Saturday, June 27, 2020

Will You Be Able To Retire? Building A Positive Financial Future

man and woman sitting on bench near two bikes viewing green field during daytime

The idea of retirement can often seem like a joke to modern workers. National retirement ages are always going up, pensions aren’t anywhere near as good as they used to be, and the cost of living for the elderly has been steadily increasing over the last few decades. For those who haven’t had the chance to make their own savings, these problems can make it incredibly difficult to retire at the right age, leaving countless people worried that they won’t ever be able to retire. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way, and this post is here to show you how a different approach can improve your chances of finishing work at the right time.

Investments & Savings

Making your own savings and investments can often carry more risk than a pension service, but will give you the chance to build your own security in case you find yourself unable to access your pension when you need to. There are loads of ways to handle this sort of approach, and many people choose this over relying on their pension, though it could be worth reading the rest of this article before you dive in.

Financial Preparation

Alongside making sure that you have savings behind you, it can also be smart to work on preparing your finances to make them ready for retirement. Debts should be settled, any big saving you need to do should be handled, and you should make sure that you don’t have any unnecessary commitments to cover after you’ve finished earning money. This will make it much easier to enjoy your savings and pension, while also putting less pressure on you to work as you get older.

Build Side Income

While many people look at retirement as finishing work completely, this time in your life could give you an excellent chance to start making money through things you enjoy. A side income can come from loads of different sources, from a regular job to a business that you start yourself. Having this established before you retire will limit the work you have to do to keep it going while giving you the chance to supplement your pension with a little extra to make it easier to cover your lifestyle.

Getting Expert Support

Understand your finances can be hard, and a lot of people find themselves struggling with retirement when they try to balance it out. Professional finance planners like Gary Scheer can help you to manage and plan for retirement, providing you with the advice and support you need to improve this side of your life without having to stress about it. Getting help like this will enable you to uncover ideas that you may not have considered by yourself.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of being able to retire at the right age. It’s becoming increasingly common for people to struggle with work like this, and this means that you have to put in the right amount of effort if you’re going to succeed.

Friday, June 26, 2020

The Importance of a Lockdown Routine


The Coronavirus pandemic has probably had a significant impact on your life. Never before has the world experienced something on the scale of a global lockdown. It goes to show how fragile society is, regardless of how advanced technology we may be.

As well as getting used to the new normal, a lot of people struggle with maintaining a routine that resembles their previous one. The fact that you’re not working and can’t leave the house encourages you to indulge in behavior you’d typically resist. Lying in bed in the morning and going to bed late are two prime examples.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

What You Didn’t Know About Satellites



If your television gets the news channel, you may be using a satellite dish. This parabolic dish acts as receiver of radio signal and broadcasts. The fascinating technology created through scientific studies are one of the main reasons why you have so many entertainment options. Once a satellite dish installation Columbus happens, these satellite dishes receive direct broadcasts from a satellite up in space. Here are some cool facts about these fascinating objects.

Not All Satellites are Manmade

A satellite is really anything that orbits the earth. Some of these are artificial and sent up in space intentionally. Others are just space junk. Some, like the moon, are just objects orbiting the planet.
Most manmade satellites are shot into orbit with the help of a rocket. Sputnik 1, technology developed by Russia, was only the size of beach ball. Its orbit took 98 minutes to revolve completely around the Earth.

GPS stands for Global Positioning System

The technology you use to navigate your city is guided by 20 satellites orbiting the earth. They give precise data of any location of the Earth. Next time you use your GPS app, thank those orbiting satellites for their help.

They Don’t Function Forever

Satellites are built to last as long as possible out in space. They are built to withstand harsh environments, so the radiation and space vacuum won’t affect their functionality. They also must put up under three times the force of gravity during the launch, and then adjust to weighing less up in space. Solar power keeps the machines running, but the average lifespan of a satellite is only about nine years.

Although it is nice to receive clear television due to your satellite dish, there’s a lot more behind the way it works. Satellites are incredible and manmade satellites are built to make life easier for us.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Major Parties Demand Major Planning



While planning a massive event might sound like fun in theory, in practice it's a logistical nightmare. Being in charge means that responsibility rests with you when things go wrong. The spectacular failure of Fyre Festival and its ensuing aftermath drastically demonstrates what happens when proper planning is ignored. Don't make the same mistakes, lest you suffer the dire consequences.

Secure a Suitable Space

A host's first priority for any party is anticipating the number of guests. It's easier to have fewer festival-goers on the big day than attempting to accommodate excess attendees at the last minute. Therefore, it's best to be liberal in your estimate.

After completing your calculations, you'll need to find a facility big enough to hold everyone. Perhaps there's a fairground in the area with ready amenities, or a large piece of open land you can lease from a private owner. In either case, local authorities will insist on permits for setup, sanitation, noise, concessions and all other behind-the-scenes activities necessary for pulling off a successful festival.

Have Adequate Bathrooms

When nature calls, there's no choice but to answer. To do so in public would quickly cause area conditions to become unsanitary. The answer for festival planners is contracting a company who specialize in bathroom rentals for concerts and other large-scale events to handle this vital part of the equation.

A good rule of thumb is to have one toilet for every 50 people, so leasing multiple toilets is likely the practical option. Regarding quality, the better the bathrooms are to begin with, the cleaner they should stay throughout the event. Restroom trailers tend to be the best bargain in terms of both space and sanitation. With up to 10 stalls per unit, trailers also feature full-flush toilets, sinks and sometimes showers for long-term attendees.

Nobody wants their event mentioned in the same sentence as Fyre Festival and similar fiascos. Proactive planning and thorough follow-through are the ultimate safeguards against this disgraceful fate.

When it's Over: Separating from your Spouse in a Healthy Way

When a marriage breaks up, whether it’s just a trial separation, a more permanent separation or a full-on divorce, it’s a devastating and stressful time. Dealing with the feelings and the fallout caused by the dissolution of a long relationship can be heartbreaking, to say nothing of the added stress involved with splitting up finances, belongings, and a potential custody battle. Worse, it takes some time for these issues to be resolved; it’s not a quick fix in most cases. 

Photo Credit: Ketut Subiyanto

    While it’s inevitably going to be a hard time no matter how you look at it, there are ways to make your separation go a little easier. 
    The first thing you want to do is talk to your soon-to-be former partner as civilly as possible, and try to come to an agreement to keep things civil and friendly. It can be hard when feelings are running hot, and there’s heartbreak and anger on both sides. But if you and your ex can keep things civil and calm, it will go much easier for both of you, and healing can come much faster. 
    Hiring a family lawyer is also a very important step in the marriage separation process. Even the most amicable of splits require a lawyer in most cases; just to make sure that division of property, finances and custody agreements are all done above-board and fairly. Hiring a lawyer doesn’t mean that you don’t trust your ex or that things will turn nasty; it’s just ensuring that you’re protecting your assets and property, as well as doing things the legal, proper way. Make sure you take the time to get quotes and if possible, consultations with a few different family law firms/solicitors in your area, to determine which one can best represent you. Preferably, you’ll choose a lawyer who has experience and a history of good settlements in similar cases to yours. 
    Once you’ve chosen a lawyer, you’ll begin the process of legal separating. This includes agreeing to and signing any initial or temporary custody and housing agreements (these may be modified later by a judge or with a further settlement); arranging for any supports such as child support or alimony; division of property and belongings; further discussions, agreements and settlements; possible court appearances in the event that a settlement can’t be reached, and finally, signing a final agreement, divorce papers, and so on. Your lawyer will be there to assist with the majority of this, and it will usually take place over a period of months (years in some more involved cases). Generally speaking, the more amicable and agreeable the parties are, the faster the process goes, though any good lawyer understands fully that this isn’t always possible. If you have extenuating circumstances that make it hard for you to be amicable with your former partner, don’t feel that you have to acquiesce to their demands or expectations just to “keep the peace”. Your lawyer will make sure you are taken care of and that any settlement you reach is fair and just. 
    Once all documents are signed and everything is final, you’ll begin the process of moving on with your life. This may mean moving to a new home or city; learning to parent on your own or dealing with an empty home; getting used to a new financial situation and budget; or just dealing with being on your own again. Be easy with yourself and take the time to heal from the separation. Don’t put too high expectations on yourself right away. Separation is a process that takes time to get used to. If you’re having trouble dealing with your feelings or moving on, don’t be afraid to speak to a therapist or professional about your feelings. They’re there to help. 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Reasons Christmas In July Is Awesome

It’s almost time for Christmas in July. The chances are you may have seen some ads already talking about Christmas in July, and some of the sales and promotions can be pretty great. But you don’t have to put up trees and deck the halls with beautiful baubles and sparkles – unless you really want to.

Christmas in July is a little bit genius. Often between Christmas and New Year’s, that isn’t all that much to look forward to. And there are only six months to go before the holiday season really gets into full swing. So actually for people who want to make sure that they save money, and have all the gifts that they want to get well in advance. Christmas in July is actually perfect.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Here is how you can turn Christmas in July into a debt-free holiday season.

Off-season

No one in the height of July and August in most countries is even considering putting on a sweater. They don’t want to wear thick socks, and they certainly don’t want to wear hats either. Which makes it an ideal time to buy those things. Because they will be incredibly cheap up until October, and then they will go back to the ‘normal’ price. The same way that January sells a range of summer clothing. 

But it’s not just clothes, you can get Christmas scented candles, Christmas baking trays, even decorations. Spend some time online, and you can find almost anything you need for the Christmas season.

Declutter

Almost everyone will start cleaning their homes, neatening and tidying up things as we come into spring and summer. This means it is the ideal time for you to do the same. Instead of waiting until it’s almost Christmas and having to try to make room for trees and decorations, you can start by decluttering things that you honestly don’t need in the home anymore. You can also use the money from the sales to put towards your off-season purchases.

This means for the festive season rolls around you will already be well ahead of the curve, with space and presents all ready. 

Christmas Savings

Take Christmas in July as your time to start saving. Ensure that you put a few dollars, or pounds aside every week. As well as indulging in some off-season clothing, and decluttering and selling goods that you don’t need. 

You can make the most of a savings account once December hits. For example, you can buy all of your fresh food for Christmas in one go, and you already have all of your presents under control.

And who doesn’t really enjoy a roast dinner any time of the year? You can use July as a month to have some delicious food that you would usually only have during the festive season. Make mince pies and Christmas cookies. Without you might have to wait till later in the evening to eat it if you live somewhere that's quite hot. 

Oh and remember to buy your ugly Christmas jumpers ready for December!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Some Important Points to Keep in Mind About Foreign Income and Taxes

Diversifying your income is always a good idea to combat the ups and downs of the global economy. When you have foreign income, it is essential that you understand the impacts of taxation on that income. A misstep could end up costing you a lot in the long run.

Do You Have To Pay Taxes?

The IRS reminds you that if you are a U.S. citizen, it does not matter where you live or work, you must pay U.S. income tax. There are some credits or exclusions that you may be able to get, but it is imperative that you file your taxes each year with the IRS to avoid issues.
This rule also applies to any legal resident who holds a green card. Unless you give up your status, you must pay U.S. income tax.

What Is the Foreign Tax Credit?

If you have income in a foreign country, then that country will also likely want you to pay taxes on it. The IRS recognizes the taxes you pay to other countries through the foreign tax credit, which Forbes explains is a deduction you can take on your U.S. income taxes for other taxes you pay. Do note that this credit only applies to taxes you owe. It is not a refundable credit.

What Other Rules Should I Know?

When foreign filing New York NY, you should also be aware that you need to check completely for all possible exclusions, credits, and deductions you can take. There is a range of options, but it is easy to overlook them. Make sure that you carefully review all IRS publications for foreign income to get the maximum benefits.

Don't Get In Trouble With the IRS

Finding yourself in a sticky situation with your taxes is never a good thing. So, make sure that you understand your obligations when it comes to foreign income before tax time. Protecting yourself in this situation is about how much you know.

3 Tips For Giving The Perfect Gift In Quarantine


The thing about quarantine is that it’s happened to everyone. No matter who you are, where you’re from or your standing in society, you will have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic which has swept our world. We have all felt isolated, confused and frustrated - and in many places, quarantine is continuing long after we’ve become bored of it.

One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is our celebrations. Despite what’s going on in the world, we are still having birthdays, anniversaries, and exciting news which warrants gift giving! It seems impossible, though, to think of anything to buy for your friends and family, who have all undergone a stressful period. You want your gift to mean something, but are worried it won’t come off quite right. Never fear! Here are three key tips for gift giving in quarantine.
  1. Keeping It Personal

Everybody is feeling extra-fragile at this time. Especially for those who are living alone, a lack of social interaction is very detrimental to a person’s mental health. If you know someone celebrating a birthday or other special occasion who has felt low during this quarantine, make sure your gift is personal. Instead of a generic buy, think of things that are specific to that person, their tastes and their sense of comfort, such as a personalized name necklace

For example, someone who enjoys personalized messages might enjoy receiving some jewelry with handwriting from you. This is an intimate touch to a generic gift - and something they can keep for life. 
  1. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask

Many people shy away from asking a person outright what kind of gift they want. It seems like a cop-out, a last resort, because you couldn’t think of anything! However, during quarantine, many people have struggled not just mentally but financially. This might mean that someone you’re shopping for may be behind on buying new things for their home, or in need of new clothes. Even something practical for their home might be what their heart desires most!

In these circumstances, reaching out is so important. Asking someone, ‘What do you need?’ is an act of love - even if you feel a little hesitant to do that. The person receiving your gift will be appreciative of the fact that you have reached out personally to them and asked them directly how they are doing, and how you can help.
  1. Something To Look Forward To

Just because your friend is celebrating in quarantine, it doesn’t mean you have to give them a quarantine-related gift! Quite the opposite. Being savvy enough to realize that this person is probably living for the moment their life can resume, makes you an awesome friend. Gifting them something they can use at that time is a great idea. Perhaps vouchers for their favorite restaurant which might currently be closed, or booking a spa day to celebrate re-openings. This will give this person something to hold onto while they endure more weeks of solitude. Plus, it’s something you can enjoy together, celebrating their occasion long after quarantine is over!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Train Your Brain to Break Habits and Boost Productivity


We all have habits, routines, and patterns that don’t work in our best interests: it could be smoking, over-eating, procrastinating, or snacking. On the reverse side, there might be things we’d like to get into more, like healthy eating, exercise, or being more productive, but we never seem to get around to it. 

If this sounds like you, you're not alone! According to New York Times business writer Charles Duhigg, whose book The Power Of Habit explores the science behind habit-forming - our brains are hard-wired to fall into patterns. There is the habit-loop, he says, which is a three part process. First, there is a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode. Next, there’s the routine, the unfolding of the automatic behaviour; then there’s the reward - that little hit your brain gets that reinforces the loop. 

According to neuroscience habit patterns are located in an area of the brain called the Basal Ganglia. This part of the brain is responsible for emotions, memory, and pattern recognition. Meanwhile, decisions are made in the prefrontal cortex, which effectively goes to sleep during part two of the habit-loop - following the trigger. 

This is one reason a change to our environment can help us change our habits. When we go on holiday, for instance, none of the usual triggers is there, so we find ourselves craving things less, feeling different, and making new promises to ourselves.  

The good news is we don’t have to go on holiday to break the cycle of bad habits or get into productive patterns. We can train our brains to pull in the direction we want them to. 

Brain re-training 

The body learns as well as the brain. Actually, it’s an intelligent machine with signals and feedback loops communicating regularly with our brains, and therefore us.

What we put into our body has an effect on how we feel and what we crave. If we eat a lot of salty-sweet food, our bodies quickly learn that this is what to expect. It distributes the energy and nutrients it has available as best it can. In the case of ice-cream and popcorn, much of it is stored as fat. 

Since the reward centre of our brain is triggered by those foods we crave them all the more and it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle. Luckily our bodies learn quickly, and if we swap ice-cream and popcorn for smoothies and healthy snacks, we will soon notice the benefits of healthy juices.

Wake-up your muscle memory

Exercise works in the same sort of way. The basal-ganglia is relatively instimulated in an environment that is routine and predictable. If we see the same things day-in, day-out, then we feel the same things too.

If there is nothing new in our environment to stimulate a new mood, feeling, or emotion, we will be destined to repeat the same old habits ad Infinitum. But we don’t need to book a flight to Tenerife to free-up an ingrained habit or routine. It’s easier than you might think.

Use your prefrontal cortex to make a decision. Decide to do something new and different, something you’ve never done before. It could be as simple as walking instead of driving, jogging instead of walking; or doing some yoga to wake up your muscle memory.

Creativity 

Do you think you aren’t a creative person because you could never draw anything decent in art class? Chances are you are creative and express it everyday in the way you communicate, in the choices you make, and in the routines you choose to follow. 

You don’t have to be a gifted artist to get the rewards of a creative life. Reading, writing, painting, photography, meditation, walking, are all creative pursuits that can help tell your basal ganglia that you're into something new. 

Journaling is an excellent habit to start. Writing just 500 words a week, that’s three pages of a small notebook, is a wonderful way to reflect on the previous few days. Any worries you have are sure to come up as you write and you will get a clearer picture of where you’re at and what you need. After you’ve written through your worries, keep on writing and enjoy the process. 

Remember the basal-ganglia is a powerful emotional centre, but it’s not your enemy. It will only respond to any stimulus that comes its way. The more joy you discover in your creative life the more your brain will enjoy it to, and start to crave it.

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