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Business Coach: What Comes After Your Retirement

(Originally published on July 24, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Ruben Anlacan Jr.

You may be getting a big sum of money on your retirement and all of your kids would have already finished college by then. What are your plans after retiring? Do you want to travel? Do you want to buy an expensive car? Do you want to renovate your house?

You may dream of several ways to spend your retirement money, but you still want to think carefully about what’s best for your future. Perhaps you would want to keep your “nest egg” in the bank, where it would earn at best two to three percent per annum. But think again, because that percentage is nothing when compared to inflation rate.

If you are about to retire, there are many career options for you. I suggest you leave your retirement money alone for now (you may live longer than you think) as there are opportunities waiting out there. Even if you were able to prepare and have enough savings to last your lifetime, it’s not yet time to buy that rocking chair. You can find so many things to do, and some of the choices may help bring more happiness to your life.

There are people who still want to work after retirement. For reasons like money, socialization, health, or for sanity’s sake, people choose to pursue a new career after their retirement. But before you join the bandwagon, ask yourself these questions: What do I want to do? How much money do I have? How much time can I allocate for work? Do I have the strength and the will to start a new venture? Only then can you decide on your career choices.

In deciding, always think towards what would make you happy. If you prefer to stay at home and be the doting lolo or lola, then do so.

I asked around and found that most retirees prefer to look for something to do after leaving the workforce. They feel that they would just end up weak or sickly when doing nothing. In fact, this is the belief of Malcolm S. Forbes, owner and publisher of “Forbes” magazine. Forbes says, “Retirement kills more people than hard work ever did.”

Here are options you may consider:

• Be a consultant. According to a survey by Merrill Lynch, offering consultancy is the number one choice of retiring employees. You have already mastered your craft from your many years of experience that imparting your expertise can earn you big bucks. If you have just recently retired from work, you are still updated about current trends and events in your previous industry. Whether you’re from accounting, logistics, the academe, sales or marketing, consulting jobs are a good career option.

• Ask a former employer if you can work freelance. If you are a good salesperson, then ask your former boss if you can still bring clients, no longer under payroll, but with sales commissions. This may be smaller than what you were previously receiving, but it is better to be doing what you are already familiar with.

• Submit articles for publication or write a book. Put your knowledge and experiences into writing. Share your wisdom and get paid. Contact publishing houses or website owners, and give them a sample of your work. If you have sufficient capital, you may also opt to put up your own publishing company. This is a good source of money, and a legacy to your family as well.

• Turn your hobbies into a fortune. If you love photography, you can ask friends and relatives to contract you for your services. If you know how to play the guitar, you can want to give guitar lessons to your neighbors. If you love gardening, you can grow plants and sell them for profit.

• Go back to school. You might need this if you want to venture into a different field. This will not only help you gain new knowledge, but also give you opportunity to network with people who might help you land a job or project.

• Train or teach. There are institutions that would acquire your services if you have proven yourself to be an expert in your field.

• Start a business. This need not be big. You may opt to put up a small sari-sari store in your garage, or a food cart in a high-traffic area. If you have sufficient capital, you may also choose to start something bigger. Just make sure you have a business plan and conduct feasibility studies to determine the marketability of your products or services.

Don’t be afraid of retirement. Welcome the idea of finally being able to pursue your unrealized dreams. You can still be active and busy. And for the younger generation, plan your retirement. Start saving, invest wisely, and most of all, stay in the best of health. With sufficient preparation, your retirement years can be the best years of your life.


Business and management consultant Ruben Anlacan, Jr. is the president of BusinessCoach, Inc. and a resource speaker for various business topics. He discusses overviews and tips for business from the point of view of a small- or medium-scale entrepreneur who has started several successful enterprises. Those who wish to ask questions or to make comments may visit or e-mail


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Shape Up or Ship Out: How to be Globally Relevant

Get hired/promoted/noticed—anywhere in the world—in five easy steps

By Nikki Constantino

(Originally published on Wednesday, July 6, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

Miranda*, 47, was on top of her game when news about the approval of her petition to migrate to the U.S. arrived. She was at executive officer level here in the Philippines, had a total of eight managers reporting directly to her, with a daily cup of coffee (black, two sugar) always waiting on her desk when she got to the office.

Settling down in New Jersey two months after the office despedida, it hit her that she was going to have a hard time finding work despite her stellar resume, when one morning she intended to make herself a cup of joe and realized she didn’t know how to work the coffeemaker. Without the managers doing her spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations, and a secretary to sort out her schedule, she knew only how to fire e-mails in Outlook.

With the American economy still looking bleak, there was absolutely no company that would hire her—at least for the big decision-maker position that she was accustomed to. Three long months later, Miranda found a job delivering medicine samples from one department to another in a local pharmaceutical company.

Rachel*, 29, on the other hand, was a dean’s lister in college—lowest grade 1.5, a regular at the library. After graduation she quietly established a career in writing and later on editing manuscripts by sticking with her company where she is known for being consistent and dependable. When the recent economic downturn forced her company to downsize, she was spared, but it meant that the remaining employees had to take on more work—and go out of their comfort zone.

Rachel was tasked to make cold calls and sell their product abroad by phone apart from her usual editorial work, but without giving it a try, she decided she couldn’t do that new aspect of the job and called it quits after two weeks.

Globally Relevant

“Grow with your job and promotions,” says Susan M. Heathfield, a human resources expert, in an article published in “You may be a valued employee but if your skills and contributions don’t accelerate over the years, when crunch time arrives, you may find yourself out of a job.”

This is most probably what happened with Miranda—the higher up the ladder she went and the more people there were at her beck and call, the more out of touch she got with technology. She learned too late that operating such technology comprises the skills that headhunters look for at hiring.

With Rachel, however, it was her inability to adapt to change, be flexible, and challenge her skills that did her in. Had she tried making even just one call, she would have known that it was not at all difficult, and she could have held on to a job that many would kill for especially in these bad times.

So if graduating cum laude or having a master’s degree does little in enhancing one’s career in the open global workplace, what will? Letty Altavas, organization consultant for Profiles Asia Pacific and a 40-year veteran of human resources management, and career expert Dr. Greg Ketchum of Talent Planet (, list down five new skills that an employee nowadays should have or acquire in order to thrive and succeed:

1. “Develop analytical skills.”  “Don’t just follow instructions like a robot,” says Altavas. “Always think why, how, what, where, etc. This will make you understand your work better and improve your skills and outlook on other jobs.” This may also mean exceeding expectations.

2. “Get to learn about other jobs around you and develop multitasking skills,” says Altavas.  Such is the case of Josie*, whose job was to come up with the monthly newsletter that her company blasts out to clients, but the artist she was teamed with often flaked out and often left her resizing images and polishing the layout herself. She was forced to learn Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver due to the artist’s absences. When her boss learned that the newsletter had become solely her output, he let go of the artist and gave Josie a significant pay increase.

3. “Keep climbing the skills (note: not corporate) ladder,” says Dr. Ketchum. “Remember the idea of the corporate ladder and how everyone was expected to climb that ladder to ever-higher levels of responsibility and success?” he asks. “Well, that ladder is kind of broken now, but we can take that same idea to describe what people need to do today: keep climbing up the ladder in building your levels of expertise and experience that enable you to do more complicated and custom work rather than work that can be reduced to a routine.”

4. “Develop proficiency in the English language,” advises Altavas. Or any language that you need to be fluent in, especially when you work for a business process outsourcing (BPO) company and have an international clientele.

5. “Develop specialized expertise that can’t be reduced to a simple formula,” says Dr. Ketchum. “Improve your communication, business, industry, and strategy skills. Your ability to see the big picture at work and understand how business works will allow you to see new opportunities and be able to personally add to the bottom line.”

*names have been changed

This article appeared in the April 19, 2010 issue of Business Agenda and originally published in the February 2010 issue of HIPP Magazine.

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Making Creativity Work for You

(Originally published on June 26,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

Renowned event designer Preston Bailey shares tips for those looking into a career in event design


By Irene V. Fernando

For someone who entered the industry of event designing by mistake, Preston Bailey must have done something right. Today, he is one of the favorite event stylists ofHollywood’s big names: Oprah, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump, Joan Rivers and Uma Thurman, among others. He has written best-selling books like “Design for Entertaining,” “Fantasy Weddings,” “Inspirations”, and his latest, “Celebrations” will be on the stands this September.

Bailey visited the country to discuss what makes an event design successful during Rita Neri Planners (RNEP)’s 18th year celebration in the event planning industry. The anniversary also showcased wedding table settings presented at the Upper Lobby of Peninsula Manila from May 29 to 30 by the country’s major wedding magazines.

A Career Out of Unemployment

Bailey left his hometown ofPanamaat the age of 19 and moved toNew York, where he started his career as a fashion model before opening a man’s clothing boutique. When his store closed down, he ventured into floral arrangements before finally meeting Joan Rivers, who asked him to design and produce her daughter Melissa’s wedding. Soon enough,Preston’s talent for event design became the talk of the town, with his works often referred to as art installations. He has been known to transform ordinary spaces into theatrical environments, much to his clients’ amazement.

With his profession relying heavily on creativity, one wonders if he has no problems dealing with the business side. “It’s not easy,” he says, “I have my own people. I design, get to know my clients. Once they talk about money, I let them talk to my Chief Financial Officer (CFO).”

Event Design as a Career

When asked what striving event designers should bear in mind in pursuing this profession, Bailey was quick to enumerate the following: “1) Develop your own look; 2) Learn how to charge your clients; 3) Do not give up; and 4) Continue growing.”

For one, Bailey loves an enormous first impression. He once designed elephants from lotus leaves and 10-foot lions from roses. His designs allow his clients’ fantasies to become jaw-dropping reality.

In charging clients, Bailey discussed in his blog the few ways to prevent being cash poor:

You must always keep in mind the three key things you’re selling to potential clients:

1. Your time. Time is money. Our time is our most valuable commodity.

2. Your ideas. As much as I want to get clients excited about what I can do for them, my ideas are my product. I know that I can’t give all of my ideas away in the very first meeting before they’ve made it clear they want to give me the job. Some potential clients expect personal design ideas right there in the first meeting, but the danger of this is that they could take that idea and hire someone else to do it.

3. Your materials. If you give a presentation to potential clients, you will be using your own cash to do so. Therefore, if a client insists on seeing any flowers or other design elements before hiring you, make sure you charge them for it.

And for those looking into starting their own business, Bailey also lists a few pointers on how to keep your business afloat:

1. Do your very best to build a financial nest egg. What does this mean exactly? It means having a savings account worth 30 percent of your annual income or as close to that as you can manage.

2. Every three months, sit down and evaluate your financial situation. Yes, I know, this is not fun, and it can be extremely hard to face the reality of your finances. But ignore them, and you’ll eventually be forced to face the consequences. Trust me, that hurts a lot more. Once you have a clear understanding of your current finances, make a projection. What jobs do you have? What jobs do you think you have a good chance of getting? Do you need to start increasing your sales efforts? Answer these questions honestly. Now is not the time to kid yourself. Use this newfound awareness to keep you grounded and help you make smart money decisions in the coming months.

3. When clients give you a deposit, never use that money for anything other than their project. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a game of stealing from Peter to pay Paul.

4. Be consistent with your profit margin. If you’re not making the proper profit, which is 50 percent, then you’ll mostly likely always be cash poor. You must learn to charge what you’re worth, because there are a lot of expenses and a lot of people you to need pay at the end of every job.

5. Don’t forget Uncle Sam! You work for yourself, which means no one is taking money out of your paycheck to cover taxes. You must set aside money for taxes in a separate account. Never, and I mean never, use this money for anything other than taxes.

While Bailey admits he does not live for dealing with money, he knows that he needs it and that he has learned that it is still part of his job of planning and designing to pay close attention to his finances. “Please learn from my mistakes,” he says, “be financially savvy, and you’ll get to keep doing what you love for decades to come.”

Lastly, Bailey encourages everyone to never stop learning. “I get to travel a lot that I learned a lot,” he shares, “I try to spend much time in the area, pay attention, (and) understand the culture. This way, you’ll also discover that every culture has different needs, and every client has varied tastes.”

To get more of Preston Bailey’s advice, visit

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The New After-School Specials

You’re never too cool for school, especially if there’s something you’re itching to learn

(Originally published on June 1,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Anna Gamboa Gan

Most people believed that learning stopped after you left the four walls of your alma mater. Then people started believing that if you wanted to get ahead in your career, you had to invest in a master’s or doctorate. Now, people are waking up to the fact that with so many classes or courses around for one to get a taste of the arts, active pursuits or even broaden one’s mental horizons—5 p.m. can signal the start of a different type of after-work pursuit.

Not everyone is where they want to be, career-wise. But some of them carve out a measure of satisfaction by indulging in something they (wish to develop the skills or) have a talent for—be it stand-up comedy, hairstyling, painting or photography, cooking or perhaps filmmaking.

AyalaMuseum,Vargas Museum and places like My Little Art Studio are good places to start when you want to try your hand at painting or drawing, and it helps if your artist-teachers are as generous as Jason Moss, Lena Cobangbang or Electrolychee (a.k.a. the amazing tandem of Marcus Nada and Bernie Sim). Even former magazine editors can make a living during weekends by teaching photography workshops, as is the case with Winston Baltasar, who teaches classes on lighting, pre-nup and other forms of photography, and regularly posts class schedules on his Facebook account. With the various ways one can create a short film (cameraphone, digital camera, laptop) getting started in filmmaking, scriptwriting or animation is now as easy as signing up for a lecture or short course at Ateneo de Manila, Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street, or browsing the classes offered at And the teachers are respected industry pros, from Lyle Sacris, Emman dela Cruz, Paolo Villaluna and Raymond Lee.

If reading subtitles isn’t your cup of tea, sign up for a language course at Instituto Cervantes, Goethe Institut, Alliance Francaise de Manille, or even Berlitz. Those who prefer less cerebral pursuits can sign up for running clinics at ROX, boxing at Elorde’s, dance classes at Studio 116 or Steps in Makati City, or Google for the nearest dance studio (believe it or not the Julie Borromeo studio is alive and well in the Wack-Wack area, a testament to the enduring appeal of the terpsichorean arts). As for those who want a little more practical application, there’s always Krav Magaclasses (and tai chi, wushu, arnis/kalima/escrima for those who may not be attracted to taekwondo or karate) inSan Juan.

Those who seek the middle way can look up a yoga class, whether it focuses on poses or breathing (or both), and with the boom in yoga studios around the city, you’ll even be able to take on a trial week at a low cost. Some canny shoppers are great at sniffing out deals online at sites like Ensogo, Groupon or Just as plentiful are the culinary schools with respected instructors like Reggie Aspiras, Heny Sison or Gene Gonzalez—and while the main CCA campus is being renovated, it has other satellite schools in Eastwood and at the Podium (soon to open).

Learning nowadays can be more engaging than just picking up a book, and the affordable classes available in many cities allow professionals to blossom in other ways just when they think that their professional growth is stunted.

For more information on CCA, visit; call (2) 426-4840, 426-4841, 994-2520, 994-2530; email and


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