Financial Planning, Retirement Issues

What can Retirees Do if a Retired Lifestyle Makes Them Miserable

October 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Changing Jobs No Comments »

What can retirees do if a retired lifestyle makes them miserable? Plan your retirement in just the same way you planned your career. Think ahead and try different things that may make life more interesting? There may even be many false starts, but at least you are trying something and learning from your mistakes. Exactly what you used to do on the job! This critical step appears to be what many pre-retired people and newly retired people seem to forget. Get going and do something, anything that has some interest for you. We will disscuss a step by step process that retirees can adapt to their own situation. But the important thing is for the person to get started.

What can Retirees Do if a Retired Lifestyle Makes Them Miserable

The following is our step by step approach:

Make a list of those things that you could do to improve your life. It could even include going back to work, volunteering, travel etc.

For each item on your list, describe how you would achieve or complete it. This could include steps such as updating your resume to looking for organizations that need help.

Create a satisfaction index from one to ten and describe in your own words what you are looking for that would increase your level of satisfaction. e.g. more social interaction, more challenge, giving back etc

Apply these criteria to each item on your list and rank then from one to ten.

Discuss your plans with a partner or your spouse or a friend. Ask for their input and what they think about each one as it applies to yourself.

Take the time to investigate each item on the list based on your ranking factors. Then decide which one or perhaps even several that you will pursue. There may be some false starts. Some may not turn out the way you thought they would. That is ok you are learning more about yourself and what will make you happy instead of being miserable in retirement.

For more information about finding a new meaning in life and changing careers, click here.

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Coping With a Change in Employment

September 7th, 2012 ernie Posted in Changing Jobs 1 Comment »

Coping With a Change in EmploymentDealing with a layoff, downsizing, right sizing or just plain being fired is a stressful time for most people. How you cope with a change in employment will affect you and your family and how your job search will go for the next job.

There are many emotions at play here and some of them are just plain difficult to deal with. You may be embarrassed at being let go, you may be mad at being laid off and you may be sad or depressed because you are not sure were the next job is going to come from. All of these emotions are at play at the same time and they all add up to a stressful situation. It is perfectly normal to have these emotions. your family may be going though some of the same emotions on your behalf. They lack information about your plans, why you were laid off and how the family will be able to afford to live without your income.

This is where you have to take the lead and communicate with them. Confidence will go a long way to making them feel better and also being more supportive which in turn will also help you as well. Dealing with a negative work situation and a negative family is sometimes too much to take. be positive and encourage all of your family to be positive as well. This alone will help everyone deal with the situation at hand and also help in the quest for another job.

Coping With a Change in Employment

Men identify themselves through work and if they lose their jobs that identity is sometimes lost unless a new job is found quickly. It is important to also have extracurricular things that are part of your persona to fall  back on. Whether it is hobbies or volunteering, that part of your life should not change.

Stages of Excepting Employment Changes

Many people go through several transitional phases before they can really focus on looking for that new position in an effective way. They are:

  • Shock at being laid off
  • Anger at being laid off
  • Depressed that they were laid off
  • Refocus on the positive things about changing jobs

The good news is that once we reach the final phase, we are ready to actually look for a new job in a positive way. We are adding up the benefits we can bring to a new employer, the value that we can bring to the job and also realizing that this transition is in most cases a blessing in disguise. We can look forward to change and to new challenges and this is  the best time to look for a new position. Try to move through the first 3 phases quickly and so you can focus on the positive for your job search.

It is also an opportunity to make that career change that you always had in the back of your mind, but never acted on. Part of coping with a change in employment is realizing that now you have the opportunity to make the changes that you always wanted to.

They say that  you should work as hard at finding a job as you did at your job and this is true. Spend 35 hours a week improving your skills, networking and talking with contacts to find jobs that are available. Chat with people who may be able to guide you and spend time training to learn the latest job search skills.


How do You begin a Job Search

  • Summarize your strengths and how you do your best work. Identify past successes, current strengths; overall work style and personal preferences.
  • Clarify your objectives and prepare a dynamic presentation.
  • Plan how you marketing campaign
  • Building a network of negotiating skills.
  • Be thorough and persistent

Network with like minded individuals, people you trust and value their comments. Test your marketing campaign and networking skills and by all means keep up with your contacts. Let them know you are looking and what you are looking for. This is by far the best way to find out if a job exists and to be referred to the job. Avoid alienating your colleagues by asking them for a job, rather ask them to let you know if they hear of a position that may be available.



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Should I Change Jobs

August 21st, 2011 ernie Posted in Changing Jobs 1 Comment »

Should I Change JobsI was recently asked by a friend for some advice about changing jobs and basically starting a new career. I am always a bit reluctant to give this kind of advice because you do not want to be responsible of the person follows your advice and then the new job does not really work out very well.

I prefer to ask the person a number of questions and point out areas that they should consider. After all it is a very personal decision and it really depends on the situation that person finds themselves in. It is impossible for me to know what their situation really is and how they should respond.

What is the Situation and Should I Change Jobs

First of all it is important to understand the current situation that my friend is in. they work for a private company for the past 20 years, their pension is vested, however they are not eligible to collect a pension yet due to their age. Unfortunately there are situations at the company which has a lot of people upset including my friend. For example on Dec 31 , 2016, any one retiring after that date loses their health benefits. They retire with a pension, but no benefits. They cannot retire until Jan 2017!

The management situation at work is not a positive environment. They are looking or appear to be looking to retire people early and bring on new hires. My friend feels that even though they have fantastic reviews , they may be a target sometime in the next 5 years before they retire to a pension with no benefits.

I also feel that my friend is probably a bit bored and not challenged in the manner they used to be and that means you usually do not do your best work! That is just a human situation and not a criticism.

What are the issues to consider?

  • Salary
  • Benefits
  • Pension into locked RRSP
  • How much, are you penalized in any way
  • Can only withdraw % starting at 55
  • Vacation
  • Sick days
  • New pension?
  • RRSP goes to survivors
  • Must decide how to invest
  • Opportunity to advance?
  • Probability of being tapped to leave current company
  • Are you leaving any money on the table
  • Benefits when you retire from new company
  • Challenge
  • Job satisfaction

Comments about each area mentioned above:

Salary – the new job may mean a drop in pay, but there is potential for upgrading and there are better benefits when they do retire
Benefits – no benefits at the current company vs. benefits  at the new company when they retire
Pension into locked RRSP – Current pension will likely be placed into a locked in RRSP, and collected when they turn 55
How much, are you penalized in any way – Leaving early usually means you are penalized in some way regarding the amount of money you take with you

Can only withdraw % starting at 55 –
percent you can draw at 55 is around 6%
Vacation – Probably will have less vacation since new employer will not want to provide as much vacation to a new employee

Sick days – currently no sick days allowed, while new job provides for sick days automatically
New pension? – What do you need to do to qualify for a pension at the new company?
RRSP goes to survivors – a big benefit of withdrawing pension from existing company is that anything that is left when you die goes to your estate and your survivors, not to the company that paid into your pension.
Must decide how to invest – With a self managed RRSP , you must invest wisely and carefully, this is your retirement

Opportunity to advance? – what are the opportunities to advance and increase your salary to catch up to were you were ?
Probability of being tapped to leave current job – There is a strong feeling by many people that they will never make it to retirement and will be tapped anyway to leave before their time for retirement is ready.
Are you leaving any money on the table – always the big question. How much money are you leaving. Can you negotiate a better package to take with you?
Benefits when you retire from new company – Never a a 100% guarantee, but then they already know that they will be retiring without benefits at the current company

Challenge & Job satisfaction – go together. Many people like a challenge and will not do well if they are not challenged and their job satisfaction suffers as well. This can be a downward spiral so sometimes it  is a good idea to move on and take that next job!

Finally, always make sure that you have an offer in hand before you make the leap from your current company.  You never want to find yourself without a job in today’s current economy.

Comments about this subject are welcome. Additional ideas and suggestions about what everyone should consider when looking at another job would be much appreciated.

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Negotiate Before You Sign

August 7th, 2011 ernie Posted in Changing Jobs No Comments »

Negotiate Before You SignThis is another post about changing jobs that was instigated by a phone call from a friend who was thinking about changing jobs. You can check out my previous posts – “Should I Change Jobs” and “Leaving a Job, Talk to an Adviser”  and “Handing in my Resignation” which covers those topics and some of the things you should consider before making the decision to change jobs. In this case it is negotiate before you sign.

This post focuses on completing all of your negotiations for your new job before you sign your new contract. After you sign, all of your negotiation power is gone. the mantra of this post is always ask in a polite way about items you feel you need or want, the worst that will happen is that the interviewer will say no. There is of course a time and a place to bring your negotiating points up in the process to allow you to gain the most.  Hopefully the following comments and thoughts will help the reader in their quest.

When to Negotiate Details on New Job

There are many opinions about when you should negotiate details such as salary, benefits and perks on a new job, however the consensus seems to be that negotiation starts when you are discussing an offer that may be made to you. Always negotiate before you sign any documents.

Negotiating  salary, etc at an initial interview is not seen as a positive thing to do, since no one has offered you the job and you may even turn the interviewer off by making demands too early. Wait until the interviewer has introduced the topic and even then go slow. If you sense that they are reaching closure on a potential offer, now is the time to discuss possible additions that you may be looking for. Note that I wrote discuss, rather than demand. It is all about reaching a compromise that both people can live with without being so demanding that you paint yourself into a box that you cannot get out of.

By the time you receive a letter offering you  the job all of the details should have been worked out and the letter should reflect those details. However if there is something missing that you felt had been agreed to, then obviously it should be discussed before you sign the agreement letter signifying that you are taking the job.

Negotiate Before You Sign – Alternate Solutions

There are many ways to solve issues and that is what negotiations are all about. An example of a colleague centered around vacation. The new job only offered 3 weeks vacation, however my colleague had been receiving 6 weeks vacation due to seniority with the current company they were with.

They knew that asking directly for 6 weeks vacation was going to be a non starter in this situation, however they still expressed their concern about losing so much vacation on moving to a new job. Note that it was an expression of concern and not a negotiating demand.

The Human Resources person recognized that this was an issue for someone who was senior and brought a lot of experience to the job. They could not offer 6 weeks paid vacation, but what they could offer was the opportunity to reduce the salary by 10% and take an additional 6 weeks off fully paid at the lower salary rate. This was in addition to the regular paid 3 weeks vacation. Although they would be paid for 12 months, the pay rate would be 10% lower than the negotiated salary. For some people this is a definite win win, while others may feel they really need that 10%.

The point of this section of this post is that there are many ways to solve issues and create unique solutions. If you do not ask you may not be made aware of them.

Be Prepared for Negotiations At All Times

This is so important. You may find yourself negotiating during an interview when you did not expect it. Or you may receive a phone call from someone at the company you are considering after your first round of interviews. Rather than bring you in a second or third time, they may decide to complete final negotiations right there on the phone.

The point is you never know when you will be asked to consider a proposal, so you should always be ready. Know what you need to have, know what you would like to have, and know what you are willing to compromise on so that you can negotiate the best deal you can at the time. Once you have said yes verbally and on paper, that is pretty much it, unless you want to risk losing that particular opportunity! If you reopen negotiations after they were closed, it usually means that both parties can re-negotiate the agreement. Overall it is a bad situation to be in.

Comments are welcome about your experiences, do’s and don’ts etc. Anything that will assist our readers in their quest for better and more interesting jobs are welcome.

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Handing in My Resignation

May 7th, 2011 ernie Posted in Changing Jobs No Comments »

This is another post about changing jobs that was instigated by a phone call from a friend who was thinking about handing in his resignation and moving to another job. You can check out my previous posts – “Should I Change Jobs” and “Leaving a Job, Talk to an Adviser” which covers those topics and some of the things you should consider before making the decision to change jobs.

Handing in My Resignation – Do Not Burn Bridges

This post is focused on handing in your resignation, once you have done your homework and have made the decision to leave your current job. There are many ways to resign, however the bottom line is that you never want to burn any bridges. In my experience, I have found that over the years you work with many people in many different companies and functions. Over the years you work with these same people many times even if you change jobs. You never know when a good contact, a friend or a colleague can help you with a project, or the next job.

Be Professional

Always be professional, especially when you are handing in your resignation. Wait until you have a firm offer from the new company and then turn in your resignation to your boss. The personal touch is always best. By that we mean set up a meeting and do it in person or over the phone if they are in another city. Then provide the written signed  letter of resignation. Keep your letter short and to the point and provide a final date, which will indicate your last day.

You should also extol the virtue of the company, the colleagues and your experience and learning at your old company. Never say anything negative in your letter or even verbally. This is all part of networking, nit burning bridges and keeping your relationship professional!

How Much Notice Do I Need to Provide

The amount of notice varies a lot depending on the local laws, the company, how  you feel about the company, even the level you are at within the company. If you are trying to maintain excellent relationships, giving a longer notice so they can find someone to replace you and you can transition to may put you in good standing over the longer term. Some people will bounce back and forth between companies a lot so keeping  a professional flavor to the relationship is always the best approach.

Some companies are very concerned about security and this really depends on company policy as well as the type of job you have. Some companies will accept resignations and walk you to the door because they are so concerned about security issues, while others will take advantage of the last few weeks to learn as much as possible from you. Whichever occurs don’t take it personally, it is just business and company attitudes about security of information.

Being Nervous, Feeling Like You Are Letting the Team Down

Many people have a professional and a non professional relationship with their team mates at a company. If you are working on a project you may feel that you are letting the team down by leaving. You may even feel that you are letting the company down if they have treated you well over the years.

Sure some people will be disappointed that you are leaving and will be sorry to see you leave. Your boss may even be upset. Not because it is you that is leaving, but because he or she now has to replace you and find someone to fill in for you.

Members of your team, even your boss will be happy for you especially if you are leaving for a better situation. Whether it is better pay, less stress, more benefits or even a more interesting job, they will be happy for you. They might even be a bit envious and some will want to stay in touch so that they too can follow you, especially if they can improve their financial situation.

So bottom line, don’t be nervous and don’t feel guilty about handing in your resignation.

Say Nice Things

Before you leave as well as after you leave, always say nice things about the people and the company. No one wants to listen to a negative tirade about how bad it was at some other company. You never know when it might come back and cause you problems on future jobs, future sales or future relationships.

If a job, company or colleague is really not that great, then do not say anything at all. People will still get the message, and you will not be blamed as being negative or worse sued for libel.

There are some situations which are just not tolerable and this situation forces you to leave. If it is illegal, then you really should do something about it. Regardless you want to get as far away as fast as possible from this situation to avoid being caught up in something that is really not good for your career and / or even freedom.

Feel free to leave comments and suggestions about this post, handing in resignations, changing jobs etc. Our readers will benefit from constructive helpful comments.

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Leaving a Job, Talk to an Advisor

April 21st, 2011 ernie Posted in Changing Jobs 1 Comment »

Leaving a JobOur last post was about a friend of mind who was contemplating leaving a job that they had been at for over 20 years. There are all kinds of issues to consider in making this kind of decision and we listed some of them in the post – Should I Change Jobs.

This post is more focused on what should I do when I change jobs about the pension money that is given to us when we leave a job. In Canada, you are not just handed the money, instead the law requires that these funds be placed in a locked in RRSP which you can only gain access to at age 55 or later. Even then you can only take out a certain percentage each year, around 6.5% initially. There are some laws that lets you transfer some of the funds to a regular RRSP at a later date.

Leaving a Job- Talk to a Financial Adviser

This is where you need to get really serious about your retirement planning. You are leaving a company, they are giving you the vested amount of your pension and it will be locked into an RRSP. How should you invest it? What  risk should you take? What are the regulations about withdrawals? There are loads of questions such as this which only someone in the business working every day on these subjects can really help you with.

Find a good financial adviser, who knows what they are talking about and is not just trying to sell you stocks and mutual funds. In fact it is a good idea to interview several before making a decision about were you should place your investments.

Talk to friends, business associates and professionals. Don’t just take one answer because it sounds good or they sound really confident. You need to collect as much information as you can and make your own decisions about what is right for you.

Even this post and blog is only one source and we blatantly will tell you that we do not have all of the answers. Each person is different, has different requirements and different goals. Investigate and make the most informed decision you can.

Once You Have Made a Decision, Monitor Your Investments

This is so important. You cannot just make your investments and then walk away without tending to them on a regular basis. Treat your retirement plan and investments like a garden. It needs regular care, weeding and watering.  So does your retirement RRSP.

Weed out the poor performing stocks, mutual funds and any other investments you may have. Evaluate your risk tolerance. Invest in new growth investments, and collect dividends and interest on a regular basis. Pay attention to the investments. Never place it all into one stock or mutual fund, diversify and avoid high risk investments unless you can afford to lose it all.

Meet with Your Financial Adviser

Starting a new job is always stressful, and leaving a job is also stressful. Just look at the issues to consider that we discussed in the previous post – Should I Change Jobs. However this will pass and you will get settled into the new job, get to know the people, learn what you need to learn and perform at a level that meets the needs of the new organization you moved to.

Once this period is over, and it should only last 3 to 6 months at the most, set up regular meetings with your financial adviser to review your investments and access the health and income that you are receiving from your investments.

This is so important and most advisers will initiate these meetings as well, however if they do not do this, then you need to take the initiative and meet with them on a regular basis. Review your statements and make sure that everything is invested in the manner that meets your needs.

In summary, when you have answered the question – Should I Change Jobs – the next step is huge in the sense that now you are responsible for managing your retirement fund and making sure that you have enough money to retire and live the quality of life that you need and want.

Comments about this post are welcome as are ideas and subjects that we may not have considered.

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