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Planning For Retirement

Most people don’t plan to fail;
They fail to plan.

This slogan is not only a great marketing concept for a national insurance company; it is also the sad truth. Everybody has bills to pay. Learning to budget in order to pay those bills is not always easy. Finding room in that budget for retirement planning is sometimes very hard to do, yet it is essential. Unfortunately, it is the first thing dropped when the budget stretches thin.

Proponents of financial planning will tell you that you may need a written financial plan. This plan may be used as a tool to sell you insurance but it will also outline for you where you are spending your money and how much of what you earn is used to pay for your house, car, consumer debt, insurance, and savings. Knowing what your financial needs are is key to keeping them protected.

The idea of being debt free and financially independent by the time you retire is only a dream for far too many people. Why? Because they failed to plan or perhaps, failed to stick with the plan. Given the economics of today, we sure shouldn’t count on Social Security to provide us with anything more than the bare minimum. Life expectancy is growing and your retirement savings may need to stretch for many years. Retirement planning starts years before the goal of retirement is achieved. This planning needs to begin when the family is just starting out and when the need for protection is the greatest.

It is called the theory of decreasing responsibility. When you are young, and have small children, chances are that you have a high balance due on your mortgage and probably some consumer debt like a car payment and credit cards. So the need for protecting your main asset is very high, your main asset being you. Loss of income at this stage would be devastating. In these early years, you may not have a lot of money for the ‘what ifs’ of life. So insurance is required to properly protect your family from a spiraling circle of debt if the unthinkable were to happen. We don’t need insurance just to pay funeral costs; we need insurance to cover our loss and in this case, we are talking about the loss of a parent and the loss of income. Saving for retirement may be at the bottom of your list of priorities at this age but it needs to be on the list.

As you age, your responsibility decreases; your house is paid for or almost paid for, your kids grown, and your consumer debt is lower. So your insurance needs drop tremendously and those savings, which you have tucked away for years and years, are now ready to provide you with a retirement income.

You may ask how to achieve such a great plan. Well, a good start may be with the insurance you buy. The monthly cost of a whole life policy is enough to cover the cost of a term policy and a savings plan. With a whole life plan, the insurance company obviously insures you, and they will also invest your money in a fund for you, paying you a set interest rate from the growth of that fund. With a term plan, you pay a much lower premium for more coverage and you invest the difference yourself, say in a mutual fund, then you get to keep it all, setting yourself up with a nice little nest egg at retirement.

Starting this in your 20’s or 30’s keeps the premium low and provides the best chance at having your money grow. Without sounding like an insurance salesman, these policies are now offered for 35 years. If you started one at age 30, you would be 65 at the end of the term, and wouldn’t need to renew your policy at all. Why? Because you would have 35 years of savings ready for your retirement. Savings that could have you retiring with over a million dollars at age 65. It’s true, for example, if you invested $200 every month, in a mutual fund averaging 12%, at the end of those 35 years, it is possible, for you to have grown your money to; are you ready for this? $1.3 million!

Saving money in the bank has been stressed for decades but is it really the best place to grow money? Banks, if you’re lucky, may pay out 3%, and that $200 a month you are saving will give you $148,680 after 35 years. That great whole life insurance plan that has an investment feature built right into it, may offer you a 6% interest rate for a total pay out of $286,370. They will take your $200 a month; invest it in a higher yielding fund averaging 12%. Sure, they will pay you your 3% or 6%, but guess what they do with the rest of it. They keep it.

Finding the right investments are crucial. The power of compounded interest can not be ignored. Investment options and interest rates are tricky waters to wade through and professionals may be a tremendous help. A 6 % return on your money may sound like a great idea until you hear about compound interest and a rate of 12%. The point here is, it is all about choices. They are all yours to make. However, knowing what those choices are and how to make them work for you are the fundamental steps that you’ll need to take to reach your goal of financial independence.

Protecting Personal and Private Information in the Workplace

One of the biggest fears people have are losing their identities. Identity, in this case, means information that is both personal and identifying to a single individual. A common threat to employees in the workplace, however, has been the abuse of personal and private information by that of an employer or other employee. Actions such as this may leave an employer or employee facing charges in the courts.

What You Can Do

It is not a surprise to hear you do not have entire control of your personal and private information. When you apply for a job, you also hand over your social security number, past and current employment information, private phone numbers and addresses, and any kind of disabilities you may have.

If your employer works in a professional manner, you are less likely to fear this information being inappropriately handled. This means whatever information becomes leaked, may be by your hands.

Tips to protecting your personal and private information:

– Be professional

– Do not communicate information that is unrelated to work unless you have to

– Create a rapport with your employer that lets him or her understand that you prefer your personal and private information to be protected at all times

– Report suspicious activities that involve mishandling information to an employer, human resources, or a lawyer

– Keep any personal and private records at home or in a concealed area such as a cabinet, purse, wallet, or suitcase.

– Encourage productivity with your employers and do not encourage politics and rumors in the workplace

– Be cautious when informing your boss of a medical condition or of a necessary leave due to a medical condition. Never give out more than you need.

What You Cannot Do

Unfortunately, what information you can protect sometimes is outweighed by what you cannot control. Employers may feel they have the authority to distribute information to whomever they please, including themselves. Employers can be taken to court if they have abused your information for their own benefit, such as reviewing your medical history, contacting you through private contact information, or contacting your past employers for unrelated work matters.

Employers may also reveal personal and private information of an employee to other employees when he or she does not have the employee’s consent. Acts of unprofessionalism such as this deserve legal attention.

For more resources on protecting your personal and private information in the workplace, contact the Houston employment attorneys of the Ross Law Group. Joseph Devine


Mid-life does not have to be a crisis

Instead of buying a new car or having an affair, 39-year-old Steve Scipioni decided to deal with his mid-life crisis by losing 40 pounds.

The Brookfield resident said he had lost his high-paying information technology job six months ago and is separated from his wife.

In the last year and a half, three men whom Scipioni was close to died of massive heart attacks, he said. All three were about Scipioni’s age.

His own mortality flashed before him, Sciopioni said, when he saw his wife’s 45-year-old cousin lying dead in the emergency room.

“That could have been me,” Scipioni said. “I knew what I had to do.”

He had experienced bouts of depression earlier in his life, and knew he always felt better when he went to the gym.

“There are moments when you’re working out that you think you can’t muster the strength, but I would push through and then I would feel better,” Scipioni said.

He used this same strategy to deal with his mid-life crisis.

For six months, he strength-trained three times a week and cardio-trained three times a week.

He also overhauled his “all-American” diet of mostly fast food to comprise whole and natural foods.

When he started, he “had feelings of low self-esteem, low self-worth to the point where it’s like … ” Scipioni’s words trailed off.

“But now there’s nothing I can’t do. Now the greater the challenge, the more I want to take it on.”

Some people may fall in lust or buy a red sports car, said Kathy Caprino of Wilton, author of “Breakdown, Breakthrough.” But the vast majority of people find that those out-of-character actions don’t bring them the relief they are looking for.

A mid-life crisis does not have to be a negative thing, said Nancy Irwin, author of “You-Turn: Changing Direction in Midlife.”

“The middle of anything — whether life, school or your career — is when you sit back and naturally review, where did I come from and where am I going?” Irwin said. “You can look around at what’s missing in your life and what you can do to create it.”

If a middle-aged man always dreamed of being an NFL linebacker, it may be too late, but he can become a football coach and throw his passion into that, Irwin said.

Or someone who always wanted children and can’t biologically do so can get a foster child or do volunteer work with children.

Baby boomers are expected to live into their 100s, and younger generations well beyond that, Irwin said.

“I’m in my 50s and I’m only half done,” Irwin said. “Why should I close up shop and spend the rest of my days in front of the TV? There’s plenty of time to make personal, professional and lifestyle changes.”

Scipioni’s friend and fellow Brookfield resident Amy Birch is going through a major life change, as well.

She divorced her husband last year. With some guidance from Scipioni, she decided to work out and become more active.

That is not an uncommon way for women to deal with divorce and other major life changes, Caprino said.

“Many find it a way of empowering themselves, and they are letting go of parts of their life that didn’t work, while embracing the opportunity to be who they want to be,” Caprino said. “Areas that were neglected they can now take control of.”

Scipioni is reinventing himself on the eve of his 40th birthday in May. He wants to become a motivational speaker and lifestyle transformation coach.

He has actually wanted to transition into motivational speaking for years, but didn’t feel the confidence to make the leap until he changed his health.

And IT is not as different from motivational speaking as it seems, he said.

“On first blush, IT and motivational speaking seem to be on complete opposite ends of the spectrum, but in IT I always helped people,” Scipioni said. “When their computers were broken, I fixed them. The common thread is helping people. Doing personal speaking gets at a whole different level.”

On April 3 at 2 p.m. he will speak at Borders about how physical fitness saved his life.

He intends to open a studio, called Personal Training Services, in April on Federal Road in Brookfield.

By Vinti Singh at [email protected] or 203-731-3331 Courtesy News Times.

Now You See Me, Now You Don’t

In the past five months that I’ve spent interviewing women for my forthcoming book on navigating midlife, something rather interesting has come up. In almost equal numbers, midlife women are lining up for or against feeling “invisible” as a result of being 40 and older.

I wasn’t really expecting any one answer when I asked the question about whether or not they felt the media was ignoring them, but I guess I was assuming the responses would be less divided between two opposing camps of thought.

After talking with more than 60 women from all across the country, about 50% expressed concern that they were becoming marginalized because of their advancing years. The other 50% had no such concerns, in fact, I had to define more clearly and concisely what I meant by “invisible” in order for them to answer the question. It just wasn’t on their radar.

It got me thinking about what could account for such a stark difference in perspective. Did it have anything to do with how each person felt they were noticed in their younger years? Would someone who was attractive and used to having attention paid to her because of her looks be someone who begins to feel the world is seeing past her as she ages? Does it have anything to do with attractiveness, or is it something else entirely?

I do know that regardless of which camp these women landed in, neither side had any intention of actually being invisible. Whether or not they felt that the media has failed to keep pace with the midlife woman, they weren’t buying into the outdated belief that any woman past the age of 35 should be fitted for support hose and a rocking chair.

The women I’ve talked with are keenly aware of the various challenges that come with aging, and especially with aging as a woman in our culture. There are few, if any, role models to show them the way, so once again they are the trailblazers for the generations of women coming up behind them – just as they were in the previous decades. It’s a responsibility they don’t take lightly.

I’ve interviewed women who are changing their careers at midlife and beyond; who are going back to college to get their advanced degrees (one woman shared with me her decision to get her PhD so that she can work with teenagers- she’ll be 82 when she’s done with school); who are becoming artists, writers, vagabond travelers, social activists, and the list goes on and on.

What truly makes the difference between aging positively and aging that smacks of loss and decline is attitude. What women should be focusing on – and many, many already are – is acting their stage, not acting their chronological age, since improved health, wealth and resources have given most of them the opportunity to live another 25 years or more once they pass the 50 mile marker. That’s a tremendous stretch of time to spend sitting idly by, watching the world move on without them. Trust me, that is not a role I expect these boomer women to accept.

As a woman who sits squarely in the 50+ demographic, I have never felt more alive, more certain of who and what I am, and more passionate about what I want to share with the world. I do find it rather ironic that just as I feel like I’ve got it all together and am ready to explode out into the world, I’m sensing the cloak of invisibility nipping at my heels. But no worries – I can and will definitely outrun it, and I expect to have a lot of company along the way.

For those of you who are 40 and older, I’d really like to know where you fall in terms of feeling “invisible.” Do you feel the media and advertising does an effective job of marketing appropriately to the 40+ woman? If yes, tell me why you feel this way. If it’s no, please share your reasons and suggestions on what can be done better. Let’s dish, ladies!

How to Have a 4 Hour Work Week

Tim Ferris is seen as the Deepak Chopra of the digital world today for his book The 4-Hour Workweek, (NowExpanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content.)” For a 31 year old from Princeton and a Jujitsu cum tango master, writing a magic spell for a stressful life raises many eyebrows. The book promises to erase your worries and make you live a happy life. But many readers find the book’s pitch to abandon your full time job and follow the DEAL credo hard to swallow. In these dire times getting a part time job is nothing short of miraculous. But Tim Ferris’s loyal fans say DEAL (definition, elimination, automation, and liberation) is the real deal.

What’s the deal with the 4-hour Work Week

Tim Ferris notes that there only three currencies you can use in the world today-time, mobility, and income. These three currencies make the digital world go round. Ferris observes that over the last 3 three years, many people have been living like millionaires while other people were doing their work for them. This was made possible by outsourcing and staff leasing. The new rich is made up of people who are extremely good at running their own lives while other people run their business for them. That is the beauty of virtual business, says

Ferris.

The DEAL is on

Tim Ferris believes the idea of a 9-5 job and retirement doesn’t have any place in the wired world. To get this idea across, Ferris explains DEAL thus:

Definition is knowing exactly what you want in life. You have to be able to figure out your source of fears and happiness. Definition is being able to rise above your self and seeing a clear path ahead. When you know where you’re going, you can build your goals around it. Tim Ferris warns that it is a misguided idea to work hard today and look forward to a grand retirement tomorrow-sometimes tomorrow doesn’t come. Your best bet is the here and now.

By Elimination, Ferris means you have to think about time but not get bound by it. Create your own idea of time, is what he proposes. Working with time as your tool and not the other way around, will enable you to attain effectiveness, not efficiency. Ferris draws the line between the two: effectiveness means being able to do something that gives you the most benefits. Ferris suggests that you need to take time out to un-clutter your life with too many undone tasks, and do only the ones that you need to. To Ferris, multi-tasking does more bad than good.

Obviously Ferris is priming up his readers for a long and bumpy ride ahead. The American economy is in bad shape and it has caused immense stress to all. Though things are beginning to look up according to some quarters, the American economy is far from gaining recovery. Ferris’s “How to have a 4 Hour Work Week” strikes a sensitive nerve then, for it inspires you to becoming self-sustained in a time of crisis. That’s what he means by Automation. In brief, he wants us to be masters of our fate: Through outsourcing and offshore services, you can literally turn yourself into a one-man empire. With outsourced and offshore people working for you, you can focus on core company functions. So when everything runs smoothly, you get your business’s maximum return investment-your life.

Automation results in Liberation, although they overlap at some points. When you’re self-sustained you can do business anywhere. You’re no longer bound by office walls. Doing business online erases borders. Depending on your level of skill, you can do a lot on the Internet. This is the part where having an 8-5 job falls out of touch with today’s reality. We live in a wired world, all right, but it is this wired world that makes our life complicated: emails, instant messaging, virtual work, Internet marketing, GPS-enabled and 4G mobile phone, and so on. So to free ourselves from grip of a hardwired world, Tim Ferris suggests we turn it on its head: Get outsourced work to unravel your self from the knot.

Tim Ferris’s popularity as an author skyrocketed after the smashing success of How to Have a 4 Hour Work Week. But like all controversial works, the book is not exempt to bad publicity. Some people say Ferris sells pipe dreams. Others say his idea of a 4-hour workweek is incredibly out of step with the times. For all their rash comments, Tim Ferris lives a happy life and has won countless of converts. Now, they have got to say something about that.

Mel Tuaro is the resident blogger and writer at Web Agents Pro, an offshore staff leasing company based in the Philippines. Our team consists of business and Internet marketing specialists with have one goal in mind: to help our clients grow their business. If you are looking to hire your dedicated webmaster, web content writer, link builder, SEO specialist, virtual assistant, graphics designer, and web designer, go to http://www.webagentspro.com for more information.

Boomers Going Abroad for Healthcare

Most seniors are concerned with health issues. Increasing needs for medical care, the rising cost of that care and the outrageous price tag of prescription medications has many seniors these days choosing between paying their rent and paying for their medications.

Unfortunately, many baby boomers, those generally defined as having been born between 1946 and 1964, are finding themselves in a precarious situation due to the struggling economy, cutbacks in government aid, and an inability of many facilities to provide adequate care for a multitude of needs.

Seniors waiting for non-life-threatening conditions such as knee surgeries, cosmetic or plastic surgeries, obesity or weight loss treatment programs, hip resurfacing or hip replacement procedures and even vision or dental care are placed on increasingly growing waiting lists as priorities and life-threatening illnesses and injuries take precedence.

According to the Medical Tourism Magazine, 2010 will see nearly 75,000,000 baby boomers seeking or needing necessary medical treatment or surgeries. By the year 2030, nearly half of adults living in the United States will be over 50 years old. Life expectancy is lengthening, and more seniors are living well into their 90s and topping the 100-year-old mark. The need for care for such individuals is growing and the medical industry is scrambling to find ways to care for this generation.

Unfortunately, the health care system in the United States is wobbling, but that doesn’t mean baby boomers can’t find adequate healthcare, treatments, procedures or surgeries for their needs. Medical tourism is a booming industry, and has become an accepted and safe alternative to high medical costs, long wait times, and inadequate services found in Britain, Canada and the United States.

Arthritis, osteoarthritis, mild forms of dementia, and heart problems prompt many otherwise healthy seniors to seek medical treatments that will improve quality of life. Concerns regarding treatment of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or dementia are also high on the list of medical conditions that seniors worry about. So is the growing need for therapies and joint replacement surgeries. Unfortunately, such care is growing increasingly expensive and many boomers wonder if they will be forced to suffer in silence.

Global Boomer Tourists Leading the Way

Baby boomers and others of the post-World War II generation are not to be taken lightly or underestimated. This group of individuals has led the way in medical tourism to destinations in Asia, South America and Europe for excellent, high-tech state-of-the-art facility care, treatments and procedures for many years. According to the World Medical Tourism and Global Health Congress, the coming years will see nearly 17,000,000 Americans venturing beyond domestic borders for medical and healthcare in India, Thailand, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Croatia, and dozens of other international destinations with growing reputations for providing some of the best medical and surgical care in the world.

Alarming Cost of Medical Services in the 21st Century

Everyone’s worried about finances these days. Baby boomers who are set for retirement are now having to switch gears and transition from plans for retirement to staying in jobs an extra five or 10 years to meet rising living expenses and healthcare needs. Alarming statistics define that nearly 60% of today’s bankruptcies are caused by staggering medical expenses as a result of emergency surgeries, diagnosis of chronic illnesses, treatment of cardiac and bone diseases and processes as well as treatment for dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Seniors limited to Social Security or pension payments are in a particular predicament. Many seniors have moved in with family members to help share living expenses, save money and cut expenses, but don’t count this generation down and out.

Boomers Fighting Back

Baby boomers are one of the most educated generations, and easy access to Internet resources has encouraged and enabled many of today’s baby boomers to find reliable and timely resources for medical travel abroad.

Boomers are careful and patient when it comes to researching options, and more are finding that international medical facilities offer not only the care they need, but at prices they can afford. Traveling abroad for treatment and surgical procedures for everything from arthritis to stem cell transplants is the wave of the future. Improving quality of life, enjoying excellent and state-of-the-art healthcare and benefiting from lower healthcare costs in international medical destinations offers boomers the ultimate solution when it comes to their medical needs, today and tomorrow.

Article courtesy http://www.northislesailing.com/

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