Scientific Reasons Behind Why You Should Visit Hindu Temples

The common notion is that a visit to the temple is just to pray for God’s blessings. But the truth is that, temples are the best places to relax and to calm your body and mind, too. That is a scientifically proven fact. Here is why:

The Location and Structure of the Temple

Temples are filled with positive energy because they are built in a particular way. For instance, the main idol is placed at the centre of the temple, known as Moolasthanam, where earth’s magnetic waves are found to be quite strong. And the structure of the temple is built around it. That is reason for the positive energy.

Removing Your Footwear before Entering Temple

Temples are epicentres of positive energy. The floor at the centre of the temple is a good conductor of these positive vibrations. And if you want to allow positive energy to pass through your feet to the body, you should not use footwear. Another reason is that shoes and chappals will have all the impurities as you use it everywhere. Hence they tend to spoil the pure environment of the temple.

Activating the five senses

All five senses in your body should be activated if you want to absorb the positive energy in the temple.

Ringing the Temple Bell

The hearing sense is activated by ringing the temple bell before entering the inner temple. If you have noticed, after ringing the bell the sound lasts for 7 seconds in echo mode. This timeframe is sufficient to turn on all the seven healing centres in our body. Our brain will also be free from all kinds of negative thoughts. The idol also absorbs the bell sound and it is vibrated within the Moolasthanam for some time.

Lighting Camphor In Front Of Idol

The sight sense is activated by lighting camphor. The inner core where the idol is placed is usually dark. When you pray you close your eyes and after that you open your eyes and see the camphor, which is lit to do the Aarthi. Your sight sense is activated when you see the light after the dark.

Placing Hands over the Camphor Flames

After offering the prayer the camphor is brought to you, and you usually put your hands over the camphor to make your hands warm and then you touch your eyes with your warm hands. This is to activate the touch sense.

Offering Flowers to God

Flowers are beautiful to look at. They are soft and have a lovely fragrance. Only certain flowers that have fragrance like jasmine, rose, and marigold are used in offerings. It is to keep your smell sense active that flowers, incense sticks and camphor are used in temples.

Drinking Theertham

A silver or copper vessel is used to pour Theertham, which usually has thulsi leaves. It is kept aside for eight hours in the copper vessel. This is to positively charge the water. To balance all the three doshas in your body (vata, pitta and kapha) water should be stored in a copper vessel, which is a scientifically proven fact according to Ayurveda. You activate the taste sense by drinking this Thulasi water.

Doing Pradakshina around the Moolasthanam

The Moolasthanam absorbs all the energy and your five senses are also activated when you ring the bell, light the camphor and offer flowers and fruits. You tend to absorb all these positive vibrations when you do the pradakshina.

Applying Tilak/Kumkum

A major nerve point in human body lies between the two eyebrows on the forehead. The Tilak is believed to prevent the loss of “energy”. You press your forehead while applying kumkum. This also facilitates the blood supply to the face muscles.

Offering Coconut and Banana to God

Unlike an apple, coconut and banana are considered as sacred fruits. Apple is treated as tainted because an apple tree grows from the seed of another eaten fruit. To grow a coconut tree and plantain you need to plant an entire coconut and a sapling, respectively.

10 Key Ingredients to Demand From Your Retirement Plan

The 10 Key Ingredients to DEMAND for a Successful Retirement Plan!

If a client is working on their retirement plan, it is very likely they have not only personal goals and dreams, but also a minimum level of expectations from their financial planner. Heck, the truth is, a client shouldn’t have just a minimum level of expectations, they should have specific things from a retirement plan that they DEMAND!

With life expectancies being greater than ever, retirement could likely be the longest phase of their life. Therefore, I believe that it is absolutely imperative that you have a plan in place that is well-equipped to not only spend and enjoy your retirement years, but also make sure you don’t make the mistake of “living too long”.

If you have any doubt that retirement planning needs to be an essential part of a financial planner’s practice going forward, take a look at these statistics:

• Nearly 80 Million baby boomers are approaching or entering retirement

• By the year 2020, these baby boomers will control approximately two-thirds of the financial assets in the U.S.

• 75% of investors switch or add investment professionals within 15 years of retirement because they doubt the professional who got them to retirement knows how to get them through retirement*

• 68% of investors surveyed between ages 55 and 70 consolidated their assets as a result of completing a retirement income plan; an additional 19% said they would like to consolidate**

What do these facts tell us? Retirement planning is not only a huge opportunity for financial professionals, but it is also a huge challenge!

Retirement planning is an extremely sophisticated process, and I strongly encourage retirees not to attempt this on their own. In addition to the risk of outliving your assets, you’ve got other money predators to stay away from such as taxes, inflation, stock market and interest rate volatility, health care, social security, and much more.

So the point of this article is to review what I believe to be the “10 Key Ingredients” to a successful retirement plan that every planner should focus on, and every client should DEMAND:

1. Growth Potential – I think it’s safe to say you want your money to grow. However, the real reason why you should want your assets to grow is not to become enormously wealthy, but to ensure that you can keep pace with things like inflation, taxes, planned obsolescence, technology changes, rising healthcare costs, long-term care, etc. Just about every retiree I work with tells me that they do not want to spend their principal, but would rather live off the income generated from their principal. Therefore, if you want your income to keep pace with inflation, then you should demand a well-diversified and well-balanced portfolio to allow you to keep pace with your changing lifestyle over the long-term.

2. Safety Provisions – Clearly the two biggest financial fears most investors and retirees face are losing money and running out of money. These fears are not only understandable, but also the most critical! I always tell my clients that “90% of my job is avoiding large losses”. If you are taking income from your retirement assets and suffer significant losses in your portfolio, it can be extremely devastating… and also dramatically increase the probabilities of running out of money. Therefore, every client should demand a retirement plan that contains clear strategies to properly insulate you against suffering large investment losses and outliving your income.

3. Tax Efficiencies – Everyone’s least favorite uncle is a man named “Uncle Sam”. I have yet to meet someone who truly enjoys paying taxes… whether an ordinary income tax, capital gains tax, or tax on dividends and/or interest. John D. Rockefeller once said; “The fastest way to accumulate wealth is to make sure you never pay tax on income you don’t use.” That may be one of the most brilliant statements I’ve heard aside from Einstein’s theory on compound numbers. Therefore, a successful retirement plan should entail two pieces. First, your money should grow with as little (or no) tax consequences as possible. Second, your income should be received in the most tax-efficient way that is legally possible. The truth is, we can’t beat the unbeatable opponent (the IRS). However, our job as financial professionals is to work as master technicians in helping our clients avoid unnecessary taxation.

4. Income We Cannot Outlive – With the explosion of baby boomers and the improvements in modern medicine, today’s life expectancies are greater than ever. When Social Security was first enacted in 1931, the average life expectancy for a male was approximately 59 years old… and yet Social Security didn’t start paying benefits until age 62! Today the average male’s average life expectancy is approximately 85 years old… so you can see why we are having such a tremendous battle with Social Security benefits. Many studies show that by the year 2030, more than 2/3 of the people alive (in the U.S) will be above the age of 60… WOW! So the message here is that retirement plans today should demand an outlook consisting of at least a minimum of 30 years.

5. Income Growth Potential – In order for your income to grow, your assets must grow at a rate that exceeds your withdrawal rate. This means that, as much as some of you don’t want to hear this, investing a portion of your monies in the stock market plays a vital role in your retirement plan. Many of you may think that you can accomplish adequate retirement income by simply investing in bonds and CD’s, but that is usually not the answer. For example, if you consider investing in bond’s or CD’s, and you factor in inflation and taxes, using these income-producing investments may not accomplish the growth you need over the long haul in order for your income to grow (especially considering the fact that interest rates over the past decade have been historically low). Therefore, this is where the demand for professional money management plays a key role in a financial planner’s retirement strategy.

6. Maintain Control – Although I mentioned earlier that a successful retirement plan should virtually guarantee that you not only have the income you need, but that you also never run out. In the old days, this could only be accomplished through an annuity. The huge downsides to these “old school” annuities were that you would give up the two most important things… control and access to your money. In other words, an annuity would pay you a fixed income for life, but you would no longer have access or control to these monies. Not an option!! In a retirement plan, you should demand that you maintain total control over your assets, both during accumulation as well as distribution, so that you can choose how and where to invest or spend these hard-earned monies.

7. Maintain Access – Similar to the previous demand for control, you also should demand that you have access to your monies in the event that you need them. Although every retirement plan should include setting some monies aside for unexpected events or emergencies, sometimes life brings about severe changes that no retirement plan is prepared for. Because there are so many moving parts in our retirement lives such as our health, interest rates, taxes, inflation, health care costs, long-term care needs, etc., you need to be certain your money is not “locked up” in the event you might need to access it.

8. Full Transfer to Beneficiaries — Another common theme I hear from my retired clients is the importance of leaving a legacy. At a bare minimum, every retirement plan should demand that there is a plan in place to ensure that whatever money you don’t spend will efficiently pass on to your children, family, loved ones, or charities.

9. Professional Supervision – Retirement should be one big vacation, where you get to enjoy all of the things you love such as traveling, dining out, buying nice things, gifting or spending money with our families, donating, etc. The very last thing you should be focusing on in retirement is worrying over your money and your financial plan. In every important aspect of our lives, there are professionals out there who are passionate about taking care of you. Therefore, you should demand to enjoy your retirement, and leave the worries about your finances to the professionals.

10.Consolidation – One thing I have learned from my clients is that when you retire, the last thing you want to do is receive multiple statements from many different companies. I believe a retirement plan should adopt Warren Buffet’s philosophy, which is “Put all you eggs in one basket. But first, make sure you know everything about that basket. Then, make sure someone is watching over it very closely”. Having a consolidated financial life in retirement can not only lead to less stress and worries, but also greater success.

The Importance of a Good Retirement Savings Plan for Early Retirement Planning

Wouldn’t you like to have an early retirement at 50 or 55 years of age instead of the traditional age of 62 or 65? Even with today’s economy, that dream is possible to achieve. Planning for early retirement is an easy task, especially if you are just starting out in the working world when money is usually tight. Scarifies will have to make and immediate gratifications will have to be deferred. You will need early retirement planning and have a good retirement savings plan that will provide the nest egg you will need for the financial security that is want during your retirement years.

Set Your Goal

An important first step in early retirement planning is to have a goal in mind. If you goal is to retire living the same lifestyle that you are living at the time of your retirement, then you need to figure the annual expenses involved to live that lifestyle and how much income you need to cover those expenses, and multiply that number by the number of years of your life expectancy. Don’t forget to account for inflation and unexpected emergencies such as medical emergencies due to accidents or natural disasters.

You can do this calculation yourself or your can get help on the Internet with free retirement planning tools to make the math easier. If you can afford it, you can hire a professional that provide retirement planning services to help you.

Choosing the Right Retirement Savings Plan

Having the right retirement savings plan will go a long way to getting you to where you financially will be able to retirement. Luckily, there are many different types of retirement plans to choose from. Some of the most popular plans include the Traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA), Roth IRA, Keogh plan, and 401(k) plan. All these retirement savings plans offer some tax advantages that help the money invested in them grow faster that if the money was invested outside of the plans.

Don’t overlook some of the more traditional investment vehicles outside of the IRA, Roth, Keogh, and 401(k) plans, such as individual stocks, bonds, and mutual funds to diversify and spread the risk of investing. While the investments may not offer the same tax breaks as the IRAs and 401(k) s, they provide more options for your investment money. Other types of investments you may want to look into include rental real estate and gold coins. But remember not to put all your money in one place and don’t spread yourself too thin.

Do your research before you putting your hard earned money into any investment. You need to be knowledgeable about investing and the various investment options available to you. Read financial books, the business section of the newspapers, watch the financial news, or ask questions of friends who are successful in their investing or business. And once you decide on the types of investments, stick with them, but do review and, if appropriate, readjust the investment portfolio at least once a year.

If you are just starting out in the job market and don’t think you make enough money to start an early retirement plan, review your expenses and see where you can cut back, and put that money into your retirement investment plan.

No matter how little you can save toward your retirement plan, the important thing is to start as early as possible. The earlier you save, the more time your money will have to grow into an amount that will provide you with secure retirement.

Choosing A Retirement Plan For Your Small Business

A qualified retirement plan can be beneficial to employers and employees alike, yet for a small business owner who is busy with daily operations, the time and effort involved in choosing a plan can seem daunting. It does not have to be.

Retirement plans come in two flavors: qualified and non-qualified. A qualified plan is desirable because it provides a vehicle for tax-deferred retirement savings for both the business’ employees and its owner, with allowable contributions in excess of those permitted for IRAs. A qualified plan also provides the employer an immediate deduction for the contributions made. Depending on the plan, it can encourage employees to maximize the business’ profits and to remain with the employer. Plans can be customized with optional features.

Non-qualified plans do not have to meet many of the requirements imposed on qualified plans, and have a wider range of features and provisions as a result. However, in most cases the employer does not get an immediate tax deduction for a non-qualified plan. Such arrangements also have to avoid “constructive receipt” by the employee in order to defer the employee’s taxes until the money is actually distributed. This usually exposes the employee to credit risk if the business fails before the deferred compensation is paid out. Non-qualified plans are sometimes useful, but most small businesses will prefer one of the qualified plan arrangements described in this article.

All of this can leave your head swimming, especially if personal finance is not your area of expertise. To simplify the exercise, think of finding a retirement plan that fits your small business like buying a new car. You should consider what retirement plan vehicle will fit your business’ size, needs and budget, as well as offering any special features you want. The more “tricked out” your retirement plan, the more costly it will be to establish and maintain.

The SEP (Simplified Employee Pension) IRA is the bare-bones model that gets you from point A to point B. It is easy to adopt, and typically custodians like Schwab or T. Rowe Price offer a basic form to start one. A SEP can be established as late as the employer’s income tax filing deadline, including extensions. After the initial set-up, the employer has no further filing requirements.

With a SEP, the employer makes contributions for all eligible employees. The common threshold for eligibility is an employee who is at least age 21 and who has been employed by the employer for three of the last five years, with compensation of at least $550 during the year. Eligibility standards can be less strict than this if the employer chooses. Contributions are an equal percentage for each employee’s income. The maximum contribution for 2013 is 25 percent of compensation, but no more than $51,000 total ($52,000 in 2014). (The same limits on contributions made to employees’ SEP-IRAs also apply to contributions if you are self-employed. However, special rules apply when figuring the maximum deductible contribution.) In a year where cash is limited, an employer does not have to make a contribution. SEP contributions are due by the employer’s tax filing deadline, including extensions.

A SEP is a great choice for a sole proprietor or a small business with a few employees, where the employer would like to have a retirement savings vehicle that allows larger, tax deductible contributions than does a traditional IRA with minimal fuss and maximum flexibility.

A SIMPLE (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees) IRA is also easy to establish and has no ongoing filing requirements for employers. SIMPLE IRAs are only available to businesses with fewer than 100 employees and no other retirement plan in place. These plans operate on a calendar-year basis and can be established as late as October 1.

While only the employer can contribute to a SEP IRA plan, a SIMPLE IRA allows employees to contribute to their own accounts, up to $12,000 in 2013 and 2014. Also, participants age 50 and older can make additional contributions, up to $2,500. The employer can either match employee contributions up to 3 percent of compensation (not limited by an annual compensation limit) or make a 2 percent of compensation nonelective contribution for each eligible employee (limited to an annual compensation limit of $255,000). The employer’s matching contribution can go as low as 1 percent when cash is constrained; however, the employer can use this option no more than 2 years out of a 5-year period. Unlike a SEP, a SIMPLE plan requires that the employer contribute each year.

An employer must deposit employees’ salary reduction contributions within 30 days of the end of the month in which the money is withheld from employee paychecks. The matching or nonelective contributions are due by the due date of the employer’s federal income tax return, including extensions.

All employees who have earned income of at least $5,000 in any prior 2 years and are reasonably expected to earn at least $5,000 in the current year must be eligible to participate in a SIMPLE IRA.

A SIMPLE can be a good choice for a small employer who would like to benefit from the tax deduction for employer contributions while encouraging his or her employees to save for retirement. Many employees will find this sort of plan attractive because it allows for higher contributions than a traditional IRA and requires employer contributions. It entails a greater administrative burden than a SEP, although this burden is still relatively small, and offers less flexibility. If cash flow is not an issue, a SIMPLE plan might be for you.

Once an employer makes a contribution to a SEP or SIMPLE plan, the employee is 100 percent vested in that contribution. Employees can take their contributions with them, even if they quit the next day. If employee retention is a concern, a plan that allows for deferred vesting, such as a Money Purchase Plan (MPP) or Profit Sharing Plan (PSP), may be a better fit. Vesting can either be graduated over a period of years of service or take effect all at once after a certain period of years. These plans are the middle-of-the-line models that provide more features than the most basic plans.

Similar to a SEP, a PSP allows for discretionary contributions by the employer. This is a beneficial feature if the business’ cash flow is a concern. The employer contributes what he or she can and the contributions are divided among employees based on a formula set by the plan. This is commonly based on an individual employee’s compensation relative to total compensation. Employer contributions are limited to the lesser of 100 percent of the employee’s compensation or $51,000 for 2013 ($52,000 for 2014). An employer can deduct amounts that do not exceed 25 percent of aggregate compensation for participants. A plan must be established by the last day of the business’ fiscal year. Contributions are due by the business’ tax filing deadline, including extensions.

A PSP is a good choice if cash flow is variable. It can motivate workers to increase profits and the likelihood of receiving a contribution. However, many employees might not find it as beneficial as a plan with guaranteed contributions. These employees may prefer a Money Purchase Plan (MPP).

A MPP is similar to a PSP, but it requires an annual contribution of a specific percentage of employee compensation, up to 25 percent. This creates a liability for the business, and thus may not be a good choice if cash flow is uncertain. An MPP must be established by the last day of the business’ fiscal year. Contributions must be made by the due date of the employer’s tax return, including extensions.

Standard eligibility requirements for both a PSP and an MPP are employees over age 21 and who have at least one to two years of service with the employer. If two years of service are required for participation, contributions vest immediately.

MPPs and PSPs also may allow loans to participants, a feature that employees often find attractive. Loans are usually limited to either (1) the greater of $10,000 or 50 percent of the vested balance or (2) $50,000, whichever is less. Loans must be repaid, with interest, over 5 years, unless they are used to purchase the employee’s principal residence.

The vesting and loan features make MPPs and PSPs more difficult to establish and maintain than SEP or SIMPLE plans. Both types of plan require employers to file Form 5500 with the IRS annually. These plans also both require testing to ensure that benefits do not discriminate in favor of highly compensated employees. Employers may also find the administration of plan loans to be burdensome. The added features of MPPs and PSPs make them more costly and complicated than the standard model SEP and SIMPLE plans.

You may choose an MPP or PSP if you would like a plan that encourages employee retention and you can handle the extra paperwork. Whether you choose an MPP or a PSP depends mainly on your cash flow.

The fully loaded model retirement plan is the traditional 401(k). These plans allow employee and employer contributions, vesting of employer contributions (employee contributions are always fully vested), and other options such as loans. These plans can be as basic or as complex as the employer wants. However, with complexity comes cost.

Annual employee contributions for a 401(k) are limited to $17,500 for 2013 and 2014. Participants age 50 and older can contribute an additional $5,500. Combined, the employer and employee contributions can be up to the lesser of either 100 percent of compensation or $51,000 for 2013 ($52,000 for 2014). Employers can deduct contributions up to 25 percent of aggregate compensation for participants and all salary reduction contributions. A 401(k) must be adopted by the end of the business’ fiscal year, and contributions are due by the business’s tax filing deadline, plus extensions.

An employer’s contribution to a traditional 401(k) plan can be flexible. Contributions can be a percentage of compensation, a match for employee contributions, both or neither. However, the plan must be tested annually to determine that it does not discriminate against rank-and-file employees in favor or owners and managers. A Safe Harbor 401(k) does not require discrimination testing but does require the employer to make either a specified matching contribution or a 3 percent contribution to all participants.

Commonly, 401(k) plans must be offered to all employees over age 21 who have worked at least 1,000 hours in the previous year.

A 401(k) is a good option for an employer who would like a plan with salary deferral, like a SIMPLE IRA, but also allows for vesting of employer contributions. An employer considering this sort of plan should be able to afford the contributions and the additional administrative work required. A 401(k) is a good option for larger businesses, where the maintenance of such a plan is less burdensome.

The plans I have described in this article are all defined contribution plans. This mean that the plan determines the contributions made, not the ultimate benefits received. Once the contribution is made, the employee invests it however he or she sees fit. At retirement, the amount the employee can withdraw is dictated by the performance of those investments. Poor investments lead to smaller retirement savings.

Defined benefit plans, in contrast, are the Rolls Royces of the retirement plan world. These plans include traditional pension plans, which pay out a set amount to an employee in retirement. The employer, not the employee, takes on the investment risk and will have to make up most shortfalls if the money originally set aside does not cover the ultimate expense.

While in theory an employee could do better with a defined contribution plan, depending on investment results, the certainty of a set payout in retirement makes defined benefit plans highly attractive to participants. However, such plans are costly and administratively complex. On top of annual filings, the plan needs to be tested by an actuary. The required future payments become a liability of the company. The burdens of these plans have made them unattractive for many businesses, and they have become much less common in recent years. In most cases, especially for small businesses with employees, it is not economical to adopt a defined benefit plan.

Make Informed Retirement Decisions With the Right Retirement Planning Tools

Figuring out how much money you will need to carry you through your retirement years can seem like a complex undertaking. However, using the right retirement planning tools to plan for your retirement will make the task a lot simpler and complete. The right tools will help you see how much money you’ll need to put away to meet your projected retirement date, how much your retirement nest egg will be worth at retirement and beyond, and how much net income you will need to sustain the lifestyle you want through your retirement years, so that you can feel confident about the informed decisions you need to make.

The various retirement planning tools will take the guess work out of calculating the money you need for your retirement. Accuracy in planning your retirement needs is important for managing your money today. Not putting enough money aside for your retirement means not having enough money to provide that lifestyle you want during your retirement years; putting to much money aside will cause financial hardship and cause you to stay in the workforce more years than necessary.

Fortunately, there are plenty of internet how-to guides, retirement advice blogs and calculators available at your finger tips that you can use to help you get an accurate assessment of how much money you need for your retirement and can help you decide where to direct your retirement funds in the most profitable direction, so there will meet your retirement goals when its time for you to retire.

Online retirement calculators are some of the most handle retirement planning tools available. Most calculators are usually provided to you for free and without asking for any personal information about you. All you do is input the numbers and the calculators can help you project the cash flow you will need to maintain the lifestyle you want, when you need to start saving, how much you need to save and to save for retirement and how much money you need to retire with the plan of your dreams.

These online calculators will also provide important information about your 401K, IRA and Roth IRA plans, or other retirement savings plans.
There are a series of how-to guides that teach you how to plan a retirement savings plans portfolio to consider inflation and deflation of the market.

Other how-to guides such as how to avoid croaked or incompetent money managers and tips on how to know spot an honest financial planner from a fraudulent one are valuable tools for retirement planning tools that can make sure that your retirement portfolio is well funded when you reach your planned retirement date.

Some planning tools will allow you to do the calculations and save the information in a file so that you can go back to it from time to time and make any necessary adjustments to recalculate your projections. Many investment firms such as Charles Schwab, Fidelity, and Ameritrade provide online retirement planning tools to the general public. You don’t have to be a customer of the companies to use their planning tools.

There are many online retirement planning tools that require you to sign up as a member for free. But there are other tools that are only available to customers of the company offering the service.

With the right retirement planning tools you can make the right decisions today that will help you be happier and more financially secure when your retirement comes. It is important to remember to be flexible in your planning and make adjustments as circumstance in your life warrants.

How to Use Good Retirement Planning To Avoid Headaches

There is a day in the future you are probably looking forward to with great anticipation and also some anxiety: your retirement day.

Mixed emotions about a major life transition like retirement are very understandable. The positive outlook of making your own schedule and spending time on your favorite hobbies is a time we all look forward to. But there is also the added pressure of feeling confident that you will have the financial wherewithall to enjoy those years.

Planning is one of the most important factors in every decision that people make. Planning is the key to success in every activity. Disorganized or false facts and information can be the cause of unwanted problems and worries in your golden years when you should be enjoying life.

Planning for retirement is a very important issue that you should not neglect or take for granted. To make things a lot easier, there are steps that are especially important for people who wish to plan their retirement. Why not? This is the most important part of your “after-career” life.

Retirement planning will create a clear path to secure your money. Your retirement plan will depend on your specific goals. Do you plan to travel after you retire? Or do you plan to stay home and enjoy new hobbies? Do you plan to spend more time in charitable activities? Do you plan to move to a smaller, easier-to-manage home? Do you have the kind of medical coverage that will assure you and your loved ones of good care during your retirement years? Will you have adequate income for your daily needs as well as your planned activities?

Some people don’t pay any attention to these important questions until they are just about ready to retire. As a result, it adds a lot of burden and stress to their lives – and the lives of their loved ones. You can avoid having retirement sneak up on you by planning it early. The sooner you plan for your retirement, the more income you will eventually have and the more you will enjoy retirement when it comes.

Here are some tips to avoid common mistakes when planning your retirement:

Tip 1:

Withdrawing money from your retirement plan is never advisable except in the most extreme situations.

Withdrawing from your retirement account will mean losing the valuable interest that has accrued. This will reduce future interest you earn on that account and keep it from building into a larger nest egg. You could face penalties or early withdrawal fees. Some plans allow you to have withdrawals or loans but you must be extra careful in taking advantage of these withdrawals.

Tip 2:

Invest as much money into your company retirement plan as you can for as long as you can afford it. You should invest enough to get your company matching funds if they are offered. Even small amounts can grow into very large accounts over time.

Tip 3:

Always monitor your investments on a regular basis. Only then will you be aware of any discrepancies or unexpected downturns in your plan. You will also know how your investments are doing and whether you should beef up your plan even more.

Tip 4:

Do not rely too much on social security. You should always have other means of income as a back up. It is advisable to have a 401K retirement plan, an IRA, and your personal savings. In this day and age, we’ve seen too many large companies defaulting on their pension plans. And every year, politicians talk more and more about cutting back on social security. Have you ever wondered whether the social security system will survive the coming retirement of the baby boom generation? You should think about this and plan accordingly.

Tip 5:

Each person should have their own separate retirement plan for the best retirement security. If one spouse relies on his/her spouse’s retirement plan for his/her retirement, he/she could be in for a very sad surprise. The spouse with the retirement plan could die leaving the other spouse with no income.

Tip 6:

Forgetting to review your plan on a regular basis could mean losing a portion of your retirement income. You have to review this to be able to insure you are making the most income possible for your plan. It is advisable to also investigate every alternative to see if their are other plans that will earn more.

Five Tips For Stress Free Travel

Let’s face the fact; the whole traveling event is quite stressful. We plan a holiday to get away from the pressures of home and work, but navigating through the airport to catch your flight becomes the most stressful part of the whole trip. You don’t want to become all stressed before you even leave the airport, so here are some helpful tips that will help you travel smoothly without any stress and enjoy your vacation.

Arrive Early

Long gone are those days when you can show an hour before your flight, but now the circumstances have changed a lot. Many times I have seen people waiting outside in the parking for a shuttle complaining that they might miss their flight if the van doesn’t come soon. That’s why my honest recommendation that arrives at least three hours before your flight at the airport.

Pack Light

The best way to reduce stress is by packing light. If you can pack light with only one carry-on bag, it will save you time at the check in counter. You can walk straight to the computer, check in your bag and be on your way to the security line in not time. Trust me, lugging a heavy back anywhere can be stressful. You will realise half of the things you don’t need on your vacation, and you won’t be happy with all that clutter you carried for no reason.

Check In Online

Check in 24 hours before your flight will save you a lot of time and will help you in avoiding all the hassle at the airport. Make use of your smartphone, check in online and either get a print out of your ticket, or you can save it on your phone. That way when you reach the airport, you don’t have to waste your time at the check in counter.

Be Prepared

Be ready to face strict security measures at the airport. I keep all the things that I need out onto the bin, so they are readily available. When I reach the conveyor belt, everything is out in a flash. All liquids should be packed in a bottle of 100ml or less and then kept in a small Ziploc bag. Don’t wear any metal jewellery or keep any loose change with you as it will beep when you pass the security check and create trouble.

Create A Care Package

When packing your luggage pack a small handbag or backpack in which you can carry the things that you will need during the flight. Ever since I started carrying a small bag with me, my trips have become more enjoyable. I usually pack things that I’ll be needing urgently like the following:

• Ear buds to prevent noise

• Lip balm and skin moisturiser

• Hand sanitizer

• Credit Card to make any in-flight purchases

• Travel toothpaste and toothbrush

• iPhone

• Sunglasses

• Some basic meds if I feel nauseate on the flight.

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10 Signs It’s Time for You to Travel

1. The thought of getting up and going to work makes you feel sick… literally!

We’ve all been there. The “calling in sick” phone calls to your manager that you despise, just so that you can take the day off to binge watch your favourite television series on Netflix. But the truth is, when your purposely dodging your work shift, or counting down the minutes until you finish work, there’s a serious problem that you need to finally confront. Switching up your routine or even going somewhere for a long-weekend can revitalize you and uplift your spirits.

2. You spend way too much time living in the past and forget about the present.

Your life is governed by the “What If’s, Should have’s and Could have’s”. Doubt and fear seem to creep its way into your mind and you spend the rest of your days worrying about past choices and experiences. It’s time to wake up! You can’t change what you did or how that relationship ended. Focus on the present, and kick doubt and fear in the ass!

3. Your patterns are predictable… You’re stuck in Groundhog Day!

7am, your alarm rings, out of the house by 8. Stop by your local drive-through coffee shop for your morning caffeine fix. Commence your 9-5 cubicle cookie-cutting job and throughout the day engage in “dexter” small-talk and banter. You drive home, sit on your favourite couch and crush the next season of Game of Thrones. You do it all over again the next day, and the next and so on. If someone wanted to stalk you, frankly speaking it would be too easy. Break free from the rut and explore what this world has to offer. You’d be surprised what you’ll find.

4. Nothing exists beyond your city!

Why travel when you can get the best Szechuan in China Town or have the most delicious Cannoli’s in Little Italy? True, some of the best ethnic foods can be found right under your nose, however to think that “there is no world beyond New York City” or any mega city is absurd. Travelling to a country and experiencing an entirely new environment and culture can really kickstart your senses. So here’s to it… indulge!

5. Small town girl, You’ve been living in your small town world.

I get it… going from knowing your neighbours and the cashier at your local grocery store to getting lost in Thailand’s full moon festival and knowing absolutely no one can be pretty daunting. The truth is, you have to feel comfortable with being uncomfortable to experience life in a different way. Getting used to feeling like a “visible minority” or experiencing language barriers can make you understand and empathize with the other side of the dialectic. It’ll open up your eyes to a world beyond your small town.

6. The English Epidemic

It’s always interesting to see tourists getting frustrated when they travel to a foreign land and expect natives of that particular place to speak English. Cultural insensitivity is probably one of the worst qualities to display on your vacation. If your mind craves a challenge, choose a country that speaks a language that is unknown to you and learn some of their salutations and conversational expressions. You’ll make quite the impression and even gain a lifelong friendship with a local.

7. Stop reading about it, Go live it!

You pick up the National Geographic and read all about the amazing Safari adventures in Kenya, the vibrant eccentric colours of Marrakech and the exhilarating smell of lamb kebab that creeps through the narrow alleyways of Tehran. You take a moment, envision yourself in these pictures and then snap back to reality, allowing doubt and fear to snatch your dreams away. Stop reading about these wonderful places and feed your desires. Book that ticket and spend your nights dreaming about the adventures you’re about to embark on.

8. FoMo

The fear of missing out-hereafter referred to as FoMo, is no joke. FoMo is the desire to stay connected and partake in events that others are doing. It has also been referred to as having a fear of regret. This fear has a way of creeping its way into social gathering discussion topics of “who has the latest gadget” or “who has travelled to Monaco?” If you’re feeling particularly left out in the conversation, maybe it’s time to pack your suitcase and head over to a destination that will take over next weeks dinner gatherings discussion.

9. Single and ready to Mingle?

Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones said it best: “I’ve been in a relationship with myself for 49 years and that’s the one I need to work on.” There is no better way to learn more about yourself than to travel alone. Taking yourself on a lovely date, catching a matinée alone or doing some solo travel might feel a bit awkward at first, but getting to know the awesome person that you are should be cherished and celebrated. So here’s to celebrating you!

10. Big Decisions, Big Commitments

Whether you are entering University, starting your new career or settling down with the love of your life, it’s always a good idea to travel prior to these commitments. It will allow you to feel balanced, re-energized and ready to take on what’s to come.