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October 23, 2012 in Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Are new tricks even necessary? Maybe the old repertoire is sufficient to bring happiness to a veteran dog. Consider these questions, all from men in the building trades:


I've worked for contractors all my life. Now they say I'm too old. No one wants to hire me because, admittedly, I've slowed down some and can't carry roofing supplies up and down a ladder all day like I used to. But carpentry is all I've ever done. It's all I know. Have I really outlived my usefulness? - D.D., Miami, CA

The guy I worked for most of my career is retiring and moving out of state. He'll sell me his company, with all his contacts. But I don't know. I've never had to worry about the business end of the trade. What do you think I should do? L.K. Orlando, FL

I'm a plumber for a good-sized factory. I have steady work and good benefits. Some of my friends feel I could make more money on my own, especially now that I've reached my ceiling on the pay scale. But I've never had to worry about hustling jobs. What happens if I get up some morning and there's no work waiting for me? -A.A., Tampa, FL


Taking the plunge into self-employment can be a frightening experience. But anything that's rewarding is worth the effort. The secret is to prepare and carefully consider exactly what it is you want to accomplish. Do you want to work, or do you want to manage workers? If you really want to work foryourself and by yourself, you're probably further along the road to independence than you think.

When I first retired after many years of being a small-time, country preacher, I wanted to make something that I could point to at the end of the day. I had always loved carpentry, but it seemed that the only game in town involved apprenticing out or learning the ins and outs of the business by working for someone else. I had faith in my skills, but I didn't know how to begin.

My first job happened by accident. I built a porch for a neighbor. Someone saw my work and wanted a deck built around a new, above-ground swimming pool. Pretty soon I was doing a lot of small carpentry jobs for a local farmer. Then I met a man who became my partner. He lived right across the street and had the same interests I did.

Our first job was a renovation that no big contractor would touch. It wouldn't be cost-effective in that we couldn't get in and out quickly. We didn't care very much about our time, though, and were perfectly willing to go slowly. That led to similar jobs. We became known for tackling the kind of projects that required creative thinking. Old house renovations often call for leaving your square and level home. "Eyeballing" old renovations is often the only way to make things fit in with existing construction. We promised our clients that when we began a project we would stick with it until we finished - no matter how long it took. People appreciated that. We also made sure we were clean and neat and that people were completely satisfied before we moved on to the next job. We trusted them - they trusted us. We had found a niche market and soon had all the work we wanted with no worries about scheduling vacation times or managing office politics.

Could we have hired more people and expanded? Sure. But why? We were perfectly happy the way things were. As we used to say in New England, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

What's the point of this story? Modern methods of operation, in every field, often create niches where creative, experienced veterans can flourish while remaining relatively unencumbered with administration details. Is that particular skill that you've spent a lifetime developing really in demand, but you're too afraid of launching out on your own because you've always performed it in order to receive a paycheck from someone else who told you what to do, when to do it, and then profited from your work?

All three of today's questions relate to fear, not skill. When you've worked your whole life for someone else it's hard to think about being on your own. But stop and think for a minute. It's acquiring skill that's the hard part. No one will ever go hungry if they have a skill or talent that someone else needs. Marketing ability? That's what the Over60Exchange is all about. People skills? You can learn those, no matter how old you are. You probably already know how to please potential clients better than some young whippersnapper right out of trade school.

Satisfying work, done well into "retirement" age, consists of doing something that you love, and doing it well. That's a valuable commodity. It's worth good money. So are you.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Membership

August 23, 2012 in Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Question: What is the Over60Exchange?
Answer: The Over60Exchange is for people age 60 and older to communicate with each other about all things involving life in the later years. It could be on How to Stay Independent, Healthy and Happy or to search for Information on particular subject. It could be searching for Inspiration and Motivation or for any number of other subjects.
Question: Does the Over60Exchange offer benefits to its members?
Answer: Yes. The Over60Exchange not only provides critical and timely information, it is also a source of real life information and insight provided by other members. This active “give & take” will grow more powerful as time goes by and the membership grows. This information will allow Over60Exchange members to be ahead of non-members when making decisions or anticipating lifestyle direction changes.
Question: Can someone join that is not age 60 or older?
Answer:  The Over60Exchange has decided that it will not exclude other people younger than sixty because of the additional screening process needed to verify ages but we do encourage younger people to have a meaningful and helpful purpose if they choose to join. However, there will be added benefits offered just for age sixty and older where age verification will be required and only those members proving their age will be made eligible or allowed to participate.
Question: What is a Lifetime Charter Member?
Answer: Lifetime Charter Members are those people who have been members since the Over60Exchange was first created who have participated in evaluating our website as well in giving us ideas to pursue. In addition, for a very limited period Lifetime Charter Membership is being extended to on a limited time basis to those people who join during our new launch and evaluation period.  
Question: Will there be other classes of Membership?
Answer: Other than the Lifetime Charter Membership and General Membership thereafter nothing is planned at this time. However, we are assuming that as the membership grows there will reasons for creating different eligibilities based on special benefits, which may require a more defined membership level.
Question: What fees apply to Members?
Answer: Except for Lifetime Charter Members who pay the subscription fee only one time, all other members pay an annual fee of $35.00. It is possible that in the future there may other fees announced for specific benefits or to gain special access to restricted areas of the Over60Exchange.
Question: Are there money making opportunities other than jobs?
Answer: Yes, many seniors want to have an independent income that can be done from home, their RV or anywhere. Because of this we also show business opportunities that can be either part-time or full-time. Some require a financial investment and others require do not. The Over60Exchange does not make any claims as to an individual’s success in any business it lists.
Question: Are there other products and services that the Over60Exchange offers?
Answer: Yes, over time, the Over60Exchange will be a large network clearing house for products and services directly related to its Members. Each active Over60Exchange Member will have access to a wide variety of valuable information to make life more productive and rewarding - information for living and dealing with life in the senior years, powerful tips and tricks for getting more value from skills, talents and abilities, current ideas and hints from other Over60Exchange Members exclusively offered to no one else, ideas and ways to save money or make more money, the ability to join with other active Members that have similar likes or talents to become more effective at promoting or utilizing them, special publications only available to active Members and website access to special products and services exclusive to Over60Exchange Members and Employers.
 Question:  How do I ask questions of other members who may have answers or experiences that can help me?
Answer: You can ask any type of question in the Forum area under “Ask Questions.
Question: Is there a Classified Ad section just for Members?
Answer: Yes. Look for an announcement on when it will be turned on for member use.
Question: Is there Individual Security and Privacy protection for members?
Answer: We want all members to feel comfortable with every other member when asking questions or sharing information but we ask all members to do this behind an anonymous Username. The Over60Exchange is password protected and is behind a firewall. We do not ask members for any information other than name, age, city, state and a brief description of their background. Each member chooses a Username upon signing up and all communication is through that user name internally on the website between other members. We recommend to all members to be discreet or to withhold the sharing of any private information to other members when communicating with each other just as you would not reveal private personal information in real life. Obviously, if there is already a personal relationship between members or there has been a verification process of some type used to make members comfortable with each the sharing of any personnel information is on a individual decision basis using common sense. Other than what’s stated above, the Over60Exchange will never ask for personal information unless it is related to a payment and even then it will be through a third party highly on a secure and highly protected site.


February 22, 2011 in Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The topic today involves retirement. Over the last thirty years I've counseled hundreds of people faced with the problems and opportunities that accompany achieving the symbolic age of 65. But times have changed. This isn't our parent's era anymore. The days of buying a house for $8,000, paying off the mortgage and selling it for $300,000 thirty years later are gone. Gone, too, are lifelong pension plans with full health coverage. There are those who believe Social Security may even be risky. People are scared. Take these questions, for instance:


I turn 65 next year. My wife and I have a small nest egg, but still owe $35,000 on our mortgage. For years part of my pay was in company stock. Now that stock isn't worth much more than it was when I received it. Will we ever be able to retire? - G.H., Burlington, VT

For years my husband was the principle bread winner in the family. He died last year, after being retired for only a few months. I discovered, much to my chagrin, that no one wanted to hire me for any meaningful work. Our savings are not going to be enough to see me through, even with Social Security benefits. Maybe it's just pride, but I don't feel comfortable working with the kids at our local fast-food restaurant. What can I do? P.L.N., Fresno, CA

My factory just went bankrupt and closed their doors after I worked for them for twenty-seven years. I expected to retire with full benefits. Now they tell me I've lost everything and have to start over again. Because of pre-existing conditions, I can't afford health coverage. Where does a person turn for help? - V.T., Virginia City, VA


These people all have something in common. They expected the life-supporting systems they grew up with to continue forever. But retiring and moving to Florida or Arizona is a relatively new concept that may have already run its forty or fifty-year course. It only seems traditional to us because it's what most of us knew growing up.

When "age 65" and "retirement" became linked together, the average age of death was in the low seventies for men and high seventies for women. Retirement was seen as the reward of a few years of relaxation before the supposed inevitability of age worked its deadly course. Today, people regularly live well into their nineties. Back then, lifetime health care was available for a very reasonable amount of money. With today's expensive medical technologies, it's a different story. A few decades ago, the Baby Boom bulge was yet to be a Social Security concern. Business was booming and "Come Grow with Us" was a popular community slogan. Companies lived by an unspoken, but firmly understood, rule: "You remain loyal to us and we'll remain loyal to you."

Those days are gone. Say it out loud - forcefully. Right or wrong, fair or not, those days are gone! You simply have to accept it.

There are two ways of dealing with harsh reality. You can either whine and mope, or adapt and move on. It's a cruel truth - but a truth none the less. The person who pragmatically accepts that truth, physically and emotionally cuts his or her losses, and begins to make plans is the person who will best be equipped to thrive in the future.

The mistake all three of our sample questioners made is that they placed their future well-being in the hands of another person, a tradition, a way of life, a company, or some other outside agency. We all do it. Our culture almost forces that course of action upon us. It's nothing to be ashamed of. It's called trust, and trust is usually a good thing. Where would the world be without it? But it can turn into a trap if the person or institution we trusted lets us down. The question then becomes, is it too late to learn from our mistake and go forward with our lives? With feelings of unfairness and betrayal fresh in our minds, can we overcome those emotions, refrain from thinking of ourselves as victims, and go forward to a new future? Do we have options?

That's a question we'll take up in future ASK JIM segments. The answer might surprise you. Take heart. You have a lot more to offer than you realize!

Here at Over60Exchange we're soon going to offer an entire book devoted to this subject. We'll let you know as soon as it's ready for publication. Watch for it. Your best years could very well be ahead of you, no matter how old you are! Have faith!