The New Retirement Solution

The New Retirement Solution

 “The Secret to Successful Retirement is to Retire TO Something Not FROM Something.”– Katana Abbott 

With over 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day, the dream of having enough money saved up to support you through the second half of your life can be daunting. According to a study by the National Institute on Retirement Security, “The average working household has virtually no retirement savings. When all households are included— not just households with retirement accounts—the median retirement account balance is $3,000 and $12,000.”

Randall Hansen, Ph.D., states that, “For many, retirement will indeed no longer signal the end of working, but more so a career and lifestyle transition, where the retiree has multiple options — such as continuing to work (though perhaps at a different pace), returning to school for additional training or education, changing careers, venturing into entrepreneurship, becoming more involved in volunteer work, or simply enjoying leisure and travel possibilities — a mix of working, learning, relaxing, and trying new things.”

This is exactly what I did at age 48 when I sold my financial planning practice of 20 years to venture out to create a non-profit — Smart Women’s Empowerment — where I could teach financial literacy and entrepreneurship. I also run my financial planning business where I coach, write, and speak about retirement, caregiving, and legacy.

I remember when I first got this idea after reading a book by Ernie Zelinski called, Retire Happy Wild and Free. His concept was to retire as young as possible, to downsize one’s lifestyle, and then to retire to a life of leisure. Although this may sound appealing to many, as a financial advisor, I did not find it very realistic.

Instead, I thought, “What if you could follow your passion doing something you love in retirement, make a difference, and get paid, would it even be considered work anymore?” For most, the answer is no!

Let me give you an example of three women I have worked with who shared their reinvention stories on Smart Women Talk Radio:

  • Retired marketing expert, Peggy Tabor, thought joining the Peace Corps at age 60 would allow her to experience adventure, make a huge difference, and allow her retirement portfolio to grow. When she returned to the U.S., she was so moved by her experience, that she told me her social security disbursement was now a “Millionaire Lifestyle.” As we were having lunch, she mentioned that after three years of having to get her water from a dirty river, she was still in awe of the beautiful salad with roasted salmon and fresh water with ice cubes that she was about to consume. When Peggy returned from her mission with the Peace Corps, she pulled money from her retirement to build a well for her village. Wow!
  • Retired teacher and Andrea Doria Survivor, Pierette Simpson, took early retirement and went on to become an international author, speaker, screenwriter, and documentary filmmaker.
  • Harvard-trained OBGYN, Dr. Susan Sklar, retired from her medical practice after healing herself through holistic and functional medicine to become an anti-aging physician, author, speaker, and retreat leader.

The key is to have a plan, to follow a process, and to have a mentor to take you through the steps of:

  • identifying your passions, your vision, your values;
  • understanding your unique abilities and challenges;
  • and analyzing your finances so you can create wealth while living a life you love.

If you are ready to explore your Retirement Reinvention and would like to talk about your dreams and challenges, visit TalkwithKatana.com to schedule a complimentary 30-minute breakthrough coaching session with me. I’ll ask you to complete an online assessment so we both can have a very productive meeting!

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 www.katanaabbott.com.

It’s Never Too Early to Plan

It’s Never Too Early to Plan

My husband and I are currently updating our financial plan with a focus on our Retirement Reinvention. If you don’t have a financial advisor, I highly recommend that you find a person you can trust and someone willing to do a financial plan, so you can see where you stand, and to help you identify and explore your vision, values and goals. Finding the right person is a big job.

Having a trusted adviser is one of the very best gifts you can give to yourself. You will want assistance with not only the big picture, what I call your Vision or Dream, but to help you though the Discovery Process which is where I spend 80% of my time. This is where you get clear about not only your goals (which is what you want) but your values (which is WHY your goals are even important ant to you).

The financial planning six areas of your life:

Financial Position:
• Create a cash flow statement which breaks down income and expenses.
• Determine your net worth by listing assets and liabilities.
Income Taxes:
• Review tax situation for capital gains/losses with real estate or stocks.
• Discuss inherited IRA status vs. pension /profit sharing plans.
Investments:
• Analyze investments for quality, safety, income needs, tax situation, etc.
• Are investments manageable, properly diversified, or all over the place?
Retirement:
• Establish amount of assets necessary to meet your lifetime income needs.
• Project retirement income needs in several situations (i.e. home care/assisted living, utilizing long-term care insurance benefits if applicable.
Estate:
• Review documents and analyze current estate plan.
• Verify beneficiaries on life insurance, annuities, retirement plans, & 401K
• Decide what you need and desire for financial independence. How much will you leave for a family legacy? How will you allocate your social legacy regarding gift and tax?
Protection:
• Assess cash flow projections and alternate scenarios regarding disability, long-term care, and premature death.

A great financial planner will ask you to create a detailed budget, asking when certain expenses end, decrease or increase — like college expenses, health insurance and medical out-of-pocket costs, home improvements and maintenance, and even downsizing. They will use these numbers throughout your analysis, and will calculate how taking your Social Security and pensions at different times can affect your nest egg. You will also discover how much you need to be saving TODAY to meet your goals and then track your progress along the way!
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My husband is eligible for his pension at 55 and wants to compare retiring at age 55 to age 65, as well as taking Social Security early at 62 instead of 70. I think he will find it eye-opening at the least. There is magic in knowing these numbers. With this knowledge, you can make smart choices.

When you look at your retirement plan, do any of these apply to you?
• You plan to work forever, either because you need to or want to.
• You left or lost your job, dipped into your 401K, and may have even paid taxes and penalties on it.
• You aren’t saving anymore or don’t even have a retirement plan.
• You have never seen your Social Security estimate.
• You don’t understand your pension and benefit statements or even know what or where they are.
• You’re paying so much for your children’s college that there is nothing left for you to save for retirement.
• Your kids have moved back home after college — enough said.
• You have run up credit card debt and/or college loans and are trying to pay them off first.
• You lost a big chunk of your savings in the 2008 market crash, never jumped back in, and are afraid it’s too late.
• You are hearing that the stock market is too risky and that bonds are even worse right now.
• You are putting all your money into real estate.
• Your best investment is your business, so you have everything tied up in that and just pray you don’t get disabled.
• You have no idea where to start or how much you will need anyway.

If you answer yes to any or all of these, then you are not alone. According to a recent GoBankingRates survey, one-third of Americans report having absolutely NOTHING saved for retirement. As if that isn’t scary enough, 56% have saved $10,000 or less. Women have an even higher rate of not saving for retirement. A whopping 63% if women say they have no savings or less than $10,000 in retirement savings.

I believe that work is the New Retirement Solution and so do more and more Baby Boomers who are exploring their options. In a Gallop Poll, 80% of Baby Boomers approaching retirement expect to continue working after ‘retiring’ to supplement their pensions, Social Security, and savings.

The silver lining, according to research, is that people who continue to work during retirement often experience better health than those who don’t work. So long as the work remains low stress, retirees who continue working are less likely to suffer from major diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. They are also less likely to become depressed.

This is great news because I see many of us continuing to work by doing something we absolutely love. I call this Retirement Reinvention, and I believe that this new retirement for most of us will consist of a simpler lifestyle with less consumerism and working at something we are passionate about. If my husband does want to retire early, we will have the numbers, and it will include going through this process … and I am sure it will include Costa Rica, Panama, golf, and biking!

This certainly is a different retirement than our parents – things have changed dramatically over the last two decades. Most of the clients I work with are interested in working in retirement not only for financial reasons, but to continue doing something meaningful where they are utilizing their unique abilities, life experiences, and making a difference in the world.

I see many of us working into our 70s. Look around you, and you will see many vibrant 70 year olds doing amazing things and having fun. Remember, we will probably end up living into our late 80s and 90s. The secret is creating your plan now and then taking action. In fact, check out my article this month on The New Retirement Solution for three women I’ve interviewed on Smart Women Talk Radio about their Retirement Reinventions. I know you will get inspired. Two of the three ladies are currently working to this day and are making a difference in the lives of others while loving their lives!

It’s never too early to plan, whereas waiting too long can sabotage opportunities and make your planning much more difficult with less choices. I always say that retirement is when working is OPTIONAL and retirement is affordable. Doing a financial plan will help you see these numbers!

If you are ready to explore your Retirement Reinvention, feel free to schedule a complimentary 30-minute retirement Discovery Coaching Session with me now at www.talkwithkatana.com.

 

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 www.katanaabbott.com.

The 10 Best Places to Retire in Europe

The 10 Best Places to Retire in Europe

Not everyone is cut out for life in the developing world or the tropics. If your retirement dream is all about Old World living on the Continent, here are your 10 best options in 2019:

Algarve, Portugal

Cost of Living: B+
Health Care: A+
Entertainment: A
Recreation: A+
English Spoken: A-
Expat Community: A+
Infrastructure: B+
Access to North America: B+
Environmental Factors: A+
Crime: A+
Affordability of Real Estate: B
Real Estate Restrictions: A+
Residency: A
Taxes: B

Portugal’s Algarve region is a land of superlatives. These 100 miles of coast offer 3,300 hours of sunshine each year and more sunny days than anywhere else in Europe, as well as some of the best beaches in Europe and best golf courses in the world. Portugal is the 17th safest country in the world, and the Algarve region is perhaps the most crime-free in the country. English is widely spoken, thanks to a decades-long connection with Britain, and the cost of living in the Algarve is one of the most undervalued in Europe. In 2012, Portugal introduced its Golden Visa program, one of the best in the EU. Retirees can also establish residency in this country simply by showing a minimum monthly income of just 1,200 euros.

Annecy, France

Cost of Living: C
Health Care: A+
Entertainment: A
Recreation: A-
English Spoken: B+
Expat Community: C
Infrastructure: B+
Access to North America: B+
Environmental Factors: A
Crime: B+
Affordability of Real Estate: C
Real Estate Restrictions: A+
Residency: B
Taxes: C

The big attraction of lakeside Annecy, the Pearl of the French Alps, are its ski slopes in winter, but this is an appealing place to be year-round. In summer, the lakeshore bustles but not only with tourists. Unlike other top ski destinations in France, fairy-tale Annecy is not a tourist town but a living community that is more cosmopolitan than a typical haunt of Euro-snow bunnies. Annecy has been awarded the titles of City of Art and History and also City in Bloom and can seem like an open-air museum. Every July its streets are given over to Les Noctibules, an annual art festival, and, every August, the much-anticipated Fête du Lac features the biggest fireworks show in Europe.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Cost of Living: B+
Health Care: A-
Entertainment: A-
Recreation: A
English Spoken: B
Expat Community: C
Infrastructure: B+
Access to North America: C-
Environmental Factors: A+
Crime: A+
Affordability of Real Estate: B-
Real Estate Restrictions: A-
Residency: C
Taxes: C

Slovenia, nestled among Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia in the heart of Central Europe, is a mountainous country with 30 miles of Mediterranean coastline. Old World capital city Ljubljana is the heart of the country, literally and figuratively, with easy access to both beaches and ski resorts. Ljubljana is a modern city with all the amenities of 21st-century living that manages to retain a small-town charm. Local farmers bring their produce to market in wooden carts each day. You could embrace this Old World lifestyle supported by top-notch infrastructure on a budget of as little as 1,400 euros a month.

Cascais, Portugal

Cost of Living: D+
Health Care: A+
Entertainment: A
Recreation: A+
English Spoken: A-
Expat Community: A+
Infrastructure: A+
Access to North America: B+
Environmental Factors: B
Crime: A-
Affordability of Real Estate: C+
Real Estate Restrictions: A+
Residency: A
Taxes: B

A miles-long stretch of sheltered coves, sandy dunes, and rocky outcroppings, the coast of Cascais, Portugal, offers some of the best beaches in Europe, as well as a marina, 9 top-tier golf courses, more than 100 parks and gardens, world-class dining, year-round mild climate, proximity to capital city Lisbon, and an overall extraordinary quality of life. The seaside city boasts one of the lowest crime rates in Europe and is home to a large and welcoming community of expats. Cascais began life as a village of fishermen and farmers but has transformed itself into a mini-city of about 200,000 complete with a university campus, 13 international and bilingual schools, 2 hospitals, a shopping mall, and a casino.

Città Sant’Angelo, Italy

Cost of Living: B+
Health Care: A+
Entertainment: A
Recreation: A+
English Spoken: D
Expat Community: D
Infrastructure: A
Access to North America: B+
Environmental Factors: A
Crime: A+
Affordability of Real Estate: B
Real Estate Restrictions: A+
Residency: C
Taxes: C

Perched on a hilltop, with views of Gran Sasso Mountain, the Adriatic, and vineyards and olive groves in between, sits ninth-century Città Sant’Angelo, in the heart of Italy’s Abruzzo region, one of the greenest in Europe, with more than a dozen ski resorts in one direction and 80 miles of coastline in the other. Città Sant’Angelo has earned the title “Borgo,” recognizing it as one of Italy’s most beautiful cities. Sant’Angelo has also been designated a “Città Slow”—a town committed to preserving traditional ways of life and resisting development. Not much has changed in Città Sant’Angelo over the centuries, and that’s the way residents like it.

Kotor, Montenegro

Cost of Living: B
Health Care: B-
Entertainment: A-
Recreation: A+
English Spoken: C-
Expat Community: C-
Infrastructure: A
Access to North America: C-
Environmental Factors: A-
Crime: B-
Affordability of Real Estate: C+
Real Estate Restrictions: B-
Residency: C
Taxes: B

This tiny seaside country of a half-million people dispersed over an area smaller than the state of Connecticut is nestled between Croatia and Albania in Southern Europe. Bayside Kotor, surrounded by towering mountains on one side and the dazzling Adriatic on the other, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and perhaps the best-preserved medieval town in the Mediterranean. The Old Town square is anchored by the 11th-century Saint Tryphon’s Cathedral, but its cafés and shops are lively and bustling with a youthful energy. This is a little-known but friendly, safe, and welcoming corner of Europe comparable to historic stone villages in Italy but more affordable. Montenegro’s tax climate is favorable, with low capital gains, property, income, and real estate transfer rates, and its new citizenship by investment program should be a foot in the door to the EU when the country becomes a member (expected in 2025).

Carcassonne, France

Cost of Living: B+
Health Care: A+
Entertainment: B+
Recreation: A+
English Spoken: C
Expat Community: A+
Infrastructure: A
Access to North America: C+
Environmental Factors: A+
Crime: A+
Affordability of Real Estate: B-
Real Estate Restrictions: A+
Residency: B
Taxes: C

Walt Disney is said to have been inspired by its towers, turrets, and ramparts, and you can understand why when the sun rises up over the medieval city of Carcassonne in southeast France. At the heart of Cathar country, this was, for centuries, an important fortification. Today, the city of Carcassonne, capital of the Aude department in the Occitanie region of France, has much to offer tourists and residents, including a medieval castle, St. Nazarius Basilica, boutiques, artists’ workshops, and Michelin-starred restaurants. Life in the Bastide is centered on the Place Carnot (where a produce market is held three times a week), with its pretty fountain, street-side cafés, and restaurants. Just 10minutes’ drive away is an 18-hole golf course and a park. Within an hour are the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean, and 90 minutes away is skiing in the Pyrenees.

Paris, France

Cost of Living: D
Health Care: A+
Entertainment: A+
Recreation: C+
English Spoken: B+
Expat Community: A+
Infrastructure: A+
Access to North America: B+
Environmental Factors: B+
Crime: B-
Affordability of Real Estate: B-
Real Estate Restrictions: A+
Residency: B
Taxes: C

At home in one of Paris’ central, historic neighborhoods, from the 1st arrondissement to the 8th, the best of city living—from bookstores, antique shops, champagne cellars, parks, and gardens to museums, theaters, galleries, five-star restaurants, and luxury shopping—is only a short and pleasant walk away. Central Paris is an open-air museum where little changes yet every day offers the chance for discovery. It’s also one of the world’s best storehouses of wealth. An apartment of charm in a good location in this city will always find a buyer and a renter, and, as Brexit approaches, London wealth is finding its way to the City of Light, causing a spike in Paris property values.

Popoli, Italy

Cost of Living: A-
Health Care: A+
Entertainment: C
Recreation: A+
English Spoken: D
Expat Community: D
Infrastructure: B+
Access to North America: B+
Environmental Factors: A
Crime: A+
Affordability of Real Estate: A-
Real Estate Restrictions: A+
Residency: C
Taxes: C

Nestled in the valley of three Apennine mountains, Popoli, Italy, with a population of 5,000, is a complete escape from the troubles of the modern world and a sought-out healing center. This medieval town is known as the Citta Dell’Acqua (City of Water), thanks to a long-dormant volcano that rumbles beneath it, bubbling up thermal spring water famed for its healing properties since the days of the Romans. The first healing center was built on the site in 1885 but destroyed during World War II. The modern Terme di Popoli opened in 1998 and uses the area’s thermal waters as the basis for the treatment of dozens of ailments. In high season, the facility sees 1,000 or more patients each day.

Valletta, Malta

Cost of Living: B
Health Care: A+
Entertainment: A
Recreation: A
English Spoken: A+
Expat Community: A+
Infrastructure: A-
Access to North America: C
Environmental Factors: C-
Crime: A
Affordability of Real Estate: C-
Real Estate Restrictions: A-
Residency: A+
Taxes: A

From its weather and food to its history and culture, Malta is not only the best of Mediterranean Europe but also one of the most affordable options for embracing this lifestyle. This three-island, 122-square-mile nation has been working hard to raise its profile internationally, and Malta’s capital, Valletta, was named 2018’s European Capital of Culture. The language is English, crime rates are low, and the health care is excellent. Malta does not offer a retiree visa, but its Global Residence Program for non-EU citizens amounts to one of the best residency opportunities in Europe. You can qualify simply by renting a place to live for as little as 800 euros per month.

 

Kathleen Peddicord has covered the live, retire, and do business overseas beat for more than 30 years and is considered the world’s foremost authority on these subjects. She has traveled to more than 75 countries, invested in real estate in 21, established businesses in 7, renovated historic properties in 6, and educated her children in 4.  In addition to her own daily e-letter, the Overseas Opportunity Letter, with a circulation of more than 300,000 readers, Kathleen writes regularly for U.S. News & World Report and Forbes. She is also the Founding Publisher of Live and Invest Overseas and author of innumerable books.

To learn more about Kathleen, go to Live and Invest Overseas.

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 www.joinsmartwomen.com 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 www.katanaabbott.com.

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 NextAvenue.org (PBS site for people 50+) and Forbes.com. 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 MyLifestyleCareer.com

 

 

 

 

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

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