, if written properly, is your rulebook. It gives your family your rules for life, disability, and death.

7. Unlike a will, a trust remains private.

8.  Many people believe that a revocable living trust protects them – but this is a false belief.  Revocable trusts provide NO asset protection to you during your life.

9.  There is such a thing as an “irrevocable trust” that also allows you complete control over the assets inside of it! This version is special purpose trust.

10.  The special purpose “irrevocable trust” DOES allow you to protect assets during your life – to avoid lawsuits, but even more importantly, to avoid nursing home poverty!

Nicole Wipp is the founder and lead attorney of the Family & Aging Law Center, a family estate planning and asset protection firm.  Nicole is frequently sought out for her expertise, and she has appeared on radio shows nationwide and in such publications as Forbes, Inc., and the Huffington Post.

To learn more about Nicole, visit


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