Recently a friend of mine wrote that she’s concerned about her finances. Since we’d never really discussed the subject of her finances in any detail in the past, I wasn’t really aware of how the situation had become a very stressful situation for her.
In her note, she had written that one of her biggest concerns is that she has not saved enough for her retirement. Although she’s got at least ten years before she hits retirement age, the anxiety about how she will retire with limited funds is forever on her mind. She knows that, based on her financial path, she will not have a retirement income that will cover her basic needs when she reaches age 70.
Mary has been managing her lifestyle, finances, and investments in the most appropriate ways she knew how. Although she has a small 401k, contributions up to this point have been continual but minimal. I wrote about various retirement vehicles in the article (From a Baby Boomer’s View: Pension Plans, 401ks, and Savings Accounts). Her current income from her job barely covers basic living expenses, even though she lives very frugally. She keeps expenses low, does not have credit card or other debt, and lives as frugally as possible. Since Mary is single, she is worried whether her recently-diagnosed medical issue will leave her unable to work in the near future, and whether government-assisted disability income will become available to her if she needs it. Her situation is not unlike that of many other people. The details may be different, but the importance of retirement fund sufficiency, economic safety, and maintaining optimum health are very real issues that many of us deal with as we approach retirement age. When Mary wrote to me, she wasn’t complaining nor was she asking for suggestions. The note was written very matter-of-factly, and this-is-the-way-it-is. However, because she’s such a great friend, I put myself in her shoes and began to brainstorm for ideas that could be possible remedies. Since expenses were already minimal, it would be little advantage for her to try to reduce any of them. Her only expenses are her small house that she rents and utilities. So, with that in mind, the only place to concentrate efforts would be on the income side.
SIDE NOTE: Although the financial aspects of money management are sometimes perceived to be complicated, they are really black and white. The difficult part is in knowing where to make adjustments. Because the resolution to Mary’s financial dilemma was to look for a way to increase income, that’s where the brainstorming began. And it made sense that, because she is happy with her current full-time position, a part-time position would be a good place to look for answers to her retirement fund problems.
In some ways, part-time positions are easier to find because employers don’t have to pay for benefits such as insurance and vacation time off. The internet research produced a plethora of options for part-time jobs. There were jobs at home, online jobs, and on-site jobs available. However, when one considers the search and application process, then taking time to interview, and then coordinating working hours with a full-time job, the whole idea of a part-time position became an unrealistic option to pursue. So, what would be a better choice? Online jobs seemed to be more approachable for several reasons. First of all, you can take the classes on your own schedule and usually at your own pace. But the best reason to consider online employment is because jobs are plentiful! Internet technology positions are increasing in almost every industry and there is a shortage of available employees. Types of positions in the IT industry could include web or graphic designing, corporate letter writing, or online teaching. To open doors in the IT field, skills may need to be updated. However, classes are available online and are relatively inexpensive when compared with college or university degree programs. In addition, IT certification classes are valuable avenues for breaking into technology fields. An example of one of these certification programs can be found at ed2go.com. This program has no prerequisites, costs about $100 dollars, and is only 6 weeks long. However, the certification would be helpful for those wanting to break into the IT field. I read all comments and love to respond to them.
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