8 Ways to Keep Busy (and Stay Happy) After Retirement

By Cher Zevala

For most people, retirement is a much-anticipated break from decades of hard work. Yet, as much as most of us eagerly await the day we retire, the prospect of having nothing scheduled to fill our days can be incredibly intimidating. In fact, some studies indicate that retirement increases a person’s risk of depression by about 40 percent because retired people often fail to remain physically active or mentally engaged.

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I admit that after I retired, I sank into a funk. However, by working to build the lifestyle I always wanted, I was able to continue to live an invigorating post-retirement life. The most important step in beating the retirement blues is keeping busy, so here are a few ideas to help you get started.

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  1. Find a Furry Friend

Pets are more than fuzzy responsibilities; studies show that pets provide quantifiable health benefits, such as less pain, lower blood pressure, and increased incentive to exercise. Plus, some pets can be trained to provide support around the house, including alerting others in the event of a health crisis. Shelters are desperate to find loving homes for neglected or aging pets, so you can find a furry companion today, if you want to.

  1. Start a Hobby and Join a Club

Finding joy in life is crucial to staving off depression, so you might consider devoting the first few months of your retirement to trying out many hobbies to find the one that suits you. Some hobbies you sample include:

  • Gardening
  • Cooking
  • Knitting, crocheting, or embroidering
  • Playing instruments
  • Painting or sculpting
  • Practicing yoga or tai chi

Once you find something you truly enjoy, you should seek out like-minded people to socialize with. There are clubs for nearly every interest, but if you can’t find one nearby, you should consider forming your own.

  1. Try Coin Collecting

Coin collecting is incredibly rewarding, especially for introverts and history buffs in retirement. Every coin tells a story; for example, this 1879 silver dollar contains the tale of the brief economic depression of the late 19th century and the government’s currency-related response. There is a diverse world of coins waiting to be collected and admired, and an accompanying community of collectors eager to help beginners out. I highly recommend coin collecting (or numismatics, as some call it) during your golden years.

  1. Delve Into the Past

Who are you? Where do you come from? There are questions every person grapples with, but you have the time to find out. Genealogies take work to complete, and often you must travel to distant cities to uncover the truth about your family’s past. However, eventually you will find out something fascinating about a distant ancestor that will make the effort well worthwhile.

  1. Start Your Re-Education

Everyone has something they’ve been dying to know more about. Maybe it’s a foreign language, maybe it’s Victorian literature, or maybe it’s taekwondo; whatever you want to study, now is your chance. Your local community college probably has classes that will sate your desire to learn, or you could look for online courses on sites like Coursera, which offers free classes from real university professors.

  1. Give Back

Undoubtedly, you’ve been meaning to give back to your community for most of your life, but you just never managed to find the time. Fortunately, in retirement, you have ample time to donate to your favorite causes. Most charitable organizations are eager for volunteers, which means you can spend your time helping others in the best possible ways. You can check online for local volunteer schedules or call your favorite organizations to ask about opportunities.

  1. Work on Your Home

You might not have spent much time in your home before now, what with running back and forth from work and other important responsibilities. However, when you’re retired, your home becomes your base of operations ― your HQ ― which means you should make it as comfortable and functional as you can. Now is a great time to start a few DIY home improvement projects, as long as you only tackle those projects you know how to handle.

  1. Get Up and Out

If you are still blessed with good health and a full bank account, your golden years are perfect for travel. Whether you pack up an RV explore every inch of the country or you jet-set around the world, getting out of your comfort zone could provide the mental and physical stimulation you need to overcome retirement-related depression.

Plus, there’s no better way to grow old than on a sunny beach in some tropical paradise.

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Election Year Woes: Has Obamacare Impacted the Nursing Profession?

By Carol Trehearn

Ever since back in those early days when President Obama made a huge push for the Affordable Care legislation there has been a great deal of controversy as the nation split into two camps. On the one side there were those who, like President Obama, felt that every man, woman and child has a right to healthcare and on the other side there are those who believe that healthcare shouldn’t be a social program.

The most vocal critics said that Obamacare wouldn’t be financially feasible and that it would put the country in even greater debt than it was already in. Several years in, five to be exact, the debate is still raging. What will this do during an election year and will Obamacare have anything to do with the decisions voters must make come the first week in November?

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A Look at the Plus Side of the Issue

On the plus side, all Americans now have the right to affordable healthcare and those who can’t afford health insurance are being covered by federal funds. Now everyone has a right to care no matter what their gender is and whether or not they can afford to pay for it. The government is subsidizing those who don’t have the financial means to pay the even higher cost of insurance.

It had been the hope that having health insurance would keep the indigent out of ER, thus freeing doctors and nurses to deal with life and death emergencies, whilst those suffering from such things as colds and flus would go to their primary physician.

What Critics Are Saying

If it had been the hope that the workload in the nations ERs would lighten up, those hopes were not realized. It is unclear why but Emergency Rooms are still as busy as ever, if not busier. With a shortage of doctors, more patients are being seen by nurse practitioners with a masters of science in nursing and physician’s assistants who can also prescribe medications and do many of the tasks M.D.s and D.O.s can do.

This is the ‘proof’ critics need to blame Obamacare and it’s all about money. Doctors are now making less money due to strict cost control established by Medicare and Medicaid and so they are leaving the profession by the droves. Old doctors are simply retiring and with the allure of a high paying job no longer realistic, fewer young men and women are seeking to become doctors.

The Impact on Nursing

With a shortage of doctors, more and more nurses are seeking a master of science in nursing which does give them a higher income but does not speak to the nation’s need for more doctors. As a result, there are those who are pushing for a requirement that nurses go even further, getting their doctorate in the nursing sciences field. Doctors and insurance companies are just not making the money they once had and this is significantly impacting the type and amount of services consumers are getting.

In other words, nurses have had to step up to the plate, going further in their education than they ever thought they would need to although you won’t hear complaints from them.

Only Time (and the Voters!) Will Tell

Based on the fact that Obamacare is still a partisan issue, how much weight the Affordable Care Act holds in the eyes of the voters may impact the outcome of the November election. Those who see a financial drain are likely to vote Republican but those benefitting from the ACA will most likely vote Democrat.

When November rolls around, it will be interesting to watch the exit polls to see just what an impact, if any, Obamacare had on the decisions voters made. The one fact is clear however and that is the shortage of doctors said to be the result of the ACA has led to more nurses furthering their careers and that’s a very, very good thing.

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Alleviate dry mouth and throat while using CPAP device

Marijoyce Perona

If you’re currently using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) nasal pillow or a nasal mask and your mouth or throat is drying out, then you’re most likely breathing from your mouth. It is a normal occurrence for people who use CPAP therapy since they’re not used to air blowing into the throat to hold it open.

Dry mouth is sometimes worsened for people who wear a nasal CPAP mask, especially if the jaw drops open during sleep. This contributes to a lesser efficient therapy because of leakage while causing dry mouth. Thankfully, there are a couple of simple solutions to help prevent this problem.

Use a Chinstrap. The simplest solution is to wear a snoring chin strap that quickly and comfortably holds the jaw in place. For most people, chin straps completely stop the escaping air, or dramatically reduces it. This means little or no dry mouth as well as reduced snoring.

Install a Humidifier. The second solution is to use a humidifier on the CPAP machine. Take note that newer models already include one like the ResMed AirSense 10. If yours don’t have one pre-installed, then you can either attach one or put a standalone unit near your bed. Humidification is vital when dealing with symptoms of dry mouth because it supplies both warm and room temperature air. This helps the nasal passages to stay hydrated.

Get a Full face mask. This covers the entire nose and mouth area. Using a full-sized mask could seem confining or even claustrophobic, but there isn’t any single solution here since no single mask is right for everyone. The solution here is doing an experimentation to find the right CPAP mask which best meets your need for efficacy and comfort.

Choose the right size. In relation with the above, the size of your CPAP may be what’s causing the issue. Work closely with your doctor or CPAP supplier to ensure that you have a mask that suits your needs and fits you. Everyone has different shaped faces, so the right style and size mask for someone else may not work for you.

Drink plenty of water. This may be obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many people don’t follow this simple advice. Dry mouth and throat while using CPAP is worsened by dehydration. The general rule is to drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water daily. If you drink a lot of coffee or other caffeinated beverages, or sweat a lot during the day, then make sure to rehydrate to avoid dry mouth and throat.

Allow yourself time to adjust. When people are diagnosed with sleep apnea and start CPAP therapy, there is normally a period of adjustment. With any change in a person’s routine, understanding what changes need to be made and adapting to those unique changes will provide a baseline for recovery or improvement. In most cases, you will automatically adapt to CPAP.

That’s it! Simply follow the recommendations above to alleviate your dry mouth and throat while using CPAP. With time and patience, this device will positively affect your quality of sleep, and thus your life and health. The treatment will be worth it!

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The Secret is Out

Guest post by by Marcia Casar Friedman of Aging is a Full Time Job

Have you ever wondered about the instruments used to measure the aging process?  What does aging mean?  Is it a tag for a numerical age group called Old?

When I pondered that question, my mind automatically went to physical changes which might or might not affect me as I navigated life as a silver sage (aka senior).  Much has been written about the wear and tear on the body and how our past activities will affect the aging process.  The vast unknown of heredity, environment, emotional changes and medical treatments led me to wonder if I could ever find satisfying answers to my questions about aging.

Then I went to my favorite question “Why?” to look for answers.  It took five years of writing questions and answers, researching and writing articles and authoring five manuscripts, for me to accept aging as a process that starts at birth.  Realistically, it starts at conception.  From that point forward we are always making changes and always aging.  Each stage of development paves the way for the next stage.  We start as a fetus and newborn, then move on to infant, toddler, child, puberty, adolescence and so on.  So why did I get stuck lamenting about aging as a description pertaining to old people?

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No doubt the articles I read and the television shows I watched, confirmed aging as a term used to discuss the body breaking down due to aging.

What about psychological changes which come to the fore with life style adjustments?  Many body weaknesses originate from emotional changes. “Gut wrenching” is a term used when describing extremely sad experiences. “Feeling nauseated” is an expression used when hearing about a gruesome crime. “Butterflies in the stomach” come at times of stress such as preparing for an upcoming presentation.  These types of expressions are used when we feel sad, angry, anxious, or frustrated. They come from chemical and physical responses in the body.

I researched many situations where physical illnesses could be traced to relationship stress and this can happen at any age.

The concept of aging belonging to old people now seems silly, yet hurtful.  We have been brain washed to accept the concept of aging as debilitating, sad, scary, unchangeable and extremely troublesome.  Aging is a diagnosis given to anyone who is no longer considered young. I wonder when society forgot to accept maturing and wisdom as a positive which comes from chronological aging.

The secret is now out in the open.  Aging is a full time job.

Yes, it’s true, the wear and tear on the body and heightened emotions do dictate the path we follow to be the best we can be.  The side roads give us opportunities which we would never be able to understand or appreciate in younger, less experienced days gone by.

Among the perks to entering those phases of life is a unique maturity and huge learning opportunities which provide us with a wonderful wealth of wisdom.

By now you are probably wondering why I say aging is a good thing. Here is a sampling of 10 things I’ve learned:

  1. I earned the right to be me. If I want to type on the computer until 3:00am and sleep until noon the next day, it’s my choice.
  2. I have become kinder and less critical of myself. Hooray! I’ve become my best friend.  I deserve the best out of life.
  3. I rejoice in accepting the truth — life is not perfect. Nothing and no one is ever perfect.
  4. I can’t go back to the past because I was a different person then. I am now the me of today.  I know the past is done and over, it cannot be changed.  My perception of the past can be improved.
  5. The surest way to failure is trying to please everyone. The result is no one is pleased.  In fact, those discontented people will turn on you.
  6. Problems are opportunities. During a crisis the focus is on the predicament. After months and years, it becomes easier to find the opportunities that were created by the problems.
  7. Learning never ends. So much to learn, so little time.  I strive to learn something new every day.
  8. It is true, I know I am sometimes forgetful. It’s frustrating. That proves some of life is just as well forgotten. And … I eventually remember the important things.
  9. I don’t question myself as much anymore. I’ve earned the right to be wrong, sometimes.
  10. Expressing gratitude every day enables me to have a more positive outlook on life and on aging.

Aging has set me free to be the person I was meant to be.  I like being a silver sage!  I don’t want to live forever, so while I’m still here I won’t waste precious time feeling sad about what could have been or obsessing about what will be in the distant future.

Join me on this personal journey of being a silver sage, to be the best you can be today.  Aging is a journey of changes.

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Millennials: Embrace Weird, Retire Early

Guest post from I,Vigilante

When I was younger, there was a brief period when I was very concerned that I was somehow behind my peers, intellectually – that I was, for lack of a better word, dumb. I had trouble with high-minded conversation because I had to translate higher concepts into baser concepts to fully grasp what was being said. When someone would, say, pick a sorting algorithm in computer science class (don’t worry, this isn’t getting too nerdy), a lot of my classmates would immediately choose quicksort because, they reasoned, “It’s the quickest.” And while in most cases, that was true, I would take longer to make the decision. I would have to stop and think about what quicksort is, why it was faster, and if it was really faster in that particular instance. I couldn’t find the quick answer.

It made me feel different, because my peers would talk about quicksort like they knew all the little details immediately when they heard the word. I didn’t want to be too different, too weird. I just wanted to be as smart as everyone else, able to communicate with the vocabulary we had learned. But I couldn’t.

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By early high school, I realized that I was in fact dumb. But not because I was behind – I was dumb to think that this inner translation was a sign of weakness. In reality, it was evidence of intelligence: As Albert Einstein (supposedly) said, if you can’t explain a concept simply, you don’t understand it well enough. Many of my peers were skilled at memorizing and regurgitating information, but a lot of them also failed to apply the things they had “learned” if they were thrown a curveball. As it turned out, many of those who took the shortcut to saying quicksort was the fastest sorting algorithm had no idea why that statement happened to be correct – they just saw it in a Powerpoint presentation.

So how is this relevant to retirement?

Most people believe certain firmly set stereotypes about retirement. Florida, golf courses, Social Security, and most importantly: many years behind the retiree. This is what they’ve seen, what they’re familiar with, and what their brains can regurgitate quickly – a mental shortcut.

Millennials generally don’t even think about their own retirement – it’s at least 30 years away, right? Maybe more, given gloom and doom predictions relating to Social Security, pensions, and stagnant stock market growth.

But millennials, like most people, are not familiar with the concept of financial independence: saving and investing your earnings to the point that the growth of those investments – your passive income – can meet or exceed your desired spending. And for millennials in particular, the time to save is now.

We’re bombarded with messages telling us to live it up: We’re in our twenties and thirties, this is time to party! To travel, to be reckless! Buy that BMW, live in that luxury apartment, take those trips to resort towns, while you’re young! So, many of us do just that – once or twice a year. The rest of the time, we can’t afford it. And we don’t get any closer to financial independence. Not that it bothers us – that stuff is for the rich, the privileged, and the elderly.

I’m here to say that financial independence is more attainable than we think. But it can’t be achieved by shortcuts; it requires a genuine understanding of your investment options.

It might be tempting to take the same shortcut as everyone else. When you think about retirement, just assume it’s for the elderly. After all, learning about early retirement and financial independence seems like a daunting task. Stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, taxes, and all kinds of new acronyms – it is a lot to take in. It’s much easier to say retirement is for someone else and then go on spending your life at a desk to generate income for immediate consumer spending, splurging, and slow debt payments. It’s what you know, what you’ve heard, what you can regurgitate: penalty-free withdrawals at 59 ½, Social Security at 65-70, maybe a pension in your 60s if you’re lucky. Until then, earn and spend, and get as much stuff as you can. It’s normal, expected, and comfortable.

But being weird has its advantages. Sure, most people will laugh when you say you are saving 50% of your income to retire before 40. They’ll say it’s naïve, foolish, and unworkable. If you aren’t careful, they’ll make you feel dumb. But they are speaking from a lack of understanding.

The path most people follow doesn’t let them travel freely, whenever they choose. It doesn’t let them feel secure when they face those emergencies we all encounter someday – broken furnaces, fender benders, illnesses that keep us home from work when we’re out of sick days. Most people can’t turn off their alarm clock for an entire month. These benefits – and so, so many more – await the weird. Those who shun convention, those who aren’t afraid to be a little bit different, those who aren’t afraid to be laughed at. So embrace weird – you have a lifetime to thank yourself!

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Make Your Restaurant More Profitable With These Easy Steps

By Melissa Frank

Toughing it out in the competitive restaurant industry is no walk in the park, especially when it seems like a new establishment opens its doors every other week. However, for willing entrepreneurs, it can serve as a great retirement income. If you’re looking to make your restaurant stand out and garner more sales from happy customers, keep these strategies in your arsenal.

Refine Your Restaurant Website

If you want to keep up with the competition, you need to ensure your restaurant website is up to par. Today’s consumer is increasingly connected, and many patrons will check out a restaurant online before ever entering its doors. Make sure those potential patrons like what they see and invest the money and time into creating an SEO-friendly, visually appealing website. Use high-quality imagery of your restaurant and plates of food, post your menus, and create a page that highlights the specials your establishment offers. If you’ve received accolades, post them. Also be sure to add social media share buttons to make it easy for happy customers to share their wonderful experience at your restaurant and help you attract new consumers.

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Offer Online Takeout

Today’s consumer expects ease and convenience, and if you’re not providing that through takeout services, you’re missing out on a lucrative sector of the dining market. Online shopping (yes, even for food) is king these days, and making it easy for hungry customers to interact with your restaurant in the way they prefer will only see you garnering loyal consumers that come back time and time again. By providing online ordering capabilities, you need not worry about taking on more staff to handle takeout calls during busy times, and if you have a solid POS system like that offered from RevelSystems.com, the order will go right through to the cooks without hindering the normal processes of your kitchen, saving you time, money, and stress.

Expand Alcoholic Beverage Offerings

If you don’t yet serve alcohol in your establishment, or you have a license that only allows for the sale of beer and wine, you’re missing out on a great deal of sales. Many restaurants cite alcohol sales as being a significant portion of their profits. It can be tough to procure a liquor license, especially in highly populated areas, but the costly investment is often worth it in the long run. If you’re having a hard time locking down the right permit, consider using an online brokerage service like LicenseLocators.com to help you finagle the deal.

Use Social Media to Your Advantage

If you haven’t yet harnessed the power of social media, the time is now. Getting your restaurant name out there is essential to keeping up in today’s fast-paced world, and a strong social media presence can help you bring in more customers without spending a fortune. Stick to the basics to start—Facebook and Instagram, for example — then expand your social media channels as you determine which are most used by your target demographic. Offer special deals on these pages to encourage followers to like and share your restaurant, thus spreading your name even more. Social media can do wonders in terms of connecting you with your customers, and the more connected they feel, the more apt they are to come in on a regular basis, thus improving your sales with the simple click of a button.

Invest in Your Wait Staff

Customer service can make or break the dining experience. Even if the food is topnotch, consumers won’t come back to an establishment in which they felt unimportant. Take the time to train your staff, and treat them well. Giving respect means receiving respect, and finding loyal, long-term employees in the restaurant industry can save you money and time, as it requires fewer new hires and less retraining. Also be sure to refine your scheduling process to ensure you’re not overspending on labor. Applications like ScheduleFly.com can help you avoid miscommunication issues and ensure you’ve got the right amount of staff on hand each and every time those restaurant doors open.

Making your restaurant more profitable is about refining current sales strategies and looking at new ways you can harness loyal customers. Keep these tips in mind and make this year the most profitable yet.

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Financial Considerations after Having a Grandchild

By Melissa Frank

One of the most important roles you’ll play in your life is that of a grandparent, and if you’ve recently welcomed a sweet young one to your family, you may be wondering how to best provide and care for their needs. The modern grandparent is stepping up to the plate with financial considerations for their kids’ kids, often funding portions of college, offering saving benefits, and picking up the slack with living expenses. Before you begin funneling money into a college savings account, there are a few things to take into consideration, and these financial steps could see you helping your grandchildren more than you ever thought possible.

Consider Your Own Costs

You won’t do your family any favors by tunneling yourself into debt. Before even considering placing money into an account for your grandchild, take care to ensure all of your accounts are in order. Pay off any outstanding debts, or have a plan in place to pay at least the minimum each month, switch to credit cards with low interest rates, and ensure your retirement account is secure and gaining steadily. If you’re looking to start a new retirement account, considering opening an IRA with Vanguard.

Help with Medical Bills

Sometimes it’s the unexpected events that can have the greatest effect on our financial situation, and this is ever true of children and medical bills. Whether it’s a broken bone from a playground accident or a tough illness, medical bills can quickly add up, especially if your children don’t have a solid insurance plan that gives their little ones the best in coverage. Consider setting your money aside to help with medical bills when problems do arise. Whether it’s for braces or medicine, this will be a true help and contribute to the health and wellbeing of your grandchild, which is a better cause for your money than most.

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College Savings Plans

College savings tends to be the top of grandparents’ lists when it comes to financially supporting their grandkids. There are many ways to set aside money for your grandchild’s higher education, but not all options were created equal. One of the most popular routes is what’s known as a 529 Savings Plan on a site like ScholarShare.com. Available in all states barring Wyoming, these savings plans offer numerous benefits for both recipient and investor. They’re flexible, allowing for an initial contribution and then intermittent money additions when you can afford it. There’s generally a state tax credit or deduction for contributions, but this depends on where you live. The funds will grow tax-free as long as they’re used for higher education, and contributions to this account are free from estate tax.

Burial Costs

This isn’t likely on the top of your worries when it comes to helping your grandchild financially, but consider this: the average funeral in North America costs over $10,000, and leaving your family in the lurch after passing will see them hurting both emotionally and financially. It’s important to take a look at your funeral plans, even if it’s a less than savory thought. Talk with your insurance agent about the parameters of your life insurance plan and find how much it will cover. If you don’t have life insurance, at least consider a burial policy from a company like www.burialinsurance.org that will cover the bulk of the costs. Getting this out of the way will give you and your family peace of mind, and when that day does come, relieve your loved ones of one more unnecessary worry.

Consider Your Will

Many grandparents prefer to offer the money dedicated to their children in a will. This may be because they don’t trust their children will use the money as intended if given when the grandchild is still a minor, or it could be that your grandchildren and well cared for and don’t have a lot of monetary needs in their adolescence.

Giving your grandchildren the best chance at a happy and healthy life is about providing tons of love, the right care, and ensuring they’re financially well taken care of. Keep these financial considerations in mind as you begin saving and caring for a new grandchild.

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Social Security for US Expats and Dual-Citizens

By John Ohe, CFA and IRS Enrolled Agent. John is a partner at Hola Expat (www.holaexpat.com), which specializes in preparing tax returns for U.S. expats.

John Ohe 1

Social Security is a lifelong pension provided by the US government. It can be a critical source of income during one’s retirement years. Most important to note, it is a very attractive investment option for low to modest income earners – what one receives during retirement is far greater than what one contributes. Unfortunately, many US expats do not plan appropriately, and will miss out on this great opportunity.

To qualify for Social Security, one needs to earn 40 credits. In the United States, most people work a job and pay Social Security taxes (automatically taken out of the paycheck). After about ten years of employment, one has acquired the necessary 40 credits.

US expats, however, are often unable to contribute to Social Security. This becomes an issue when one has earned less than the necessary 40 credits. Fortunately, there are ways to contribute to Social Security while working abroad.

Let’s use an example to illustrate:

Jane is 30 years old. She has been living outside the US since she was 25, and does not have any plans to move back to the States. She works for a foreign company. Jane is interested in qualifying for Social Security, so she checks online at SSA.gov. Jane learns that she has earned 10 credits. She needs 30 additional credits.

If Jane earns a modest income from the foreign company, she may want to report her income as self-employment on her US tax return (certain requirements apply). Jane would not owe any income taxes on her tax return, if properly prepared. However, she would owe self-employment (SE) tax, which is how she would earn Social Security credits. SE tax is roughly 15% of the reported income.

Alternatively, Jane could start a small business (on the side). Any profits from that business could be reported as self-employment income. She would pay the 15% SE tax, and earn credits.

How quickly can one earn credits?

A person can earn a maximum of 4 credits per year. For 2016, one needs to report at least $5,040 in income to earn 4 credits ($1,260 per credit). Therefore, one would pay approximately $770 in SE tax to acquire the 4 credits.

To summarize:

Social Security can be an important source of income during one’s retirement years. It is a very attractive investment option for low to modest income earners. One needs 40 credits to qualify for Social Security. Find out how many credits you have earned.

For more information on Social Security and other tax-related issues, visit us at: holaexpat.com.

Other posts by this author:

2016 Key Tax Changes

U.S. Expats – College Planning

FATCA – Practical Guide

Free Money from the IRS – Child Tax Credit

Buying and Selling Real Estate (Foreign or Domestic) from a Tax Perspective

U.S. Expat Taxes – An Introduction

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Why More Healthy UK Adults Are Planning their Future Funerals

By Carol Trehearn

Today’s society is changing its perspective and approach to death and funeral planning as we know it. Society is evolving into a more mature, practical group that is understanding of how difficult a funeral can be, and looking for new ways it might respect the hardships involved.

funeral-medium

Regardless of what age you are, we all know through experience that attending a funeral can be a very sad, stressful, and often miserable experience. From the black hearse that carries the body, to the humble and down to earth priest’s speech at the ceremony, funerals offer people a time to grieve amongst loved ones but they’re never an easy experience. Many people are recognising how hard it is to plan a funeral for a loved one, and those in the UK in their early 20’s and 30’s are taking note. Many are becoming more active with planning their own funerals so there is little for their loved ones to do.

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Saying Goodbye to a Loved One or Friend is Hard

There’s nothing easy about burying and saying goodbye to a loved one, relative, or close friend. Because of this, as each of us likely knows, changing the ways you approach planning funeral arrangements or ‘activities’ could really impact in the most in a positive way the overall effect it has on those you cherish.

Making funeral plans is both emotionally taxing, and can be quite expensive. The pre-planning alone, not including the costs of reserving a centre or church to hold your viewing, all the way to the costs of a coffin, can really add up fast. From whom you want to attend your funeral, to how you want it to ‘play out,’ may it be serving drinks, foods, or other delicacies should be left solely up to the individual that has passed away, say officials from the British Humanist Association.

What’s a ‘Death Café’?

It definitely sounds a bit unusual, and for many quite disturbing – but don’t be intimidated by the term ‘death café’. In fact, death cafes are meetings with your friends, loved ones, trusted funeral planners and professionals to determine exactly how you want your funeral to play out. Creating a funeral plan with your loved ones can help to increase awareness, and also create a special bonding and sense of understanding. You can learn more here).

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While death cafés are still a new concept, they have been popping up more frequently in the UK, and are expected to experience dramatic growth and popularity in other western cultures as well.

Will the New Approaches Disturb the Respectable Nature of Death and Burial?

Funeral experts do not believe that these new approaches will in any way demean or devalue the process of putting your loved one or friend to rest. In fact, even pastors and other religious experts are quite supportive of this new, “trending” approach. They believe it signifies the love a person has for their family and friends, reinforcing one last time their willingness to please others, and bring happiness and light to the world as they depart.

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Are you an aspiring to be an entrepreneur? Here are the 5 tips to keep in mind

Dan Simon is a 30 year old young man. He studied business management at the university and eventually opened up his hospital. He attributes the success of his hospital to Anesthesia Services, LTD. During his free time, Dan loves to go hiking.

The world is now being driven by entrepreneurs; people are thinking business wise these days. The world has no space for just ordinary thinking people, unless you want to be a wage slave to someone else all your life. Is this the direction you want to go? I would think you’d want to find your niche and shine in it.

You need to think in advance now, be a step ahead of your competitors so that you can be the best in your game. Remember, you do not have to be of a certain age, size or a certain class. Entrepreneurship is for just about anyone who is ready to commit to the path of improvement. Actually, the younger you are the better. You who will start at an early age will be more advantaged than the one who will start during his retirement years.

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Most often people think that to be an entrepreneur, you need to have some sort of licensing, some form of identification or a membership card. This is not true. The decision lies in your hands. Make the choice now. Your mindset should be like that of a business person. Here are some of the ways that you can think like an entrepreneur.

  1. Be creative

Entrepreneurship requires you to have a creative mind. You need to be able to read between the lines; know the needs of your people and provide exactly that to them appropriately. Think like a problem solver. Every chance you get should be an opportunity to create something new; something that will be of help to your people.

  1. Be an opportunity grabber

To think like an entrepreneur requires you to be keen always. You need to be able to see where you can shine and where there may be chances for you. In the event that a good deal crosses your path, do not hesitate to grab it. You know good deals do not come by often. You never know when you will stumble upon another perfect deal again.

For example, in case you own a hospital, you might want to have a team to work on the medical bills of your patients. In that case you can simply contact Anesthesia Services, LTD  and let them do the job for you.

  1. Be flexible

Entrepreneurs know that for one to succeed, failure is often a companion. No business starts and picks up immediately without having to go over any hurdles. When you start up a certain business, hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.

  1. Think critically

There is a difference between simply thinking and thinking critically. You need to weigh your options before making any decision that may impact your business immensely.

  1. Create contacts

You need to realize that you cannot make it alone. You need advice from people who are already in the field and have made it. Learn to share your ideas. You never know just who you may be talking to.

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