Information Packet


Stephen F. Day, Freelance Copywriter


Email:  steve@stevedayhomes.com

Telephone:  506-8682-8116

Website:  



Introduction:



Hello,


You likely requested this package because you need a Direct Response copywriter who specializes in writing well-researched copy with motivating reasons to take action.


No doubt you are looking for someone who can develop unique Long Sales Copy Letters, compelling landing pages, email auto responders, Banner and Text Ads, Content and Editorial articles, or even white papers and case studies.  


Whatever your reasons for contacting me, you want to know more about me before you hire me to work for you.  If we were sitting face-to-face, chatting in your office, you’d ask me a few questions.  Let me try to answer a few of those questions right here.



Frequently Asked Questions:


Q.  “Do you have experience in my field? 


Copywriting is my third career.  I spent over 42 years in private and public education as a Teacher of English and Drama, a High School Principal where I developed rigorous curriculum for students. and as a School Superintendent where I managed a school and supervised a building project totaling over 15 million dollars.  After my retirement from formal education I started a second career in Residential Real Estate and, over 15 years, I produced over 6 million dollars a year while also owning and operating both a REMAX franchise and then an Independent agency.  I have also been active in local and state politics and I have represented constituents in public education, and Real Estate.  My depth of knowledge in education, marketing, and sales is spread out over these two careers as I am now working through AWAI training to embark on this third career.  I am working hard to bring my skills to a high level that will allow my experience to benefit my clients. 



Q.  “What kinds of assignments do you handle?”


I can handle a full array of Direct Copy writing assignments, but I focus on Long Copy Sales Letters.  Through my AWAI training I have completed the AWAI Long Copy Sales Letter certification, and I have also earned certification badges in Ad Copy, Banner Ads, email Ads, and Editorial and Content Copywriting. 


Q.  “Speaking of Money…  what does it cost to hire you for a project?”


For any copywriting assignment, just let me know what you have in mind and I’ll quote you a price.  The attached “Schedule of Estimated Investment” gives typical prices for a variety of projects. 


Q.  “How long will it take you to write my copy?”


I like to have 2-4 weeks to complete a complete copywriting assignment.  That gives me time to edit, revise, and polish until we are both happy with every word.  


I realize that there may be circumstances where you can’t wait that long.  So, if the job’s a rush, please indicate the date by which you must receive the copy.  Due to prior commitments, I may not be able to take on an urgent assignment.  However, if I take the job, I guarantee that you’ll have the copy on your desk by the deadline.  


Q.  “What happens when you want to revise the copy?”


Just tell me what you want to revise with some guidelines on what needs to be cut or added, and I’ll make the changes.  There’s no additional charge for rewriting.  Revisions are included in the flat fee we’ve agreed to for the assignment, provided that they are assigned within 30 days of your receipt of the copy and are not based on a change in the assignment made after the copy has been submitted.


If you are not 100% satisfied, I’ll revise the copy according to your specific guidelines, at my expense.  


Q.  “How do I order from you?”


Simply pick up the phone and call me at 506-8682-8116 (Costa Rica).  You can also email me at steve@stevedayhomes.com.  Let me know what you’re looking for, and together we can come up with a solution that will suit your needs. 


Regards,

Steve Day


PS.  If you have an immediate need call me at 506-8682-8116 or email me at steve@stevedayhomes.com.  There is no charge to discuss your job with you and give you an estimate.  I look forward to hearing from you soon. 



What Others Say About Stephen


1. Connects with people in a joyous and friendly way; better than anyone I know. 

Marion Irwin, Political Organizer


2. I have known Steve for over 20 years.  He was the High School Principal for my children when they were in school, and a family friend for a long time. I would sum up his character in three words: Bravery, Persistence, Fearlessness.

Knud Hansen,  IBM Engineer/Sales


3.   Steve remains calm under difficult situations.  Rather than fueling the fire, he calmly extinguishes it while keeping all of the parties feeling like they were attended to … Steve finds a way to negotiate successfully for the clients he works for.  

Kay Graves, Real Estate Agent


4.  You are not a quitter, and you keep moving and morphing.  I think that you showed that in one of the most difficult markets in America - Binghamton, NY.  Personally, I think you should consider your participation in the Binghamton Real Estate market as a total success. 

John Burns, Broker Owner, Century 21


5.  Good at networking and bringing people together. 

Marion Goss, Dean Of Students

Ulster Community College


6.  Very personable, intelligent gentleman.  A welcome addition to any organization as he is drawn to lead or assist in the success of your goals.  In discussing issues with Steve, it is obvious that you are interacting with a highly educated, well-spoken, extensively traveled individual.

David Lounsberry, Executive Director

Greater Binghamton Association of Realtors



Clients and Experience


Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR)

The Premier designation for Real Estate Agents who wish to represent Home Buyers.


American Writers and Artists Incorporated (AWAI)

Professional Copywriting Training


Association of Realtors in Binghamton, New York (GBAR)

A professional organization for over 450 licensed Real Estate Agents.


Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, Binghamton, New York

Selected as Advocate of the Year for Small Business in 2016


Boy Scouts of America, Vestal, New York

Exploring Executive for Broome County


Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)

The Premier designation for Residential Real Estate Agents in the United States and Internationally


Dollars For Scholars, Vestal Central School District, Vestal, New York

Major Organization for raising money for Scholarships for Vestal students.  


EXIT Realty Homeward Bound, Binghamton, New York

Real Estate Agency in Binghamton, New York


Global Business Alliance for Broome County and the Southern Tier

Non-Profit Organization developed to promote International Business opportunities for           Small Businesses in Broome County, New York


Government Affairs, Association of Realtors in Binghamton, New York

A Committee for the Association of Realtors to act as a liaison with local, state, and national government representatives.  


Graduate Real Estate Institute (GRI)

Masters Program for Real Estate Agents in New York to provide a comprehensive background in Real Estate


International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, Vestal, New York

Prestigious Academic Diploma Program for 11th and 12th grade students based on an International Curriculum

 

McKinney Real Estate, Binghamton, New York 

Independent Real Estate brokerage in Binghamton, New York - Broker/Owner


New York State Association of Real Estate Professionals (NYSAR)

Professional Organization of Licensed Real Estate Agents in New York


New York State Association of School Administrators (NYSCOSS)

            Represents the hundreds of School Administrators in New York State


.New York State Teachers Association of Teachers in New York  (NYSUT)

Represents the thousands of Teachers in New York State


Owego-Apalachin Schools, Owego, New York

Teacher of English and Drama


Portville Central School District, Portville, New York

School District in New York with over 1300 students K-12- Superintendent


Prudential Life Insurance Company, Binghamton, New York

Special Agent for Life and Property Insurance


REMAX Real Estate, Binghamton, New York

Real Estate brokerage in Binghamton, New York - Broker/Owner


Rotary International, Vestal, New York 

Community Service, International Student Exchange, Fund Raising


The Clifford Day Farm, Little Genesee, New York

Family Farm with about 250 acres with about 150 Dairy Cows.  


The Spot Players Children’s Theater and Dinner Theater, Owego, New York

Wrote and performed plays for Children and Performed plays for Dinner Theater


Town of Bolivar, Bolivar, New York

Manager and Head Lifeguard for the Bolivar Municipal Swimming Pool


Vestal Senior High School, Vestal New York

High School in Vestal New York with over 1300 students- Principal



How I Write

  1. Contact and Communications Policies


As we work together, it is important that we have fast and easy communication. 


During our project I am available Monday through Friday, 1PM to 7PM. CST.  By far the best way to reach me is through EMAIL, Whats App, or SKYPE.   My home and office are located in Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica and you can also reach me on my cell phone.


steve@stevedayhomes.com

Whats App:  607-427-2727

SKYPE:  Stephen F. Day  

Costa Rica Telephone:  506-8682-8116


2. Discussing the Project and Questionnaire


To get started with a potential project, I will send you a complete Discovery Questionnaire.  This will help both of us clearly define the scope of the project and ensure maximum results.  


I will send you a link to the Questionnaire through Google Docs.  Please return it to me as quickly as possible- for most clients that is between 1 and 3 business days.  


After I receive the Discovery Questionnaire, I review and study your answers, plus any other applicable initial research needed.  From there, I will outline a short Project Roadmap.  This will save you time and help you see that I fully understand the project.  It will also be the basis for our Launch Call. 


3-10 days after I receive the Discovery answers, we will schedule a 20-minute Launch Call.  During this call, we will discuss the Project Roadmap.  I will listen to any additional directions and insights you have on the project.  


Following that call, I will draft and send you an Agreement.  If your legal team has an Agreement, we can use that.  


3.  Investment and Getting Started


The Agreement will contain all the specifics on what exactly I will deliver, including project deadlines.  It will also list your investment for the project and terms of payment.  (Note:  I require 50% of the project to begin.  Most of my clients prefer to pay by bank or overnight payment.)


Once we have both signed the Agreement, I will begin working on your copy as agreed.



4.  Research


My research process is very comprehensive.  I begin with a complete review of your website and any other materials you send me.  From there, I will research the market, including your competitors.  In some cases, I will ask to visit with your customer service team, past clients/customers, and different department heads.  


As needed, I will reach out to you for additional details, product samples, and other resources.  


You can be confident that I’ll quickly and effectively understand your product, your voice, and your customer’s core emotional purchase drivers.  


5.  Collaboration


As we work on this project together, communication is critical.  Some of my clients are very busy and prefer to hand off the project to me and review the first draft, with very little communication in between.  Others like dealing with me on an almost daily basis and be involved at just every step of the way.  


Which are you? 


Please send me an email and let me know how often you’d like to communicate and what the best way is to reach out to you.  (i.e., email, phone, social media, text, Whats App, etc…)


One other point …  I require that you assign me a single point of contact on your team.  I will communicate directly with that person and they will deal with your other team members as needed to obtain information and approvals.  


Finally, I STRONGLY encourage you to become familiar with Google Docs.  I do all of my writing with this word processing tool.  It allows us to track changes, comment, and collaborate in real time.  It can be shared with various team members and the working document is always the current document-no need to worry about sending wrong files or things getting lost.  


6.  Review of First Drafts


Typically, you’ll receive the first draft in 10-14 business days, depending on the size and scope. 


When you get the first draft, please review it carefully.  Also, have any applicable team members review it.  The most important thing at this stage of the game is making sure that the tone, message, and offer are right.  We’ll fine tune during the second draft … and third draft, as needed.  





7.  Revisions


After you review the initial draft, it is likely that you’ll want some things changed.  Please note those changes using the comment feature inside of Google Docs.  You can also suggest changes using the Edit Mode feature, which I’ll turn on when I share it with you.  


I will review all your suggested changes within 24 hours of you submitting them to me.  I will make my adjustments within 2-4 business days, depending on the breadth and complexity of your suggested changes.  


In all cases, I recognize that these are your customers and I will defer to you as much as possible.  


Sometimes, there are cases where my clients make suggestions that I know will not work and will hurt profits.  In these cases you can expect me to be bold and direct in my feedback.  When clients insist on changes that I feel will not work, I always recommend a simple A/B split test.  Let the market vote.  


8.  Additional Reviews


After the first round of changes, there may be some additional fine-tuning needed.  You can be confident that I’ll gladly work with you until you are delighted with the copy.  In most cases, my clients find that one review only is enough.  When more are needed, it is usually just one or two and the process goes quickly.  Typically, we can get to a final copy within 1-3 business days.  


9.  Final Approval


Once all revisions are done, I will submit a final draft to you.  At this point, you approve the copy by sending me an email stating that everything is ready for distribution.  


Once I receive this final approval from you, I will invoice you for the remaining 50% of the project investment.  The invoice is due upon receipt.  I will make every effort to be prompt in responding to your requests and assume that, as a professional, you will do the same with my invoices.  


In most cases, the final copy is sent to a designer for formatting.  I strongly encourage you to send me a PDF of the final version.  I will double check that any graphical elements added by your design team enhance the copy and make it more effective.  


If I see something that is distracting and may hurt your response rates, I’ll be direct in letting you know.  If requested, I’m happy to work with your design team to make any changes needed to make the end version as effective as possible. 




10.  Transition to New Projects


Once the project is done, I provide all of my clients with a complimentary follow-up consultation.  We spend a few minutes on the phone and discuss what went well and where improvements can be made.  


We review the Discovery Questionnaire and discuss additional ways to uncover new profits.  Where appropriate, we map out a new project to ensure that you continue to have excellent copy that meets your goals and grows your business.



Getting to Know Stephen Day


What I Learned from Sports


In high school I was what you would consider a “jock.”  I remember that I loved to play football, and even though I was not that big, I worked really hard to make sure that I had a place on the team.  


At my first practice the coaches told us to run a mile to warm up.  I was a Freshman at the time, and just starting my high school career.  I wanted to impress the coaches with my motivation, so I ran the four laps faster than everyone else on the team, even the older players.  From that time on I was always warming up by running faster than everyone else.  It became my trade mark, and I liked the recognition.  Believe it or not, my teammates also supported me because they knew how much I loved the game.  


As a result, the coaches gave me a starting position on the kick-off team with the varsity players, and I was only a freshman, I played on the varsity for four years and received four varsity letters.  I was the only person in my class to do so.  


When I was a junior in high school I was a starting running back and outside lineman.  We had a good team, and in the first game of the season I scored a touchdown after running 85 yards from scrimmage.  I also intercepted a pass, and scored a second touchdown.  I was anticipating a good year, and I was very motivated.  


In the second game of the season there was an unusual pile-up of players when we all tried to tackle an opposing running back.  Somehow my arm was caught up in the scramble, and when the pile was sorted out my arm was hanging at my side due to a dislocated shoulder.  From that point on my life changed.  This injury would affect my further participation in all the sports I liked, including football, basketball, baseball, and track- I loved the pole-vault event.  


 My interests changed over time, and when I attended college I became focused on teaching English, writing poetry and articles, and theater.  I still loved the game of football, and I enjoyed watching the Yankees play.  However, that was the closest I came to being a “jock.”  I focused my life and career on education and eventually taught high school English and Drama for 10 years before becoming a High School Principal and School Superintendent.  


The motivation I had learned from my days as a football player was transferred in another direction, and I realized that I could do anything as long as I gave it 100%



A Sunday School Lesson


My father was not a religious man.  In fact, he hardly ever attended church, drank a little bit too much whiskey, and had some questionable outside relationships.  Regardless, it was his expectation that all of his 5 children attend either Church or Sunday School each week.  So invariably at 9 am each Sunday we were all dressed up in our Sunday best and headed for church. My father would never attend church, and my mother would only attend on Christmas and Easter, but me and my 2 brothers and 2 sisters were always there.


On one Sunday morning while I was sitting in class, I glanced at one of the church booklets and saw a story about a young man who was looking for a job to mow a neighbor’s lawn.  This caught my interest because I was also looking for a summer job, and I had no prospects.  In the story the boy had to compete with another boy for the job, and each had to mow the lady’s lawn as a tryout.  Both were paid, but she would choose one for the permanent job once they had shown how they worked.  


The first boy did a very good job, and when he finished the lawn looked great. When the second boy did the job, he did something extra by cleaning all the garden tools and organizing the shed where the tools were kept.  Obviously the second boy was offered the permanent job because he had done something extra.  


I remembered that story when I was faced with the same situation.  I lived in a small town, and there were not many opportunities for summer work.  I was referred to a lady in town and she asked me to mow her lawn so that she could see what kind of job I would do.  I mowed the lawn and trimmed the sidewalk so that everything looked really good.  Then I did something extra.  I trimmed all the grass between the rocks on her stone patio, and made sure that the patio looked good as well.  The lady was very pleased and I got the job plus a nice tip.  


Although this is a small feat, it taught me a very valuable lesson that I employ in all of my work. I always try to do a good job for those I work for, and I always try to do something extra.   This life lesson has paid off for me over and over again.  Maybe this is one thing my father wanted me to learn in Sunday School. 



Impact of the Columbine Shootings


In April of 1999 we had the terrible incident at Columbine HIgh School in Columbine, Colorado where many students were killed and injured due to a mass shooting.  At this time, I was the Principal of a large high school in Vestal, New York.  We had over 1300 students, and a staff of over 160 teachers and teacher aides.  The news of the shooting shook our school as it did all of the other schools in the country.  Our students and teachers were visibly upset and many recognized  these Columbine students through personal and group sentiments.  


Of course, in any school there are those students who want to stand out from the others in a negative way.  During the Columbine shootings the students who did the shooting wore long black coats similar to the coats worn in the movie, The Matrix.  On the day after the shootings, when the school was in mourning, two of our students wore long black coats to school, and acted in an unusual manner.   This action quickly spread through the school and we had a major upheaval from the student body and the parents of our students.  It was close to a panic situation because the emotions were raw and the fear was real.  


At about 2pm in the afternoon the school phone started ringing.  On the other end of the line were many parents who had heard about the students who had come to school with the long coats, and they were concerned that there might be a shooting in our school.  Rumors spread very quickly when emotions are high.  


I took it upon myself to talk with every parent who called the school that day.  Even though I had three assistant principals, I felt that it was my obligation to assure each parent that we had everything under control and that these students had done nothing but play a very bad prank on the students and the school.  I believe that each parent I talked with felt reassured that everything was all right because they had talked directly with me, the principal of the building.  


As a result, the next day the panic had subsided, and we were able to mourn the deaths of the Columbine students in an atmosphere of safety and caring.




A Clear Choice


My job as principal of the Vestal High School in Vestal, New York might be similarly described as being the captain of the Space Ship Enterprise in that it was a large school with over 1300 students, 4 administrators, and over 160 staff including teachers and support staff.  It always took a long time to change course.  


The school itself was run with a shared-decision making model and we had a very strong and active team.  The team made decisions on more than the color of the cafeteria chairs and set some important directions in terms of the use of technology and curriculum.  Also, within the school, was a very strong and politically active teacher’s union with close leadership ties to the NEA.  In fact, the sitting President of the NEA was one of the teachers in the school.  


In 1995, the district hired a new Superintendent and one of his directives from the Board of Education was to implement a new High School program called the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB).  This is a rigorous academic program for juniors and seniors, and can grant a student who completes this diploma one full year of college credit.  The Building Planning Team was in favor of this move, as were the members of the Board of Education.  The superintendent was also supportive, but there was weak support from the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction.  


There was also another imposing block to the smooth implementation of the IB program.  There existed in the school a strong Advanced Placement curriculum and the courses were taught by several influential teachers.  They were not motivated to give up the Advanced Placement ( AP) courses to replace them with IB courses.  Therefore, we had a growing educational and political conflict within the school.  As principal I was under a lot of pressure to implement the IB program.  However, to do so without taking into consideration all of the players could lead to long term disaster for the program, and future school initiatives. 


The Building Planning Team had worked on this transition for over 4 years in an attempt to bring everyone on board, and they had set a date for a faculty vote.  The day before the vote the Union President met with me and told me that because of the strong AP lobby that the teachers would be told to vote against the program.  The AP teachers wanted the AP program to stay in place.


I was faced with a dilemma, and there was a lot of pressure from above to implement the program, and equal pressure from the school to leave it as status quo.   It seemed like a no-win situation until we developed the concept of creating a third diploma strain that included both AP courses and IB courses.  This would allow students who wanted to take either the AP Curriculum or the IB Curriculum to take a combination of the courses to earn what we called a Vestal Honors Diploma.  


Unfortunately, there was mixed support from the Assistant Superintendent and the Central office for this idea.  They wanted only the IB Program.  The Superintendent also wanted the IB and of course the Board members wanted the IB.  


At my meeting with the teachers I proposed the Vestal Honors Diploma as a solution to this stalemate, and the teachers voted to accept the IB Program with a unanimous approval.  The Assistant Superintendent was not pleased and the Superintendent was warm to the idea.  However, we did work as a school to reach a compromise and to this day the IB Program is as strong as ever, and many of the teachers who were teaching AP courses are also teaching IB courses.   I believe it was the right choice given the educational and political pressures that were at play during the negotiations.   


My decision to combine the two programs was in conflict with the exact desires of my superiors, but in the long run the solution proved to be the right one.  In the end the students, teachers, and the school district advanced to include a high-level diploma program.  The final decision was driven by the team members within the school, and that approach created a strong foundation for the program.  I believe that is why it is still in place, and stronger than ever.  



Global Business Alliance



In 2012 I was deeply involved with Residential Real Estate and as. Broker/Owner for REMAX.  Due to my interest in travel, and my experiences with people in other parts of the world, I became involved in the International Real Estate market through courses and workshops with the National Association of Realtors.  This involvement led to my being appointed the NAR Representative to Nicaragua for 2016.  


In addition, I began to develop a local organization to promote the participation of small business owners in global exporting and importing.  Working with interested community members, politicians, and small business owners we formed the Global Business Alliance of Binghamton and the Southern Tier New York.   I sat as the Executive of this organization, and gradually we began to hold seminars, and additional meetings to recruit and train small business owners to look into the global market.  We believed that there was real opportunity for them since our local economy in upstate New York was stagnant.  We even had support from our State Assemblywoman, and the Governor was also starting initiatives for global business participation.  


As we worked on this new idea, we unfortunately discovered that there were just not enough small businesses in our immediate area that had the resources to expand into a global market.  The larger businesses who were in our area already had international programs, and they could not assist us.  After several attempts working with the Small Business Association and other state planning committees, we had to dissolve the organization.  There is still an educational remnant of the original concept alive within Binghamton University International Business Department, but they have the staff and financial resources to keep the program active.  We had formed a non-profit corporation, but we just did not have the capability to secure the funding to maintain our program.  I had to make a choice between my Real estate Business, and the Global Alliance. I could not sustain both effectively. 


I believe that this concept of a Global Business Alliance was too advanced for the business community at the time of its implementation.  There was a lot of interest, but there were not enough resources and businesses in the general community to support the alliance.  If the upstate economy takes a general move in the right direction, the idea may resurface. 


Even though the overall initiative of a Global Business Alliance was not fully implemented, I was awarded the Small Business Advocate for 2015 Designation by the Binghamton Chamber of Commerce for my work in the community developing the Global Business Alliance.   




SCHEDULE OF ESTIMATED INVESTMENT


SERVICE DESCRIPTION ESTIMATED INVESTMENT

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Long Sales Copy $2,000- $3,500

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Direct-mail package, lead generation $1,500- $5,000

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Direct-mail package - mail order $2,000- $7,500

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Article or Advertorial $1- $1.50/ word

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Website- home page $1,500- $3,500

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Website- other pages $750- $1,250/page

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Email, short copy $250- $2,000

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Email, long copy $750- $3,500

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Email Autoresponders (Series) $150- $1,000/email

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Landing Page $950- $3,000

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Blog Post (depending on length) $100- $800/post

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PPC Ads with Keyword Research $75- $350/ad

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Social Media post and monitor/manage feeds

(1-2 hours/day, 5 days a week) $1,000/month

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Case Study $1,200- $2,000

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White Paper $2,000- $7,500

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Writing Samples




Costa Rica Story


The road from Nuevo Arenal to La Fortuna is one of the best two-lane roads in Costa Rica. My house is located down this road only 8 minutes from the center of town, up a steep paved driveway, and to a vista that will literally take your breath away the first time you see it. I have a view of Lake Arenal from the whirling wind turbines of Toronadora to the north, and on a clear day to the south, I can see the majestic Arenal Volcano. The lot is worth the 60 thousand dollars we paid for it in December of 2016.  


We have a custom 2000 square foot one-story house that accents the top of the hill where we are located, and also provides us our unobstructed view. There are three bedrooms, two baths and lots of space on the outside patio to enjoy the weather and the scenery. There is also ample parking that allows us to host guests of family and friends as well as our Airbnb travelers. 


The house we designed cost us about $200,000. After we moved in, we added landscaping, alarm systems, a fence, and a stately property gate to keep the dogs in, and the horses out.     


As a 71-year-old man retired from careers in education and real estate I have always worked with a strict budget. It is no different here. There are no expenses for heat or air conditioning because the temperature is always between 65 and 85 degrees. The electricity we use runs about $50 a month. I pay $75 a month for the internet and another $50 a month for TV and cable. Our cell phones cost us $140 a month because we do make international calls. The house is paid for and so is the one car we share. My car insurance for very good coverage costs me about $75 a month. I estimate that we spend another $1200 a month for all of our food, restaurants, propane for cooking, and gasoline.  


In my research for living in Central America I read that we could live on $3000 a month, and live well. I would safely say that we are very comfortable on $4000 a month for our regular monthly needs. My wife and I are vegan, and although this adds a little to our food budget, she has been able to adapt our dietary needs quite well and we eat healthier than ever. In budgeting for the move, I padded the budget and added a line to come out of my savings account to pay for repairs and additions to the property. However, in all respects, we are financially sound  on social security and my pension, and we are even saving money. This was not something we were doing well when we had an income of over $175,000, two cars, two jobs, and much less time for ourselves working and living in upstate New York.  


My budget still includes about $200 a month for Medicare, which I will hold onto until I gain Costa Rican residency and the country’s health insurance kicks in around December, and I also have a $200 life insurance payment. When we have the CAJA or Costa Rican insurance, it will add about another $178 a month to my expenses – that is a lot different than the $500 a month my wife had to pay for her health insurance in the states. We will both be fully covered with CAJA.


The other day my wife had to have an eye exam. It was $12. She had her hair cut for $8, and I had mine cut for $3. Prescriptions are also very cheap compared to US prices, and we have never had a problem getting ours filled. My wife attends yoga classes 3 times a week, and her chronic arthritis is under control. She is now almost pain-free and she sleeps better than she ever has. 


The Costa Rican lifestyle is slower and less stressful. My morning starts at 5:00 am with a cup of locally grown coffee, and I watch the sunrise over the lake and listen to the birds and howler monkeys. While my wife is at yoga I practice Tai Chi. We take Spanish classes twice a week, spend a lot of time with our new expat friends from around the world, and usually are in bed by 7:00 pm when the sun goes down. Our passion is writing, and every day is a writing day if we choose. Friday nights are “date night,” and we drive to town to have a cocktail at a local bar, and eat at one of the local restaurants. Restaurant prices are comparable to the US, but we get a “local” discount.  


Costa Rica suits us. Our days are filled with the beauty of the country and of the people who live here. We have invested in an affordable lifestyle based on the many years of work that we enjoyed on the journey here, and we believe that our decision to do so will give us many extra years of discovery. Pura Vida! 



This article will be published in January 2019, in the magazine International Living .




Writing Sample  #2



Stop Educating and Start Learning


Did you ever stop to wonder why all the politicians, soothsayers, and other false prophets tell us that “Education” is the answer to all the world’s problems? 


They all look at “Education” in the broadest possible way and never get down to you, me, and the people like us who really want to learn, advance ourselves, make more money, and enjoy the good life.  We are the ones who actually want to learn how to succeed.  You can have all the education you can handle, but if you don’t learn anything useful it will never be worth the time or the money.        


What is Learning? 


Learning is the process of  acquiring new,  or modifying existing, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences  ( Wikipedia). 


One skill that you have

 The ability to write.  


1.  If you could take this skill, learn a unique and positive way to present it, and in the end make money,  would it have more value?  


2.  If you could write in a way that showed your knowledge of the world, and what you wrote was of benefit to others, would this modify your behavior?  


3.  If you could pick the time and place to write and there is no alarm clock, no office routine, and no boss, would this be a life preference that you could learn to live with?  


“Tell me and I forget.  

Teach me and I remember.  

Involve me and I learn.” 

 Benjamin Franklin 


I have a friend who was born in upstate New York, attended a college, and settled in upstate New York.  He had never been out of the country.  One day, he walked into work at IBM, and his manager told him that he was being transferred to a small town in France, and that was going to be  there for 5 years.  He was an engineer, had no real desire to travel, and had passed French with a “C +.”  He was in for the culture shock of his life! 

Believe it or not, after he arrived in France, took some emergency French lessons, and lived in the culture for three months, he was able to speak French and communicate very well in both his daily life and with his work.  After 2 years he was fluent. 


This is not an unusual story.  


High school students who participate in the International Exchange Program with Rotary International have similar experiences.  After only 3 months in a foreign country, with little or no knowledge of the language, they are able to communicate effectively in their new environment.   


This is not magic- it is true learning.  When you are immersed in an area, whether it is a language or writing, you will be able to learn it and make it work for you.  With writing you can even make money.   You just have to have a way to immerse yourself.  


Real Learning


Think of the last time you really learned something.   Maybe it was just after you read a great book with a very important message.  Or maybe it was after having a conversation with a person as you sat with him/her on a train and you had a meaningful discussion.  What did you do with that learning?  


Most people find that when they learn something, they retain that learning when they share it with others.  My guess is that you may have had a conversation over the dinner table, gone to a meeting, or just had a few drinks with friends, and like magic, the topic came up, almost as if were planned.  You may have a wonderful new power, but most likely  you were tuned into what people were saying and realized that they were also thinking about the same things you were.  In this case you were ready, and you had some new information to share.  


Writing for Real


That is what happens each day when you write!   Not only are you constantly stimulating your mind with new ideas, but you are placing them in front of people so that you can contribute to their lives.  


Real writing is needed in today’s world and there is a formula for you to immerse yourself.   


It is not for just the college educated or the executive.  It is for the person who can write a few sentences and place them on paper in such a way that they communicate to others.  It is a roadmap to more money than you can imagine, more free time, and more of the world.  


If you want to learn to write in a way that opens up your world to unlimited benefits then the first thing you have to do is click on  the Barefoot Writer link to learn how:  www.barefootwriter.com    


“A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.”   Oliver Wendell Holmes


This Editorial was written as an assignment for the Certification as an Editorial/Content Writer through AWAI.  





Writing Sample #3



Are There Any More Good Old Fashion School Days?


Can I do More To Educate my Kids?   



It’s 9PM on a Thursday night and you are just taking the last of the chocolate chip cookies out of the oven.  Tomorrow is your day to send in snacks for your daughter’s  5th grade class and you know that they always rave about your cookies.  It makes your daughter feel good that her friends like your cookies. That makes you feel good as well.  


We all know that “parenting never ends,” and it is the little things that we do for our children that they will recall when we are gone, and those are the things that make all the difference...


FLASH FORWARD 8 YEARS

(Picture of a cap and Gown and Diploma)


Your daughter ( or your son) is  a Freshman in college and you are still feeling good. The  school experience was a good one!.  She made it, she graduated and finished 4th in a class of 300!  She  is striking out on her own. You begin to recall your first days of college, and you are excited for her.  Then you get a call on a sunny Sunday afternoon in September  when you are just settling in to relax …


“ Mom, I’m in trouble.  I need your help!

(Picture of an Ambulance)


As your feet sink into the floor, and your knees buckle,  you grab for the first thing near you. Your heart stops and your eyes tear up ever so gently as you wait and listen…


“Don’t hate me Mom, but I just went shopping and spent way too much!”


With your breathing restored and and the huge sigh starting from your stomach and moving towards your lips finally passes out into the air you actually smile and also wince a little.  


Suddenly It Hits You!


WE NEVER TALKED ABOUT MONEY!


Things that you do every day to keep the budget, buy the groceries, pay the mortgage, and meet  the costs of college never made it into the school curriculum and became part of the package that rode in her backpack next to that bag of cookies.  That’s true, she never had that class because that class did not exist.  If  you didn’t teach her , then no one else did either!


(Picture of Dollar Bills flying into the wind)


Trae Bodge of RetailMeNot.com in September of 2012 said that “ It’s my opinion that we have a national financial literacy epidemic.”  Today’s families are in a crisis when it comes to managing finances… especially young people starting out on their own.  Currently most private and public schools have no curriculum for teaching children and teens the basics of managing money, paying bills, balancing a checking account, staying afloat each month, etc.


It’s truly up to the parents to provide financial education to their children, but how do they do it in an easy way that the kids will actually respond to?  


Take a moment!


SHE IS STILL ONLY 10 YEARS OLD 

(and the cookies are not even cool)


Better Yet, Have a cookie. 

It’s not easy raising children

You’ve EARNED it!


You make the best Chocolate Chip cookies in the class, and your daughter loves what you do for her.  You love her as well, and you both know that at this age she will listen to you.  That may not be the case a few years from now. Who knows what the “teens” will bring ……...


It is as simple as adding baking powder to the batter- find a way to give your daughter this information before she gets into college and before she goes shopping with your credit card.   Teach it to her starting RIGHT NOW,  and she will be AHEAD OF 90% of the other kids in her class. That is one cookie that won’t crumble. 


While the idea is HOT!


CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS!

(Click on a picture of a chocolate chip cookie wit




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