Though some may wish that financial planning enabled them to “get rich quick,” most appear to be resigned to the belief that it takes a good amount of time to start reaping the rewards of disciplined saving.
According to the poll, which was conducted by independent research firm Harris Interactive, approximately 75 percent of respondents chose long-term planning as the better savings strategy when given the choice between a financial savings system that performed well in the short term or one that may take longer to improve yield profit but pay off in the end.
Yet despite this, far too few people are taking the necessary actions to see this plan through. Financial expert Greg Oberland notes that as many as half of the American workforce does not have a long-term investment strategy in place.
But there is widespread consensus about how to go about it. The survey found that among people aged 25 to 54, and those who were 55 and older, both groups pointed to saving early as the best decision to make as to how to improve one’s financial status. Other less popular strategies cited by both groups included buying real estate at an affordable price and relying on one’s 401(k).
Americans devote much of their time to money matters. It’s estimated that approximately one-third of consumers spent between two and 12 hours each day handling or thinking about finances in some way, according to McGraw Hill Federal Credit Union.
A new study suggests that far too few Americans have the necessary financial resources to handle a critical illness, such as sickness insurance.
According to the “Middle-Income America’s Perspectives on Critical Illness and Financial Security” study, conducted by the Washington National Institute for Wellness Solutions (IWS), only 10 percent of the 1,000 respondents surveyed said they felt certain they’d be able to pay for a sickness-related emergency, including being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease or illness.
Of those surveyed - all of whom earn between $35,000 and $100,000 each year - more than half said that they would have to tap into their savings. However, those who had money set aside often didn’t have enough to treat extensive medical tests and procedures. Three-quarters said they had less than $20,000 in savings.
The poll also asked respondents where they would turn if they didn’t have the means to pay for a diagnosed illness. At 28 percent, credit cards were pointed to as the leading resource middle-income Americans would use, followed by family and friends at 23 percent and financial institutions at 19 percent.
Barbara Stewart, president of the IWS, indicated that these results demonstrate how important it is for individuals today to educate themselves about the importance of financial planning and ensuring there aren’t any gaps in financial protection.
Many Americans will be diagnosed with some type of serious health condition in their lives. According to the American Cancer Society, 50 percent of all men and one-third of all women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point.
When you were younger, planning a vacation for just you and your spouse was likely a pretty easy endeavor. Once kids are added into the equation, however, this process can be exhausting. Fortunately, there are certain things you can do to create an itinerary that has something for everyone. Here are some tips:
Child- and parent-friendly destinations
Back when you were newlyweds, you likely chose vacation destinations that were relaxing and romantic. However, kids will be bored by long hours reading on the beach, and they’re unlikely to be impressed by five-star hotels. When picking a destination for your whole family, make sure it has something for everyone. You want to find a spot that will be exciting for youngsters while still affording Mom and Dad a chance to forget about the real world for a while. For example, a trip to a national park like Yosemite will give youngsters the opportunity to run around, enjoy the fresh air and see sites that are important to America’s heritage. At the same time, the parents will be able to enjoy romantic sunsets in a gorgeous setting.
When packing for your trip, you’ll need to bring more than just clothing items for your young ones. Kids on long flights or car rides will get bored quickly, but having an arsenal of items to entertain them will make the experience better for everyone. In addition to toys and the like, be sure to pack a few healthy snacks so you don’t have to wait for the food cart or pull over every time one of the kids gets hungry or fussy. It may be wise to think of a few games you can play while in transit. For example, on road trips, you can award points to family members who are able to spot out-of-state license plates.
Let kids have their say
When you’ve finalized an itinerary that seems good to you, it’s time to have a family meeting to discuss it. Run over each step of the proposed trip for the whole group, and then let everyone weigh in on what they think. While ultimately it’s up to the parents to decide what aspects of the trip will stay or go, it’s important to let children feel as though their input matters. And who knows? One of your youngsters may have a great idea that you haven’t thought of.
You want to provide your mom with the best gifts possible this Mother’s Day, and there are some great homemade items that will surely bring a smile to her face.
Mom surely enjoys her coffee or tea each morning, and a personalized mug is a great way to wake up in the morning. All you need is a porcelain mug and a sharpie. Write any message you want on the mug and bake it in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Allow it to cool completely before you try to wash or touch the message. This is a great way to tell Mom how much she means to you.
While fresh flowers are always nice, making paper flowers provides a personal touch. For this project, you’ll need coffee filters, pipe cleaners and paint. Simply paint the coffee filters whatever color you’d like - feel free to mix and match - and let dry. Push a pipe cleaner through the middle of the filter and twist the top in a knot so it doesn’t come out. This will give the filter a flowery appearance. Arrange in a bouquet for a full presentation.
Candles are a great way to decorate the home, and you can actually personalize them. All you need is a glass jar, a candle and puff paint. Use the paint to decorate the outside of the jar, perhaps with a message that says “World’s Best Mom” or a floral design. Let dry and place candle in the center of the jar.
Who says potted plants can’t have a little pizzazz? Use argyle socks and a flower pot to create the perfect decoration. Simply cut the sock at the toe and the elastic and use the body of the sock to stretch around the planter. Once it is fully covered, you’ll have a great decorative piece.
Photos last a lifetime, and it’s nice to keep them visible. One way to do this is to turn them into magnets. All you need are some of your favorite photos and magnetic tape. Simply apply the magnetic tape to the back of the photos, so the adhesive side sticks. Press firmly and hang on the refrigerator for display.
Moms are some of the most important people in many people’s lives, and it’s necessary that we give back on Mother’s Day. With the holiday right around the corner, now is the perfect time for people who have been wondering what to get Mom on her special day to do a little research. Whether it’s buying or making something, there are plenty of gift ideas that are sure to please the special lady in your life.
Buying gifts for Mom
Just because they’re store-bought doesn’t mean gifts can’t be heartfelt. Those who are looking to do a little shopping for Mom will surely find there’s a lot to choose from, but it’s important to make the gifts about Mom. Think about her favorite places to shop and ask a salesperson if it’s possible to create a gift basket of all of her favorite things. This way, you know your mom will use the items and she’ll be able to see how much thought you put into the present. There’s also the season to consider. If your Mom likes to garden, consider buying her a gift card to her favorite nursery or some new gardening tools. This is the perfect way to encourage her hobby. Another great way to keep both Mom and the season in mind is to buy her a beach bag filled with books by some of her favorite authors. With summer right around the corner, she’ll most likely be looking to do some light reading either by the pool or at the beach.
Particularly for children, making gifts for Mom is a great way to show you care. Martha Stewart Living has a great idea for a homemade gift for the Mom who loves to pamper herself. Mom might not be able to get to the spa every day, but that doesn’t mean she can’t have a spa day in her bathroom with this body scrub. All you need is 1 cup body oil, 2 cups sea salt, a 12-ounce jar with lid and lemon zest. First combine the body oil and sea salt, and mix in the jar. Next, add as much lemon zest as you’d like for both smell and texture - it can really depend on how lemony you want it to smell. For a more personalized gift, CBS Local suggests kids who want to make something for Mom should think about personalized refrigerator magnets. All you need are some of your favorite pictures copied on photo paper, magnetic strips, scissors, glue and fun embellishments like sequins or stickers. With the scissors, cut the copied photos to be around 4 inches by 6 inches. You can also choose to cut out the people or places that are seen in the photos. Use the glue to secure the magnetic strips to the photos and let set. Finally, once the back is dry, attach any sequins or stickers you may be using onto the front of the photo.
Breakfast in bed
Finally, nothing says ”Thank You” like breakfast in bed. This pancake recipe from All Recipes is easy and sure to put a smile on Mom’s face. You will need 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons white sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 beaten egg, 1 cup milk and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar all in one large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and pour in the milk, egg and oil, mixing until smooth. Heat a lightly oiled frying pan on medium high and pour 1/4 cup of pancake mixture at a time. Brown on each side and serve with syrup.
Mother’s Day is the perfect time to show Mom you care, and perhaps there’s no better way to do this than with breakfast in bed. Brunch is a very popular meal for the h
oliday, and while going out to a nice restaurant is a nice treat, it could be more personal to make it for your mother. If you’re worried about what to cook for the big day, don’t fret, there are plenty of easy recipes that are sure to be a hit.
Egg dishes are quite common during breakfast, but instead of simply serving the classic scrambled version, you may want to consider jazzing it up with an omelet. This recipe from Epicurious is a great starting point if you’re new to making omelets. All you need is 1 teaspoon butter, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon of milk, salt and pepper to taste, and 1/4 cup of your choice of filling. Ask your Mom what she likes in her omelet, but some ideas include chives, shredded cheese or vegetables such as peppers, onions and mushrooms. If you are using a meat or vegetable for the filling, use 1 tablespoon of butter and cook in a small frying pan for a couple minutes, until the meat and vegetables are tender. If using cheese, grate and set aside in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, crack the two eggs and beat well with a fork. Add in the milk, and sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. Over high heat, warm a 6- to 8-inch frying or omelet pan for about 30 seconds. Throw in 1 tablespoon of butter and wait for it to melt completely. As soon as the butter stops bubbling, pour in the egg mixture, spreading it evenly by tilting the pan. Cook for about 10 seconds before using a spatula to remove the egg mixture from the sides. Cook for another minute until the egg seems firm and then add in the filling. Put the veggies or meat in first and sprinkle the cheese on top. Use the spatula to fold the egg mixture over in half and cook for a few more seconds. Remove from pan and serve immediately.
Rosemary roasted potatoes
Roasted potatoes make for a great side dish, as the starch complements eggs perfectly. For this recipe from the Food Network, you will need 1 1/2 pounds small red- or white-skinned potatoes, 1/8 cup olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon minced garlic and 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees while cutting the potatoes into quarters. Place the potatoes into a bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary. Pour the mixture onto a baking sheet and spread evenly. Roast in the oven for 1 hour, flipping twice throughout the cooking time. Serve immediately.
Fresh orange juice
No breakfast is complete without a glass of orange juice, and it will taste even better if it’s fresh. According to All Recipes, all you need for a homemade concoction is four oranges. Take each orange and lightly smack it against the counter before cutting it in half. Using a hand juicer, or your hands if you don’t have a juicer, squeeze out all of the juice into a glass. A citrus reamer can also help with this process, according to the news provider. This will make 1 1/2 cups of freshly squeezed juice, the perfect serving size for Mom.
Although your kids may spend a lot of time with you, it’s important to recognize the other important adults in their lives – their teachers. Teacher Appreciation Week runs from May 6 to May 10, and it’s important that parents and students alike show how much they appreciate the educators in their lives. According to the National Parent-Teacher Association, there are plenty of ways both parents and children can get involved in the week.
Write caring messages
The written word can say a lot, and teachers will appreciate parents and their kids taking the time to write heartfelt messages about how much they are thankful for educators. Parents who want to get involved should talk to their children about what they want to write and map out a strategy. Whether it’s a nice poem or a list of all the reasons the teacher is great, these letters should really have a personal touch. For an extra special message, adults can help their children make a unique card, rather than relying on store-bought stationery. This sends a much more personal message to the teacher, and will surely touch his or her heart.
Make a homemade gift
Gifts can be great, but taking the time to craft something could be all the more meaningful. Parents should help their children gather art supplies, such as clay, markers or construction paper. One great homemade gift that can have a lot of uses is a flower pot. Parents need to simply buy a clay pot at their local craft or home goods store. These are fairly inexpensive, and can provide a great artistic outlet. Kids can then take some paint to the pot and draw some designs over it. This is also the opportunity to draw the teacher’s name on the pot. Top it off with a potted plant and soil and it’s the perfect gift for any teacher’s classroom.
Bake some treats
Although apples may be the standard teacher gift, making sweets is a great way to show appreciation. Find out if the educator or anyone in class has any allergies before deciding what to make. By baking cookies, brownies or other homemade treats, the gift can be shared by all.
Some families are interested in getting a pet to teach their kids responsibility as well as encourage exercise. However, it’s important to think a lot about the prospects of having a pet. For one, it’s a long-term responsibility that likely will not go away even as the kids get older. Additionally, it can be a financial burden should the animal somehow get sick or injured.
There are plenty of things families need to realize before they decide to own a pet, and one of them is that feeding the animal could take some extra consideration. A recent study published by the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences reports that sustainability also comes into play with pet ownership. The researchers suggest that a lot goes into providing for one’s pet, such as making sure the furry friend is eating the right nutrients on a daily basis.
One of the issues pet owners struggle with is feeding their animal protein. On the one hand, it’s very nutritious and an important element to a diet. However, it can weigh heavy on both the environment and the wallet. As a result, the researchers suggest that plant protein could be a way to give animals the nutrition they need while still being sustainable for the environment.
More companies are trying to increase their offerings when it comes to plant-based proteins for animals. Pet owners, or those who are considering adding a furry friend to their family, may want to do research as to what will be the most beneficial for their wallets and their pet’s health.
More people turn to making their own concoctions
Pet owners who are worried about the sustainability of the food they provide their furry friends can rest easy, as there are plenty of ways to boost nutrition without worrying about breaking the bank. For one, people can choose to make their own pet food.
WebMD reports there has been an increase in the number of people who want to make their own food for their furry companion. However, the news provider noted that the majority of people continue to use store brand products.
“There are other pet owners who have a lot of time and have a very strong bond with their animal and feel that if they’re going to eat healthy, they want their animal to eat healthy, too,” Dr. Sarah Abood, an assistant professor of small animal clinical sciences at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, told the news provider.
How to make your own pet food
While most people search recipes to feed them and their families, there are actually some pet-friendly versions. This concoction from All Recipes made for dogs is a great way to keep Fido happy. All you need is 6 cups of water, 1 pound of ground turkey, 2 cups of brown rice, 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary and 16 ounces of frozen vegetable medley (includes broccoli, carrots and cauliflower). Combine the rosemary, ground turkey, rice and water in a Dutch over. Stir to break up the ground turkey and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the mixture to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add in the vegetables and cook for five more minutes. Store in the refrigerator until ready for use.
One of the nation’s deadliest forms of disease appears to be more a health issue than ever before, based on new statistics reported by the Alzheimer’s Association.
According to its latest Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, approximately one in every three seniors who contracts the memory-robbing disease eventually passes away as a direct result of the complications that it causes. In fact, since 2000, mortality rates from Alzheimer’s have risen 68 percent.
Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, indicated that unlike other illnesses - where research has led to considerable gains in knowledge about how to treat them - Alzheimer’s is one of the few where investment has not equaled a suitable return. As a result, more meaningful action is necessary in order to stop or slow its progression as the country’s most devastating disease.
Though Alzheimer’s mortality rates are rising, currently, more people die from heart disease than any other health ailment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This has prompted individuals to take actions that can help prevent being diagnosed with it or at the very least prepare themselves financially.
Life insurance is one of the ways in which people can protect themselves and their families should they be diagnosed with a serious illness.
When it comes to keeping her kids active, Susan is frequently trying to come up with new ideas. With summer right around the corner and the temperatures getting increasingly higher. Susan is trying to think of ways she can encourage fun every weekend while keeping things close to home. While going on outdoor adventures is fun, Susan prefers her young children to stay close to home where she can keep an eye on them. Luckily, there are plenty of outdoor activities parents like Susan can encourage their children to try.
The driveway can be a playground
Sure, the yard is a great place for kids to play around outside, but the driveway actually has some potential for fun as well. Purchase some chalk to encourage your kids to let out their inner artist. You can also get in on the action, tracing out some hopscotch paths and even playing games such as tic-tac-toe or hangman. Drawing with chalk isn’t the only thing the driveway is good for – the hard surface can make for some games too. If you have a basketball hoop, the driveway is a great way to encourage some action in the outdoors, whether it’s simply shooting hoops or playing a pick-up game with some neighbors and friends.
Nothing but net
For an inexpensive toy that comes with multiple uses, consider buying a net. Just having one net could mean that your kids have a lot of different activities to choose from. Invite some of the neighborhood kids over to play badminton together. Or, if there are enough kids, try starting a game of volleyball in the back yard. Parents can get in on the action too, making for a friendly match of either badminton or volleyball between the family.
The standard playground games
Sometimes kids don’t need anything else except their legs. Encourage your children and their friends to play tag around the yard. For a little variety, throw freeze tag into the mix. If there are enough kids in the neighborhood, it might be a good idea to play Red Rover where the children form two lines facing each other while one child takes turns trying to break through the linked arms.
Some of the simplest activities around the yard can make for a great day outdoors.