Enough With The Retirement Talk!

Copyright: pinkomelet

Almost every time I look at my computer these days, I’ll see at least one featured article on Yahoo! which discusses retirement.  I’m not exaggerating when I say it happens almost daily, and it’s making me mental.  

I know the population is aging, and that baby boomers and GenX’ers are trying to prepare and plan for their golden years, but this is getting ridiculous.  The media and the internet have unabashedly latched onto the subject, and now there is a constant barrage of anxiety-provoking articles with headlines and titles such as: 

Do you have what you will need to retire?

Are you prepared for your golden years? 

Beware of the pitfalls of investing in an IRA

Watch out for these “retirement killers” 

I’ll read one article which sets me at ease, because I am on track with what it says I need to do.  Then the next day I’ll read an article which either contradicts what I read the previous day, or which has such a doomsday vibe that it basically states that almost everyone is in danger of not having enough money to ever retire.  Does this mean that we will all be living under freeway overpasses, eating dog food?  

Honestly, all these articles seem to do is to stir up worry which affects how I function throughout the day.  And though I can try to let it go, the next day another article will appear which will wash away my feelings of security and accomplishment regarding my retirement portfolio.   

Who else has noticed this trend?

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Working For Free – REPOST

bloggers-working-free

Have you ever completed a work project which offered no compensation except for a pat on the back? If so, did it bother you? It should have. By agreeing to slave away (pun definitely intended here) at an assignment with full awareness that you would receive absolutely no monetary compensation, you just devalued yourself.

I am not talking about volunteer work, or favors which you offer to do for a family member or friend. I am also not talking about getting your feet wet by taking on a task in an unfamiliar area so that you can gain valuable experience. I am instead referring to situations in which you are asked to provide your knowledge, expertise and service in an area in which you excel, and are coaxed into it with the promise that it’s a one-time favor, or that there will be compensation sometime in the future, only to discover that the promise was in fact a lie.

As a result of my abiding loyalty to companies, friends, family, and pets, I am the type of person who never leaves. You can count on me, and I honor my word. One of my faults is that I assume that other people are the same way, and even when I can plainly see that I am being taken advantage of, I often still hang on. This type of behavior spilled over into the world of medicine, wellness and fitness for a while, but a couple of years ago, I cut off all of the companies and individuals who got too much of a good thing for too long, essentially my time, services and knowledge for free.

In one situation, one company asked me to provide professional services on a monthly basis, stating that it would be unpaid to start out with, but that compensation would be given after a few months. Next thing I knew, I had provided those services free of charge for eighteen months! When I fired a warning shot, essentially stating that I no longer wanted to work for free, the company responded by inferring that the “exposure” I was receiving from them was payment enough. The funny thing is, I didn’t need the exposure, nor was this company in a position to help me. I merely agreed to the arrangement as a temporary favor to them, sort of a good faith move. All it ended up doing was getting me stuck in a monthly obligation which I got zero benefit from doing. Once I realized this, I severed ties immediately. Though I used very professional and polite language, it felt so good to tell them that I was done being an indentured servant. No longer did I have to put their assignments in my calendar, or resent the fact that each one of those assignments chewed up a good hour or two of my time.

More recently, I agreed to complete an assignment for free simply because I found it intriguing, and I had a small pocket of time in which to complete the assignment. I also felt that it was a good way to introduce my skill set to the company. However, I made it very clear that the assignment was isolated, and that if the company wanted my services in the future, I would only consider paid assignments.

Time is money, and because I hold a medical degree and a bachelor’s degree, am a board certified physician, and have worked in the fitness industry for three decades, I have value which deserves proper compensation. Would you like to work for free, especially if it is in an area in which you have expertise? Let’s face it, we all need to find a way to bring money in. We have skills, we have knowledge, and we deserve to get a financial return for services rendered in our chosen work environment.

If you are the type of person who has a tendency to take on more than your schedule can handle, perhaps it’s time to evaluate your obligations and see if any of them are a threat to your self-worth. If they are unpaid, uncontracted, require your skills in an area in which you are considered an expert, and are contributing to a decline in your quality of life because they are a time burden, then you should consider dropping those obligations.

Don’t Let Fear Rule You

Stacey Naito Japanese Warrior

We can often be our own worst enemies, laying sabotage upon our own best efforts. The basis of such subterfuge is our own fear-based collection of thoughts, and can be more damaging than any efforts made by others to trip us up. What’s the solution? Banish your fears!

Before you allow that monstrous pull of trepidation pull you into the muck, get into the habit of replacing every single negative and self-defeating thought you have with a positive, hope-filled one.

Yes, every single one.

Perhaps you are doubting your ability to complete a massive work project, and you find yourself grappling with the feeling that you won’t be able to complete it in time, or that you will do a shoddy job because you feel rushed. Instead of feeding that insecurity, tell yourself:

I CAN do this. I WILL do this.

Do this repeatedly until it begins to sink in. Allow your positive thoughts to take up space in your mind, so much so that they push out the negativity.

The last thing you should ever do is to knock yourself down. Someone who is bound and determined to succeed quickly learns how to push away negativity from haters, and never allows a bad day to destroy the success plan which is in place. Successful people have a can-do, will-do attitude which has very little to do with overall intelligence, talent, or opportunity.

So stop beating yourself up, push away the haters, and go for your goals!

Keeping Pace With A Crazy Schedule

George Kontaxis shoot

The last few weeks have been NUTS. I am talking about day after day of so many shifts in my schedule and demands on my time, that I am torn in many different directions, and cannot focus on a darned thing. When this kind of chaos ensues, I begin to lose items, certain basic vocabulary terms escape me, and I feel like I am rushing by everything and everyone, like a bullet train zooming through a bustling cityscape.

For the life of me, I can’t find a gray tank top which I had recently purchased and put…somewhere. I honestly can’t remember where. This isn’t like me, because I am VERY organized, to the point of having all of my clothing organized by color, sleeve length, etc. So why can’t I find that gray top?

I literally run around in my bedroom, grabbing for clothes, rushing, trying to keep up with the stressful demands of being in so many places all the time. It’s starting to get old. Forget about having time to read a book, or watch a TV show, because by the time the dust settles from the crazy days I have been flying through, the notion of blissful sleep is so seductive that I don’t want to do anything else.

What keeps me from unraveling is the consistency I demand with my eating habits and my workouts. I am not joking about this. Despite the insane schedule I have been juggling lately, I still weight train six mornings each week. I attend lyra class one to two evenings during the week. My meals consist of clean foods like chicken breast, salmon, tilapia, green beans, asparagus, brown rice, quinoa, avocado, almonds, oats, and Greek yogurt. I have been drinking plenty of alkaline water. I have also been consistent about consuming MitoXcell every morning (I LOVE this supplement and intend to post more about it when I get a chance to breathe!), and I also take my regular supplements (like turmeric, CoQ10, folic acid, etc.) daily. My energy levels have been decent, and my mood has been generally great, with only a couple of stark exceptions.

There are two days next week which I have designated as clean up and organization days, and I desperately need them. During those days, I will perform the deep cleaning throughout most of the house which the housekeeper always neglects, I will reorganize cabinets and drawers, clean up the garage and patio, and find that gray top!

Make Your Goals BIG Ones

big-goal-mountain-steps1

We should all have goals which we set for ourselves, because they make us grow as individuals. We may fall a bit short on reaching our goals at times, but the journey and struggle involved in pursuing our passions keep us moving forward. That is why I honestly believe that we need to set big goals, with clearly defined blueprints which keep us focused on the finish line.

A timeline ensures that your intentions are filled with purpose, and keeps you from falling into irrational, delusional thinking. It isn’t unreasonable to reach for the stars, because you never know what you may accomplish over time. Let’s say your ultimate goal is to be the leader in your industry. Perhaps you have just launched a start-up company in which you began making products at home, and you strive to be the industry leader. Why not have that as your end goal? Who’s to say that you can’t attain the pinnacle of success in your business? There are countless businesses which started out in the same way, out of a kitchen with a shoestring budget, and which are now huge successes.

Read on to learn more about businesses which started out very small, and are now considered industry leaders:

Burt’s Bees – This company has become a huge name in natural skin care products, but it started out in an abandoned one-room schoolhouse. Burt Shavitz and Roxanne Quimby founded Burt’s Bees in Maine in 1984, and rented an abandoned schoolhouse to make candles with the excess beeswax from Shavitz’s honey business. Quimby also began crafting homemade skin care products from the wax. Burt’s Bees became incorporated in 1991, and by 2007, it was bought out by Clorox for $925 million.

The Yankee Candle Company – This company was the brainchild of an enterprising teen named Michael Kittredge, who created his first scented candle in his Massachusetts home with melted crayons. By 1975, the first store opened, and the business spread thoughout Massachusetts. There are currently over 500 stores across the United States, and a wholesale network of over 20,000 stores is in place.

Apple – The vision of Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniack and Ronald Wayne resulted in the trio establishing a business in 1976 out of a garage space in Cupertino, California. The Macintosh line was introduced in 1984, causing their business to explode. Apple has established its unquestionable foothold on the world of technology with revenues of over $14 billion yearly.

Google – Another brilliant trio created this household name in 1998 in a garage in Menlo Park, California, indexing web pages, and developing their search algorithm. The following year, they moved into what is now known as the Googleplex. Today, Google has made an indelible mark on the world of technology.

Mattel – Though Mattel is known as a toy maker giant, it had humble beginnings in the 1940’s making picture frames. Ruth Handler began taking wood scraps from the wood used in making those frames and crafted doll furniture from them. The doll furniture was so popular among customers that the company decided to shift their focus to toys, and by 1959, introduced a doll which they called Barbie.

Now that you have some inspiration, now is the perfect time to dream big and reach for the stars! Good luck, and may great success ensue!

Powerful Women

This is a repost of a recent article on MSN Money which showcased 13 newcomer women who made it onto the list of the richest self-made women in the United States. The original article can be found by clicking the link here, but I have also copied and pasted the body of the article so you can read about these extraordinary women here.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/savingandinvesting/13-newcomers-named-richest-self-made-women-in-us/ar-BBtKKOC?ocid=spartandhp

13 newcomers named richest self-made women in US

Forbes’ second annual definitive tally of America’s wealthiest, most successful self-made women includes 60 trailblazers – 10 more than last year – who have crashed ceilings through invention and innovation. These women, who are worth a combined $53 billion, have created some of the nation’s best known brands, such as Gap, Spanx, Proactiv and Vera Bradley. A number of them have also helped build some of the most successful companies in tech, including Facebook, eBay and Google, while still others got rich entertaining millions through their music, books or TV shows.

These women have achieved unparalleled success through invention and innovation to create their own fortunes. ABC Supply’s Diane Hendricks (No. 1) tops the list with a net worth of $4.9 billion, followed by Oprah Winfrey (No. 2), worth $3.1 billion. The Gap’s Doris Fisher and Founder & CEO of Epic Systems, Judy Faulkner, are tied for No. 3, both worth $2.4 billion. Elizabeth Holmes, Founder & CEO, Theranos, who was No. 1 on the list in 2015, misses the cut this year due to recent investigations involving Theranos and information indicating that the company’s revenues are less than originally projected.

With sold out arenas, billion-dollar companies and best-selling books under their belts, 13 newcomers joined the ranks of America’s Richest Self-Made Women in 2016. Big names (Celine, Barbra, Taylor) and big brands (Nasty Gal, Vera Bradley, Douglas Elliman) define the group who cracked this year’s $250 million cutoff, and together have a combined net worth of $5.65 billion.

GAIL MILLER

Net worth: $1.6 billion

Rank: 11

How she did it: The only newcomer who is also a billionaire, most of Miller’s wealth stems from basketball team the Utah Jazz. She purchased it with her late husband in 1986 for $22 million. It’s now worth $875 million.

CAROLYN RAFAELIAN

Net worth: $700 million

Rank: 22

How she did it: The Alex and Ani founder launched her Rhode Island-based bangle-maker in 2004. In 12 years, she’s grown revenues to an estimated $500 million and operates 65 stores around the country.

CELENE DION

Net worth: $380 million

Rank: 37

How she did it: Dion has sold over 220 million albums in her career, but the bulk of her net worth ($260 million) comes from the Las Vegas residency she began in 2003.

BARBRA STREISAND

Net worth: $370 million

Rank: 38

How she did it: Happy days are here again! With a career full of hits and accolades spanning sixty years, Streisand has had a No. 1 album every single decade she’s been in showbiz and is the best-selling female musician of all time.

JESSICA ALBA

Net worth: $340 million

Rank: 42

How she did it: Alba launched The Honest Company in 2012. Just three years later, she was featured on the cover of Forbes’ Self-Made Women’s issue with a $200 million estimated net worth from her stake in the nontoxic-household-goods-startup. The actress-turned-entrepreneur did not make the $250 million net worth cutoff for the list in 2015, but secured her spot on this year’s list when her 20% stake in the company shot up last August after raising $100 million at a $1.7 billion valuation.

NANCY ZIMMERMAN

Net worth: $320 million

Rank: 46

How she did it: Launching her career buying currency options on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Zimmerman later made her way to Goldman Sachs to run their interest rate options group. She left Goldman to co-found Boston-based Bracebridge Capital in 1994. It’s grown to $10 billion in assets under managements and is now the largest in the world run by a woman.

DANIELLE STEEL

Net worth: $310 million

Rank: 48

How she did it: Steel joined fellow romance novelist Nora Roberts on the list this year proving sex, and lust, really does sell. She’s written 129 books and sold more than 650 million copies in her career.

PATRICIA MILLER and BARBARA BRADLEY BAEKGAARD

Net worth: $300 million (Miller); $270 million (Baekgaard)

Rank: 49 (Miller); 54 (Baekgaard)

How they did it: Queens of quilted prints, Miller and Baekgaard founded Vera Bradley in 1982, sewing bags in Baekgaard’s basement and selling their first ones in gift shops. There are now 139 company stores and with products sold in another 2,700 retailers around the country. Vera Bradley IPO’ed six years ago and has a $590 million market cap.

SOPHIA AMORUSO

Net worth: $280 million

Rank: 53

How she did it: The original #GirlBoss, at 22 Amoruso started her online retailer Nasty Gal. Ten years later her company is raking in $300 million in sales, Forbes estimates. She also released her memoir “GirlBoss” in 2014 and it became a bestseller. Amoruso has since expanded the #GirlBoss brand to radio and TV.

DOROTHY HERMAN

Net worth: $270 million

Rank: 54

How she did it: Overcoming a tragic adolescence, Herman got her start as a real estate broker for Merrill Lynch on Long Island. By 2003, she’d bought New York City brokerage Douglas Elliman. It’s now the country’s fourth-largest brokerage firm and the largest in New York City.

TONI KO

Net worth: $260 million

Rank: 57

How she did it: In 1999 Ko started NYX Cosmetics aiming to sell department-store quality makeup at drugstore prices. The company did $4 million in sales in the first year alone. She sold to L’Oreal in 2014 for $500 million and has since moved on to launch a new sunglasses line in early 2016.

TAYLOR SWIFT

Net worth: $250 million

Rank: 60

How she did it: Coming in at the last spot on this year’s list, Swift’s earnings shot up with her transition from country music starlet to worldwide pop star, raking in the most from last year’s 1989 tour that earned $250 million.

In case you want to know how these women made it to list, read on for the methodology employed…

Methodology: Members of the 2016 list needed a minimum of $250 million in net worth to make the cut. To compile net worths, Forbes valued private companies by speaking with an array of outside experts and conservatively comparing the companies with public competitors. In cases in which women started businesses with, and still share with, their husbands, Forbes assigned them half of that combined wealth.

Forbes calculated the stakes in public companies using stock prices from May 13. For entertainers, they based estimates on net lifetime earnings. Real estate, art and other assets were also factored in where applicable. To be eligible for this list, women had to have substantially made their own fortunes and be U.S. citizens or longtime residents. Forbes attempted to vet these numbers with all list entrants.