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Considering life change.....need advice
Old 05-01-2008, 10:53 PM   #1
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Considering life change.....need advice

Quite a few of you know what I am going through.
I have been doing a lot of work the last couple of months on what I need to do in this life and the difference I would like to make in the world.

I eventually want to move into the holistic medical field and have decided to enroll in Massage Therapy school in North Carolina with lifetime placement/resources for the graduates. Quite a few of the staff there were once students as well....which is a good sign.
I have also received my Reiki I and II certification and will start working on the side to make some extra money.
I am not partial to things/furniture and am planning on selling everything and just taking what fits in my Subaru and a friend's Lincoln Town car. The cat, my easel, paperwork and clothes have to go....everything else is negotiable!
I have no credit card debt, will be working extra hours (babysitting, art teacher, reiki healer, sell my paintings) in addition to the normal 9-5 job.
Hopefully, I will not have to touch any of my $157,000 that I have in various accounts (CD, Money Market, 401K, and Traditional/Roth IRA, Mutual Funds).
I currently live on $1300 fixed (rent, cell, basic/internet, ps&g, car/renter's ins). The variables add up to another 350 (therapy, meds, gas, food, cat food/litter).
Apartments in NC range from $450-$600 for a one bedroom, around $450-$550 for a studio. My car/renter's insurance will drop down to $50/month as well.....I could definitely live on $1100/month in NC which includes everything. I am also going to get temporary health insurance for $1000 prepaid for 6 months which includes prescriptions. I can also qualify for low income once I am there.
I plan on having a part time job (Starbucks provides health ins. for part timers) and not dip into my reserves (15,000) that is in my money market.

I would definitely roll over the 401K into a Vanguard Target fund and keep contributing to it. This will be for 6 months while I am in school. I am hoping to then find a position in a holistic/wellness center as well as freelance in hospices/hospitals and work with cancer patients.

What do you think?
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Old 05-01-2008, 11:12 PM   #2
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I hope the area you are moving to is not as saturated with massage therapists as our little corner of Ohio. A full price one hour massage with a good massage therapist is $40 per hour and the discounted rate is $30 if I sign up for another massage within 2 weeks. We have a school relatively close so maybe that's why we have so many around. There must be 6-7 in our little town and several more in the neighboring town 8 miles away. It's got to be hard to make a living at those rates since I'm sure they're not booked back to back all day and they are paying all their own taxes.

It sounded like you definitely needed a change and this one sounds as good as any. It didn't sound like you had anyone depending on you so you have the freedom to try pretty much anything...as long as you can take care of your cat!
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Old 05-02-2008, 02:56 AM   #3
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AS Buckeye says, do a bit of research on what your competition is. If every corner has a massage parlour (JUST KIDDING, NO FLAMES PLEASE). Beyond that, I cannot comment.
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Old 05-02-2008, 04:43 AM   #4
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Well, there is a school nearby and a lot of holistic/yoga/alternative healing centers.
I am looking to move to Asheville....thanks to a great article, it has been listed as one of the top 5 places to move to.
If need be, I can work part time as an admin/substitute teacher and go to school at night. Massage Therapy/Reiki is a portable career....I can go anywhere in the world and in any sector.
I'd rather go without so that Casanova will be ok....no worries about that....I have a separate account set up for him.
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Old 05-02-2008, 05:15 AM   #5
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Ditto on do the research. It cannot be overemphasized.

DW has two friends that spent a lot of money going to school ($20K + much time and effort) and getting certified. One did the profession briefly (and stopped). The other has been in business for several years and barely breaks even on a spotty on-off set of referrals. I think (i could be wrong..) one of the problems may be that insurance does not pay for it.


Your clientele will be people who have chronic pain and are exhausting all avenues. They will visit you briefly and move on.

Here is what happens. Massage is kinda expensive. People pay out of pocket. It is relaxing, but it does not heal. People will make one or two visits and drop it.

My sister in-law is certified for acupuncture... same thing, little business. Although, I think some insurance companies may pay for acupuncture.

IMHO - I would not take the risk in investing in one of those career locally, much less doing a relo and depending on it.

I would suggest that you interview some people in your area and in NC. Find some that are in business. Ask them if they have any friends from school that stopped... see if you can get their name and call them and interview them. Don't depend on what the school's personnel tell you... they are in business to make money!



Sorry for what may seem like non-supportive feed-back. But you really need to look before you leap.
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Old 05-02-2008, 05:55 AM   #6
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In my little town near Chicago, a professional massage is $60-80/hour.

I'm not making the connection between massage and holistic medicine. I had a CSR leave my company years ago to go into holistic medicine. She looked all over the US for the best schools, decided on Boulder CO and got a degree (not sure if it was 2 or 4 years). She has been practicing holistic medicine there for almost 10 years. Unfortunately I've lost contact with her or I'd offer to put you in contact.

I admire your frugal/disciplined lifestyle. I've always practiced LBYM, but we still waste more than we should, and we're reducing expenses on many fronts - without feeling at all deprived, it's actually liberating.
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Old 05-02-2008, 08:26 AM   #7
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Thanks for your input everyone!

chinaco: A lot of hospitals and hospices are now hiring freelance massage/reiki therapists to come in and do treatments on the patients. This program is used in prominent hospitals in NJ at this time and I am sure that it will also pick up in Asheville since it was listed as one of the best places to retire! I will have an aging population with chronic pain!
There is an admin position at the therapy school, for which I have applied. I have also applied at other places (holistic chiropractor, yoga studio, animal hospital)...bascially anywhere that I can bring my diversifed skill set!

Midpack: I will take the massage therapy course first ($6,900 if paid in full 3 months in advance--$7,900 if not paid in advance). I will be charging this on a credit card with a teaser rate rather than applying for a student loan.....get some perk points.....and pay it off in full once the teaser rate is over (have funds in money market). Once that is done....I will take the herbal medicine course to make myself more marketable.
I am also trying to see if I can find a roommate living situation to further cut down the costs.

I KNEW there was a reason for all 45-50 jobs I have had since I was 14! I am a jack of all trades and a master of some!
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Old 05-02-2008, 08:40 AM   #8
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Citrine, congrats on focusing your intensity in a new and healthy direction! I think you would be very happy in Asheville, it is a very cool, groovy sort of town that has a lot of different lifestyles, including all those retirees.

I think of what you are doing is one of those portable skills, and that has a lot of pluses. As you say, you've held a lot of jobs and you know that you are very employable. I don't think this represents a giant tuition commitment in your overall financial situation, but just be sure you have some cash in the bank over and above the school costs.

And welcome to the Carolinas! There will be a lot of inspiration to be found for your painting in the mountains, and lots of people-watching in town. PM me when the move date gets closer and I'll try to scare up some contacts up there.

I know you have had some struggles lately, and I think you are moving positively and purposefully. I recently gave a eulogy for a dear friend who died unexpectedly at 51 (and who lived a joyful traveler's life), and I used these lines from James Taylor's Enough to Be On your Way in my talk. I thought of them again when thinking of your move:

Its enough to be on your way
Its enough just to cover ground
Its enough to be moving on
Home, build it behind your eyes
Carry it in your heart
Safe among your own

Best wishes on the new direction!
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Old 05-02-2008, 11:59 AM   #9
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Citrine, I'm glad you have a plan and I hope this works out nicely for you!

I have nothing to add to what the others have said regarding your plans, since I know absolutely nothing about either holistic medicine or massage therapy. I do know that in this forum there are a lot of people on a great variety of life paths who wish you the very, very best.

One thing that concerns me is that you didn't mention taking any of your paintings with you. Don't you want to take at least one or two favorites along?
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Old 05-02-2008, 12:14 PM   #10
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i credit massage for saving me from surgery after i ruptured discs l4 & l5 in a nasty construction accident. in fact, massage therapy was recommended to me by the then head of the university of miami's neurology dept. before that, my previous doctor wanted to cut me open. turns out that i successfully avoided surgery and am still in great shape some 25 years later.

i recommend massage often to anyone i see in pain. sometimes that is physical pain like what i experienced, sometimes it is stress (mom used to get weekly massages), sometimes it is even good simply for human contact. a friend of mine going through a phase where she hadn't had sex in two years (yikes) was becoming ill-mannered & short tempered so i insisted she get a professional massage. actually, first i tried getting her laid but she refused my offer to pay for an escort for her. see, now that's the sign of a good friend, someone who will get you laid. ooops, did i veer off topic?

anyway, good luck in your endeavors, citrine. a massage in the blue ridge mountains. not many better ways to spend an hour.
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Old 05-02-2008, 12:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum View Post
sometimes it is even good simply for human contact. a friend of mine going through a phase where she hadn't had sex in two years (yikes) was becoming ill-mannered & short tempered so i insisted she get a professional massage. actually, first i tried getting her laid but she refused my offer to pay for an escort for her. see, now that's the sign of a good friend, someone who will get you laid. ooops, did i veer off topic?
lazy, you crack me up!
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Old 05-02-2008, 12:46 PM   #12
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Citrine , Best wishes . I see more and more holistic centers opening down here so it is a promising field . Massages here in Sarasota run $60.00 an hour and are worth every penney .
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Old 05-02-2008, 12:47 PM   #13
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sometimes it is even good simply for human contact. a friend of mine going through a phase where she hadn't had sex in two years (yikes) was becoming ill-mannered & short tempered so i insisted she get a professional massage. actually, first i tried getting her laid but she refused my offer to pay for an escort for her. see, now that's the sign of a good friend, someone who will get you laid. ooops, did i veer off topic?

Now that is a good friend !
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Old 05-02-2008, 08:17 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone....I love this board....get a lot of great advice and practicality.
I have about five different jobs I can do part time there:

Barista at Starbucks (20 hrs/week= health insurance!)
Substitute Teacher ( I am working on getting certified in NJ)
PT Nanny
Administrative Assistant
Reiki treatments

I have 15K allocated for this move/career change.....plus I have 3 Reiki clients and a place to do the treatments in! Also, my Reiki teacher will be sending me some of her clients because she is too booked as it is. Things are falling into place....I just need to do the research and have an open heart!

Sarah.....thank you so much for your kind words and sharing that eulogy with me....it made me cry....in a good way!
Want2retire......I think I may have a couple to take with me. Most of my works have been sold already but I have the pictures with me always. Two more are waiting to be varnished before I turn them over to their owner. I have a few works waiting to be done....but a few of my friends have expressed an interest in buying my pieces which is absolutely amazing!
I am quite alright in just taking my memories, Casanova, some odds and ends, and my clothes....it is a start of a new life! Plus I refuse to pay $2000 to haul some furniture around with me!
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Old 05-03-2008, 05:32 PM   #15
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Hi Citrine,
Since this is a ER board, I wonder how old you are and if you have thought about how you will be saving for retirement? It's likely that you've already discussed this on another thread, so I apologize in advance.But the info would likely be helpful to those reading this current thread.

The massage therapists that I am acquainted with do not make a lot of money, work part time, and do have other jobs on the side. Also, have you talked to a health insurance broker about getting independent coverage and what it will cost? A good broker can pre-screen you so that you'll be able to gauge what your exclusions might be.

Life changes usually are quite heartfelt and necessary. I made one in 2004 after my divorce. Packed up everything of value in my car and mailed the rest of my necessary items by USPS. Left behind all my furniture, most clothing, and lots of stuff accumulated in 24 years of marriage. I wish you all the luck in the world.
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Old 05-03-2008, 06:09 PM   #16
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Citrine,

Asheville has got alot of publicity recently and everything that I have read (Outdoor mag, Nat'l Geographic Adventurer) suggests that it is a great place but my impression is that by the time that these sorts of places start to get a lot of publicity it is sometimes "to late" because a lot of people like youself that are looking for a "life style community" have already "discovered it" and then the yuppie types learn what a "cool place" it is and move in and drive up prices and change the character of the town that originally attracted people in the first place.

So if you decide to go this route you might want to look at that sleepy, blue collar mill town that is 50 miles down the road (I'm making this up, I don't have any idea if there is a sleepy mill town down the road from Asheville) and reminds people of what Asheville was like 25 years ago.

MB
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Old 05-03-2008, 07:26 PM   #17
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Citrine, good on you for taking the initiative to learn a new skill. There is some great advice from other posters. My HSA certainly covers massage by certified therapists and I have one regularly. I wonder if you have considered the hospitality industry? Spas seem to be everywhere, including cruise ships (although I'm not sure about Casanova's seaworthiness).

Life is the journey, not the destination!
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Old 05-03-2008, 07:41 PM   #18
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Oldbabe: I am 33 years old and will continue to keep saving and investing in the various vehicles....it may not be much for a year or two...but it is better than nothing. I also have a pension that I will receive at 55...not much about $157,000.

mb: I am on craigslist regularly and have noticed the prices creeping up in the Asheville area. I need to stay close for 6 months so I can commute to the school....after that, I will probably look into Black Mountain, Mars Hill, Bat Cave, and other areas.

Meadbh: My ultimate goal is to end up in one of the spas such as the Omega Institue or the Deepak Chopra centers.

I fully understand that I will have to work another job in addition to massage therapy. One of the things I have been doing with my life coach is envisioning the life I want and it includes two or three different jobs that I can do at the same time.
I hate the monotony of ONE job and the politics that are in corporate america. I would rather substitue teach during the day, do massage therapy at night, paint, and work at Starbucks on the weekend. I can make my own hours and have my own autonomy.
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Old 05-04-2008, 12:26 PM   #19
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I hate the monotony of ONE job and the politics that are in corporate america. I would rather substitue teach during the day, do massage therapy at night, paint, and work at Starbucks on the weekend. I can make my own hours and have my own autonomy.
Sounds great! I hope you're in good physical shape, because massage therapy is physically demanding.
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Old 05-04-2008, 12:36 PM   #20
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As for hospitals and hospices hiring massage therapists, I think you should not plan your future on this. This is a fad in established healthare, as I see it, and these places will only be hiring a few, well-established, and highly-recommended individuals. As the healthcare field will soon be under great economic pressure, any kind of accessory to mainstream health will be considered expendable. There will always be a need for qualified RN's. Not so for massage therapists. I know someone who considers herself a Reiki therapist. It's a total ego stroke for her and she's considered by others to be a joke. As I understand it, Reiki isn't taught, it's a gift. Either you have it or not. It's not something you take as a class.

It's a competitive world out there in the holistic medical field, be prepared.
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