Tag Archives: Google

April 2: Best from the blogosphere

With the abolition of mandatory retirement in Canada, when you opt to actually leave the world of paid work for good is your own decision. There are financial milestones that may influence you  such as when you think you have saved enough to support yourself in retirement, but when you are ready to let go is also dependent on many more intangible factors.

After all, you not only need to retire from your job or your encore career, but you have must have something to retire to. For example, in the last several years I have joined a choir, been elected to the choir board and started taking classes at the Life Learning Institute at Ryerson in Toronto. Yet I’m still not quite prepared to give up my part-time business as a personal finance writer.

I was reminded of this conundrum reading a personal column by David Sheffield in the Globe and Mail recently. He wrote, “Turning to the wise oracle of our time, Google, I search: When do you know that it is time to retire? Most answers are financially focused: ‘When you have saved 25 times your anticipated annual expenditures.’ One site tackles how to be emotionally ready to quit work: ‘The ideal time to retire is when the unfinished business in your life begins to feel more important than the work you are doing.’”

The changing face of retirement by Julie Cazzin appeared in Macleans. She cites a 2014 survey by Philip Cross at the Fraser Institute. Based on the study, Cross believes Canadians are actually financially—and psychologically—preparing themselves to retire successfully, regardless of their vision of retirement.

“The perception that they are not doing so is encouraged by two common errors by analysts,” notes Cross. “The first is a failure to take proper account of the large amounts of saving being done by government and firms for future pensions …. And the second is an exclusive focus on the traditional ‘three pillars’ of the pension system, which include Old Age Security (OAS), the Canada and Quebec Pension plans (CPP/QPP), and voluntary pensions like RRSPs.”

He notes that the research frequently does not take into account the trillions of dollars of assets people hold outside of formal pension vehicles, most notably in home equity and non-taxable accounts. Also, he says the literature on the economics of retirement does not acknowledge the largely undocumented network of family and friends that lend physical, emotional and financial support to retirees.

Retire Happy’s Jim Yih addresses the question How do you know when it is the right time to retire?  After being in the retirement planning field for over 25 years, Yih believes sometimes readiness has more to do with instinct, feelings and lifestyle than with money. “I’ve seen people with good pensions and people who have saved a lot of money but are not really ready to retire.  Sometimes it’s because they love their jobs,” he says. “Others hate their jobs but don’t have a life to retire to.  Some people are on the fence.  They are ready to retire but worry about being bored or missing their friends from work.”

If you are still struggling with how to finance your retirement, take a look at Morneau Shepell partner Fred Vettese’s article in the March/April issue of Plans & Trusts. Vettese reports that few people are aware it can be financially advantageous to delay the start of CPP benefits. In fact, less than 1% of all workers wait until the age of 70 to start their CPP pension. However, doing so can increase its value by a guaranteed 8.4% a year, or 42% in total. And by deferring CPP, he notes that workers can transfer investment risk and longevity risk to the government.

Tim Stobbs, the long-time author of Canadian Dream Free at 45 attained financial independence and left his corporate position several months ago. In a recent blog he discusses how his focus has shifted from growing his net worth to managing his cash flow. His goal is to leave his capital untouched and live on dividend, interest and small business income from his wife’s home daycare. He explains how he simulates a pay cheque by setting up auto transfers twice a month to the main chequing account from his high interest savings account.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere?” Share the information on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

Written by Sheryl Smolkin
Sheryl Smolkin LLB., LLM is a retired pension lawyer and President of Sheryl Smolkin & Associates Ltd. For over a decade, she has enjoyed a successful encore career as a freelance writer specializing in retirement, employee benefits and workplace issues. Sheryl and her husband Joel are empty-nesters, residing in Toronto with their cockapoo Rufus.

Dec 7: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

My beat is pensions, benefits, personal finance and workplace issues. I enjoy writing for my blog retirementredux.com and posting to my archive website sherylsmolkin.com, but I haven’t put much effort into turning them into a source of income. However, I do write for a living and the exposure certainly helps.

However, I was fascinated by Robb Engen’s presentation at Canadian Personal Finance Conference on how he turned his blog into a profitable online business. He says one general rule of blogging is that those who get into it strictly to make money tend to fail. A blog needs to be compelling enough not just for people to want to read and share your content but to keep you motivated to continue writing. But he says blogging can be fairly lucrative if you stick with it long enough, and the truth is there are lots of bloggers who make a pretty good living online.

After reading Robb’s story, I decided to see what other bloggers had to say about ways they have parlayed their personal interest blogs into a source of income.

Canadian Opportunity is a website geared to Canada’s work at home online community. The post How to make money blogging in Canada notes that it is important to blog about something that interests you. If you’re a stay at home mom blog about parenting, provide tips to new parents or about an illness one of your children experienced. If you’re a golfer, fisherman or runner you may want to provide interesting content on these subjects. One of the most popular ways to make money on any blog is with Google Adsense. It’s free and by joining you will allow Google to place various types of advertising on your blog that will be automatically targeted to your specific audience.

How Mommy Bloggers Make Money on Canadian Family reports that some of the best (and most addictive) bloggers gain recognition by pouring their hearts out on the screen. They report from the trenches of motherhood, with humour, unabashed honesty and style. Over time, with hard work, talent and perseverance, they hone their craft and build a sizeable audience. Some bloggers decide to sell merchandise to their fans through sites such as etsy.com and cafépress.com. You can buy your favourite blogger’s artwork and crafts or get their best quotes on a mug or T-shirt to help support them (so they can continue to bring you free content).

How To Create A Profitable Blog on Retire@21 focuses more on the technical side of getting a blog up and running like selecting a domain name and installing WordPress, using Google tools and setting up RSS, email subscriptions and a sitemap. If you are still intimidated, there are many small businesses that will help you set up your blog for a nominal amount or better still, your kid or your grandkids can probably wade through the technical details in a flash.

Can you make money without selling your soul? Jeff Goins says if selling stuff makes your skin crawl, you can use a blog to build an online presence and brand and then use it to land consulting or freelance writing jobs.. He has had several people contact him about things like writing an eBook, SEO, and other topics he has blogged about.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere?” Share the information with us on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

How social media can help you find a job

By Sheryl Smolkin

SHUTTERSTOCK
SHUTTERSTOCK

For most people graduating from college or university this spring, getting a job is a top priority. But a job hunt is no longer as simple as reading the want ads and sending out resumés. It’s all about networking and effectively leveraging social media.

One study by Jobvite, a company that sells recruiting software, found the use of social media by recruiters to reach candidates is at an all-time high. Results show that 92% of respondents were using or planned to use social media in 2012, up almost 10% from the 83% using social recruiting in 2010.

LinkedIn is the social media site that is most targeted to business networking. While it may initially appear like simply an online bulletin board for business profiles, it is so much more.

Here are some ways you can use LinkedIn more effectively in your job search.

  1. Post a complete profile: Make sure your profile is complete. Describe your job experience and education in reverse chronological order. Search for jobs you may be interested in and include key words in your profile that will help recruiters find you. Update your profile including recent projects or work samples regularly.
  2. Connect with others: Link to everyone you know and everyone they know who may be able to help you. If you want to link to someone you don’t have a relationship with, ask for an introduction from one of your contacts. When “people you may know” pop up on your LinkedIn site, connect to these people where appropriate. I currently have 573 connections that link me with over 6 million people.
  3. Get recommendations: Ask people you have worked with and for to write brief online recommendations explaining the work you did and how you did it.
  4. Get endorsements: You can ask a broader group of contacts to click on the skills and expertise related to the key words in your profile to endorse you for those skills. Reciprocate and endorse them for relevant skills.
  5. Status updates: To keep you top of mind, post regular status updates. Links to articles, conferences and research related to your professional skills will keep you “top of mind” when internal and external recruiters are looking for candidates to fill positions.
  6. Other social media: LinkedIn now gives you the ability to link your blog post to your profile. You can also post to both LinkedIn and Twitter at the same time. However your twitter post will be cut off if you exceed the 140 character limit.
  7. Find companies: Find out where people with your background are working by doing an advanced search for people in your area who have your skills. For example, if you are a web developer in Saskatoon, search profiles in your postal code using keywords like JavaScript and XHTML to see which companies employ people like you.
  8. Check if a company is hiring: Companies with a LinkedIn page typically post open positions. While you can go directly to the company’s website, it is helpful to be able to do your research all in one place. There may also be information about the last people hired and internal promotions.
  9. Get to the right HR person: If you are interested in a position, see if you can find someone within the organization in your network who is willing to walk your resumé to the hiring manager or HR department. There may be added incentive if the company pays referral bonuses to employees who help them find a candidate for advertised positions.
  10. Secret job requirements: Job listings rarely spell out exactly what a hiring manager is looking for. Search for a company name. The results will show you who in your network connects you to the company. If you can find an inside contact, he/she may share the scoop on what is really required for the job.

Even if LinkedIn is your primary social media tool for job hunting, you should check your privacy settings and be very professional at all times on all social media. Recruiters and hiring managers will always Google your name. Pictures of a rowdy party tagging you that were shared by “a friend of a friend” could come back to bite you.

Have you used social media effectively to find a job? Send an email to socialmedia@saskpension.com and share your ideas with us. If your story is posted, your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card. And remember to put a dollar in the retirement savings jar every time you use one of our money-saving ideas.

If you would like to send us other money saving ideas, here are the themes for the next three weeks:

27-Jun Summer activities Inexpensive summer activities for kids
4-Jul Summer vacation Visit Canada. Take a road trip.
11-Jul Travel insurance What you need to know about travel insurance