Retirement Income

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Why we resort to retail therapy

<p><span>We all have our own ways to blow off steam – but for some, making an impulse purchase seems to be the answer.</span></p> <p><span> A study from the University of Michigan found that shopping can reduce sadness by restoring one’s sense of control in life. </span></p> <p><span>The researchers discovered that making buying decisions helped reduce negative emotions by subverting the belief that “situational forces control the outcomes in one’s life”.</span></p> <p><span>Although some may worry that impulse treats may put a dent in their wallet and therefore make their mood even worse, another <a href="https://northstarpsych.com/files_uploaded/8df9f1b646b4900b8dd33849f6e898c5.pdf">study</a> published in <em>Psychology &amp; Marketing</em> suggested that buyer’s remorse is not an issue. “There seem to be few, if any, downside consequences of engaging in the unplanned purchase of treats,” the researchers wrote. The study participants, they wrote, “did not experience anxiety, guilt, or buyer’s remorse,” nor did they “attempt to engage in compensatory activity” or “suffer a downturn in mood post-purchase”.</span></p> <p><span>However, retail therapy can only go so far in repairing mood and reducing stress. The study said shopping helps temporary and mild slumps but not “chronic negative conditions” such as loneliness. </span></p> <p><span>“We are currently dealing with small transactions and fleeting emotions. I am interested in larger purchases and chronic conditions,” said Scott Rick, a marketing professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “How far can the healing go?”</span></p> <p><span>If you want to reap the benefits while still keeping your budget in check, there are a few tricks you can apply. Katherine Burson, a marketing professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business recommended using your imagination. “The people who simply imagine that they are buying have less sadness at the end of the experiment, suggesting that imaginary shopping may have some of the restorative benefits we see in real shopping, which might be the ultimate solution,” said Burson.</span></p> <p><span>You can also make the shopping experience a little less practical by using cash instead of card and removing your credit card details online – you are <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/07/30/can-shopping-become-an-addiction_a_23057029/">less likely</a> to buy on a whim if you have to produce bills or manually enter your information.</span></p> <p><span>Finally, wait it out – making decisions in a tight time span can cloud your judgment over the true necessity of the item. Plan ahead and give yourself some time before committing to fork out some money.</span></p>

Retirement Income

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These are the world's most valuable brands in 2019

<p>Apple has topped <em>Forbes</em>’ list of the world’s most valuable brands for the ninth year in a row.</p> <p>The world’s 100 most valuable brands in 2019 are worth a cumulative US$2.33 trillion (AU$3.34 trillion / NZ$3.52 trillion), increasing by 8 per cent from the previous year according to the magazine’s annual list released in late May.</p> <p>Tech giants dominated the list, led by Apple with a brand value of US$205.5 billion, up 12 per cent over the past year. The company – which was noted for its unique ability to move its customer base from one product category to another – has become the first to cross the $200 billion threshold.</p> <p>Google came in second with US$167.7 billion in brand value, followed by Microsoft (US$123.5 billion) and Amazon (US$97 billion). Facebook rounded up the top five with a value of US$88.9 billion, down 6 per cent over the past 12 months.</p> <p>Brands from 16 countries made the 2019 list. US companies comprised the majority with 56 brands among the top 100, as well as 80 per cent of the top 10. Other prolific countries included Germany with 11 brands, France with seven and Japan with six.</p> <p>No New Zealand companies made the final cut.</p> <p><strong>World’s most valuable brands:</strong></p> <ol> <li>Apple (US$205.5 billion)</li> <li>Google (US$167.7 billion)</li> <li>Microsoft (US$125.3 billion)</li> <li>Amazon (US$97 billion)</li> <li>Facebook (US$88.9 billion)</li> <li>Coca-Cola (US$59.2 billion)</li> <li>Samsung (US$53.1 billion)</li> <li>Disney (US$52.2 billion)</li> <li>Toyota (US$44.6 billion)</li> <li>McDonald’s (US$43.8 billion)</li> </ol> <p>Find the full list <span><a href="https://www.forbes.com/powerful-brands/list/#tab:rank">here</a></span>.</p>

Retirement Income

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When is it OK to spend money on yourself?

<p><span>One of the most common financial wisdom is to skip on gratifications – buy home brands, cut back on takeouts, make your own coffee, stay in for the weekend and more. However, most financial experts agree that frugality is not always helpful. In fact, there are some circumstances where spending will bring more benefits to your life than saving.</span></p> <p><span>“There is more to life than repaying debt or saving for a rainy day,” said Ryan Guina, founder of <a href="https://cashmoneylife.com/spending-money-is-good/"><em>Cash Money Life</em></a>. “Money is for spending. Money is for living.”</span></p> <p><span>Here are some of the occasions where you do not have to lose sleep over splurging. </span></p> <p><strong><span>When you’re in a transition</span></strong></p> <p><span>Life changes – be it a new job, a new city or a breakup – can be difficult to navigate. Setting aside some discretionary cash will help you <a href="https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2018/02/its-okay-to-increase-your-discretionary-spending-sometimes/">start afresh</a> and settle in. Making acquaintances, becoming part of a new community and rethinking what you want out of life often means spending money. During these times, don’t feel guilty about taking a class, trying out neighbourhood restaurants, joining book clubs or buying new clothes – they are likely to be worthwhile expenses.</span></p> <p><strong><span>When quality is important</span></strong></p> <p><span>Being frugal does not always mean resorting to the cheapest options. Longevity comes at a cost – a low retail price may not mean much if the product wears out more easily or needs to be replaced after minimum use. For example, getting a budget vehicle may not do your wallet any favour if they are a gas-guzzler or require frequent repairs, upgrades and maintenance works. The same goes with furniture, appliances and other everyday items such as bags and wallets – is your time worth the hassle of dealing with broken products?</span></p> <p><strong><span>When time is key</span></strong></p> <p><span>It’s wise to prepare a fund for a rainy day, but there is also a positive side to seizing the day. A recent study</span> <span>published in the <a href="https://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty-and-research/anderson-review/occasion-matching"><em>Journal of Marketing Behavior</em></a> found that delayed gratification can backfire as we wait too long to enjoy special things. The researchers discovered that people were more likely to wait for the “right” occasion to use things that are labelled as more special, such as chocolates from a fancy boutique or a VIP concert pass. Moreover, those who delayed were eventually less satisfied with the things and expressed more regret than those who did not wait.</span></p> <p><span>Our time in the world is limited, and there can only be so much memories. If your financial health is in shape, do not put off your plans. Cash out that gift card, take your dream trip, go and attend that concert – in other words, enjoy the things that prompted you to save up in the first place.</span></p>

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Why you should reframe your financial goals

<p><span>Ever heard the mantra that we need $1 million or more for a comfortable retirement? This is one of the many popular financial goals that revolve around specific numbers – for example, saving $30,000 for a home loan deposit or collecting $10,000 in savings in a year. Settling on a target amount to save may seem wise at first – it can give you a clear idea on what you should achieve and help you strategise on ways to get there.</span></p> <p><span>However, there is more to personal finances than dumping cash to your savings account.</span></p> <p><span>Focusing on numbers may not be the best way to frame your goals. As the personal finance website <em>The Financial Diet </em>said, “Accumulating money for the sake of a number misses the point entirely – life should be treated as a story you are writing, and money should be the ink that helps you write, not the story itself.”</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">"Being rich" is among the most empty goals a person can have. Accumulating money for the sake of a number misses the point entirely -- life should be treated as a story you are writing, and money should be the ink that helps you write, not the story itself.</p> — The Financial Diet (@TFDiet) <a href="https://twitter.com/TFDiet/status/1117800774724128768?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 15, 2019</a></blockquote> <p><span>In other words, it can be more helpful to focus on what you want to do with your money rather than how much money you have to earn. </span></p> <p><span>A focus on numbers revolve around what you <em>should </em>do – and thus may seem intimidating and unattainable – but paying attention to the potential results helps shift your perspective to what you <em>can </em>do and gives you more fuel to work towards your goal.</span></p> <p><span>Making your goals about experiences instead of numbers can help you become more flexible and inspire ideas to achieve your desired ends with <a href="https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2019/05/tie-your-financial-goals-to-results-not-numbers/">less spending</a>. For example, trying to put aside $25,000 to buy a new car is different to keeping in mind that you want to find and get a nice, affordable car.</span></p> <p><span>Setting the goal of “touring Europe” instead of “saving up $8,000 to travel around Europe” may also prompt you to get creative and think up of faster, more affordable ways to get to the other side of the world without being tied down to a certain amount.</span></p>

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Why you shouldn't throw away empty prepaid cards

<p><span>You may come into possession of a prepaid debit card through many different ways – perhaps you purchased it to keep your transactions secure and under control, or maybe it had been gifted to you. No matter how you use it, you might want to keep the card even after the balance is completely spent.</span></p> <p><span>Many people often would simply choose to declutter their wallet and throw out the card as soon as it is emptied out of instinct. However, it might be worth hanging onto – even when it’s used up, there are some reasons why keeping it may be beneficial or even necessary. Here are some situations where a used-up card may come in handy.</span></p> <p><strong><span>When you need a “dummy”</span></strong></p> <p><span>Many free trial programs require you to give out credit card details, so that you can be charged once the try-out period expires. Instead of putting reminders, you can avoid these unwanted charges by putting in the info of your empty prepaid card. </span></p> <p><strong><span>When you need to get a refund</span></strong></p> <p><span>Looking to get something returned to the store? If you are eligible for a refund or rebate, it often goes directly onto the card. The merchant might not be able to process it otherwise, as many banks have a matched refund policy to prevent fraudulent transactions. So if the card you used to purchase has been thrown away, you may have little luck re-accessing your money.</span></p>

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5 tips to ensure your supermarket is listening to you on social media

<p>Making yourself heard by big businesses can be tricky. Even when companies have a presence on social media, you might question whether they are genuinely interested in providing opportunities for meaningful dialogue. Is anyone really listening, or are we just talking to ourselves?</p> <p>There have been refreshing signs that supermarkets can be persuaded to listen to the demands of their customers.</p> <p>So how do you make yourself heard by retailers on social media? After qualitatively examining over <a href="https://researchportal.bath.ac.uk/en/publications/the-never-ending-story-discursive-legitimation-in-social-media-di">68,000 supermarket social media posts</a> with colleagues at the University of Nottingham, here are my five tips for communicating with corporations – and getting noticed.</p> <p><strong>1. Introduce yourself</strong></p> <p>There are countless posts vying for attention in the virtual world of social media, so you need to carve out a unique voice. Why should the retailer listen to you?</p> <p>Begin by making it clear who you are. Start with: “As a loyal customer…”, “As a farmer…”, “As a woman…” or “As a dad…” and you give yourself an identity. Do you live near a polluted river that is full of discarded plastic bags? Are you a parent who volunteers in the local community and needs help? Have you been a loyal consumer for years? This is a strategy used particularly well by the #stopfundinghate campaign, which is targeting retailers who advertise in <em>The Sun</em>, <em>Daily Mail</em> and <em>Daily Express</em>:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/coopuk?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@coopuk</a> As a member &amp; regular shopper i would 💙 to see you <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/stopfundinghate?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#stopfundinghate</a>. Jars with <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/thecoopway?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#thecoopway</a> ethics?? Make a stand! <a href="https://twitter.com/StopFundingHate?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@StopFundingHate</a></p> — Dominique Wedge (@MistyWedge) <a href="https://twitter.com/MistyWedge/status/833970051111870464?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 21, 2017</a></blockquote> <p>Building authority is key to establishing a legitimate base upon which to launch your argument. Do not underestimate the voice of experience.</p> <p>2. Back up your argument</p> <p>You may well have a valid point to make. But no amount of ANGRY CAPITAL LETTERS, repeated exclamation marks or sad face emojis will communicate a reasoned argument. Instead, a strong case can be built by linking to the content of the organisation’s own policy, relevant legislation, a news article, or even a key image or video:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Tesco <a href="https://twitter.com/Tesco?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Tesco</a>, I wanted to buy Organic produce from you today but I kept walking. I bought my produce elseware today just because of your needless plastic packaging. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/refusingplastic?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#refusingplastic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/organic?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#organic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/tesco?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#tesco</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/plasticfree?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#plasticfree</a> <a href="https://t.co/AKL8WOclCv">pic.twitter.com/AKL8WOclCv</a></p> — Betty's Garden 🌻 (@BettyInCork) <a href="https://twitter.com/BettyInCork/status/957305468594065408?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 27, 2018</a></blockquote> <p>In lobbying supermarkets to stop stocking <em>The Sun</em> newspaper back in 2012, the <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/no-more-page-3-our-grassroots-campaign-took-on-a-huge-corporation-and-we-won-9992371.html">“No More Page 3” (#NMP3) campaign</a> provided a masterclass in rational argument of an emotive issue. Through a whole host of <a href="https://twitter.com/NoMorePage3?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">social media discussions</a>, campaigners skilfully drew on <a href="http://proceedings.aom.org/content/2015/1/16085.short">facts, figures and feelings</a> to persuade retailers such as Tesco, Sainbury’s and the Co-op to stop selling <em>The Sun</em> newspaper until it removed Page 3.</p> <p>In a world of fake news, make sure you are armed with facts.</p> <p><strong>3. Go compare</strong></p> <p>Competition between UK supermarkets is stiff – so holding retailers to account against their rivals is a great way to galvanise action. Back in 2013, Co-op bowed to social media pressure and announced that it would only sell “lads mags” that were covered by <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/jul/29/loaded-owner-cooperative-lads-mags-ban">“modesty wraps”</a>. Days later, Tesco did the same, saying it had <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23558211">“listened carefully”</a> to consumer suggestions (and perhaps those of its competitors). Today, we have seen a similar approach taken to the under-16 energy drink ban:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">VICTORY for <a href="https://twitter.com/jamieoliver?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jamieoliver</a> and the <a href="https://twitter.com/DailyMirror?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DailyMirror</a> on our energy drinks campaign that can make the nations children healthier. <br /><br />All these supermarkets have now banned the sale of energy drinks to under 16s<br /><br />✅ Waitrose<br />✅ Aldi<br />✅ Asda<br />✅ Tesco<br />✅ Sainsburys<br />✅ Morrisons <br />✅ Lidl</p> — Johnny Goldsmith (@MirrorJohnny) <a href="https://twitter.com/MirrorJohnny/status/956841243438469120?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 26, 2018</a></blockquote> <p>You can even compare supermarkets to themselves. Does the talk match the walk? Are there inconsistencies between what the supermarket said it would do, and what it actually did?</p> <p><strong>4. Tell a story</strong></p> <p>On social media, arguments should be short and concise. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a narrative. Making an emotional connection is key and what better way to do this than setting the scene with a dramatic plot, personal triumph, unresolved mystery, happy ending or tale of woe?</p> <p>On the topic of <a href="https://theconversation.com/whatever-happened-to-bans-on-gm-produce-in-british-supermarkets-51153">genetically modified organisms</a>, for example, we found evidence of retailers being construed both as villains (“I will no longer be shopping in your stores now you are to use GMO fed meat”) and heroes (“Thank you for your reassurance, I will continue to happily shop in your stores”). Characterisation helps to convey an opinion:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Thanks for the heads up <a href="https://twitter.com/ProfTimLang?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ProfTimLang</a>, will start building my own network of trusted suppliers now, don't trust supermarkets anymore. not interested in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GMO?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GMO</a> corn fed chicken and all that crap. Sorry <a href="https://twitter.com/Tesco?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Tesco</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/asda?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@asda</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/LidlUK?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@LidlUK</a> etc. <a href="https://t.co/E7pT9vMAvE">https://t.co/E7pT9vMAvE</a></p> — Anna Lehmann (@BusterOnAir) <a href="https://twitter.com/BusterOnAir/status/951141308093075456?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 10, 2018</a></blockquote> <p><strong>5. Play devil’s advocate</strong></p> <p>Social media is seen by some as something of a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/nov/29/vortex-online-political-debate-arguments-trump-brexit">vortex</a> – a negative time drain that consumes far too much emotional energy. But there is a benefit to online rage, in that it makes conversations continue.</p> <p>The more vibrant and charged discussions involve a plurality of perspectives and some healthy antagonism, particularly around complex socio-political topics such as gender objectification or animal welfare. Keep fuelling the fire and stoking the debate with original and divisive opinions. Keep disagreeing with each other – and the companies. It is when organisational boundaries are truly tested that the real learning can occur.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">why is it going to take 5 years to replace plastic packaging with card or paper packaging? especially when compared with much larger stores like asda or tesco you do not have as many own label products as them? would be nice if could be done in 2 years</p> — Kev (@kevcampbell) <a href="https://twitter.com/kevcampbell/status/955018179499188224?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 21, 2018</a></blockquote> <p>So whether it’s consumer reward schemes, customer convenience or issues of social responsibility, every comment in supermarket social media adds to the rich tapestry of online debate. There are ways to make yourself heard, and to improve the way retailers serve their customers. Social media channels can be effective online petri dishes for organisational learning – the companies just have to keep listening.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/90634/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Sarah Glozer, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, Business &amp; Society, University of Bath</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/five-tips-to-ensure-your-supermarket-is-listening-to-you-on-social-media-90634"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Retirement Income

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3 ways to be generous on a budget

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When it comes to spending on your loved ones, it can be easy to go overboard. But giving does not have to be expensive – after all, it’s the thought that counts. Here are the various ways you can show your love and generosity to those around you without breaking the bank.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Buy in bulk</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Instead of coming up with ideas on a unique present for each recipient, buying items in bulk can help you save more and simplify your gift-giving plans. It can be thoughtful, too – a touch of personalisation can make a big difference. For example, you can get plain mugs and add your drawing or handwriting with permanent markers along with small, affordable extras like chocolate, soap bars or cards. </span></p> <p><strong>2. Do it yourself</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is nothing like receiving gifts that have been handmade from scratch. Try to look into the things you already love doing, and go from there. If you like to spend your time baking, prepare a special batch of brownie or pie to share. Enjoy knitting? A handmade sweater or pair of gloves could go the distance. You can also appeal to the shared memories between the two of you through sentimental DIY projects such as photo albums, mixtapes, scrapbooks, drawings and more.</span></p> <p><strong>3. Spend time, not money</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Your presence can truly be a present. Instead of getting some gifts off the store, you can try giving more of yourself – be it by helping in the kitchen, reorganising old cabinets and closets, or taking care of the overgrown lawn. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Apart from giving your service, you can also suggest a gathering where family members and/or friends can spend time and have fun with low-cost food and activities, such as hiking, playing games, or simply chatting over toasted marshmallow and a hot cuppa. Spending some quality time and creating new memories together can indeed be the true gift.</span></p>

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5 ways to trick your mind into spending less

<p><strong>1. Think things through</strong><br />Farnoosh Torabi, author of<span> </span><em>Psych Yourself Rich</em>, explained a few mental approaches on a<span> </span><em>Huffington Post</em><span> </span>blog. First is to give serious thought to your purchase. Pressured? Rushed? You’ll spend more recklessly.</p> <p><strong>2. Examine your finances regularly<span> </span></strong><br />Is your budget fine the way it is? So-called status quo bias means you’ll keep paying what you’re paying – credit cards, pay TV bills – unless you have a compelling reason to change.</p> <p><strong>3. Saving money is relative</strong><br />Behavioural economist Dan Ariely says we’re bad at making comparisons: we may readily pay $3,000 to upgrade to leather seats in a new $25,000 car because it’s a relatively small percentage of the total price, but we’d think a lot longer about paying $3000 for a new couch we’d sit on every night.</p> <p><strong>4. Automate<span> </span></strong><br />Ramit Sethi, who runs the website I Will Teach You To Be Rich, gave some tips on increasing financial willpower to the Bucks blog of the<span> </span><em>New York Times</em>. Key? Pay bills automatically to avoid late fees. Similarly, channel a portion of your salary to your savings accounts.</p> <p><strong>5. Start small<span> </span></strong><br />If you’re overwhelmed by choices, it’s easy to do nothing. “Instead of trying to save a little bit on everything,” Sethi says, “focus on your two biggest discretionary expenses,” like eating out and drinking, in his case. Over the following six months, cut each down by 25 to 33 per cent.</p> <p><em>This article first appeared in </em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/5-Ways-to-Trick-Your-Mind-Into-Spending-Less"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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12 things lotto winners won't tell you

<div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>1. Secrets of their success</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>On the whole, lottery winners tend to keep a fairly low profile when it comes to discussing their newfound wealth. We asked past winners to weigh in on losing friends, becoming spectacles, and increasing the odds of striking it rich.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>2. Easy come, easy go</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Whether they win $500 million or $1 million, about 70 percent of lotto winners lose or spend all the money in five years or less.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>3. Take a second chance</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>If available, always play the second-chance drawings. Some games require you to mail in your losing ticket. Others tell you to go online and register the ticket’s serial number. People either don’t know about the drawings or don’t take the time to enter, so your odds of winning are always better.<span> </span></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>4. We don’t quit while we’re ahead</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Do lotto winners still play the lottery? Absolutely. And we’re sure we’re going to win again.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>5. You will be exploited – possibly by your friends</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>I had one friend who told me this sob story about how behind she was on her taxes, how they were going to take her house because she couldn’t pay. After she left, I got on my computer, looked up her tax records, and saw that she wasn’t behind. When I printed out that page and sent it to her, well, that was the end of our friendship.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>6. A lot can seem like a little</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>If you win $6 million and find yourself in a room full of lotto winners who won $100 million or more, all of a sudden, you feel like the poor one. It’s all relative. But don’t feel too bummed – there are plenty of big lottery winners whose money (and luck) ran out.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>7. We answer for our impulse purchases</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>After we won the lottery, we bought an eight-bedroom, seven-bath, 10,000-square-foot mansion because we could, and it sounded amazing. Well, now we’re selling the eight-bedroom, seven-bath mansion because it’s impractical for a family of four. If only we knew ahead of time that it was one of the 13 things rich people never waste their money on.<span> </span></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>8. We are still looked down upon by the truly wealthy</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>After we won and moved into an exclusive neighbourhood, we planned a huge party and invited all our neighbours. None of them came – they thought we didn’t earn our money.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>9. We’re sick of money questions</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>It drives me nuts when people ask where I keep the money, how I spend it, and if I still have it. No one would dream of asking a CEO those questions. </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>10. Your friends will change with your lifestyle</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>All lotto winners think they’re going to have the same friends and do the same things. But if you have $100 million and you want to fly to Hong Kong for the weekend, you need to either find someone who can afford to go with you or be willing to subsidise someone. And subsidising people gets old.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>11. ‘Tis better to give</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Now that I can buy anything I want, I’ve learned that what really matters – and what I enjoy most – is being able to do things that help other people.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>12. Don’t donate all at once</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>If you want to give a charity a big sum of money, never give it all at once. It’s better to donate $100,000 a year for ten years so you can retain some control and make sure the cash is being spent wisely.<span> </span>Make sure you're giving wisely with our guide to sensible charity donation. </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even">Who are we kidding? Life is great.</div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>You haven’t lived until someone picks up the laundry from your front porch and brings it back to you that night, completely done and neatly folded.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Michelle Crouch</span>. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/12-things-lotto-winners-wont-tell-you"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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3 steps to get out of debt

<p>Getting into deep debt causes more problems than just financial troubles. The effect on your mental health and relationships can be devastating. Follow this advice to break the habit of overspending once and for all.</p> <p><strong>Can I undo the damage?<span> </span></strong></p> <p>Yes, but it’s not easy. The process of getting out of debt takes time, it can be hard on your ego and your lifestyle, you must be constantly vigilant and it’s easy to revert to old habits. But for those who succeed – and many do – the results are stunning.</p> <p><strong>1. Build a repair plan</strong></p> <p>Learn about money management. You can’t master your money if you don’t understand the rules and methods of personal finance. Find a straight­forward book or website and learn all you can about credit cards, budgeting and investing.</p> <p><strong>2. Put your credit cards on ice<span> </span></strong></p> <p>Literally. Put them in a cup, add water and place it in the back of the freezer so you can’t use them for any impetuous purchases.</p> <p><strong>3. Create a budget<span> </span></strong></p> <p>How much money is coming in each month? How much are you spending on essentials and how much on frivolous purchases? Then, follow these guidelines to help control your debt.</p> <ul> <li>Pay more than the minimum due each month on bills.</li> <li>Pay more than the minimum on your highest-interest credit card. After you pay that off, move to the one with the next highest interest.</li> <li>Automate good money habits. Have your wages paid directly into your account and bills paid automatically from it. Also have small amounts automatically diverted to savings accounts.</li> <li>Find an incentive to cut unnecessary spending: set a goal and post a photo of it where you will see it often.</li> </ul> <p><em>This article first appeared in </em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/Steps-to-Get-Out-of-Debt"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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How much should you spend on clothing?

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When it comes to clothes and shoes, it can be hard to gauge if you’re spending too much. Knowing the appropriate amount to spend for new apparels can help you get your finances in order and save more.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Most financial experts recommend setting aside 5 per cent of your income for a clothing budget. For example, if your annual take-home income amounts to $60,000, you can spend up to $250 on clothes every month or $3,000 for the whole year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, this number may vary depending on your lifestyle or priorities. Lauren Bowling of the </span><a href="https://thefinancialdiet.com/4-steps-help-figure-clothes-budget/"><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>Financial Diet</em></span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">recommends evaluating your finances, and  going below 5 per cent if you are paying off your debts or have limited income. Once you are back in the black, indulging in shopping will be less of an issue.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Your love of fashion does not have to break the bank, either. According to Anuschka Rees, author of </span><em><a href="https://anuschkarees.com/blog/2016/7/25/why-shopping-is-a-bad-hobby-and-what-to-do-instead"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Curated Closet</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, you can replace your habits of adding new items to your closet with other, equally satisfying activities. This may include doing clothes swap with friends and families, finding new ways to mix and match the clothes you already have, learning to sew your own clothes, trying out creative hobbies and more. </span></p>

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3 ways to splurge wisely

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The key to responsible money management seems simple – spend less than you earn. However, constant scrimping and saving can be a source of burnout and frustration. Enjoying the finer things in life – such as the occasional dinner out or a holiday trip – does not have to mean putting your budget in the red. Here are the three principles you should consider when you want to splurge.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Spend on what matters</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What are some of the best purchases you’ve made recently? Chances are if you remember them, they could be considered a good splurge. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What makes a good buy is different to each person. If looking your best is important to you, spending more on salon-brand shampoo or designer clothing might be worth it. For cooking enthusiasts, it might not be a bad idea to fork out extra cash to invest in premium kitchen tools and fresh produce. Apart from personal priorities, you can also consider how often you will be able to enjoy the splurge.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Even if it might seem superfluous to onlookers, if the spending brings value to you, go for it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On the other hand, spend as little as you can on things that you need but do not care for. Again, this varies depending on your preferences. Look at your spending and decide which expenses you would be willing to shell out more funds on and which ones to go budget for, be it toilet paper, beauty products, pet food, entertainment or others.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Set aside to spend</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With big spending, often comes a concern that it will put a dent in your wallet. But a splurge does not have to be completely impulsive and reckless – by planning it ahead, you can keep your finances under control. Set aside some of your income and/or savings as a designated fund for frivolous indulgences. When considering how much to budget, take into account your general expenses and goal savings to find out how much you can spend on the “fun” part.</span></p> <p><strong>3. When in doubt, wait it out</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ever have the urge to grab some coffee and pastry when you’re passing by your local café? This impulsive spending that you decide in the heat of the moment might seem small, but it can easily add up. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Instead, consider your priorities and sit on any desire to splurge for at least a few days. This will improve your ability to identify fleeting whims, and give you more time to make sure that the potential expense will fit your budget.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Do you have any tips on how to splurge wisely? Let us know in the comments below. </span></p>

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3 ways to make the most of your spare change

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You might have a collection of loose change somewhere in your home, be it in a jar, a piggy bank or just lying around the table somewhere. Every coin you save counts, but they can indeed be a hassle to bring in your wallet. Here are a few things you can do with your spare change.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Organise them</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Make using up the coins easier by organising them for different expenses – laundry, morning coffee, vending machines, bus fares and more.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Keep in mind the common courtesy – do not use an excessive amount of coins to pay. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><strong>2. Bring them to the bank</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Prefer to go cashless? Take your coins to the bank and ask the teller to deposit the money into your account or trade them for bank notes. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you would rather not make a visit during business hours, worry not – most banks today offer the option to do a bulk coin deposit via ATM. Look up your bank’s website to find out the nearest ATM near you that provides this facility.</span></p> <p><strong>3. Donate them</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Charities are always happy to receive financial help, no matter what form it takes. You can put your coins in donation boxes in supermarkets, fast-food restaurants, museums or more. Local charities and community centres are also likely to accept spare change.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">How do you use your coins? Share with us in the comments.</span></p>

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How social media can make us spend more and save less

<p>Social media has made it easier than ever to stay updated on the lives of your friends and family members, but what many may not realise is that it can also lead you to splurge.</p> <p>Seeing other people’s consumptions – be it a restaurant dinner, a new car or a trip to Bali – can encourage you to fork out some money of your own, <a href="https://www.nber.org/papers/w25566">a study</a> has found.</p> <p>Professors from the University of California and University of Toronto discovered that visibility bias leads people to spend more and save less, because they only see what others are spending.</p> <p>According to one of the study’s co-authors David Hirshleifer, our consumption habits are influenced by the social interactions we are having. Because people talk about what they are doing, he said, they are more likely to share about their consumption than non-consumption.</p> <p>Being aware of other people’s spending can lead us to make incorrect assumptions about their financial position as well as ours, the experts said. The heavy spenders around us may indicate that the future wealth prospects are positive, leading us to share the belief and increase our own consumption.</p> <p>“That signal from my peers about what they think about the future, and any income growth, and their resulting actions kind of give me some kind of clue about my future,” Han Bing, another co-author of the study told the <span><a href="http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20190320-decoding-the-bias-that-makes-us-spend-and-not-save"><em>BBC</em></a></span>.</p> <p>This bias is exacerbated by social media, as people are more likely to share photographs of their new clothes or boats than their savings.</p> <p>Being aware of the possibility of bias is the first step to prevent overspending, Hirshleifer said. “Psychologists have sometimes found that if one becomes aware of a psychological bias, that can reduce the bias.”</p> <p>It can also be helpful to identify those who regularly share their spending habits on your social media feed and hide or mute their posts for a period. Joining thrift groups on social media can also keep you accountable and counter the excess effect from visibility bias by showing how others are saving rather than lavishing.</p> <p>Have you been spending more since using social media? Let us know in the comments.</p>

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4 things you should consider before switching credit cards

<p><span>Thinking about changing your credit card? Our lifestyle and how we use our money can change throughout the years, so it’s always good to re-evaluate your spending habits from time to time and check if your card still fits the bill. </span></p> <p><span>Here are the four things you should consider before switching to another credit card.</span></p> <p><strong><span>1. Annual fees</span></strong></p> <p><span>The annual fee is not always a deal-breaker – in general, the higher the annual fee is, the more rewards and features the credit card offers. However, if you don’t use your credit card often, you are unlikely to get value out of it as the annual fee cancels out the benefits.</span></p> <p><span>Some cards will also waive annual fees if you spend a certain amount in a year. But if you are not a big, regular spender, a zero-dollar annual fee card might be what you are looking for. </span></p> <p><strong><span>2. Interest rates</span></strong></p> <p><span>Not everyone can pay their bill in full every month – and this is where interest rates matter. Your ability to repay debts may be significantly influenced by the interest rates of your credit card. You may end up getting stuck in a cycle if your card is charging interest rates faster than you can pay off the bills. </span></p> <p><span>When this occurs, you might want to find a balance transfer credit card with a low or zero per cent interest rate for a limited period. You can then move your debt from the old card to the new one, save on interest and focus on getting on top of your balance. </span></p> <p><strong><span>3. Foreign transaction fees</span></strong></p> <p><span>When you are travelling overseas, having a credit card can give you a peace of mind – it makes transactions possible even if you don’t have cash at hand. This convenience comes at the cost of foreign or international transaction fees.</span></p> <p><span>You don’t even have to be abroad to be hit with these fees – if you are shopping online and the merchant happens to be out of the country, the card can still charge you to cover the currency conversion. Most banks and credit providers generally charge between 2 to 3.5 per cent on any purchases being made under these circumstances.</span></p> <p><span>Frequent travellers and shoppers can cut costs by opting for cards that have no foreign currency exchange fees. Many of these cards will also offer other travel benefits, including low to no ATM withdrawal fees.</span></p> <p><strong><span>4. Rewards</span></strong></p> <p><span>You may be a good customer, with regular spending and on-time payments. However, if the rewards that you were promised upon signing up still turn out to be elusive, it might be time to find a new card.</span></p> <p><span>Rewards might take the form of travel miles, points, cash-back, gift vouchers, special offers and more. While these benefits might sound tempting, you most likely have to spend a significant amount on the card to be able to access them. Rewards credit cards also generally come with higher interest rates.</span></p> <p><span>Are you thinking of finding a new credit card? Let us know in the comments.</span></p>

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How many healthy years do you have left?

<p>As the old saying goes, the only things certain in life are death and taxes. While death is inevitable, the quality of life you experience until death is often within an individual’s control.</p> <p>This is what our team at the Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research chose to focus on by developing <a href="http://goldensoncenter.uconn.edu/projects/">a rigorous measure of quality of life</a>. How many healthy years of life do you have ahead before you become unhealthy?</p> <p>Everyone understands the benefits of living a long healthy life, but this also has implications for industry and society. Medical costs, financial planning and health support services are directly related to the state of health of an individual or community.</p> <p>We call this measure of quality of life “healthy life expectancy” and its complement “unhealthy life expectancy.” We define entering an unhealthy state as a severe enough state of disablement that there is no recovery, so you remain unhealthy until death.</p> <p>It follows that life expectancy – a measure of the total future years an individual is expected to live – is simply the two added together.</p> <p><strong>Calculating</strong></p> <p>Imagine a healthy 60-year-old male who exercises regularly, has a healthy diet and healthy body mass index and sleeps at least eight hours a night. By our estimate, he could have an additional 13 years of healthy living compared to his unhealthy counterpart. That’s 13 more years of quality living with family and loved ones.</p> <p>This is quite a startling revelation, not only because of the significant difference in healthy life expectancy between these two individuals, but also because this difference is driven by lifestyle choices within the individual’s control.</p> <p>So what factors contribute to a better healthy life expectancy? Two factors that are not lifestyle-related are age and gender. All other things being equal, healthy life expectancy decreases with age. Women have a <a href="http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20151001-why-women-live-longer-than-men">longer healthy life expectancy</a> compared to men.</p> <p>We have already seen that diet, exercise and sufficient sleep positively impact healthy life expectancy. <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/statnt/statnt21.pdf">Other positive factors</a> that we have incorporated in our model include level of education, level of income, perception of one’s own state of health, moderate alcohol intake, not smoking and absence of Type 2 diabetes. The higher the level of education and income, the higher your healthy life expectancy. Having a positive perception of your state of health helps, too.</p> <p><strong>Try it yourself</strong></p> <p>Want to know your own estimate of healthy years ahead? We developed <a href="https://apps.goldensoncenter.uconn.edu/HLEC/">a free online tool</a> that lets you calculate healthy, unhealthy and total life expectancy. This is work in progress.</p> <p>This is the first time such a measurement tool has been developed. While it’s too early to validate the accuracy of our calculations with actual data, we have been careful to ensure that the model assumptions are based on established actuarial sources and the modeling results are logical and consistent.</p> <p>It should be noted that healthy life expectancy is simply an educated prediction. Unforeseen incidents – like being hit by a truck – could render this estimate invalid, no matter how well you manage lifestyle habits. Also, there could be other nonmeasurable factors impacting healthy life expectancy that we have not included in our model, like level of stress, a positive attitude to life or social connections.</p> <p><strong>Putting our model to work</strong></p> <p>Our team plans to explore some of these practical applications of healthy life expectancy in industry.</p> <p>For example, the concept of healthy life expectancy can help with retirement financial planning. Annual retirement spending should not be level across your life expectancy. More discretionary retirement spending should happen during healthy years and less during unhealthy years, while spending on basic expenses increases during unhealthy years.</p> <p>Insurance products can be also designed using healthy life expectancy measures in mind. This can protect an individual against additional basic living expenses during the unhealthy period. One such product could be a deferred long-term care or temporary deferred life annuity, where the deferral period is for healthy life expectancy and the temporary coverage is for the unhealthy period. This can be a significantly cheaper and a more needed product compared to what is available in the marketplace currently.</p> <p>Since healthy life expectancy is also related to quality of life and level of health, a relative index could compare an individual’s results against a benchmark healthy life expectancy for someone with “average” characteristics. This can then be used as an underwriting tool and to predict future health care costs. Our model could also serve as a patient screening tool for medical providers by incorporating more detailed lifestyle and dietary details as well as prior medical history information.</p> <p>We hope that other researchers and practitioners will continue to build on this. Then society could focus on not just prolonging life, but prolonging quality of life using our model. As the saying goes, “In the end, it is not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/84498/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Jeyaraj Vadiveloo, Director of the Janet and Mark L. Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research, University of Connecticut</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/our-calculator-will-guess-how-many-healthy-years-of-life-you-have-left-84498"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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The fool-proof way of saving for retirement

<p>We know that saving money is important – but what is less known is <em>how</em> to save money, and how much of our income should be allocated to our savings account.</p> <p>Most experts recommend saving at least 20 per cent of your income, but you should complement this rule of thumb with your own goals. In other words, the amount you should save depends on your personal priorities and reasons for saving.</p> <p>According to financial planner Eric Roberge, there are three factors to consider: how much your goals would cost, what kind of expenses your dream lifestyle would entail, and when you would need the savings.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">How much you need to save depends on:<br /><br />How much your goals cost<br />How much it takes to fund your ideal lifestyle<br />The timeline between now &amp; when you need the money<br /><br />As a guideline, save 20-30% of income. But for a better outcome, use a specific plan that addresses these factors.</p> — Eric Roberge, CFP® (@beyondfinances) <a href="https://twitter.com/beyondfinances/status/1100397642683691009?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 26, 2019</a></blockquote> <p>Setting targets and deadlines for savings can help you prepare for the future and live an enjoyable lifestyle in the present. “If your goals are less expensive, you don’t necessarily need to save huge amounts of money,” Roberge told <span><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com.au/how-to-save-money-2019-2?r=US&amp;IR=T"><em>Business Insider</em></a></span>.</p> <p>“We want to be careful not to overfund goals and end up with money that doesn’t have a purpose; instead of over-saving, you may be able to enjoy that money a little bit more today.”</p> <p>Finding your dream savings to be a little out of reach? There are four options, according to <span><a href="https://www.tiaa.org/public/offer/insights/starting-out/how-much-of-my-income-should-i-save-every-month">personal finance journalist</a></span> Paula Pant: change your goals, reconsider your timeline, earn more (through pay rise, investments, additional jobs and more), or reduce your current spending to save more.</p> <p>Apart from your personal goals, Pant also advised saving up for rainy days.</p> <p>“You should establish an ‘emergency fund’ that can cover 3-9 months of your living expenses,” Pant said.</p> <p>This number might sound daunting, but Pant suggested that it is possible to build a six-month emergency fund within a year. Her method: calculate your monthly cost of living, excluding the non-essentials such as cable TV or unused memberships. If you can save up half this amount every month, you’re already well on your way.</p> <p>Do you have a savings plan that you recommend? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Retirement Income

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Can money buy happiness?

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some of us would go to great lengths to save money, even if it means spending more time and dealing with more inconveniences on the way – be it lining up for coveted bargains or looking for secret tricks to score lower prices. But Ashley Whillans, professor at Harvard Business School believes that another approach is better in bringing us happiness.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the </span><em><a href="https://hbr.org/ideacast/2019/01/use-your-money-to-buy-happier-time"><span style="font-weight: 400;">HBR IdeaCast</span></a> </em><span style="font-weight: 400;">podcast, Whillans said that people will gain the most happiness when they use their money to buy time. She believed we should spend our hard-earned cash not only on the things we like, but also to get out of “negative experiences” like doing the dishes or commuting. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This means paying for goods and services that will reduce the time spent on stressful activities – for example, buying a pricier house that is close to anywhere to avoid getting stuck in traffic.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many people might not be comfortable with the idea of paying someone to perform seemingly basic chores like cooking, shopping or driving. However, Whillans argued that we could shift our perspective on time and money. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I find in my studies that people feel really guilty about outsourcing even though they’re giving up money to have more time that they’ve earned,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But one of her studies found that enlisting the help of “time-saving services” can help reduce stress and improve happiness.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Just the simple act of thinking about giving up money to have more free time seems to make people plan their time a little bit better. If I’m going to incur this cost to have this free time, then I’m going to make sure I really enjoy the free time that I have.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But this doesn’t mean overhauling your budget and outsourcing every task. Whillans recommended starting small and staying away from drastic changes. “Just sitting down and thinking about whether there’s anything you can outsource that you really don’t like, that stresses you out a lot, that you can afford,” Whillans said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Would you spend more money to get quality free time? Share your thoughts in the comments.</span></p>

Retirement Income

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5 tips to improve your financial wellbeing

<p>Have you been thinking about money lately? Wondering where to find more? Thinking you could do a better job of managing the dollars you have? If so, you are in good company.</p> <p>Between figuring out how to pay for bills that added up over December holidays, wishing for warmth or a vacation and looking at the beginning of tax season, this is a time of year when people are often prompted to take a closer look at their finances.</p> <p>Yet the picture we see when we look closer isn’t always good.</p> <p>Our research shows that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s10834-016-9516-1">the more money family caregivers need to spend on the care needs of others, the worse their own personal financial, social and health outcomes are</a>. It also points to the need to consider our own care needs as well as our families’ when we plan our financial futures.</p> <p>The financial crisis of 2008-09 sparked increased interest in financial literacy worldwide. In Canada, <a href="http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2011/fin/F2-198-2011-eng.pdf">the Task Force on Financial Literacy</a> defined financial literacy as having the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions.</p> <p>Following on the work of the task force, the <a href="https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/programs/financial-literacy/financial-literacy-strategy.html">Financial Consumer Agency of Canada consulted widely and developed a national strategy for financial literacy</a>.</p> <p>Now researchers are moving beyond the idea of financial literacy, which tends to focus on what we know about finances, to thinking about financial well-being or financial health — the outcome we want to achieve.</p> <p><strong>What is financial well-being?</strong></p> <p>An international authority on consumer finances, Elaine Kempson, defines financial well-being as <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326847922_Understanding_Financial_Well-Being_and_Capability_-_A_Revised_Model_and_Comprehensive_Analysis">the capacity to meet one’s current obligations comfortably and the resilience to maintain this capacity in the future</a>.</p> <p>That’s challenging for many reasons. We have to make decisions for today that are going to help us in a future with a lot of unknowns.</p> <p>It isn’t just financial knowledge that matters, but also what we are able to do with that knowledge in our economic and social environments.</p> <p>Further, as research in behavioural economics is showing, <a href="https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_ariely_asks_are_we_in_control_of_our_own_decisions/discussion">our brains can get in the way</a>. We think we are making <a href="https://www.theglobeandmail.com/investing/personal-finance/household-finances/article-our-most-irrational-financial-habit-cheaping-out-on-retirement-saving/">perfectly rational, logical decisions when we aren’t</a>.</p> <p>Technological innovation in <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-is-fintech_us_58a20d80e4b0cd37efcfebaa">financial services (“fintech”)</a> can be difficult to keep pace with and understand.</p> <p>And, although there are lots of resources, it can be difficult to figure out which are appropriate for our own situation.</p> <p>So if you’ve been finding it difficult to get control of your money and make the changes you want to make to improve your financial well-being, there are some good reasons it might be challenging.</p> <p>While some people respond to a challenge by digging right in, others prefer to look the other way and hope it will all work out in the end.</p> <p>However, when it comes to money, looking the other way can result in big problems — or at the very least, missed opportunities.</p> <p><strong>Tips for increasing financial well-being</strong></p> <p>Whether you feel overwhelmed by your finances and don’t know where to start, or you think things are pretty good but you’d like to make them better, it’s never too late to make a change.</p> <p>Here are some tips and techniques to start improving financial well-being.</p> <p><strong>1. Spend less than you earn</strong></p> <p>Think about three big categories of money: spending for today, saving for the future and giving to the causes and organizations that matter to you and your family. When we spend less than we earn, we create the space to save and to give to others. Note: spending includes debt repayment!</p> <p><strong>2. Do the math</strong></p> <p>No one tool is best, but most of us could use a little help in making a budget, revising it as needed and tracking spending. Use what works for you, whether that’s a spreadsheet, an app, financial software or a pencil and paper. The best tools are the ones you use. </p> <p><strong>3. If possible, don’t do it alone</strong></p> <p>If you have a spouse or partner, work to be sure you are on the same page with financial decisions. Financial stress can be a significant source of tension in relationships. If you’re single, could you have a low-budget finance date or breakfast with a friend to compare notes?</p> <p>And if you have kids, bring them into money conversations in age-appropriate ways. Research is showing parents can be important, positive financial role models for their children.</p> <p><strong>4. Save off the top</strong></p> <p>Arrange to have a set amount come out of your chequing account and go into a savings account each payday. Revise the amount as your pay changes over time. Aim to have three to six months worth of expenses in savings to cover emergencies. </p> <p><strong>5. File that tax return</strong></p> <p>Even if you don’t owe taxes, file that return!</p> <p>Filing is the only way to get refundable tax credits like the GST refund. Federal and provincial governments use the income on tax returns to establish eligibility for benefits and supports.</p> <p>Even if you don’t get a sunshine getaway this year, if you’re responsible and proactive right now, a piece of that serenity will be within reach through your ongoing wellness — and the occasional well-planned splurge.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/111489/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Karen Duncan, Associate Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/no-vacation-find-serenity-with-these-five-financial-wellness-tips-111489"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

Retirement Income