The Difference Reader Profile: Marianne
Occupation: I am a former high school teacher. I now own a business where I market Strategies of Success (the leadership/success program I created for my high school) and offer professional development for teachers. There is nothing I like better than being in front of teenagers, sharing with them the inspirational yet practical techniques they can use to help them create the lives they want for themselves.
I also have a small side business in Web design, play the Fairy Godmother on tour in Cinderella for Kaleidoscope Theatre, an educational children's theater company, and help my brother out one day a week in the wine store he manages.
Personal life: Divorced, own my own home and my own business.
Biggest financial concerns: My biggest concern is having enough money in my later years. I retired early from teaching to share Strategies of Success. With so many students urging me to take this program nationally and with my best friend dying from cancer, I knew it was the time to leave. I went to see a financial adviser to determine which of the two retirement options I should take. One was slightly higher at first but would drop when I turned 62. The other started lower but increased steadily. He felt that I should take the one that paid more up front and invest the extra money in turning my course into a book that I could sell to schools. It seemed like a good plan at the time, but it did not take into account the difficulty of not only reaching high schools, but convincing them that this program really works (it has received numerous awards and national recognition, including from the U.S. Senate. But more importantly, the program has changed the lives of the teens who took it).
It also didn't allow for setbacks. The death of my best friend set me back a good 18 months—months when debt rose and income from the business was nonexistent. Now, although I've paid back a good amount of debt with the Web design business I taught myself during those difficult months, I'm concerned about the future drop in retirement benefits, the possibility that my state could stop paying out retirement benefits all together and the fact that I have little social security to look forward to since my school never paid into it (I do have some from all the part time jobs I've had throughout my life and from the flight school I used to own).