Tuesday, March 8 marks International Women’s Day. So we’re taking the Inkandescent opportunity to shine a spotlight on the truly amazing women who are making strides and changing lives — in business and beyond.
Case in point: This month’s cover story is about award-winning author Dawn Tripp, whose book, “Georgia,” was published Feb. 9. A fictional account about the life of Georgia O’Keeffe, the book is already a Costco favorite and has received other notable nods as well.
2. Discover the fine art of Georgia O’Keeffe at the museum that opened 11 years after her death in Santa Fe, NM.
3. Vegetables are served at only 23 percent of American dinners despite their known nutritional value. Why isn’t their healthfulness alone enough incentive to serve them? Researchers at Cornell University’s Food & Brand Lab explain.
4. Will Hillary win? Richard Semiatin, the academic director of American politics at American University, shares his insights with David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American™ Foundation.
5. Named “one of the best small charities in the Greater Washington, DC, area,” founder Marga Fripp explains how Empowered Women International went from an idea to a nonprofit powerhouse.
6. Have you created a vision board lately? Click here to learn how to use this powerful tool.
8. Don’t miss our podcast with “Georgia” authorDawn Tripp.
9. How do you know when someone is lying? “A person’s nose may not grow when he tells a lie, but watch closely” and you might be able to tell when someone is about to lie or make an outrageous statement, says researcher Carol Kinsey Goman.
10. Robo-advisers have been gaining marketshare against retail advisers, because they provide a cheap way to invest some money and are fairly easy to interface with. Whom do they appeal to, and what are the pros and cons of using these online tools? Certified Financial Planner Bryan Beatty explains.
11. “One of my favorite parts of coaching people who are looking to discover their joy is seeing the delight in a client’s face when they uncover that aha! moment,” explains Leslie Russell, our newest Inkandescent speaker, who specializes in the alchemy of joy.
12. Why did a woman who graduated with a degree in political science, and who worked for a few years at the Children’s Defense Fund, get into the hardware business? Gina Schaefer gave us the inside scoop on an episode of the Truly Amazing Women TV Show.
13. Are you standing behind a veil? Inspired by philosopher John Rawls and his concept, “A Theory of Justice,” fine artist Judith Peck explains the concept behind the metaphorical veil.
14. Comedian and self-proclaimed wino Laurie Forster offers an information-packed paperback that gives wine lovers tips on everything from how to order wine at dinner to how to bounce back “the morning after” in The Sipping Point.
We leave you with this parting thought from Alice Bailey, a writer of more than two dozen books on theosophical subjects, who was one of the first writers to use the term New Age: “That which is a mystery shall no longer be so, and that which has been veiled will be revealed; that which has been withdrawn will emerge into the light, and all women shall see and together they shall rejoice.”
Author Dawn Tripp movingly portrays artist Georgia O’Keeffe as a woman striving to live the life she believes in in her new book, “Georgia,” an imagined story of the life of the famous artist.
The book draws readers in from page 1 as she writes:
“I no longer love you as I once did, in the dazzling rush of those early days. Time itself was feverish then, our bodies filled with fire … the metallic scent of the dark room, smells of sweat and linseed oil, a stain of cocoa on the dining room table. It was all smashed together back then — art, sex, life — mixed into the perfect color, every shadow had a substance, shape, and tone … My hands are cool now, the past remade and packed away. Sometimes, though, late at night the air lifts and I feel it — the faint burn of your eyes on my closed lids. Still. That sense of you rushing back in.”
The book goes on to describe the passionately complicated relationship that O’Keeffe had with the recipient of the note above — her manager and husband, famed photographer Alfred Stieglitz.
This is the fourth book by the author of The Boston Globe best-seller, “Game of Secrets,” who is also the winner of the Massachusetts Book Award for fiction for “The Season of Open Water.”
The Harvard grad explains that “Georgia” has been the toughest topic she has tackled — not only because Georgia O’Keeffe was so complex, but because it took nearly a year for Tripp to find the character’s voice.
Her journey into “Georgia” began in the fall of 2009 when she visited the Whitney Museum of American Art and basked in the 125 paintings in the exhibit, “Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction.”
“I felt overturned as I moved from piece to piece, and began to draw together an entirely new understanding of O’Keeffe and her art,” Tripp explains, noting that it was a century ago —1915 — when O’Keeffe, then 27, began painting abstract art in an era when few artists, much less women, were bold enough to do so.
“As I moved past the paintings, I wanted to know: Who was the woman, the artist, who made these works? Why was she not recognized for her sheer visionary power during her lifetime? And of course, what was her 30-year relationship really like with Alfred Stieglitz, the man who ‘discovered’ her?”
For more than a year, Tripp dove into the psyche of the woman who is celebrated as a central figure in 20th century art: “I read five or six biographies about her, and filled notebooks with thoughts and ideas because I still write longhand. I looked at O’Keeffe’s art, Stieglitz’ photographs of her, and the work of other artists in their circle. Then I started taking my own photographs every day because I was trying to see the world the way a visual artist might see the world.”
Still, the voice of O’Keeffe wasn’t speaking to her — until one Sunday afternoon in April 2010.
“It was an oddly warm spring day in Massachusetts, so I took my sons down to the river to play. They had their jeans rolled up and they were kicking around in the water and I was lying in the sun, when I suddenly ‘heard’ the first words for the novel: ‘I no longer love you as I once did in the dazzling rush of those early days.’ I remember that moment so clearly. I suddenly sat up feeling O’Keeffe’s voice inside of me. I looked around and the whole world was different. I started the book the following day.”
A sensuous 316-page work of historical fiction is the result.
“Fiction is a curious tool to get at a different side of the truth,” Tripp insists. “It’s what novelist Vladimir Nabokov called ‘the shimmering go-between.’ That’s the space that I wanted to write into, the space between what took place in O’Keeffe’s life — and what could have.”
American women face a complex challenge when it comes to securing retirement income that will last a lifetime.
The reason often has to do with life spans increasing and women outliving the men in their lives.
As I explained in my article earlier this year about the tragic fact that so many women 65+ are living in poverty, being proactive about your retirement income planning is vital.
For a 65-year-old couple, there is a 47 percent chance that one of them will live to age 90, and that is up 2 percent from last year.
But longevity is only a portion of the story when it comes to achieving retirement security.
Women make up 57 percent of all Social Security beneficiaries age 62 and older and 68 percent of all beneficiaries age 85 and older.
According to the US Census, in 2012 only 45 percent of women age 65 or older were married, compared to 75 percent of men.
Although women have made progress in the area of earning power, they still have a ways to go before reducing the existing retirement gap with men. In addition to women’s lower earning, 67 percent of women spend a portion of their adult lives as unpaid caregivers.
Social Security Basics
Considering that a large percentage of women rely on Social Security as a main source of retirement income, making an informed decision about when to claim Social Security benefits must be carefully considered. Let’s first look at some basics of Social Security that will help you better understand your benefits.
Regardless of your gender, if you have 40 quarters of wages that were subject to Social Security payroll taxes you are eligible to receive Social Security benefits.
Your benefits are calculated based on the average of the 35 highest years of earnings.
If you work fewer than 35 years, your income for the missing years is counted as 0, which can bring your average down significantly.
The year you were born will determine when you reach FRA and are eligible to receive 100 percent of your Social Security benefits.
Become familiar with a couple of acronyms: Full Retirement Age (FRA) and Primary Insurance Amount (PIA).
Keep in mind that you do not need to reach FRA to begin receiving your benefits. You may begin taking reduced Social Security benefits when you reach age 62 rather than waiting until FRA.
However, claiming your benefits when you turn 62 can be a permanent, costly decision.
You may instead opt to postpone taking your Social Security benefits until age 70, which increases your benefits by approximately 32 percent depending on your FRA.
Note: There is no advantage to waiting beyond age 70.
Navigating Your Way Through the System
How women claim their Social Security benefits greatly impacts their retirement income for the rest of their lives.
In the case studies outlined below, all figures are in today’s dollars and before tax; the actual benefits would be adjusted for inflation and would possibly be subject to income tax. Also, many of the benefits rules are complex, and it would be in your best interest to contact the Social Security Administration with any questions. Also keep in mind that these examples are hypothetical. Your results may be more or less than those shown.
Whether you are single, married, divorced, or widowed, you can develop an income strategy. Scroll down for more details.
Are You Single?
For some individuals, claiming your benefits at age 62 might be a necessity, or you may want to retire as early as age 62.
The gains from waiting to take your benefits can be significant; the longer you delay the higher your benefits may be.
Regardless of your situation, keep in mind that Social Security is there for you to use and you have paid for it.
Case study: Colleen’s FRA is 66. If she begins taking benefits at age 62, she’ll receive $1,500 a month. If she waits until age 66 (her FRA) to collect, she will receive 33 percent more, or $2,000 a month. If she waits until age 70, her benefits will increase another 32 percent to $2,640 a month. If she were to live to age 89, her lifetime benefits would be about $47,000, or 13 percent greater, because she had waited until age 70 to collect benefits.
Are You Divorced?
You may be eligible to claim Social Security benefits on your ex-spouse’s work records and he on yours.
You may claim survivor benefits on your ex-spouse as long as your marriage lasted 10 years or longer and you have not remarried.
There are actually several options to consider. Below is one option.
Case study: Kelly and her ex-spouse, John, are both 66 years old. They are both eligible for their own retirement benefits of $2,000 a month at age 66 (their FRA). Because their marriage lasted more than 10 years, Kelly is also eligible for $1,000 in spousal benefits, which is less than her own. She can claim her benefits today and collect $2,000 a month for the rest of her life. Alternatively, she can elect to collect $1,000 of spousal benefits only for the first four years and delay her own benefits to age 70. By then, her benefits would have grown to $2,640 per month, a 32 percent increase. If she lives to age 89, under the second example, her lifetime benefits will be $64,000 higher, which is almost a 15 percent increase. John can also do the same thing — elect to collect his spousal benefits at age 66 and then switch to his own benefits at age 70.
Are You Widowed?
If you have survived your husband, you may be eligible to collect his Social Security payments as a survivor benefit.
Also, if you are a surviving spouse, Social Security automatically defaults to the higher amount — your own or your survivor benefits.
Case study: Ann is 62 years old and is eligible to get $1,500 in benefits at her FRA of 66. Her husband, John, started taking monthly benefits of $1,500 at age 62 but died this year at age 66. If Ann claims benefits now, before her FRA, she would receive a survivor benefit of $1,215 because it is higher than her own benefits. Alternatively, Ann can elect to receive survivor benefits up to age 70, and then switch to her own benefits. By then her own benefits would have increased to $1,980 a month, a 76 percent increase in monthly benefits. Ann would earn more than $115,000 in extra payments if she lived to age 88, boosting her lifetime benefits by about 40 percent.
Are You Married?
Case study: Aaron and Elaine are both about to turn 62. Aaron is eligible to receive $2,000 a month from Social Security when he reaches his FRA of 66. He believes he has average longevity for a man his age, which means he could live to age 85. Elaine will get $1,000 a month at her FRA of 66, and, based on her health and family history, anticipates living to an above-average age of 94. The couple was planning to retire at 62, when he would get $1,500 a month and she $750 from Social Security.
Because they’re claiming early, their monthly benefits are 25 percent lower than they would be at their FRA. Aaron also realizes taking payments at age 62 would reduce his wife’s benefits during the nine years that they expect her to outlive him.
If Aaron waits until he’s 66 to collect benefits, he’ll get $2,000 a month. If he delays his claim until age 70, his benefits — and his wife’s survivor benefits — will increase another 32 percent, to $2,640 a month.
The bottom line for this couple: Waiting until age 70 will not only increase Aaron’s future cumulative benefits by 5 percent, it will have a dramatic impact on his wife’s benefits. Elaine’s lifetime Social Security benefits would rise by about $68,000, or 27 percent. Even if it turns out Elaine dies at age 88, her lifetime benefits will still increase 12 percent and, together, they would collect approximately $39,000 more in Social Security benefits than if they had claimed at 62. In order to do this, Aaron would either keep working or use savings to cover retirement expenses until he receives Social Security.
If you think you are too small to make a difference, try going to sleep with a mosquito in your room.”
Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.”
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
John Quincy Adams
Let us seize the day and the opportunity and strive for that greatness of spirit that measures life not by its disappointments but by its possibilities.”
W.E.B. Du Bois
Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.”
Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.”
You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.”
This is the age when magical technologies make more and more radically fun ideas plausible, even easy. You’re only limited by your creativity.”
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something.”
Nolan Bushnell, founder, Chuck E. Cheese's
If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.”
Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.”
The best reason to start an organization is to create a product or service to make the world a better place.”
It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
Ripeness is all.”
There are children playing in the street who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.”
J. Robert Oppenheimer
The biggest flaw in our existing theory of capitalism lies in its misrepresentation of human nature.”
Speaking more than one language is no longer just an asset in today’s job market; it is a requirement.”
Tom Adams, CEO, Rosetta Stone
Do you believe it is important to give back some portion of your wealth to support charitable causes?”
To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”
I have spent a good part of my life convincing people that a blank sheet of paper is the greatest opportunity in the world, and not frightening at all.”
Marty Skler, executive vp, Walt Disney Imagineering
Friendship is the only cement that will hold the world together.”
Entrepreneurs need to search purposefully for the sources of innovation that indicate opportunities for success.”
Peter F. Drucker
I may not be able to change what takes place, but I can always choose to change my thinking.”
Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make Me Feel Important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”
Mary Kay Ash
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
When I dare to be powerful—to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
If you were independently wealthy and never had to work a day in your life, would you still choose to spend your time attempting to become a successful entrepreneur?”
That man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.”
Henry David Thoreau
The good ideas are all hammered out in agony by individuals, not spewed out by groups.”
Charles Brower, Advertising Hall of Fame
Many people prefer to play it safe when it comes to business matters. Are you willing to take risks in the pursuit of entrepreneurial success?”
Things don’t change. You change your way of looking, that’s all.”
If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.”
No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.”
Death is to lose the earth you know, for greater knowing; to lose the life you have, for greater life; to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving; to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth.”
It is to no purpose to turn away from the real nature of the affair because the honor of its elements excites repugnance.
Carl von Clausewitz, On War
A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”
The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., U.S. Supreme Court justice
I always maintained that the greatest obstacle in life isn’t danger, it’s boredom. The battle against it is responsible for most of the events in the world — good or ill.”
Dr. Evelyn Vogel, Dexter
The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.”
Debbi Fields, Mrs. Fields Cookies
Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”
Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth. Tame the dragon and the gift is yours.”
The music is all around us. All you have to do is listen.”
Entrepreneurs are willing to roll the dice with their money or reputation on the line in support of an idea or enterprise.”
Inspiration and genius — one and the same.”
There is little success where there is little laughter.”
Be Inkandescent Magazine's Back Issues
Don’t miss the great advice our entrepreneurs have offered in the past. Click below to view our back issues.