Health Wealth

When we think of wealth, our attention often automatically shifts towards financial wealth. Of course, this is not the only indicator of how well off we are. Another area of our life that we should focus as much, if not more attention on is our health. How much use is a massive bank balance if we are not able to enjoy spending it? So rather than talk about financial well being, I want to spend some time considering things that we can do to ensure our health balance stays in the black.

There are really just a few things that we have to think about if we become health rich. These are:

  1. Diet
  2. Exercise
  3. Rest

By diet, I am not saying that we have to go on a diet, just that we have to make the right choices about the foods and drinks that we consume. Since we were kids, we have heard of the importance of fruits and vegetables. Not liking them is no excuse. They taste great. If you have never enjoyed fruit and veg then take a look at some juicer reviews and buy yourself one of these machines. There are cheap as well as expensive juicers on sale. Everyone can find at least three juices that they love. Who doesn’t like freshly squeezed orange juice? How about a strawberry, banana and milk smoothie? There are so many options available to us. Not liking fruit is nothing but an excuse. Delicious food and great health are not mutually exclusive.

A common excuse I hear is that I don’t have time to exercise. Well, do you have time to watch TV? Do you have time to go drinking at a bar? We find time for things that are important to us. Saying that we don’t have the time is simply lying to ourselves. Exercise doesn’t have to mean, going down to the gym. We could take a brisk walk, go for a cycle, play some sports or join a pilates class. There are loads of options available to us so even if one isn’t suitable, we could try something else.

Finally, we should not underestimate our need for rest, relaxation and sleep. While we may not need more than 8 hours sleep each night, if we are regularly getting less than 6 hours of sleep then this will surely eat into our health account.

A three pronged attack of eating well, taking regular exercise and getting a good night’s sleep is the best way to ensure our physical health and keep us in the best condition to be able to look after our financial well being.

Why Are US Baby Boomers Considering Central America For Retirement?

According to Generation Mortgage Co, almost 80 percent of US baby boomers are afraid they wont be able to retire comfortably. They’re facing shrinking nest eggs, investment properties that have lost value, a weak job market, and a rising cost of living. Add to this expensive health care plans and under-insurance, and it’s no surprise that a growing number are starting to shift their perspective beyond US shores.

The US Social Security Administration reported that the number of retired Americans receiving benefits overseas has increased 32 percent since 2002. That number is set to grow. Many are bypassing Florida for their retirement and heading a little further south to countries like Costa Rica, Belize, Panama and Nicaragua.

The Central American region benefits from a close proximity to the US mainland and the number of direct flights from Miami, Houston, Los Angeles and Atlanta increases each year. But the key attraction is a massively reduced cost of living, making the promise of a full and rich retirement still possible despite the trying financial times. Retirees who have made the move say they can “live a life of luxury” for under $1500 a month. In Nicaragua, some US baby boomers scale that number down even further to $950 a month, and that still includes a full time maid.

Added to this are a host of extra benefits and incentives available to retirees under government designed retirement residency programs. In Nicaragua and Belize for example, the retirement age is just 45 and ‘retirees’ are eligible for exemptions on local taxes and are not taxed on income earned out of the country. In Panama the retiree program also offers discounts on a number of medical, travel and entertainment expenses.

The real estate in the region remains highly affordable. A report by international property site RevealRealEstate.com showed that Nicaragua real estate in particular stands out as offering very low cost property options, significantly lower than Costa Rica and Belize, for example. With beachfront property available for a fraction, even 1/10 the price of property in the US, that ocean side retirement dream is no longer out of reach for many US baby boomers willing to make the move.

Importance of Saving Money When You Are Young

We all understand the need to save money regularly. But do you know just how beneficial it can be? A 10 year old setting aside just $20 per week into a savings account until they are 18 adds up to $7,680. When interest and the time value of money is figured into the equation, the amount would exceed $10,000. Young people who understand the importance of saving money may never have to worry about seeking out fast debt solutions later on in life. Saving for our children’s futures ourselves is another option.

Teaching Kids About Saving and Managing Money

Kids who are taught how to save and manage money at very young ages often grow up with “money smarts”. A great way to introduce the concept of saving money to a child is by using a piggy bank and depositing money into it occasionally as a reward for good behavior. As a reward for diligently saving their money, the piggy bank can be emptied and partially (or even entirely) used for a special toy or game. Allowing kids to buy their own toys will show them the importance of making wise choices with their money; you can only spend that money once!

Kids who are slightly older can learn about saving money if they are given a reasonable allowance on a weekly basis. Opening a savings account for a child is also a good idea – especially with all the savings account incentives available for minors. Parents should encourage their children to save some of their allowance money for things they really want or need, rather than spend it all as soon as they receive it. When kids learn first-hand that money doesn’t grow on trees and that you generally have to do something to earn it, they may be less likely to get in debt for things they can’t really afford as they get older.

Saving Money Goes Beyond Putting Away Cash

There are lots of other practical ways to save money besides physically putting it away in a safe place. Parents can set good examples for their children by living frugally. This doesn’t mean doing without anything extra at all, but rather, making children understand that things that cost money shouldn’t be taken for granted or wasted. Some parents put this idea into practice by limiting “treats” like fast food to once or twice per month rather than multiple a times a week and reserving expensive gifts for birthdays, the holidays, or whenever a child has saved up enough money on their own to buy what they want.

Saving with E-cigarettes

One of the worst things about smoking cigarettes, apart from the fact that your nicotine habit is slowly killing you, is the fact it now costs a small fortune to keep yourself stocked up with your preferred tobacco products. In fact, with a pack of cigarettes in many states now costing over $9, a pack a day smoker will find themselves shelling out well over $3000 a year to get they regular fix. That’s a lot of cash in anyone’s language so it’s no wonder more of us than ever are trying to quit in these tough economic times.

The only problem of course is that nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs on the planet and giving it up is far easier said than done. For this reason many electronic cigarette retailers are quick to point out the money saving possibilities of their untaxed products in relation to tobacco. They want us to believe that we can save fortune if we use e cigs as a replacement for whatever we happen to be smoking at the moment.

If you visit many of the web sites dedicated to the e cigarette you will see they contain a saving calculator which informs us of how much extra cash we’ll have after a year of using the device. All of them will tell you that you will get an awesome discount if you make the switch, and as a user of e cigarettes myself I wanted to investigate to see just how much extra cash I’ll have in my bank account after 12 months.

Let’s take a look at just how much of a saving you can make if you decide to switch over to this interesting new gadget:

Green Smoke e cigarettes are one of the most popular products on the market, and in my opinion also one of the best. A complete starter kit from this company will cost you $130 and contains everything you need to get underway. This seems like quit a bit of cash but it’s a one off purchase after which your costs are greatly reduced. The refills come in at $61 for 20 and I, as a former 20 a day smoker, use one each day.

So I’ve worked out that I will need approximately 365 carts a year at $3.05 each, which comes in at a total cost of $1113.25 to keep myself in nicotine.

One thing to keep in mind is that the batteries which come with your starter kit aren’t going to last you forever as they eventually lose their ability to holda charge. I reckon you will have to budget for 3 or 4 new ones each year at a cost of about $140. You’ll also want to pick up a carry case for $20 so you can carry your kit around with ease.

So let’s add all that up and see how much we can save using an e cigarette for a year:

Cost of a year’s supply of tobacco: $3285

Green Smoke Starter Kit: $130
Nicotine Cartridges: $1113.25
4 spare batteries: $140
Carry case: $20
Total cost for e cigarettes: $1403.25

Approximate savings: $1881.75

As you can see the average smoker can make a substantial savingif they are willing to use the e cig instead of tobacco. It’s not quite as much as most of the retailers would have you believe but it’s more than enough money to make it worthwhile for anyone who is trying to cut costs. Not only that, but most smokers find that their health improves when they make the switch thanks to the fact they are no longer inhaling tar and carbon monoxide. Electronic cigarettes are certainly something you will want to take a look at.

Is A 401k Rollover The Right Choice, Right Now?

If you’re employed and your company offers a 401k plan where they match the contributions, you would be crazy not to participate. A 401k plan helps you secure your retirement years so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. You didn’t work hard for nothing, right? Not only is investing a smart choice but another great benefit of the 401k is that you can roll it over to a new employer if you ever change companies. This allows you the opportunity to keep your money moving as you move. There are however some situations where a 401k rollover to a new employer may not be the right option for you to take at this point. Maybe your new employers investments aren’t that appealing or they may have limited options to choose from. In a situation like this, you may consider these options:

o You can leave your current investments right where they are, so long as your previous employer allows it.

o You could cash out your 401k.

o You can enroll in an outside account such as an IRA.

The choice you make out of these 3 options is going to depend greatly on your current situation and financial needs, for example:

Not Sure What To Do

If you are not sure what to do or need some time to research your new employers 401k options, keep the money where it is if it’s allowed. You may have to pay some maintenance fee’s because you’re no longer employed but if your 401k is doing well you may be better off leaving it there for while or at least until you can get financial help from a professional.

Your Needs

Sure, you are saving for retirement but as we all know emergencies can show up on our doorstep uninvited and unexpected. This may be a situation where you would need to cash out your 401k. You will pay some big fines and penalties but sometimes you’ve run out of financial resources. Another option, a smart option, would be to roll it into an IRA account and withdraw money as you need it. The penalties you pay will be a lot less.

Your Choice of Investments

If the investment options that are presented to you from your new employer aren’t great, consider an IRA. Your portfolio should include stocks and bonds and mutual funds and so if you’re not satisfied with the 401k offerings an IRA may be the right place for you to rollover your funds.

Think carefully about your situation and remember that unless you absolutely have to, don’t cash out your 401k. Rolling over is a much better option to ensure that your money continues to be invested.

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