Enjoying Luxury Travel- Benefits for Everyone

Dana Jones is a freelance writer and research consultant. She is a regular contributor to various top lifestyle sites. When asked to describe herself in word, she simply states that she is unpredictable. For more information about hotels and destinations, visit Luxury Link here.

People are advised to travel as often as they can, go on pre-planned trips and take vacations. Luxury travel is beneficial in several ways. It makes you long for other destinations that you can visit, experience different cultures, food and people. Traveling has become easier and more people are exploring new places that give them much more than what they expected.

Investing in Luxury

Luxury travel is an opportunity to invest in you and your wellbeing. While traveling, you gain more exposure to new people, lifestyles and cultures. With these new experiences, you also gain a different perspective and way of viewing the world, which can renew your purpose in life. For many people who have been unsure about their career paths or the goals that they want to pursue, a luxury travel experience has helped them discover their purpose and sense of direction.

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Social Interactions

Traveling frequently improves your sociability whether you travel alone or with other people. Being at a new destination surrounded by people that you are not familiar with is a unique chance to engage in enriching conversations and interact with a wide variety of people. Traveling also gives you numerous stories and memories that you can share when you return home.

Broader Perspective

Experiencing various cultures when you visit different places exposes you to ways of life that you are not used to. When you have such experiences away from home, your mind opens up and your worldview expands. Being exposed to different cultures and lifestyles constantly shows how a fulfilling life can be enjoyed in various ways. Find Luxury Link here.

Packing Skills

Another benefit of being a frequent traveler is developing the ability to become a skillful packer. You learn how to prioritize and determine the things that you need as well as what you can travel without. From packing too much in enormous suitcases that are inconvenient to move around with to becoming an expert at fitting everything into a neat bag, you no longer have to deal with the challenges of losing excessive items and carrying a huge bag around.

Flexible Approach to Life

Travelers are aware of how important it is to be flexible. You may get lost while driving around a new city or miss your return flight. While these experiences may initially appear to be unappealing, they teach that you will not always be able to control the things around you. This can help to ease your approach towards life and learn from the obstacles that you encounter in life.

Learning Different Languages

Traveling to another country even for a minimal amount of time is a good way to learn different languages. Learning some new words makes you feel comfortable while you are at a foreign location and makes it easier to interact with the local people. Traveling often makes you realize the value of speaking the languages of the destinations that you visit.

You may even be inspired to learn another language and become fluent in your conversations as you travel around the world. Luxury travel and experiencing the things that the world has to offer enables you to appreciate good service, unique experiences and the people you share your memories with.

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Comparing Panajachel, Guatemala to Oaxaca, Mexico as a Retirement Destination

Q&A with a Reader

Camera-shy Maya Indigenous at a market in Panajachel


If you had to choose, would you favor Panajachel over Oaxaca as a place to live? If possible could you give the main reasons for your choice, please?

Thank you! I find your blog very interesting.

John D.

All of our books lead to adventure. Don’t miss out on yours!

Hi John!

Thanks for taking the time to write.

In regards to your question – which might be the better choice for a retirement destination, Oaxaca, Mexico or Panajachel, Guatemala let me first say that these are two very different locations in all kinds of ways.

Colonial architecture of the big city, Oaxaca

Oaxaca is in Mexico, of course, and there are different rules for retirement visas and how to go about getting them. If, while you are deciding on this city you want to take your time, you will receive 180 days visitor’s visa upon arrival, versus the 90 day visitor visa you would receive in Guatemala.

Oaxaca is a very large Colonial city known for its cuisine, theater, art, and gardens, with expert medical care readily available in the city.

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Panajachel is a funky, artsy, musical village, with a large Mayan presence and the spectacular natural beauty of the Lake and volcanoes. There is little to do in the way of museums or theater, but there is one botanical garden just right out of town which people do like to wander through.

Wooden dock at Lake Atitlan

Cuisine is “international” in that there is one Mexican restaurant which is pretty good, 2 Japanese options, a couple of Italian places, BBQ, all sorts of bakeries and restaurants that serve traditional food. Medical care here is adequate for day-to-day stuff — colds, flu, dentists and stuff like that, and there are several pharmacies. Anything of major significance (dialysis, heart surgery, eye surgery, cancer treatment) all need to be done in either of 3 other cities, Guatemala City (the capitol with the best selection) Xela (which is closer and has a good selection of hospitals and doctors) or Antigua (which has some special medical procedures available like tooth implants and plastic surgery).

So those are big differences between these two places.

Restaurant Quinta Real in Oaxaca

The indigenous are incredible. Friendly, innocent, colorful and ready to engage in conversation, their culture is a boon to the whole Lake Atitlan area. You will definitely know you are in a foreign country when you are in Pana. Panajachel is also a small village with a very small expat population who live around the lake, and generally speaking, someone sneezes here, and the word gets around the lake very quickly. If you have a disagreement with someone or want to date someone… soon “everyone” will know. It’s a bit like the sitcom “Cheers” – everyone knows your name (and your business.)

In Oaxaca, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of places to hide or discover or plant yourself. No one will know your name unless you assertively build friendships. It’s a big city (but people are friendly also).

Santiago Cathedral, Oaxaca, Mexico

Pana is walker-friendly and everything is within walking distance. If you are in a hurry you can grab a tuk-tuk to take you somewhere, and if you want to visit another village, you simply get on board a lancha, which will take you across the lake in less than an hour. Oaxaca has traffic, taxis, and buses. There are large malls and plazas in which to do your shopping as well as little tiendas. Pana’s shopping is more than adequate for just about anything you might want, but not on this large of a scale.

I think in general, Pana’s weather is a bit better, more reliable and the air is clean (except for volcano dust!)

Sunset at Lake Atitlan

In terms of where we would choose to retire, Oaxaca or Pana… the jury is still out on that one. We tend to prefer large towns over big cities, but we do enjoy visiting Oaxaca for all that it offers. Pana can be a bit small in terms of medical options, but we are not bored there. We enjoy the Mayan locals and the Expats. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes to sit in and enjoy the food and company. And the lake is stunning.

You might need to review your preferences in lifestyle to see which place might work for you. Both places are excellent in their own ways.

I hope you find this information to be useful towards making  your decision. You might need to visit both to find out for yourself which places fits better.

Best of luck!

And thanks again for writing.


Monte Alban Mayan Ruins in Oaxaca, Mexico

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Do you need Medicare if you don’t live in the US? Medicare Part B isn’t free

By the Medicare Gal – reprinted with permission

Sometimes my client is doing extensive traveling.  Other times someone is physically moving to another country. And…sometimes I get asked this question from a person who is already living in another country.

Do you need Medicare if you don’t live in the US?

The long answer is that you need to consider the potential costs. You typically cannot use Medicare outside of the USA. So if you don’t have a USA address it makes it a little more difficult to decide, but not impossible.

I recommend that my own clients who travel should maintain a local state/US address. There are many services out there that will accept mail then scan it and email it to you. By keeping a service like this while you travel, you are less likely to lose your benefits. We talked about traveling in an RV in a previous article.

There is no age qualification for financial independence.

Now… back to foreign travel or living abroad. Here’s the issue:

You typically cannot use your Medicare benefits overseas, and many times you can get great care in other countries for a fraction of what it would cost in the USA. Most people do not pay for Part A (because they pre-paid for it while they were working) but must pay for Part B.

The standard Part B premium in 2017 is $134 or more if you are a high income earner. That can take a big bite out of your budget.

Not only that, but when you start Part B, your ability to get a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan without having to answer medical questions is limited to six months. After that, you might not be able to get it because of a pre-existing condition.

So to answer the question, “Do I need Medicare if I don’t live in the US”, we must look at the circumstances.

  1. Do you intend to return to the USA to live?

Do you need Medicare if you never return to the US?  If you never return to the USA then you probably won’t need the coverage.

  1. If you do return to the USA, will you be able to get a short term policy that will cover you through the gap?

You will only be able to sign up for Part B during General Open Enrollment, which is January 1- March 31 of every year and is different from the MAPD open enrollment. Additionally, your coverage will not start until July 1st. So there could be a huge period of time where you have NO medical insurance. Of course you will still have hospitalization and Skilled Nursing insurance through Part A, but beware of the deductibles, copays and limitations.

  1. Have you calculated what your Part B penalty might be?

When you do finally sign up for Part B, there will likely be a penalty of 10% for every year that you were eligible and didn’t enroll.  This penalty is lifetime, it doesn’t go away.

  1. Don’t forget the Part D (drug plan) penalty of 1% for every MONTH you were eligible and didn’t enroll.

This is also a lifetime penalty.

  1. Do you intend to return to the USA for extended visits?

Do you need Medicare if you don’t live in the US but visit for several months at a time?  You might need insurance coverage while you are in the US. Does your foreign insurance cover travel inside the US? If not, then you’ll want to consider Medicare insurance.

  1. Are you eligible for Social Security?

If NOT, then you might not need to enroll in Medicare until you return to the USA. You won’t have to pay a higher premium as long as you enroll in Part B within 3 months of returning and establishing a residence.

So in closing, only YOU can answer the question, Do you need Medicare if you don’t live in the US.  As long as you understand the penalties and potential pitfalls, you should be able to weigh the pros and cons of purchasing Medicare insurance and then make a decision. Personally, if I were eligible for Social Security and planning to ever return to the US I would go ahead and buy it along with a drug plan because the penalties are so high. If I wasn’t eligible for social security then I would hold off on purchasing it. But that’s just me. Talk with your financial adviser about your specific situation.

This article is not intended to be legal or financial advice.  Please discuss your personal situation with an attorney or financial adviser.

Other Related stories and links

Our Medical Insurance, Private, International and Medicare Page

Our Medical Self-Education Page

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How Do I Find an Active Adult Retirement Community?

Q&A with a Reader

I am interested in retirement simple living in a small manufactured home or park model in an active retirement community.

How can I find the right community?

It should be affordable.

The climate should not be extremely cold or extremely hot all year.

It should be in the U.S., particularly in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona or New Mexico.

Thank you,


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Hi Donna,

Thank you for taking the time to write.

I have some links here that you can research to get lots of information on active adult communities. There are many of them around, especially in the sunbelt of the US.

If you Google Active Adult Communities you will get pages of listings. For narrowing down your results, just put in a state and many will show up for that location. Then you can communicate with those communities directly, getting more pertinent information for your needs.

On our Housing Page there are several listings for active adult communities, including Top Retirements which offers a directory of active adult communities for the nation and for the states you listed in your email.

The more you know about what you want, what is important to you (climate, international airport, restaurants, activities), how much you want to pay for the manufactured home, if you want to own the land underneath the home or lease the land, and whether or not you want a small, medium or large community, the easier it is to find your “perfect place.”

We recommend that before you purchase a home in one of these locations, that you go to visit in person and stay a season or two. There is no rush. You need to know if you like your neighbors, the community itself, and if it is close by the things that are important to you such as grocery stores, movie houses, an airport or anything else that might be on your list. If you can, purchase from a previous owner and you will save some money. The best time to look for houses for sale is just before the annual lifestyle fees or rent is due. For many personal reasons (illness, a death in the family, becoming elderly, not being able to afford two homes anymore, etc.) people might choose to not renew their lease and their home goes up for sale.

Another important decision to make is whether or not you want to own the property on which the home sits or if you will be comfortable owning the home and leasing the property. The difference in these two options are thousands and thousands of dollars – not just at the time of purchase, but also in the cost of annual home insurance. Find out what your maintenance responsibilities are. If you own the land, chances are that the maintenance requirements are higher. If you lease the land, often the community has a budget which pays for tree trimming, watering and so on.

Take your time. It’s exciting to be looking for a community where you might fit in and have a good time for years to come.

Good luck. I hope you find this information to be useful to you.

All the best,


Related stories and links

Worry Free Housing

Our Relocation Page

Our Housing Alternatives Page

Our Retirement Lifestyle Choices Page

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My Volunteer Experience in Cuba

Lynn Lotkowictz for Global Volunteers

In mid-January, I flew from Tampa to Havana on a trip that would introduce me to a country that has been off limits for me (and most Americans) for most of my life. I participated in a one-week service program in Cuba with Global Volunteers, a non-profit, NGO based in Minneapolis.

Classic old cars are seen everywhere

Along with 19 other volunteers ages 30-78, I spent a week on various work projects that included painting a fence at our base (The Cuban Council of Churches), spending time with seniors at a senior care center and working with students on English in an evening program. Another team did crocheting with a women’s group for part of the day.

Every afternoon we had a few hours of free time before working with students practicing English for about two hours. Later we all met for dinner, with our excellent team leader, Stephanie, at various locations.  The trip was a combination of helping our host community and a wonderful cultural learning experience for a group of Americans, most of whom, had never been to Cuba.

For more information on Volunteer opportunities click here!

Living with the Locals

We stayed in Miramar, a nice residential suburb of Havana near many of the city’s foreign embassies. All 20 volunteers stayed in guest houses within three or four blocks of each other. We were two blocks from the water and near our base at the Council where we met each morning around 9:00.

Cuban Vendor

The joy of staying in a suburb is that you have the opportunity to observe people going to work and school and regularly interact with the locals. Put simply, it is a more authentic experience than staying in a hotel. You feel like a part of the community, particularly since you are there to help in some small way.

We walked throughout the area every day and night.  I never felt nervous nor did we see anything that looked questionable. The only danger I encountered was the uneven sidewalks which, like many of the buildings, are in disrepair. Also in the evenings many streets did not have lights so we walked with caution and used flashlights when necessary.

Getting Connected

There is very little internet on the island. Missing connectivity, we asked our hosts about options. They told us there was an “Internet Park” about a twenty minute walk from my casa. There, they said, we could purchase a card from a mini mart or store, but we were told there are long lines and forms to fill out along with passport information. The alternative was to walk to a certain small park and connect with a young gentlemen and his pals who our hosts said would sell us a card for 5 Kooks (approx $5.00 ) for one hour of internet. The card provides a password and username.

Local Taxi

My three new Global Volunteer friends and I decided to visit the park. It was trashed with empty beer cans and bottles and many young people on their phones sitting on the ground. There was a group of men standing around who possibly looked like our connection.

We approached the young men,  and they immediately offered each of us an internet card. With our $5. purchase complete we took a photo together with the “sellers”  and then enjoyed the internet for about 30 minutes. (We kept the card for another day’s use.) Mission accomplished. As we walked back to our work site I wondered, would I even consider walking up to a stranger in, let’s say, Central Park or Chicago and purchasing an “off the grid” card with the hope it worked? And then take a photo with them? Probably not.

Music, Art and Entertainment

If you choose to stay the weekend, you have the option of adding on the weekend package of people-to-people activities. Or you can make your own plans for the weekend. The Global Volunteers program includes a tour of the Ernest Hemingway House, art galleries, Old Havana and a morning lecture from two local professionals who discuss history, education and some politics. All and all it’s a great value that includes meals and accommodations.

Visiting a Senior Home

My favorite weekend activity was the excellent quality live music everywhere day or night. Street entertainers, restaurants and bars and coffee shops all have talented solo or group performers. Artwork is plentiful and there is a wide variety of architecture including colonial, Spanish, Art Deco and contemporary.

Entrepreneurial Spirit

My students on two evenings were a young couple in their early 20s. Allen is an independent contractor at a tour company and is eager to learn English so he can better communicate with visitors. His wife Daniella takes care of the home. She knew some English and is eager to help him. We review his tour prices, look at what’s included and add some language to make the tours more appealing. We go over phrases such as, “Welcome to Havana, my name is Allen and I would love to show you my country. What is your name?

After some competitive analysis, we determine that he is competing with the fancy old American cars that all the tourists seem to love. Their hourly rate is $50 per hour.   We work on an appropriate response. “Yes, those old American cars are beautiful, however, instead of $50 per hour you might want to consider my van at only $15 per hour.” Allen masters three or four sentences that we work on intensely for two nights.  They are sure to enhance his business opportunities.

Touring in style

It’s a pleasure to see a 23-year-old happily married, entrepreneur with such enthusiasm and eagerness to succeed. When we finished the second night, he looked at me and said “God Bless you and thank you.” I was beginning to see how individuals can make a small but significant impact in a short time and, more importantly, understand these very warm and welcoming people.

In addition  there are people who are operating and creating small businesses out of their homes or garages that are serving meals, coffee/beer and other small businesses like repair shops and such. Homes are renting out rooms to visitors for additional income. This is all new and Cubans seem very happy with new opportunities.

Yes, the streets, sidewalks and many buildings are in disrepair, run down and there is much need for improved infrastructure, painting, plumbing, and electrical. Litter is an issue in some neighborhoods. For many, work is hard to find and salaries are low.  Supplies of every kind are limited. Many of the local grocery store shelves are sparsely stocked.

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Looking Ahead

The refreshing thing is you sense the change that is coming. In a lively conversation with one of our casa owners, she described it like this. “It started like the snowball on top of the mountain, it’s rolling down and getting bigger and bigger and you cannot stop it.”

Tourists from all over world have been visiting Havana for years and now there are many American visitors. In Havana we saw a cruise ship, red double-decker tour buses and souvenir shops. Colorful flora and fauna are everywhere and a walk along the Malecon — a walkway along the sea wall — is the perfect place to people watch.

Havana, a city of three million, is bursting with activity and a colorful history that people want to experience.  It’s old, it’s new, it’s Spanish, European, modern, young and fun!

I only saw a small part of Cuba on this trip. But I’m sure I’ll return again to visit Varadero, Santiago de Cuba, Trinidad and other places on this fascinating island.

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Best Loan Options for Retirees

Paul Tom

Getting a loan when you’re retired presents its own unique set of challenges. Most retirees are on a fixed income, and if you’re only getting a limited amount, lenders may be wary of issuing you a loan. It’s important to choose the right type of loan, because if you don’t you may end up with a loan that you can’t afford due to high interest rates. Consider the following options to find the best one for you.

The Ideal Solution – A Loan through a Bank or Credit Union

When it comes to personal loans, banks and credit unions still reign supreme. These tend to have the lowest interest rates and offer terms of a year or more, giving you plenty of time to pay back what you borrow. Because of the favorable loan terms, banks and credit unions are also the strictest when it comes to minimum loan requirements. This means it can be difficult to obtain a loan through either type of financial institution.

Reduce your cost of living. Pay less for medical care. Find better weather. Create a healthier way of life.

Your best bet is with either a bank or credit union that you already use. If you’re a customer there, then they’ll want to keep you satisfied and are more likely to issue you a loan. They also have more knowledge of your financial history, which makes it easier to trust you.

The Alternative Option – A 0-Percent APR Credit Card

This won’t work if you need actual money deposited into your account, but if you can make due with a revolving line of credit, then a 0-percent APR credit card is an excellent alternative to a loan. The only catch is that you need to pay off as much as you use by the end of the card’s introductory period, when the APR goes up to a normal amount. Introductory periods are usually 12 months, but some card issuers offer cards with shorter or longer time frames.

This solution won’t work in every situation, but if you only need extra money for 12 months or less, then you can get it with a 0-percent APR credit card and avoid paying any interest.

The Middle Ground – Online Lending

There are two types of online lenders available:

  • Online lenders that issue loans themselves
  • Online lenders that facilitate peer-to-peer loans through their marketplaces

The difference is that with the former type of lender, you’re getting your loan from the company. With the latter, you’re getting your loan from investors who use the lender’s marketplace.

Both options tend to have moderate interest rates and loan requirements. They’re more flexible in terms of who they’ll lend to than a bank or credit union, but that comes at a cost in the form of higher interest.

The Last Resort – Title Loans

You’ve probably seen these advertised on TV all the time – title loans where you give the lender your car title and get a loan that depends on the current market value of your car. There are a couple benefits of these loans, including:

  • Speed – you can typically get a title loan within an hour after applying at the title loan company’s office
  • No credit check – the lender doesn’t need to check your credit to issue the loan

However, these benefits are outweighed by the massive interest rates. In quite a few states, an auto title loan will have an APR of 300 percent, and the term will be a mere 30 days. This makes it easy for consumers to end up trapped in a debt cycle as they need to keep renewing loans that they can’t pay off. Avoid these types of loans as anything other than a short-term last resort.

As a retiree, you need to choose your loan carefully. Start by checking out what’s available through banks or credit unions. If neither is an option, try going online.

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The 6 best tips to reduce morning anxiety

Anna Brecken is a writer for NootropicNation. She has extensive knowledge of Nootropics. She also writes for several other supplement and brain enhancement websites.

Morning anxiety is something all of us have to face each day. It is that feeling where you don’t want the night to end especially if you’re struggling all night from insomnia. It is that feeling when you hear the sound of your alarm clock, and you just want that snooze to die and just want to ignore it for you to sleep all day. Unfortunately, if you are a working class person reading this, not waking up is not an option. So, I’ve collected some of the best tips for you to reduce morning anxiety.

  1. Sleep well

This may not apply to all situations especially if you are suffering from sleep disorders, but most likely, you aren’t. So, instead of spending extra time doing some of the things you usually do during your day off, hit the bed as early as you could. This will ensure you’ll gain the right amount of sleep you need for you to reduce morning anxiety.

  1. Wake more naturally

In connection with sleeping well, once you get used to giving your body the adequate sleep it needs, waking up each morning becomes more natural. It becomes part of your system. Start conditioning yourself and accept the fact that you have to do it each day and the flow of things will start to become smooth. Simply put, just go with the flow!

Do not let Fear make your decisions for you. Risk has a price and so does security.

  1. Start your day with some relaxation exercises

One helpful tip to avoid morning anxiety is to have something to look forward to. A helpful way to do this is to practice some relaxation exercises of your choice. Pick those relaxation exercises that you want, pair it with some really relaxing music at the background and make it a motivation for you and to not be afraid of the alarm clock anymore.

  1. Control your breathing

In line with starting your day with some relaxation exercises, breath control is one of the best things you can do from the comfort of your bed. Most importantly, this has also been a proven way of reducing morning anxiety and is highly recommended by experts around the world. Being able to relax your respiratory system is a very effective way of fighting morning anxiety.

  1. Eat something after waking

Start waking up happy. Setting up proper motivation before waking up is one of the most important ways to reduce morning anxiety. This is the reason why this tip is included in the top six, making your favorite breakfast a motivation for you. You may also experiment with supplements and start learning some helpful nootropics information. This will surely reduce your morning anxiety and will even make you wake up before your alarm time.

  1. Post positive thoughts & affirmations

Positive thoughts and affirmations are really helpful regarding self-conditioning. Mornings would become better the moment we see some inspirational and positive thoughts and affirmations the moment we open our eyes. Practice posting some of these thoughts around your bedroom, put it in a very strategic location, somewhere where your eyes normally land each morning to make sure it’s the first thing you’re going to see. This helps reduce morning anxiety more than anything else.

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Should I Manage My Own Portfolio or Hire a Professional?

Gaby Revel

When faced with an important task that must be done, we often find ourselves wrestling with the question of whether to take on the task personally or hire it out to a professional. The answer to that question is both simple and complicated. It all depends on how comfortable you are in doing it alone.

If you’re not so sure about your own abilities to effectively oversee your investment portfolio, you’ll next have to ask yourself if you think someone else could do the job better than you. Your options are basically to go it alone or hire a pro to oversee your finances.

Reduce your spending footprint. Increase your lifestyle and financial longevity.

Me, myself and I

There are definite advantages to managing your own portfolio. The obvious perk is that you don’t have to pay asset management fees to money managers if you’re doing it yourself. Thanks to the internet, you can have the same access to the markets in real time that the highest-priced brokers have. There are online tools that can help you assess your risk tolerance, walk you through setting asset allocation goals, help you research reports on any topic and track how your portfolio is performing.

However, going it alone isn’t all sunshine and puppies. There are risks involved. Should life intrude and hold your attention on things other than managing your investments, you could find yourself tumbling over a cliff before you see the danger coming. Those who go it alone also tend to shy away from safe retirement strategies, going with a more “go big or go home” attitude that doesn’t always play well when applied to money management.

Take your personal inventory

Before you make the final decision on who should manage your portfolio, take a hard look at yourself. Have a discussion with yourself, asking a few questions before you proceed.

Ask: Is it bigger than I can handle? If you’re a relatively low-level investor with limited investment funds, you can probably handle your portfolio with a few carefully chosen diversified mutual funds. If, however, you’re looking at a portfolio with a large sum of money – say, a half a million or so – you may be better served with a professional managing your portfolio.

Ask: What’s the limit on my risk taking? Generally, a more conservative approach proves to be the safer retirement strategy for growing investment portfolios.

Ask: Will my portfolio diversity shield me from market volatility? Reality in the world of finance shows that it is difficult for a solo investor to put together a portfolio of stocks, bonds and mutual funds that are diverse enough to protect you when the market takes wild fluctuations – which it will do.

Ask: Can I hold to my investment plan? Be honest with yourself. If you’re the type that cheats on a diet, you’re probably not going to stick to your investment plan.

Choose your route carefully

Regardless of the route you choose to take, make certain you do your homework first. With a little soul searching and some serious research, you can spare yourself a lot of headaches and heartaches in the future.

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Beauty and Skincare- Tips for Healthy and Glowing Skin

Charlie Brown

Protecting and nurturing your skin is essential for maintaining its health and beauty. In order for you to be able to have clear and glowing skin, you need an effective and regular routine that consists of quality products. Along with using the right products, promote the good health of your skin by adopting some key lifestyle habits.


Drinking adequate amounts of water each day will help to keep your skin clear by flushing out toxins and providing hydration. Make sure that you always have access to water that you can drink during the day. Alternatives to water include herbal tea and fresh home-made juices.

Life is an adventure, follow your dreams.

Healthy Diet and Exercise

  • A healthy diet also contributes to glowing skin. Consume nutritious vegetables and fruits that will regulate your bowel movements, benefit your skin and prevent constant breakouts.
  • Cut down on your consumption of salt and sugar. Excessive salt consumption can end up giving your face a bloated appearance.
  • Working out regularly stimulates the flow of blood around the body and to the skin. Consistent exercise yields long-term health benefits for the entire body.

Skincare Tips

  • Establish a skin routine that involves making sure that you cleanse your skin at night. During the day, oil, dirt and makeup pile up on your skin and this makes it necessary to wash it every night.
  • If you use makeup, invest in a quality makeup remover that will prevent clogged pores and breakouts while sleeping. Makeup remover also prevents the risk of smearing your makeup on the pillow, which can expose your skin to a buildup of bacteria as you sleep at night.
  • Use gentle products that are recommend at http://www.skincareconsumers.com/ to keep your skin clean without stripping away its oils. If you notice that your face feels dry or irritated after washing, you may be using something that is too harsh for your skin.
  • Be careful when cleansing the delicate area around your eyes.
  • Gently wash off the cleanser that you use with warm water rather than using abrasive washcloths that can cause irritation. Splash small amounts of water around your face and dry it by gently patting your skin with your towel.


Toners are used to remove excess buildup of dirt and oil from the skin. They are also useful for closing the skin’s pores. Place some drops of your preferred toner on to a pad or cotton ball and rub gently over the skin. Use a light swiping motion to apply your toner, especially around areas that are susceptible to breakouts such as the forehead and nose.


Moisturizing your skin every night helps to restore your skin after a long day and keeps wrinkles at bay. Using moisturizer is an essential component of glowing skin on a long-term basis. You can use a light moisturizer for your daytime routine and a slightly heavier product at night, depending on the condition of your skin. Remember to go beyond your face when moisturizing because areas such as the neck can become dry when they are not regularly moisturized.

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Do You Need a Reverse Mortgage Set-Aside?

Cliff Auerswald

How to Tell if You Need a Reverse Mortgage LESA

Qualifying for a reverse mortgage today is a different process than it was in the past. As underwriting standards have tightened considerably in recent years, becoming eligible for a reverse mortgage now requires a more complex analysis of the loan applicant’s financial circumstances.

As a prospective borrower, it helps to know just what you’re going up against during the application process, including what aspects of your financial history are most likely to impact the overall determination of whether you can be approved for a reverse mortgage.

For applicants with a spotty financial track record, have no fear, because you might still be able to obtain a reverse mortgage with the help of a “LESA.”

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What is a LESA?

LESA is an acronym that stands for Life Expectancy Set-Aside. It was created by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and put into effect April 2015, in efforts to increase the safeguards afforded to reverse mortgage borrowers as part of the new financial assessment underwriting requirements.

“LESAs are an important aspect of the reverse mortgage application process. Not only do they factor into a lender’s determination of whether an applicant can be approved for a reverse mortgage, but they also impact the amount of loan proceeds that a borrower may be eligible to receive.” – Cliff Auerswald President of All Reverse Mortgage

How do I know if I need a LESA?

Whether or not a reverse mortgage loan applicant requires a LESA depends on the results of their financial assessment.

When lenders analyze the financial history of a loan applicant, they are largely looking to see if the applicant has the capacity to maintain the obligations of the reverse mortgage. Particularly, the lender is trying to determine that the applicant has enough residual income left to afford the terms of the loan.

Residual income is the amount of money that is left over after a lender has subtracted—from the applicant’s income and assets—what the prospective borrower pays for property taxes, homeowners insurance, along with any debt obligations or other living expenses the person has.

This figure is then compared to a government threshold amount based on region and family size that determines whether an applicant has sufficient residual income to pass the financial assessment. If the applicant passes this portion of the financial assessment, then he may move forward with the reverse mortgage.

But let’s say the applicant’s residual income falls a bit short of being able to cover the costs of the reverse mortgage and his/her ability to continue paying property taxes and insurance. Depending on how much of a shortfall there is, the applicant may still be able to move forward with the reverse mortgage—though a LESA would be required to pay for the property charges.

The money used to fund a LESA comes from the overall principal limit of the reverse mortgage. At first glance, this can be seen as a drain on the total reverse mortgage proceeds that a borrower may be able to access over the course of the loan, but a LESA can actually be a boon for borrowers, depending on the circumstances.

Why a LESA can be a good thing

LESAs can be either Fully Funded or Partially Funded. With a Fully Funded LESA, the lender makes property charges on behalf of the borrower using the funds taken from the reverse mortgage loan proceeds.

As for borrowers who seem capable of paying a portion of these mandatory obligations, a Partially Funded LESA will cover a portion of the property charges. In this scenario, the borrower will receive semi-annual payments from their loan proceeds to help cover these mandatory obligations. Borrowers, rather than the servicer, are responsible for the timely payment of all property charges.

For qualifying borrowers who might worry about having to pay their monthly taxes and insurance obligations, they may voluntarily choose to have their reverse mortgage servicer establish a LESA for the payment of these ongoing expenses.

If you feel more comfortable knowing that your lender will be responsible for making your monthly taxes and insurance payments, then you might want to consider setting up a voluntary LESA that enables them to do so—even if you have sufficient residual income to afford these charges yourself.

If you are considering a reverse mortgage and would like to learn more about LESAs also see:

Reverse Mortgage Set-Aside (LESA) Offers Peace of Mind.


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