Tag Archives: lifestyle

Three Simple Steps: How to Start Saving for Retirement

By Chuck Saletta

road signpost pointing to work and retire with person walking down the road

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Saving for your retirement is a big deal. Barring the income you might get from pensions (not what they once were) and Social Security (not likely to stay what it once was) all you’ll have is the money you save to last you the rest of your life. And it’s no secret that if your accounts run dry, it’s incredibly difficult for a retiree to rejoin the workforce a decade or more after leaving it.

Given all that, it’s understandable if you’re a bit worried about coming up with enough money that you’ll be able to retire comfortably on your terms. While building and maintaining that nest egg is a long-term commitment, it’s important to remember that you have the rest of your career to get there. With a solid plan and the flexibility to handle life’s curve balls, you can greatly improve your chances of retiring with a portfolio that can last as long as you do.

3 Steps to Get From Here to Retired

The toughest part of investing for retirement is that you face so many unknowns. How long will you live? What will the market do? Will your Social Security benefits get cut? How tame (or wild) will inflation be? Will your mental and physical health hold out, or will you need the help of a caregiver?

Those are all wise questions to ask, but unfortunately, they can’t be answered with any certainty until it’s too late to do anything about it. The best any of us can really do is develop a reasonable plan based on decent assumptions, and then adjust as life happens. With that in mind, here is a three-step foundation for a solid plan:

1. Set a target. What sort of lifestyle do you want in your retirement? Are you the kind of person who’d be happy rocking away on the stoop, watching the world go by? Or do you picture a retirement filled with world travel, box seats at the symphony, and generous philanthropic gifts to your favorite charities?

Whatever your plans, start by estimating your anticipated monthly expenses. Subtract from that your anticipated net Social Security check and any monthly pension payments you may get, then multiply the remainder by 300. That’s about how large your total portfolio will need to be to cover your costs. At that size, your portfolio should generate enough growth and income that you can take advantage of the 4 percent rule, a solid (if rough) estimate that will help reduce the odds that you’ll outlive your money.

2. Take what help you can get, and ramp up when you can. While that 300-times-monthly-expenses estimate may seem daunting, there are a number programs available to help you build your nest egg faster. Qualified retirement accounts like IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and the government’s Thrift Savings …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

How To Find Your Passion And Start A Growing Business

By Geri Stengel, Contributor

After 9 years of co-running a successful company, Shecky’s, known for its Girls Night Out events that combine cocktails, shopping and networking, Claudia Chan wanted more purpose in her life. Open yourself up to opportunity You can’t know where opportunity lies, if you’re not aware of what’s going on in the world. Chan became a sponge, soaking up marketplace trends until she fixated on one: women’s advancement had stagnated. Whether it is the percentage of women leading Fortune 1,000 companies, serving on their corporate boards, holding political office or raising money to scale their businesses, the numbers had stalled. “You can’t be what you can’t see,” Chan quoted Marie Wilson, an advocate of women’s issues, and founder and President of The White House Project. It’s not that women don’t have potential, but as Chan added to the quote, “you cannot become what you do not believe.” Women need to be exposed to more female role models. Seeing women like themselves who have succeeded, makes the possibility real. It’s inspiring and shows a path to follow. Know what you’re good at How could Chan inspire and encourage women to break barriers? By starting a more purposeful women’s media company that could provide ambitious women with honest advice and stories of today’s leading female role models that they normally would not have access to. And by convening these women at live events, she could help them build the networks they need to achieve their goals. While women build deep relationships with each other, to unlock our potential we need to open more doors for each other just as men do. From her past experience, Chan knows how to throw events that foster bonding. She had done this for nearly a decade with Shecky’s. Now she had a bigger purpose. Her company S.H.E. Globl Media has launched two media brands since it’s March 2012 inception. ClaudiaChan.com, a website that shares hundreds of exclusive interviews with inspirational women from Somaly Mam to Christy Turlington Burns, and S.H.E. Summit — an annual June women’s week of events that brings the content to life. The brands are designed to inspire women to dream big and do big with passion and purpose  Chan evaluated the marketplace and found there was no direct competition. There were some high-end conferences, but no publication or conference connecting today’s women leaders with the masses. Since women approach their lives holistically, not separating personal from business, Chan’s content also combines leadership with lifestyle. Self funding your businesses requires creative marketing tactics Chan chose not to raise money, she funded the company herself. She bootstrapped everything, including marketing the event. She was creative in promoting her events, partnering with other brands that aimed to inspire women, from women’s organization 85 Broads to fitness chain Physique 57  to fashion brand BCBGMAXAZRIA among others. The tactic worked. Only in its second year, the S.H.E. Summit Week attracted thousands of women to its 100+ events across the U.S. and globally. Build a great culture around your team’s skill sets and passions Chan …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Against All Odds- Launching a Retail Organic Foods Business

By Candida Brush, Contributor

  The dramatic rise in sales of organic foods and beverages from $1 billion in 1990 to $26 billion in 2013 has encouraged many aspiring entrepreneurs to start organic or natural foods businesses.  http://www.ota.com/organic/mt/business.html.   The fact is it is relatively easy to start selling a natural foods product on line or from your own storefront-  all you need is a brand name, a website, source of supply from a local farm,  a location,  and a Paypal account. In other words, you can start your natural foods business with a relatively small up-front investment. http://org.enom.com/starting-online-organic-store-460.html But,  because the entry barriers are low, this means there is a high likelihood that the business will discontinue or fail within the first 5 years.  More than 47% of retail based businesses fail within the first 5 years, while on line retail businesses have an even higher rate of failure.  So how do natural foods businesses carve out a niche and overcome the odds that allows them to sustain over time?  One of the keys is a differentiation strategy that has a clear value proposition.  In other words, making sure that the benefits natural foods business provides is crystal clear to the consumer and differentiated from local competition. In many cases, the benefits and differentiation of successful ventures in this space have to do with a commitment to social purpose.  My colleagues and I identify a “social purpose business” as one that is for profit (economic mission) and makes a social impact on the marketplace (Neck, Brush & Allen, 2009, The Landscape of Social Entrepreneurship, Business Horizons).  I have observed that many of the new start- ups in the organic food retail sector are not only offering a new organic food alternative, but a founded on a principle of changing our life style to be healthier.  This commitment to a larger societal mission drives these businesses, differentiating the venture and attracting a loyal customer base. For instance, I had the pleasure of meeting Kiki Heinzer, a Stanford alumna and Jodi Remenap, a private chef, who launched KLEAN, a premium meal delivery service for the purpose of weight loss, weight management and nutrition, located in Hollywood, Calif.  https://www.kleanla.com/index.php?page=home. The business was inspired by Kiki and Jodi’s concern with the growing problem of obesity in our society, which, they believe is related to lifestyle, demand for convenience, and a rise in the use of GMOs, additives and preservatives in our food chain.  KLEAN delivers proportioned meals that are macronutrient balanced to subscribers six days a week.  They spend as much time assessing the proportion of ingredients and the food groups in the meals as they do sourcing, cooking and preparing.  Most important- they have not compromised flavors in any way.  Customers get fabulous meals delivered conveniently and they lose weight and improve their overall health.   Another example is NatureBox, co-founded by Gautam Gupta, a former venture capitalist and Babson alum, and Ken Chen, an internet marketing entrepreneur  http://naturebox.com/  The NatureBox team was also motivated to help change …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

NFL Star Loves to Bake, Help Others

By Joanne Camas A six-foot-six, 275-pound guy baking dainty cupcakes is an incongruous picture, but many things Israel Idonije does break the mold. Idonije, an NFL veteran, who was born in Nigeria and raised in Canada, was recently honored at the White House for his humanitarian work. His foundation works with kids in his hometown of Winnipeg, Chicago, and West Africa, and he’s a visible presence at his all-star camps for inner-city youth. Defensive lineman Odonije has played for the Chicago Bears for 10 years and took the field in the Super Bowl with the team, but has just signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Lions. While his foundation will remain headquartered in the Windy City, you can imagine Izzy, as he’s known to kids and friends alike, will find time to brighten lives in the troubled Motor City too. The Detroit Lions start training camp for the upcoming season tomorrow, but Odonije managed to find time to answer some questions for Epicurious by email. I know food’s always been a big part of your life – for example, you helped your parents collect food for needy families when you were a child. Does it surprise you that so many families in this country are “food insecure”? It doesn’t surprise me about the amount of hungry children and families in the U.S. It is a sad and unnecessary situation — there is so much wasted surplus. It would be wonderful if there were a system in place to get the surplus food to people in need. Your foundation does a lot of great work with kids. Do you include healthy eating programs? The Israel Idonije Foundation focuses on five keys to life success. One of those keys is self-awareness. Who are you? Who do you want to be? Through self awareness we have the opportunity to discuss living a healthy lifestyle and the role that healthy eating plays. I hear that you love to make cupcakes. Why’s that a favorite thing, and how did it start? I love banana bread. So I make banana bread cupcakes with a blueberry cream cheese icing. It started with watching and helping my mother bake — pies, bread, cookies…you name it. Do you eat them all (hey, you’re an athlete, you need energy!)? Or do you take them to share with your teammates? I eat half and take half to the office or give them away. And do your teammates think it’s ironic that such an athletic man bakes? LOL. I think a lot of the guys cook. What’s your favorite recipe? Two favorites that I love to eat but do not cook are pounded yam and Ogbono soup, both of which are Nigerian recipes. I also love a glass of Chapman — another Nigerian favorite!! Do you cook any other specialties or family favorites? With my eyes closed, I make a great cedar plank salmon with miso glaze, shepherd’s pie, and turkey lasagna. What do you like to eat before a big game? I eat…<div …read more

Source: Epicurious

6 Secrets From A Shameless Self-Promoter

By Geri Stengel, Contributor

We all need a little faith — Faith Hope Consolo, that is. Consolo is now Chair of Douglas Elliman’s retail real estate division and she’s made it on Crain’s New York’s 100 Most Influential Women list. Many women have a hard time touting their accomplishments and promoting themselves. I know I’m one of them and, believe it or not, so was Consolo. But she got past that roadblock. Consolo shared six ways for pushing past your comfort zone and stepping into the limelight. 1.)  Be motivated. For Consolo, it was a matter of survival. She lost her parents when she was young and was raised by her grandmother. Attending NYU, she had wealthy friends and she wanted their lifestyle, which included travel and exquisite clothes. Since she wasn’t  born into money, she would have to earn it. 2.)  Step outside yourself. Don’t personalize what you’re doing. “Pretend it’s a game,” said Consolo. Perhaps because Consolo initially wanted to be an actress, pretending was easy for her to do. Being self-promotional is just part of the role she is playing. 3.) Put on blinders. Not everyone is going to like you. Consolo doesn’t let what other people say about her get in the way. She’s dogged in the pursuit of what she wants and if one person doesn’t like her, there are plenty of people who do — and I do mean plenty. 4.) Offer assistance. Consolo never stops pushing her agenda, but while she’s pushing her own, she is continually offering assistance. She now has the goods to make things happen for others, but even when she didn’t, there were ways she could help. She volunteered and offered help to the causes she cared about and the industry she is a part of. Consolo never met a committee she didn’t like. There’s a lesson in being a joiner. 5.) Polish your ‘Executive Presence.’ Recently I wrote an article citing tips on building Executive Presence from Rosina Racioppi, WOMEN Unlimited, which trains women to develop skills and  mindset-shifts to become leaders. Consolo has Executive Presence down pat in the way she looks, speaks, and acts. She ties it up in a beautiful pink ribbon, which I mean figuratively and literally. She knows how to brand herself including developing Faithisms such as “You need Faith” and after the market tanked “You need Faith now more than ever.” 6.) Build a bully pulpit. Consolo’s bully pulpit is  a newsletter called The Faith Report and a column in The Huffington Post called The Faithful Shopper. She frequently interviews people in the industry.  It’s a chance to get other people’s viewpoints and a way for her to share her opinions and latest successes. Consolo never misses a chance to lecture at a university and to mentor. Both build relationships with the next generation. It’s also a way to keep track of up-and-coming trends. So the next time you feel uncomfortable touting your successes, get a little Faith. If you enjoyed the article vote for Geri Stengel as a Small …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

The Biblical Case for a Libertarian Government


The emphasis of this article will be on “conservative” views of government — the notion that the government can outlaw activities simply because those activities are sin. Later, I’ll publish an article that explicitly covers “leftist” Christian beliefs — the idea that the government should have strong welfare programs to “care” for the poor.

Peace, Violence, and Jesus Christ

Jesus taught a lifestyle of non-violence, peaceful “tolerance”, and a lifestyle based on love and mercy. When I say “tolerance”, I don’t mean verbally — I mean physically. Christ constantly spoke out about what was evil. He discussed and condemned sin repeatedly — especially the sin of the religious conservatives of the day, the Pharisees.

Jesus taught a remarkable philosophy at the time — that of peace. He explicitly said in the Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Most commentators, including Spurgeon, agree with this on a literal and figurative level. A Christian should be a maker of peace. Of course, being a peace-maker doesn’t mean peace will occur — after all, Jesus died a violent death, and promised that His followers would endure hatred and violence from tyrants.

Self-Defense and Justified Violence

Jesus is often used as an example of pacifism because He allowed the government to kill Him. The idea that this justifies pacifism is absurd, because Jesus explicitely explained that He didn’t fight because He was on earth for the purpose of dying for the world — He had to allow them to kill him.

“My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

Jesus allowed them to kill Him because the establishment of the His kingdom required that He die and rise again three days later. This was part of the plan. His reasoning was not that violence in self-defense is bad — but completely about context.

He literally said: “If it were, my servants would fight.” In other words, when discussing earthly matters, violence absolutely can be justified, even by peacemaker.

There is literally only one example of Jesus using violence on anyone while He was on earth. That example is when He entered the Temple Courts, and saw that there were people in the temple buying and selling and “stealing” by using improper weights and measurements. Jesus’ response was ferocious. He pulled out a whip, and drove them out of the temple, flipping tables, and dumping the money-changers posessions onto the ground. He said:

“‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

I can’t imagine a more basic example of proper violence than this. Jesus wasn’t just anyone — He was the Son of God, and this was His house. Even then, the only violence done was on those who were literally robbers. Jesus used violence on thieves while they were in the act. And He was the Great …read more

Source: Worthy Christian Forums

Science And The Anti-Liberty Crowd

By Spiritof76

al gore settled science 300x200 Science and The Anti Liberty Crowd

One of the things fundamental to science is establishing categories and their clear definitions.  In that spirit, I group all the socialists, the communists, the dictators, and the progressives into the anti-liberty crowd.  There may be differences among them in terms of degree of collectivist oppression, but they are all arrayed against the founding documents of our country.

The anti-liberty crowd has been very vocal about how they are guided by science.  They have accused the US of promoting a scientifically unsustainable lifestyle of gluttony of energy and food at the expense of other countries. They promote their top-down policies through the so-called anthropogenic global warming hoax.  They have declared that our founding documents are backwards and not suitable for the current high technology environment.

Their climb to power through their declared scientific affinity started with Woodrow Wilson claiming that our Constitution was modeled on outdated Newtonian physics, while Darwinian Theory was being touted at more appropriate.  He wanted to get rid of separation of powers and checks and balances under that pretext that they were impediments to his collectivist vision.  The anti-liberty crowd then advocated eugenics to eliminate the “weak” races for the good of humanity.  Margaret Sanger used the twisted interpretation of the science of the day to set up Planned Parenthood to reduce the “inferior” Negro race.  The anti-Liberty crowd in Russia and China wanted to modernize agriculture by establishing scientifically superior collectives and command and control economies.  Millions perished under Stalin and Mao. The anti-Liberty crowd chalked that up as an incidental damage necessary for a superior end.

They are now promoting the “renewable” energy, unlimited abortion blurring the infanticide boundary, and gay “marriage,” destroying the family unit necessary for the ideals of founding principles to endure.  Each one of those can be shown to be anti-scientific.

The solar and wind energy (or the “renewable” energy) can never economically replace the conventional sources of energy because the former sources are diffused when they need to be highly concentrated.  Electrical energy cannot be stored at levels that are practical.  No amount of taxpayer subsidy can replace the “renewables” as an alternative to the conventional sources.  Just ask yourself this question: If wind power is so great, how come the sailing ships gave way to steam power with coal, oil, and nuclear energy sources?

Since the Progressives claim to be followers of the Darwinian theory of evolution, with natural selection underpinning it to perpetuate the species, how could they forego its consistency when it comes to the promotion of homosexual relationships on par with the naturally-favored heterosexual relationship?  They say that the theory of creationism was unsupported by science; and yet, they promote homosexuality as value-equivalent.  How can there be a homosexual marriage when it can never be consummated?  Biologically, anatomically, and emotionally, the male and female of the species have evolved to maximize perpetuation of the human race.  Homosexuality cannot be supported on a scientific basis.

How about abortion and the anti-Liberty crowd’s staunch support of it, unlimited right up to birth?  Prior to the advent of the Sonogram, they characterized the developing human life in the womb as an accumulation …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Western Journalism

Five Examples Of The Worst Roommate Ever And How To Deal With Them

By Rent.com, Contributor When you start looking for  a roommate, you’re all optimism: “I’m going to find the perfect match,” you think. “We’ll be best friends for life!” A few Craigslist searches and coffee dates later, you decide to move in with your new BFF. Things are going great until you suddenly discover you made the wrong choice. Having a bad roommate can be, well, the worst. Here are five examples of the worst roommate ever, so you know what to avoid during your next roommate search: The Stage-Five Clinger While spending time with your roommate is important, if he or she becomes too clingy, you may soon have a problem. Roommates who are constantly wondering where you are going, who with, and why they weren’t invited can be tiresome and troublesome. You don’t want to have to duck your roommate in your own home, so do some sleuthing and ask about your potential roommate’s friends and lifestyle before signing on the dotted line. The Quiet Lurker On the opposite end of the bad roommate spectrum, we have the Quiet Lurker. This ghostly individual tends to keep to his or her self, sit in the corner, and rarely engage in conversation. You’ll find that when you are in the same room together, it feels as if you are living on entirely different planes of the space-time continuum (perhaps time travel is possible after all). The Quiet Lurker rarely speaks, and can make your apartment living situation extremely awkward. The Party Animal While it’s nice to throw a party at your apartment every now and then, living with a Party Animal is not conducive to having a successful 9-to-5 job. The Party Animal is a social butterfly with dozens of friends who seem to constantly occupy your living room as if it were, in fact, their own. While living with someone who enjoys a good party can be fun, make sure you set down some ground rules right away, or you may soon find yourself looking for a new roommate. The Homebody If you have a roommate in college who was constantly homesick, you know what we’re talking about when we reference the Homebody. This person is constantly on the phone, chatting with his or her family back home, or Skyping with friends who have moved far away. Homebodies rarely have many friends in the city in which they live, and spend many a night sitting on the couch texting with friends and watching the latest releases on Netflix. The Obsessive Cleaner While it’s definitely important to have a roommate that values cleanliness, living with someone who is obsessive about it can be disastrous. Your roommate may not be OCD, but if he or she is constantly picking up after you, asking you to immediately clean your dirty dishes and vacuuming under your feet as you watch a movie, things can get uncomfortable quickly–particularly if you have a more laid-back personality. Sometimes you can work things out, but if you really can’t stand your roommate, it might …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

How Will India's Largest Jewelry Company Respond To Latest Setback?

By Anthony DeMarco, Contributor Gitanjali Group, which bills itself as the “world’s largest integrated conglomerate of diamonds, jewelry and lifestyle brands,” has quickly fallen on hard times. In less than a month, the Mumbai, India-based company, which trades under the name Gitanjali Gems, has seen its share price plunge by 80 percent. On Friday alone, its shares dropped nearly 5 percent after news that the company’s top official is under investigation with Indian regulators. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

10 Dilemmas Every Startup Founder Must Deal With

By Martin Zwilling, Contributor

Most entrepreneurs struggle with many startup Founders dilemmas in building their business, and these key dilemmas are probably the biggest source of pain and failure for the entrepreneur lifestyle. People may jump into the lifestyle to be their own boss, achieve great wealth, start a new trend, or all the above. The dilemma is that these goals are usually mutually exclusive. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Putin's fiercest foe faces verdict in fraud trial

A Russian court will on Thursday deliver a verdict in the embezzlement trial of top protest leader Alexei Navalny, an abrasive critic of President Vladimir Putin who risks years in prison and an end to his budding political career.

Navalny, 37, who emerged as a powerful new political force in mass protests against Putin that broke out in December 2011, dismisses charges he colluded to steal money in a timber deal while acting as an unpaid advisor to the governor in the northern Kirov region.

Prosecutors in the regional capital of Kirov are seeking a six-year prison colony sentence, but any conviction would disqualify Navalny from politics.

Navalny bluntly predicted on his blog Wednesday that he would be found guilty, and that Putin would be behind the decision.

Putin would either “wimp out” and order a suspended sentence or “get up the courage and it will be a jail term”, he wrote.

The verdict comes a day after Navalny was accepted as a candidate for the high-profile Moscow mayoral race in September, raising the bizarre prospect that he could run for office while already behind bars.

Navalny’s disqualification from politics would only take effect after the appeals process is exhausted, so he could still theoretically campaign during this period.

The trial is seen by the opposition as part of a wider crackdown on activists who took to the streets to demand an end to Putin’s rule in the run-up to his return to the Kremlin in May 2012 for a third term.

Many have spent months in cells awaiting trial and face long jail terms for crowd violence.

Ahead of the trial in Kirov, a sleepy city 600 kilometres (370 miles) from Moscow, young supporters handed out leaflets on the main square urging passers-by to come to the court to back “Putin’s number one enemy.”

International journalists swarmed the city to jostle for the courtroom’s 60 seats to hear judge Sergei Blinov’s ruling.

Navalny has eloquently defended himself in the hurried trial, which began in April. Judge Blinov, who has never acquitted anyone in his career, has listened largely silently, sometimes taking notes.

The trial has given little explanation for the alleged embezzlement, given Navalny’s apparently humdrum lifestyle in a small flat in a Moscow suburb with his wife Yulia and two children.

Supporters in Kirov were downbeat ahead of the verdict, even as Navalny’s selection as mayoral candidate raised hopes of a last-minute reprieve from the authorities.

“I’d like to believe that they have a cunning plan, but they are not cunning: they have chosen the option of force,” said supporter Nikolai Lyaskin who travelled from Moscow for the trial.

With his streetwise rhetoric and charisma, Navalny emerged as the most effective of the opposition leaders who led the unprecedented protests against Putin.

Navalny has said he wants to challenge Putin in the next presidential elections in 2018 and coined the phrase “party of crooks and thieves” to describe the ruling United Russia party.

In a typically uncompromising gesture, Navalny this week published a detailed report accusing one of Putin’s closest allies, the head of Russian …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News