What Will You Save When You Cut the Cord?

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Dear Rich Lifer,

The so-called Golden Age of Television started back in the 1950s when TV sets began their explosive growth.

You might remember shows like I Love Lucy, Toast of the Town with host Ed Sullivan, and Gunsmoke.

These classics paved the way for networks to start adding even more content.

In the ‘60s, TV networks started showing full-length movies that had played in theatres. As the supply of movies started to dwindle the networks started producing their own “made-for-TV” movies.

Today, we’re going through another Golden Age of Television. Networks are investing billions of dollars into content creation.

Even large corporations like Amazon have their own movie and TV studios pumping out award-winning hits.

But with so much great TV comes ever increasing, expensive cable bills.

The Wall Street Journal recently cited data from Kagan, S&P Global Market Intelligence noting that the average cable customer pays more than $90 a month plus another $57 a month for high-speed internet.

Compare that to monthly streaming services from Amazon, Netflix and Hulu that tend to run between $9 a month up to $45 a month plus internet. It’s a no brainer.

You can even stream live TV and sports now for less than you pay for cable, plus there’s no commitment. Most services can be cancelled with the push of a button and you’re never tied to any lengthy contracts.

If you’re fed up with soaring cable bills and ridiculous monthly charges, it’s time to take the plunge and cut the cord.

Before I show you how easy it is to ditch your cable company, let’s cover some of the pros and cons first:

Pros of Cutting the Cord

  • The #1 pro is cost savings. You’ll typically save anywhere from $40 to $50 or more per month when you decide to cut the cord. Just think about all the things you could do with an extra $600…
  • Most live streaming services give you access to a free Cloud DVR (no more physical DVR box). This makes “taping” your favorite shows really convenient, which brings us to our last pro…
  • Most streaming services work on any device (laptop, tablet, smartphone, Kindle etc.) connected to the internet, which means you can watch TV anywhere. This is great for anyone who travels a lot, or has multiple residences throughout the year.

Cons of Cutting the Cord

  • Channel flipping can be slow. If you enjoy flipping through channels, you might not get that same satisfaction with streaming live TV or movies. It takes a few steps to change from one platform like Hulu Live to Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services. So if the ability to channel surf is worth an extra $50 a month, then hang 10, dude.
  • You’ll need a device like Roku or the Amazon Fire TV Stick to get streaming services. Unless you have a smart TV, you’ll need to buy a device that plugs into your TV and allows you to stream. The good news is these are cheap ($40-$50 one-time payment).
  • Some live TV streaming services have commercials you can’t fast forward. Hulu Live has a commercial option or commercial-free paid subscription. The commercial option will politely tell you how long ad breaks will last, so you can run to the bathroom or kitchen.

How to Cut the Cord in 5 Easy Steps

If you’re ready to cut the cord, here’s what you do:

  1. Decide if an antenna might work for live TV channels. You can dramatically cut costs by getting an antenna to tune into major broadcast stations like ABC, CBS and NBC as well as PBS. Antennas Direct’s ClearStream Eclipse and Antop’s Paper Thin Smartpass (they each sell for around $35 or $54) are good options for indoor antennas. You might also want to explore mounting an outdoor antenna if you live outside the city.
  2. Choose your internet provider. You probably have internet already, just make sure your internet speed is fast enough to handle multiple devices streaming at once. A good rule of thumb is 5 mbps for every streaming TV.
  3. Pick a device to perform streaming through your TV. Like I said earlier, your main options are Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Chromecast and Apple TV. The first three cost about the same ($50 range), but Apple TV 4K runs a steep $179.
  4. Choose your streaming service for live TV. If you decide the antenna won’t work for live TV or you’re not picking up the programs you want, there are other live TV options. Hulu Live, DirectTV Now, Sling, YouTube TV and PlayStationVue are the most common. They’ll run you between $15 and $45 a month.
  5. Pick your streaming subscription apps. Amazon, Netflix, HBO, Showtime, Starz, Sundance Now, AMC and others offer a wide variety of original content. They all have apps and all you have to do is sign up for a subscription.

The costs of these apps vary widely: Netflix currently charges $8.99 a month for its base streaming plan, while premium channels like HBO run around $15 a month. Most subscriptions offer free trial periods with no commitment, I suggest trying different ones to see what you like.

To Cut the Cord or Not

The biggest mistake you can make is not giving this a try.

Once you take the leap and cancel your cable subscription, you’ll wonder why it took you so long — and if you want cable again, it’s not like your cable provider won’t take you back.

You’ll find that the savings are significant and you’ll have so many more options to choose from for a fraction of what you are currently paying.

You really have nothing to lose and everything to gain here. Cord cutting is not as scary as it sounds. Especially given all the options in this new Golden Age of Television.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

Nilus Mattive

The post What Will You Save When You Cut the Cord? appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

The Secret to Acing an Interview After 50

This post The Secret to Acing an Interview After 50 appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

  • The biggest stumbling blocks to older workers are…
  • Avoid putting this red flag on your resume…
  • Nothing ages someone more in an interview than…

Dear Rich Lifer,

Finding work in your 50s or 60s is no easy task, but new and somewhat surprising employment data suggests that prospects are improving, especially for older job seekers.

One big reason?

This is the tightest labor market in nearly two decades, causing employers to look beyond the sea of Millennial candidates.

At the end of July, there were nearly 7.3 million unfilled jobs, but only 6.1 million people looking for work, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The unemployment rate in July for Americans 55 years and over was 2.7 percent, less than the overall unemployment rate at 3.7 percent.

What’s more encouraging is the average length of unemployment for older job seekers has dropped significantly since 2012.

It’s down from roughly 50 weeks to 34 weeks for job hunters age 55 to 64 and down from about 62 weeks to 30 weeks for those 65+.

In other words, it takes about seven to eight months on average to find a job if you’re over 55.

Stumbling Blocks for Those Over 50

Something I don’t think is given enough attention today are the unique challenges the over-50 crowd faces when looking for work.

Older applicants are competing with tech-savvy Millennials who often come at a cheaper price, and although age discrimination is technically illegal, it’s still pretty hard to enforce.

A study by the Government Accountability Office found five common barriers to employment for older workers:

High salary expectations — You may need to compromise on pay as your skills might not be as up to date as they once were.

Younger bosses — It’s human nature to want to work with people who are like you. If that’s the case, you need to learn how to address this obstacle in an interview.

Out of date skills — Technology is evolving faster than ever. Whether it’s applying for a job online or actually being able to operate new software, the pace can be overwhelming.

Expensive health benefits — The older you get, the more expensive your health premiums become. Bigger companies will be less impacted by this than smaller firms.

Bias — Old habits (and ideas) die hard. Know what biases you’re up against so you can get in front.

Acing the Interview

If it’s been a while since you were actively looking for work, you’ll notice certain aspects of the application and interview process has changed.

My hope today is to give you a few pointers on how to land your next gig, whether you’re coming off a layoff or looking for part-time work as a recent retiree.

If you follow these 10 tips, your inbox should be full of offer letters in the next few months.

Tip 1: Tap Your Network

A major benefit to having been in the workforce for so many years is your network of contacts. Don’t be shy to reach out to old bosses, co-workers, even subordinates.

Let them know you’re on the job hunt. Companies like referrals and it’s a lot easier to get your foot in the door if you know someone.

Tip 2: Get on LinkedIn

A quick way to tap your network is to connect with them on LinkedIn, the popular business-oriented social platform.

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, create one now. LinkedIn has become the go-to site for recruiters and hiring managers.

There’s plenty of good advice online that will walk you through how to build an attractive profile that will grab the attention of headhunters.

Bonus: just having a decent LinkedIn profile shows that you’re somewhat tech-savvy helping fight the ‘tech-illiterate’ label.

Tip 3: Update your Wardrobe

This might sound superficial but you need to dress for the job you want, and I don’t mean wearing a C-suite suit.

Your look should appear vibrant and modern. You don’t want to look dated because it’ll make the interviewer think that your skills are dated too.

The goal is to look age-appropriate yet current. Invest in a new suit, a slimmer fitted dress shirt, or a new pair of shoes. If you wear glasses, prioritize getting those updated first. Nothing ages someone more than an out-of-date pair of eyeglasses.

Tip 4: Update your Email Address

If you’re still using an old AOL or Hotmail account, you need to sign up for a newer email service. Get a Gmail or Outlook account to show you’re keeping up with the times.

It probably won’t win you a job, but it definitely won’t raise any red flags during the screening process either.

Also, check out Zoho and iCloud Mail, these are newer email services that’ll show you’re a little more tech-forward.

Tip 5: Modernize Your Resume

First, be sure to keep your resume to two pages max. Even if you’ve had a long and successful career, don’t bother listing every job you’ve held.

A good rule-of-thumb is to go back 10 to 15 years in your work history. This will also help disguise your age a bit should you be unfairly categorized. You can leave off the year you graduated from school, as well.

Be sure to include your LinkedIn profile URL and newly updated email address. If you have a landline, it’s best to leave it off and just use your cellphone.

These are minor details that will show a hiring manager you’re up to date.

Tip 6: Use Experience to Your Advantage

A major advantage you probably have over younger applicants is your experience, make sure you point that out and show how your expertise will help the company.

Don’t just tout your past though. Talk about the future and how you can mentor and groom the next generation of leaders in the company.

Tip 7: Show Adaptability

There’s a notion that older workers are typically going to be set in their ways. This is a common hurdle the over-50 job seeker must face. To fight this stereotype, you need to show that you’re adaptable to change.

When you speak to hiring managers, talk about situations where you adapted to change and the positive outcomes from doing so. Another way to show your flexibility is your willingness to take on temporary, part-time, or project-based work.

Employers understand that young job seekers want full-time jobs with benefits and security for their families. Older workers can fill the void especially for jobs that are seasonal or temporary by nature.

Tip 8: Keep up on Trends in Your Field

An easy way to impress hiring managers is to show that you’ve been keeping up in your field. To do this you can simply read industry newsletters, books, or watch videos online.

There are plenty of online courses you can take for further career development. Udemy, Lynda, and Coursera are all good places to start looking.

Tip 9: Highlight Your Tech Skills

You can’t get around it. In today’s workplace, you need to have a solid understanding of the technology used in your field. Find ways to weave the tech skills you have and are learning into the recruitment process.

For instance: instead of just saying you’re proficient in Excel, give a quick example of how you used Excel to filter large sets of data using pivot tables.

Tip 10: Show You’re High Energy

You want to give the impression that you’re ready to hit the ground running and not simply winding down for retirement. Terms like energetic, fast-paced, and looking for a new challenge are easy ways to liven up your resume.

No doubt, finding work as you get older becomes more challenging.

But that certainly doesn’t mean that you have less to offer than younger candidates. You just have to exert a little more effort to show that in your resume and during the interview process.
Stick to the basics and follow these 10 tips, it’ll help improve your odds of landing a job, or two.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap

The post The Secret to Acing an Interview After 50 appeared first on Daily Reckoning.