When Hoarding Your Pennies, How Many Savings Accounts Should You Have?

Saving money is not a singular pursuit.

Take a minute to think about everything you’re saving for. A down payment on a home. Cash for that overseas vacation. Funds to tap in case an emergency arises.

Chances are you’re stacking money for several things at once, and those are just the short-term goals. We won’t even get into long-term objectives right now, like saving for retirement.

You probably park your short-term savings in a regular ol’ savings account … or several. Some folks are fans of splitting their money into separate accounts for each goal, while others hoard all their savings in one place.

Financial personalities and habits tend to determine how many savings accounts a person has, says Holly Peterson, financial consultant and owner of Elite Retirement Strategies in Pocatello, Idaho.

“Some people are more financially responsible when they have multiple savings accounts set up for different goals or purposes,” she says. “Other people get overwhelmed moving money around and give up on the whole idea of saving. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ recommended method.”

So whether you have one account or a dozen, you’re not doing it wrong. Let’s explore these two approaches to managing various savings goals and how you can be a successful saver with whichever route is best for you.

Separating Savings for Better Financial Clarity

Designating specific accounts for specific savings goals helps many people keep their money organized.

Fo Alexander and her husband Ben, of Greenville, South Carolina, have seven different savings accounts. One is for their emergency fund. Another covers future home repairs or upgrades. Two accounts are for general savings. The other three are business related.

Alexander, founder of the blog and podcast Girl Talk With Fo, said having multiple accounts means they don’t have to guess or do math to know exactly how much money they have saved for a specific purpose.

“We wouldn’t manage [our money] any other way,” she said.

5 Benefits to Having Multiple Savings Accounts

  1. The money you save for each goal is in its own pot. You know exactly how much you have saved toward each goal, so when you withdraw money for, say, your vacation, you don’t have to worry that you’re dipping into your new car fund.
  2. Seeing how close (or far away) you are from achieving each savings goal can give you more motivation to save than if you just saw one lump sum in a solo savings account. Alexander put it this way: “Knowing that you’re saving for a house versus just saving gives you more incentive to reach your goals.”
  3. Different financial institutions offer different perks. You might enjoy the amazing customer service at your local credit union so you have an account there, but you also like having your emergency fund stored at an online bank where you aren’t as tempted to make withdrawals. Some banks offer cash bonuses to open new accounts, another lucrative perk.
  4. You and your partner or spouse might want to maintain separate savings accounts for personal goals. Multiple accounts might also make sense if you want separate savings for each of your children.
  5. Most savings accounts restrict how often you can withdraw money from your account. If you plan on making more than the maximum monthly withdrawals, having multiple accounts would be an advantage.

Make Multiple Accounts Work For You

When juggling several accounts, it can help to nickname each one.

“Putting a name to your savings increases your likelihood of success,” Alexander said.

She also recommends automating your savings allocations if you can’t keep up with making manual transfers. Before she was married, she used to have her employer transfer a percentage of her paycheck into specific accounts.

Now Alexander and her husband set time aside every other week to discuss their finances and put money into savings according to their goals.

Pro Tip

Don’t get so caught up contributing to your various short-term savings accounts that you neglect long-term goals, like saving for retirement or adding to your kids’ college funds.

Sticking With the Simplicity of One Account

Not all savers go the route of having multiple accounts.

Evan Sutherland, of Pullman, Washington, keeps all his savings in one account and uses a detailed budgeting system to stay on top of multiple goals, like saving for holidays, vacations and semiannual bills.

He and his wife, Nikayla, who collectively run the blog Budgeting Couple, use the popular budgeting software EveryDollar and create digital sinking funds to set aside money for specific savings goals.

A sinking fund is a pool of money you regularly add to over time to make a large expense more manageable or to make up for irregular income or expenses.

Among the different things they’re saving for, the Sutherlands regularly put money aside for vacations.

“Instead of having a travel savings account and sticking $ 80 a month into the travel savings account, we just budget for $ 80 per month,” he said.

By keeping track of how often and how much they’ve contributed to their travel sinking fund, they know how much money they can pull out for their next vacation. Sutherland said having multiple accounts on top of the budgeting system he uses would be redundant.

5 Advantages to Keeping All Your Savings in One Account

  1. You only have to keep track of deposits, withdrawals and account information for one account, saving you time and extra work.
  2. If your bank charges a monthly maintenance fee, you only have to pay that for one account rather than for several.
  3. Some savings accounts have requirements, like keeping a minimum balance. It could be easier to meet those requirements if your savings are in one account.
  4. You’ll miss out on potential earned interest by dividing your money into accounts that have different interest rates. You’d have better returns if you saved your money in one high-interest account.
  5. Even when your financial goals change, your savings account will always serve a purpose. If you open multiple accounts for non-recurring goals (like saving for a wedding), those accounts will be empty and useless once you’ve reached your target savings and withdrawn all the money.

Getting By With One Account

Sutherland’s savings approach shows you don’t have to open separate accounts to save up for separate goals. The key to working with one savings account is to have your own tracking system so you know how much of your money goes to each savings objective.

Sutherland recommends using budgeting software that allows you to set up sinking funds. If you’re not sure which software is right for you, check out our review of the eight best budgeting apps we could find.

You also don’t have to save for all your goals simultaneously. If you’re engaged and budgeting for a wedding but also want to buy your first home in a couple years, you can focus on the immediate goal first and then tackle saving up for a down payment after you say “I do.”

“There are many different methods available for saving money — but in the end, the best method for you will be different than the best method for someone else,” Peterson, the financial consultant, advises.

No matter how you do it, the most important thing is that you make saving money a priority.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She is saving to pay off debt and buy a house.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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When Hoarding Your Pennies, How Many Savings Accounts Should You Have?

Saving money is not a singular pursuit.

Take a minute to think about everything you’re saving for. A down payment on a home. Cash for that overseas vacation. Funds to tap in case an emergency arises.

Chances are you’re stacking money for several things at once, and those are just the short-term goals. We won’t even get into long-term objectives right now, like saving for retirement.

You probably park your short-term savings in a regular ol’ savings account … or several. Some folks are fans of splitting their money into separate accounts for each goal, while others hoard all their savings in one place.

Financial personalities and habits tend to determine how many savings accounts a person has, says Holly Peterson, financial consultant and owner of Elite Retirement Strategies in Pocatello, Idaho.

“Some people are more financially responsible when they have multiple savings accounts set up for different goals or purposes,” she says. “Other people get overwhelmed moving money around and give up on the whole idea of saving. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ recommended method.”

So whether you have one account or a dozen, you’re not doing it wrong. Let’s explore these two approaches to managing various savings goals and how you can be a successful saver with whichever route is best for you.

Separating Savings for Better Financial Clarity

Designating specific accounts for specific savings goals helps many people keep their money organized.

Fo Alexander and her husband Ben, of Greenville, South Carolina, have seven different savings accounts. One is for their emergency fund. Another covers future home repairs or upgrades. Two accounts are for general savings. The other three are business related.

Alexander, founder of the blog and podcast Girl Talk With Fo, said having multiple accounts means they don’t have to guess or do math to know exactly how much money they have saved for a specific purpose.

“We wouldn’t manage [our money] any other way,” she said.

5 Benefits to Having Multiple Savings Accounts

  1. The money you save for each goal is in its own pot. You know exactly how much you have saved toward each goal, so when you withdraw money for, say, your vacation, you don’t have to worry that you’re dipping into your new car fund.
  2. Seeing how close (or far away) you are from achieving each savings goal can give you more motivation to save than if you just saw one lump sum in a solo savings account. Alexander put it this way: “Knowing that you’re saving for a house versus just saving gives you more incentive to reach your goals.”
  3. Different financial institutions offer different perks. You might enjoy the amazing customer service at your local credit union so you have an account there, but you also like having your emergency fund stored at an online bank where you aren’t as tempted to make withdrawals. Some banks offer cash bonuses to open new accounts, another lucrative perk.
  4. You and your partner or spouse might want to maintain separate savings accounts for personal goals. Multiple accounts might also make sense if you want separate savings for each of your children.
  5. Most savings accounts restrict how often you can withdraw money from your account. If you plan on making more than the maximum monthly withdrawals, having multiple accounts would be an advantage.

Make Multiple Accounts Work For You

When juggling several accounts, it can help to nickname each one.

“Putting a name to your savings increases your likelihood of success,” Alexander said.

She also recommends automating your savings allocations if you can’t keep up with making manual transfers. Before she was married, she used to have her employer transfer a percentage of her paycheck into specific accounts.

Now Alexander and her husband set time aside every other week to discuss their finances and put money into savings according to their goals.

Pro Tip

Don’t get so caught up contributing to your various short-term savings accounts that you neglect long-term goals, like saving for retirement or adding to your kids’ college funds.

Sticking With the Simplicity of One Account

Not all savers go the route of having multiple accounts.

Evan Sutherland, of Pullman, Washington, keeps all his savings in one account and uses a detailed budgeting system to stay on top of multiple goals, like saving for holidays, vacations and semiannual bills.

He and his wife, Nikayla, who collectively run the blog Budgeting Couple, use the popular budgeting software EveryDollar and create digital sinking funds to set aside money for specific savings goals.

A sinking fund is a pool of money you regularly add to over time to make a large expense more manageable or to make up for irregular income or expenses.

Among the different things they’re saving for, the Sutherlands regularly put money aside for vacations.

“Instead of having a travel savings account and sticking $ 80 a month into the travel savings account, we just budget for $ 80 per month,” he said.

By keeping track of how often and how much they’ve contributed to their travel sinking fund, they know how much money they can pull out for their next vacation. Sutherland said having multiple accounts on top of the budgeting system he uses would be redundant.

5 Advantages to Keeping All Your Savings in One Account

  1. You only have to keep track of deposits, withdrawals and account information for one account, saving you time and extra work.
  2. If your bank charges a monthly maintenance fee, you only have to pay that for one account rather than for several.
  3. Some savings accounts have requirements, like keeping a minimum balance. It could be easier to meet those requirements if your savings are in one account.
  4. You’ll miss out on potential earned interest by dividing your money into accounts that have different interest rates. You’d have better returns if you saved your money in one high-interest account.
  5. Even when your financial goals change, your savings account will always serve a purpose. If you open multiple accounts for non-recurring goals (like saving for a wedding), those accounts will be empty and useless once you’ve reached your target savings and withdrawn all the money.

Getting By With One Account

Sutherland’s savings approach shows you don’t have to open separate accounts to save up for separate goals. The key to working with one savings account is to have your own tracking system so you know how much of your money goes to each savings objective.

Sutherland recommends using budgeting software that allows you to set up sinking funds. If you’re not sure which software is right for you, check out our review of the eight best budgeting apps we could find.

You also don’t have to save for all your goals simultaneously. If you’re engaged and budgeting for a wedding but also want to buy your first home in a couple years, you can focus on the immediate goal first and then tackle saving up for a down payment after you say “I do.”

“There are many different methods available for saving money — but in the end, the best method for you will be different than the best method for someone else,” Peterson, the financial consultant, advises.

No matter how you do it, the most important thing is that you make saving money a priority.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She is saving to pay off debt and buy a house.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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This is why Macau should be your next destination in Asia


Macau has been widely overlooked in comparison to many other regions and actually has a whole lot to offer. When people say they want to travel to China, they’re often referring to Hong Kong, which as a famous city has a lot to offer, but it’s fame and popularity have often dwarfed the reputation of other surrounding regions. Macau is incredibly advanced and built up, with an incredible mixture of extra-cultural influences that create the unique place it is today. Here’s why you should forget anywhere else in Asia you were planning to go and go here instead.

Macau

UNESCO World Heritage Site

There’s nothing we love more than a heritage site, as it highlights a significant cultural symbol in the world. It has a complex history but was once the home of a sophisticated trading network that hosted countries from all over the world. This site is held as a symbol of the specific relationship that China and Portugal had over this territory. UNESCO outline how this is a symbol is a reminder of inter-cultural exchange and resilience. It’s a pillar of cultural blending and tolerance, and the surroundings exemplify this by showing Buddhist temples and Catholic churches next to each other.

Blended culture

Macau was a Portuguese territory as a result of the Ming dynasty leasing the land as a trading post. This was all the back in 1557, and the territory was only returned to the Chinese governing body in 1999 under the agreement that the embed rules and culture would be maintained for 50 years. The Portuguese influence is evident within the architecture, and it is still strong today. However, Macau was then free to run its economy, and since 1999 has rapidly developed and it is now one of the world’s most prominent resort cities, with a money gaming industry that rivals Las Vegas.

Amazing adventures

Macau isn’t just a city, and it also offers some of the most thrilling activities such as bungee jumping from the Macau tower, skywalking along it or taking a turbojet ferry. There is so much to do there; it’s practically impossible to get bored. Aside from the thrill rides, there are also some more, calmer, more inspiring experiences to be had. You can go on a dolphin watching cruise or go to see the House of Dancing Water show, either will be an incredible experience.

It is rich

Not only is it rich, but it is actually the wealthiest city in Asia, which is insane but it doesn’t end there. Macau has been speculated to eventually knock Qatar out as the richest place in the world and take the top spot! This is due to the recent developments and their ability to control their own economy.

Macau

Their food is amazing

They have some seriously unique food creations, one of these is their world-famous egg tarts. These are a Portuguese influence but are an incredible experience you cannot miss out on. After all, when you go traveling it’s always best to try the native food rather than western recreations.

So, hopefully, Macau will be next on your list of places to go visit, just remember to find those egg tarts!

The post This is why Macau should be your next destination in Asia appeared first on Worldation.

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Dear Penny: Should I Pay Off My Credit Card if That Means Saving Less?

Dear J.,

A new depressing stat seems to surface every day about how we’re all one check-engine light or root canal away from financial implosion. And with the scary numbers, the message is always the same: Just. Keep. Saving.

So I get why you might feel pressure to prioritize saving above any other financial goal.

But here’s what we often neglect to talk about when it comes to saving money: It’s entirely possible to save too much of it. If you’re charging basic needs like groceries to a credit card in order to save, it’s costing you money in the long term.

To understand why, let’s start with your last question: Is there a benefit to carrying a balance? In short, no. When you carry a balance beyond an introductory no-interest period, your credit card company is the only one that benefits.

There is a claim in credit card land that carrying a small balance from month to month boosts your FICO scores. But this is pure myth. One of the best things you can do for your credit score is to pay off your balance in full each month.

So while there’s no benefit to carrying a balance, there’s a high cost. Average credit card interest rates are more than 17%. By comparison, the average annual return for the S&P 500 when adjusted for inflation is just 7%. And savings accounts? They earn a pitiful 0.09% in interest on average nationwide.

That means every dollar you put on a credit card is costing you more than you’d earn if you invested it or saved it.

But the good news is that your commitment to saving shows that overall, you’ve got your financial act together. The fact that you’re saving so much suggests that you have room in your budget to cover your expenses and have money left over to save.

You don’t need to pay off your balance overnight, but your top priority should be to keep it from creeping any higher.

Start by figuring out exactly how much you’re earning, spending and saving each month. Since your combined spending and saving will probably be higher than your earnings, you’ll have to cut back until they’re equal.

Assuming you’re not spending money on a twice-daily UberEats habit, Tinder Gold, a Dog Lady subscription box or any similarly frivolous vice, you might need to cut back on saving, at least temporarily. And that’s OK.

Keep contributing to your 401(k) to get your company’s match. That’s a no-brainer, because it’s free money. But you might want to limit your contribution to that amount for now.

If you have a healthy emergency fund — three to six months of living expenses — consider using the amount you typically put in savings to pay off your balance. Or you could scale back on your Roth IRA contribution for now.

Remember: This is only temporary. But getting your credit card use in check now is one of the best investments you can make in your financial future.

Have a tricky money question? Write to Dear Penny and you might see your question answered in an upcoming column.

Robin Hartill is a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder and the voice behind Dear Penny.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Destinations that you should visit as soon as possible


When it comes to choosing your next travel destination, how do you do it? Do you consider the weather? Activities you might like to do? Where can you get a good offer on flights? How about the places that might not be there forever? It might sound dramatic, but there are a few places on the planet that are set to disappear in one way or another, so if you want to visit them, you’d better go soon!

Venice

One of the most romantic places in the world, Venice is idolized as a beautiful travel destination, and many people are desperate to enjoy an iconic gondola ride on the canals of this stunning city. However, the very thing that makes Venice such a desirable destination is the very thing that is set to destroy it – in fact, in the near future, this floating island will find itself entirely covered by the canals, and the romantic area will be nothing but water. If you’re planning a proposal, a honeymoon or just a getaway to Venice, you need to book it soon!

Photo: Unsplash.com

The Great Barrier Reef

Diving and exploring the Great Barrier Reef is on a lot of bucket lists and for good reason – it’s a beautiful underwater world, full of colorful coral and unusual wildlife that has to be seen to be believed. Unfortunately, experts believe that there is only a decade left to enjoy this stunning part of the world, due to pollution and the rise in sea temperatures. The reef is dying at an alarming rate, and we don’t yet know what impact that will have overall, but at the very least it’s an incredibly sad loss to the world.

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is one of the most popular archeological structures in the world, and some say that it is even visible for space; however, it seems that that might not be the case forever. Walking the Great Wall is something that pops up on a lot of bucket lists, and as such, the area is always full of tourists who want to do just that, however, so many people walking across it daily is really taking the toll.

Photo: Unsplash.com

Machu Picchu

This historic mountain in Peru features ancient Incan ruins which can be explored. It takes around 4-5 days to walk the Inca Trail, and it is a tough walk, especially up the steep granite staircase known as the ‘Hike of Death.’ However, despite work undertaken to try to protect this UNESCO World Heritage Site, it still sees a worrying influx of tourists every day, which is threatening to collapse the ancient ruins.

It’s so sad to think that there will be a time, in the not so distant future, when these beautiful destinations are no more. Perhaps our grandchildren will get to see them, perhaps our great-grandchildren, but in generations to come they won’t be so lucky. We owe it to the world to do what we can to help protect these spaces and to experience them while we can.

The post Destinations that you should visit as soon as possible appeared first on Worldation.

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Should You Wear a Jacket with a T-shirt?

In the warmer months of the year, it’s only natural to try to cut down on the number of layers you’ll be wearing each day. After all, with fewer garments on your body, you’ll generally stay cooler.

Even so, different situations call for different dress codes. A day at the beach may be well suited by shorts and a simple shirt but a summer business meeting at the office is still going to require something more formal and even within these general frameworks, dressing up a little bit more than others is still something that can be done. As an example, wearing a polo shirt, dressier shorts, and boat shoes to a barbecue will look infinitely more stylish than simply wearing a t-shirt, cargo shorts, and sandals.

Can One Effectively Pair A T-shirt With A Jacket?

Our answer, in a nutshell, is that we wouldn’t exactly recommend it. There are a host of other more stylish options out there. Still, if you are really dying to pair these two garments together, there are ways to do it that are better than others.

On that note then, let’s try to tackle the reasoning behind why someone would conceivably want to pair these two articles of clothing together:

  • Firstly, it definitely presents a casual vibe in the overall scale of formality, it would probably rank even below smart casual in full-on casual wear.
  • Secondly and perhaps more practically speaking, it can get hot during the summer months. Given that a t-shirt doesn’t often have long sleeves, you’ll be removing that extra bit of fabric from your frame and thus staying cooler.

Reasons Not To Attempt Wearing A T-Shirt With A Jacket

They’re At Greatly Different Levels Of Formality

When any garments of greatly different levels of formality are paired together, the overall formality of the outfit skews downward, not upward. In other words, pairing a t-shirt with a jacket doesn’t dress up the t-shirt, it only dresses down the jacket.

It Will Make You Look Dated

The height of the trend of wearing t-shirts and jackets together came in the 1980s as perhaps best exemplified by the TV show, Miami Vice. Not only were t-shirts worn with jackets and even full suits but the cut and colors were baggy and bright, respectively. If you do try wearing a t-shirt with a jacket today even if the fit is more trim and the colors are more muted, most people’s first associations are still going to be with the 80s and you’ll have the general effect of looking like a throwback.

Miami Vice
Miami Vice

You might be wondering how is this any different from the Gentleman’s Gazette’s frequent praise of early 20th century fashions? Well, the simple answer right now is that the 1980s are just dated enough that most of their fashions aren’t in style anymore but still, just current enough that some of those trends are hanging on. In other words, it’s kind of an uncanny valley in terms of time right now and being caught in the middle, wearing some of these distinctly 80s fashions is just going to make you look dated instead of like someone who’s celebrating these stylistic choices of an earlier era.

There Are Endless Alternatives

Finally, there are simply a great number of more stylish alternatives at your disposal than pairing a t-shirt and a jacket together.

How To Pull Off The T-Shirt With Jacket Combo

Choose Crew Neck Over V-Neck

The crew neck is a little bit more modest and will tamp down some of those 80s vibes. In terms of fit, the t-shirt shouldn’t be too baggy or too tight. If the t-shirt is baggy, you’re just going to look sloppy and not very well put together and if the t-shirt is too tight, you’re just going to look like you have something to prove or you’re trying to show off your physique.

statement shirts are definitely not dapper
statement shirts are definitely not dapper

Stay Away From Flashy Colors & Patterns

This should go without saying but absolutely no graphic tees, period. Solid and muted colors or perhaps a subtle pattern such as a Breton stripe will help to formalize the t-shirt just a little bit and bring it slightly more in line with the formality of the jacket. If you do still want to incorporate some color and pattern into your outfit, you can do so using your jacket within reason or better yet using a smaller accessory like a pocket square.

Choose Your Jacket Wisely

In terms of jacket styles, it’s best to go with a summer weight odd sport coat or blazer rather than a suit jacket. As we mentioned above, a suit jacket and a t-shirt are so wildly different in levels of formality that they’ll basically be actively fighting with each other if you try to wear them together.

J. Press Chinos
J. Press Chinos

Opt For Odd trousers

Cotton chinos or slacks in a neutral color and preferably without a pattern will casualize and ground the outfit at the same time. Wearing a t-shirt under a matching suit jacket and trousers is a one-way ticket to 80sVille.

Tuck In Your T-Shirt

An additional style tip for wearing a t-shirt under a jacket, make sure that the t-shirt is tucked in; if it’s untucked, things are just going to look that much more discordant in terms of formality and they really won’t work.

Recommended Stylish Alternatives

Open Collar Dress Shirts

Firstly, just wearing a standard dress shirt with an open collar under your jacket should still keep you cooler than if you were wearing a tie and it will look better as the dress shirt and jacket are closer in terms of overall formality.

Silk Cotton Polo
Silk Cotton Polo

Go For A Polo

Short sleeved dress shirts under jackets or even on their own can look a bit dorky so they’re best avoided. Not only should a polo worn under a jacket keep you cooler but also because it’s well within the realm of smart casual and therefore, closer to something like a summer weight sport coat or blazer, you can feel free to experiment to a greater degree with the colors or subtle patterns of your polo so long as they harmonize with those of your jacket. Just make sure that everything is working in harmony and of course, be sure also that your polo is tucked in.

As a bonus tip here, long-sleeved polos in darker jewel tones can work well under jackets in the cooler months of the year as well. Whether short-sleeved or long-sleeved, there is one potential pitfall of pairing a polo with a jacket and that’s the polo shirt’s more unstructured collar. In order to make sure things are looking good, give a check every once in a while just to see that things aren’t bunched up underneath your jacket’s collar. If you do this, wearing a polo with a jacket should be a look that you can pull off well and it will come off casually overall.

Henley shirt
Henley shirt

Henley Shirts

A happy middle ground between a standard t-shirt and a polo would be the Henley shirt. It isn’t quite as easy to pair with a jacket as a polo would be but it’s slightly easier than a standard t-shirt. Follow the guidelines we gave for pairing t-shirts and jackets together with your Henleys and you should end up looking good.

CONCLUSION

So there are our opinions on wearing t-shirts with jackets. Skip it for full suits as the difference in formality between the garments is simply going to be too great. If you want to wear a t-shirt with an odd jacket and trousers, you can do so slightly more easily and one additional note here, if keeping cool is your main aim, then look into getting jackets without an interlining in them and in lightweight summer fabrics.

What are your own personal opinions on pairing t-shirts with jackets? We’ll be glad to hear your thoughts!


Gentleman’s Gazette

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Dear Penny: I Paid Off My Debt With a Loan. Should I Do It Again?

Dear J.,

People who are working to pay off debt have two experiences over and over: They second-guess their actions up to this point, wondering if they’ve done the right things. Then, they have a nagging feeling that they should be doing much more to improve their finances.

You’re feeling both of these at the same time, and they’re eclipsing the fact that you did something very right: You consolidated your debt under a lower interest rate and made a plan to pay it off for good.

But seeing the impact of your good choices can be difficult when it comes to the ever-fluctuating world of credit scores.

Let me give you an example from my own life to show you why I think slow and steady wins this race.

A few months ago, I took out a personal loan to consolidate some credit card debt that had ridiculously high interest rates. When my first credit card got marked “paid off” by the credit bureaus, my credit score increased by 17 points. When the second credit card showed it was “paid” a few weeks later, my credit score went up another 12 points.

Then, more than a month after I opened that personal loan to take on the balance, it showed up on my credit report… and my score dropped 18 points. I ended up right where I started.

Will I regain those points once I pay down a significant portion of my personal loan? Sure. Does everyone hate seeing a score they know could be higher? Totally.

Those credit score fluctuations have the potential to control your mood. And thanks to the online tools that have made it increasingly easy to see and understand our credit score on a regular basis, it’s tempting to fixate on our scores. Instead of focusing on our payment history and overall credit health, we’re panicking about that magic number.

A better plan for you: Stay the course with your current loan and strive to pay it off early. Instead of constantly trying to rearrange your debt, focus on tackling the balance and getting it out of your life. Doing so will have the greatest long-term impact on your credit score and your financial health.

You’re already well on your way.

Have a tricky money question? Write to Dear Penny and you might see your question answered in an upcoming column.

Lisa Rowan is a personal finance expert and senior writer at The Penny Hoarder, and the voice behind Dear Penny.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Today in Movie Culture: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ 1980s Style, How ‘Captain Marvel’ Should Have Ended and More

Today in Movie Culture: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ 1980s Style, How ‘Captain Marvel’ Should Have Ended and More

Here are a bunch of little bites to satisfy your hunger for movie culture:

 

Alternate Timeline Movie of the Day:

Ready for Avengers: Endgame? Heading to the multiplex tonight to be one of the first to see it? Well, fans in another dimension have already been enjoying it for decades. Maybe. Darth Blender’s latest retro trailer redo shows us what Endgame would have looked like had it been produced 30 years ago, starring such 1980s icons as John Stamos and ALF:…

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Elizabeth Warren On Why The Country Should Elect A Woman | NBC News

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Thinking About Taking Money From Your 401(k)? Here’s What You Should Know

Although I’m a full-time freelancer now, I remember the days of receiving pay stubs — reading that neat little list of all the places my money was going.

Mostly, I remember how many of those places weren’t my pockets. Federal and state taxes, social security, health care… and, yes, a percentage of my wages deferred to my 401(k), funneled directly toward my hope of future retirement.

This is a personal finance blog you’re reading, so we probably don’t have to reiterate the importance of retirement savings. (Even though we just did.)

But as responsible and saving-savvy as you might be, you probably still want to know: How — and when — can you get those 401(k) contributions back out again?

What’s a 401(k), Anyway?

Before we start talking about how to take money out of your 401(k), let’s talk about how it gets in there in the first place. What is this bowl of alphabet soup, anyway?

A 401(k) is a company-sponsored investment account designed to help you save money for retirement — and it gets you a tax break today, too. You set up a portion of your wages, usually expressed as a percentage of your overall salary, to be automatically deposited, or “deferred,” to your 401(k).

Then, you invest the assets and allow them to grow on the market, slowly but surely building up your nest egg you need to eventually throw in the towel. (Oh, and you won’t pay income taxes on those funds until you take them out, either!)

The really cool thing about 401(k)s is that, unlike many other retirement accounts, your employer can also make contributions — and many employers do, up to a certain percentage of your wages.

This is called an “employer match,” and it basically means free money: For every dollar you defer up to the designated percentage, your employer will put in another, which is a super-easy way to increase your retirement savings.

We don’t have time in this post to go into all the nitty-gritty details about how a 401(k) works, and regardless, you’ll need to check with your company for specifics.

Now let’s talk about how to access your contributions — and capital gains — after you invest them.

Withdrawals, Distributions and Penalties, Oh My!

If you were to head to the IRS website to try and learn more about 401(k) withdrawal rules, you might end up scratching your head. The word “withdraw” doesn’t appear even once in the resource guide.

But fear not: Your 401(k) funds aren’t actually locked away forever. The government just likes to keep things interesting by opting for very specific terminology.

A 401(k) withdrawal is known, in IRS-speak, as a distribution. And there are very specific rules regarding when distributions can be made.

In general, you won’t be able to take money out of your 401(k) — at least, not without incurring a penalty — until one of the following things happens:

  • You reach age 59.5. (You celebrate half-birthdays, right? The IRS is very fond of them.)
  • You die, become disabled, or “otherwise have a severance from employment,” which is ominous-sounding, indeed.
  • Your employer terminates the plan or goes out of business.

If you withdraw your money outside of these circumstances, you’ll be hit with a hefty penalty: a 10% early distribution tax, along with the regular income taxes.

As if that weren’t enough, there are also rules about when you must make withdrawals. You’re not allowed to let your 401(k) contributions grow forever.

Once you reach age 70.5, you must begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your 401(k) account, unless you are — heaven forbid — still working.

It might feel stifling, having your money restricted by so many ironclad rules.

After all, you earned it, and you did the budgetary shuffling required to afford to put it away. Why shouldn’t you be able to take it out whenever you want to?

Well, for one thing, ripping your retirement savings out of your account is a surefire way to miss out on compound interest, which is how you’re going to turn that measly 3% of your paycheck into a livable retirement income.

And since you’re getting a tax break, the government’s not too keen on having you withdraw your funds willy-nilly.

But there are certain exceptional circumstances in which you can take distributions even if you’re nowhere near your 60th birthday.

What Are the Exceptions?

As strict as the tax code may be, it’s not entirely without humanity. You can make penalty-free distributions from your 401(k) in the following circumstances:

  • You have, or develop, a qualifying disability.
  • You leave your job and the company agrees to remit periodic payments for at least five years, or until you reach the age of 59.5.
  • You’re required by court order to pay the money to your divorced spouse, child, or dependent.
  • You’re paying for medical expenses that qualify for an income tax deduction. The IRS allows you to deduct medical costs that exceed 10% of your AGI, or adjusted gross income (7.5% if you or your spouse is over 65). For example, if your AGI is $ 30,000, you’d be able to withdraw only enough to pay medical expenses over $ 3,000, or $ 2,250 if you’ve already celebrated your 65th birthday.
  • You’ve weathered a disaster for which IRS relief has been granted.
  • You die (😢), in which case the distributions are made to a beneficiary.

You can also take early withdrawals, known as “hardship distributions,” from your 401(k) if you can demonstrate you’re under certain types of serious financial burden.  

However, hardship withdrawals are limited to your elective deferrals only — that is, you can take out the money you put into the account, but not any of the investment gains you might have earned in the meantime.

(It’s up to your employer whether or not you can take out any of those matching funds we discussed earlier, or any other discretionary contributions made by your company.)

You should also note that you’ll still be required to pay income taxes on the distribution — and, if you’re not yet 59.5, the 10% penalty will still apply.

What Qualifies for a 401(k) Hardship Withdrawal?

The No. 1 criterion for qualifying for a hardship withdrawal is “immediate and heavy financial need.” The IRS outlines the following instances where this kind of need may arise:

  • You, your spouse, or your dependents incur medical expenses.
  • You need money to cover costs related to the purchase of your principal residence — but this does not include mortgage payments.
  • You’re footing the bill for higher education costs for you, your spouse, your children or your dependents, including tuition, fees, room and board.
  • You need money to avoid being evicted from your home or having your mortgage foreclosed.
  • You’re faced with funeral expenses.
  • You need to repair certain damages to your principal residence.

It’s important to note that your employer ultimately decides whether or not you can take a hardship withdrawal from your 401(k) plan at all, no matter what your financial deal is.

And if you do take money out, you may be unable to make further contributions for a period of six months thereafter.

401(k) Loans

It’s also possible to borrow from your 401(k) — but just like any other loan, it must be repaid, on time and with interest.

If you fail to meet the terms of your 401(k) loan, the amount you owe back to the plan will become a distribution, and will thus be subject to the same taxes (and early withdrawal penalty) as it would have been if you’d taken it without the intention of repaying it.

Just as with hardship distributions, it’s up to your employer and 401(k) custodian as to whether or not loans are allowed. If they are, you’ll be able to take a maximum of 50% of your vested account balance (i.e., funds you actually own, which may include employer contributions) or $ 50,000, whichever amount is lower.

In most cases, you’ll have five years to repay the loan, unless it’s being used toward the purchase of your primary residence.

If you meet these requirements, however, the loan is not considered taxable income… but you definitely want to make sure you can pay it back on time!

What is the “Age 55” Rule?

Businessman talks on the phone and rides on a train

If you’re almost, but not quite, at the age of retirement, these rules can feel even more stifling — which is why the IRS has implemented a special clause for savers aged 55 and older.

If you’re laid off, fired, or quit your job during or after the year of your 55th birthday, you get to make penalty-free distributions from your 401(k) plan… but only the one you were most recently invested in. That is, if you have other 401(k) accounts languishing from previous positions, you still won’t be able to access those funds until you reach the normal retirement age.

Which is one good reason to roll over your retirement account whenever you change jobs. Speaking of which…

Moving On: 401(k) Rollovers and Transfers

If you get a new job (or quit your career to go freelance or start a business), you may be wondering what will happen to your 401(k).

You might even be considering cashing it out so you can walk into your new life with a windfall. (We’d recommend you don’t, for reasons we’ll dive into in just a second.)

Although it’s not the same as withdrawing the money to be used from your own pocket, rollovers and transfers are another way to move your 401(k) funds — and given how frequently most of us change positions these days, it’s important to understand your options.

Here’s what you can choose to do when you’re leaving a job with a 401(k).

Direct Transfer

Probably the easiest way to deal with a dangling 401(k) is to simply roll it over into your new job’s plan — granted your new job has an eligible plan in the first place. (If you’re moving to a position that doesn’t offer a 401(k) or other compatible retirement benefit, you can roll the funds over into a traditional IRA.)

In a direct rollover, you never get to see the money — your existing plan’s custodian simply routes the money directly over to the new account manager. As such, you won’t have to worry about paying any income taxes or being assessed the early withdrawal fee, because you never have spending access to the funds in the first place.

Indirect Transfer or Rollover

Another option for bringing your 401(k) along with you to your new job is to do an indirect transfer, or rollover.

In this case, you actually do cash out your existing account, but with the intention of putting all the money right back into some other retirement-specific investment vehicle.

As long as you redeposit your entire account balance within 60 days of withdrawal, you’ll avoid paying any taxes or penalties.

However, there is one small fly in the ointment: Your existing account custodian is required by law to withhold 20% of the distribution, regardless of your good intentions… which means you’ll have to make up the difference out of your pocket when you fund the new account.

The money will eventually come back to you as a tax refund — but depending on the size of your 401(k), you might not have the funds to break even in the meantime.

And if you don’t redeposit the entire balance within the 60-day window, you’ll face those same early withdrawal penalties we’ve been discussing throughout the post, not to mention income taxes.

Take the Money and Run

Yes, you can cash out your 401(k) when you leave your job.

But if you do, again: You’ll pay the 10% penalty and add the windfall to your taxable income for the year.

And even worse, you’ll also be stripping yourself of one of the most powerful retirement savings devices at your disposal.

If you ever want to punch the clock for the very last time, you need to have some sort of investment vehicle… unless you’re independently wealthy or something. (In which case, you should still stash the money in a regular investment account so it can grow even more!)

Leave It Where It Is

Another option? Simply leave the funds where they are — as long as your company allows it. (If you’ve only worked there a short time or your account totals less than $ 5,000, they may force you to take it with you.)

Different 401(k) plans have different policies, fees and investment options, so if you’re happy with what your former company offers, you might let the money languish there and continue growing.

Of course, if you switch jobs, say, 10 times in your life and take this tack at each turn, you’ll end up with a scattered mess of a retirement portfolio — and as discussed above, you won’t be able to take full advantage of the age 55 rule.

Taking advantage of your company’s 401(k) plan is one of the very best ways to set yourself up for a comfortable retirement. These investment accounts carry lots of special incentives, including high contribution maximums as well as their tax-deferrable status.

But we get it: Life is expensive! And sometimes, you don’t have the cash you need to get through the present day, let alone some nebulous future moment.

Whenever possible, it’s best to leave your 401(k) funds invested and growing. Compound interest requires time to do its best work, and making early withdrawals can wreak havoc on your nest egg’s potential. It may take hard work and discipline, but future you is counting on your determination!

If you do need to take distributions from your 401(k), however, we hope this guide has offered some clarity as to how, when and why best to do so. (But really: Don’t. We mean it.)

Jamie Cattanach’s work has been featured at Fodor’s, Yahoo, SELF, The Huffington Post, The Motley Fool, Roads & Kingdoms and other outlets. Learn more at www.jamiecattanach.com.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Howard Students Feel Disrespected By Residents Who Think The Campus Should Be Moved

There has been a lot of discussion via social media about the disrespect that Howard University students feel from some of the surrounding residents. Complaints of people using the campus as a dog park or picnic area by those who don’t attend the University or understand the importance of it. Shocking right? But this is unfortunately true. Fox5 was live on campus and spoke to some of the students and residents.

“They’re in part of D.C. So they have to work within DC. If they don’t want to be in DC,

then move the campus.”

So People were outraged by this mans comments and even more disgusted by his disregard for Howard’s history and importance to our community. Many are saying this would never happen at a PWI (Predominantly White Institution) like Georgetown or American University, why should this Historically Black University be moved?!

Below are of the responses via @angieangeam social media.

 

So where do we go from here? How do we establish the boundaries? The conversation on gentrification is continuing but let’s all remember the dogs have nothing to do with this.

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Kasich: This Democrat should concern Trump team the most

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich tells CNN’s Chris Cuomo which Democratic presidential candidate he thinks poses the greatest challenge to President Donald Trump in 2020.


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How often should we really take vacations?


The world is obsessed with travel, and it’s great. However, the world of social media can make it appear as if some people are always abroad while holding down a full-time day job. There are of course people out there who do have that luxury, but not as much as you might be thinking. So, how often should we take vacations anyway?

Traveling vs. Vacation

Traveling can be quite full-on, and the inspiration behind the reason for traveling will determine whether you’re relaxing, on the move or both. If you’ve decided to go on a four-day city break somewhere, then you’re probably going to be rushing around trying to see as much as is possible in that time. However, if you’ve decided to walk the sandy beaches of Mallorca, then you’re likely going to be prioritizing relaxation instead of driving those dusty roads. Your motivation will decide how often you travel, whether it’s living and breathing culture or the desperate need to be away from the office, so to speak.

Photo: Unsplash.com

Time off work vs. Finances

Not a topic anyone likes talking about, how many days off work do you have left and how much time you can reasonably take off work before having to return to day-to-day life. While it might leave a bitter taste in your mouth, take solace in knowing that pretty much everyone has to make a living somehow. This will impact how often you can go traveling unless you take that giant leap and go on a late gap year, you’ll be somewhat restricted. You also need to make sure you keep things at home running smoothly, your rent or mortgage has to come before a quick trip to Fiji, sadly.

Family, friends, and relationships

Of course, we can’t forget the people around us, and if we’re always away, then those relationships might start to dwindle. That doesn’t mean you can’t go away, but making time for the people close to you is essential, and there is always the possibility you can plan your vacations together.

Photo: Unsplash.com

For the vacation-deprived

It’s all well and good talking about the people who want to go on vacation, but sometimes we feel like all of the above factors get in the way, so we stop ourselves from going on vacation as it might not be a priority over finances, family, children, career and so on. ‘Clever Journey’ suggests that people should spend, in total, between 30-45 days vacationing per year, with two longer vacations and a couple of smaller ones in between. This is supposed to keep us mentally healthier and happier. So if it’s been a while since your last vacation, you need to book some tickets now!

After all that, is there a limit? When you consider the restrictions there are just in day-to-day life, is it then reasonable to suggest there be any other limitations? You need to ask yourself how important vacations are to you, after all, you might prefer a short weekend trip down the road with a few close friends to regularly flying off to exotic countries. On the flip side, if you’re not an avid traveler at heart, then considering a few more vacations can be a healthier option.

The post How often should we really take vacations? appeared first on Worldation.

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The changes you should make to your skincare routine when you’re up the duff

pregnancy skincare

It’s no surprise that when you’re pregnant your skin changes. The rest of your body goes through its own transition, so why wouldn’t your complexion? When you’re pregnant skin can become more sensitive and some women might even experience bouts of acne, increased redness or pigmentation (nicknamed ‘the mask of pregnancy’) where they didn’t before. (It’s worth noting too that if you already suffer from rosacea or psoriasis, these can be exacerbated by pregnancy.) It’s not all doom and gloom though, because if you’re armed with the right pregnancy skincare regime, you can tackle these symptoms head on.

Here’s our roundup of the changes, how to treat them and which ingredients to avoid…

The main changes to skin when pregnant

‘Pregnancy brings about changes to your hormones, immune system, metabolism and blood vessels that influence the skin in various ways, explains Dr Ewoma Ukeleghe, founder of SKNDOCTOR.

Hormonal Acne

A surge in progesterone causes your body to produce more sebum, which can lead to hormonal acne in pregnancy. And annoyingly, it can affect your whole body so you could see a sudden increase in back acne and blemishes on your décolletage.

If this is something that you’re suffering from, then it’s even more important that you include the right products in your pregnancy skincare regime. You might have to pick up some new ones that you don’t have in your bathroom cabinet.

‘For particularly oily, acne-prone skin, I recommend you use products that contain AHAs (Glycolic Acid) and Azelaic Acid,’ says Dr Ukeleghe. These make for a great addition to you pregnancy skincare routine, because they’re also great for treating pigmentation.

The Mask of Pregnancy

The most common skin concern during pregnancy is hyperpigmenation. According to the British Association of Dermatologists, it can affect up to 50% of women during their pregnancy, because hormones are slightly out of kilter and your body starts to produce more oestrogen. Combined with an increase in photosensitivity, this presents itself as large patches of discolouration on the face. The increase in oestrogen is also why your areola (the round area around your nipples) darkens.

Dr Ukeleghe encourages daily SPF use: ‘Consistent sunscreen use will stop pigmentation from getting worse.’ You should be using a daily SPF of 30 or above anyway, but it is it particularly important during pregnancy, because your skin is more photosensitive.

This is why Jasmina Vico, a skin expert, recommends using a vitamin C serum every single day during your pregnancy to help brighten dark spots and pigmentation, as well as accentuating that maternal glowy complexion. She recommends Skinceuticals CE Ferulic or Phloretin CF (depending on your skin type) and Medik8 C-Tetra.

Sensitive Skin

Vico says the first thing you should do when you find our you’re pregnant is simplify your skincare routine: ‘Take out anything too harsh or abrasive, because your skin is much more sensitive at this time.’ She recommeds using as few products as possible as well, so stick to a good cleanser, toner, serum, moistuiser and SPF.

This increase in senstivity is what causes pregnancy hot flushes and a red tinge to the skin. Dr Ukeleghe suggest switching out your exisiting products for those that come from lines that are specifically for sensitive skin, like the Bioderma Sensbio range. But then she says, ‘Only slot in pregnancy-friendly actives if you have specific skin concerns, because excessive skncare routines and harsh ingredients can irritate.’

Ingredients to avoid when pregnant

1. Salicylic Acid (in high concentrations, anything below 2% is safe)
2. Vitamin-A (any product with retinol)
3. Skin lightening products (anything containing hydroquinoane)

Keep scrolling for our edit of products to introduce into your pregnancy skincare routine:

The post The changes you should make to your skincare routine when you’re up the duff appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Why you should avoid eating out in touristy areas while traveling


If you have traveled to a foreign country, then chances are you want to soak in the culture and have new experiences. One of the most forgotten and overlooked ways to experience this is via the local cuisine; however, almost every major city in the world will cater for a westernized taste, even if it’s simply a McDonald’s on the corner. Many passionate travelers will plead with you to avoid these at all costs, just because there is most likely out-of-this-world amazing local, authentic food literally around the corner.

You will disappoint yourself

All those dishes you make at home have origins of their own, why not explore them? One popular destination is Thailand, so why not try a truly authentic Thai green curry at a Thai restaurant. Many eateries may try and fool you into believing they’re the real deal when, chances are, they’re built for mass production tailored to the western pallet. You’ve come to a new country to explore the differences, so don’t then find yourself eating the generic recipes you can find back home.

Photo: Unsplash.com

You will lose the opportunity of a lifetime

If you’re one of those incredibly ambitious traveling types, then you might not return for a long time, if ever again. Don’t waste this opportunity by gorging yourself on steak and chips before traversing around the Louvre in Paris, or choose chicken pie after exploring the eerie catacombs of Rome; it would probably be a considerable anticlimax? One of the best places to start is by asking the locals; they will be only too happy to point you in the direction of a fabulous restaurant or food stall that will represent their home town to new visitors. One of the most significant pieces of advice travelers will give when it comes to food is ‘eat where the locals eat’, that way you immerse yourself in the day-to-day of what it’s like to live in that area as much as you can, but that’s why it’s probably best to ask them first hand.

It’s all about the little quirks

Sure, you might find a busy foreign food chain that’s filled with the hustle and bustle of hungry tourists – but does that look like the true authentic experience you were looking for? It’s all about the quirks in life, for many it’s the tiny street cafe on the corner that’s filled with local historical memorabilia, or local artwork. Perhaps they sell unique dishes you can’t get anywhere else in the area? A large and basic restaurant chain will not likely end up in the amazing stories you tell your friends or family when you go back home. Find the niches, go to their farmers stalls, if they have them; most popular towns and cities do, because they’ll provide the produce straight from the source.

Photo: Unsplash.com

Wherever you go, always do your research first, and have an idea on how to go off the unbeaten track safely and well-informed. There are astonishing foods and dishes out there you’ll have likely never heard off, all it takes is a little courage to try something new, and you’ll probably discover your next favorite foods!

The post Why you should avoid eating out in touristy areas while traveling appeared first on Worldation.

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Facebook boss: Govts should get bigger role in policing the net

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has said governments and regulators should play “a more active role” in policing the internet and the standards of big online companies.
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Should You Put Extra Income Toward Debt or Retirement? We Do the Math

The age-old question: Should you prioritize paying off debt or investing?

Or, if you’re ambitiously trying to do both: To what extent should you prioritize each?

The answer isn’t the same for everyone. It’s easy from the outside to say, “Don’t invest until you’re debt-free.” Or, “The market has higher returns than your loan interest, so why would you pay it off?”

However, it comes down to what you feel comfortable with. (I know — lame answer, right?)

But if you’re a numbers person — and because my editor won’t let me end this post right here — let’s dive into some specific figures to help you decide whether to prioritize investing while paying off debt.

Should You Pay Off Debt or Invest?

There are a lot of factors to consider: interest rates, amount of debt, income, expenses, etc.

But to put money toward either, you must have a surplus after your monthly expenses that you can put toward retirement or debt.

The quickest way to do that is to lower your expenses and/or increase your income. But even after that, people will have differing surpluses based on where they live, their life situations, etc.

Someone who has enough surplus to pay off $ 50,000 in two years should think about investing differently than someone who plans to take 10 years to pay it off.

So let’s look at the fictional examples of Adam and Sharon. Both are 25. Both have $ 50,000 of debt and are paying an average interest rate of 6.45%.

Adam has a sizable surplus. He plans pay off $ 50,000 in two years with the help of his wife’s income, side hustling and cutting back expenses.

But Sharon has very little surplus. So she plans to pay off her $ 50,000 in 10 years.

Why Adam Might Want to Invest While Paying Off Debt

If Adam sticks with his plan to put his entire surplus toward paying off his debt rather than investing, he’ll make 24 payments of about $ 2,226 and pay just over $ 3,400 in interest.

But suppose Adam opts to use part of his surplus to max out his Roth IRA by investing $ 6,000 a year. He’ll end up making 32 payments of $ 1,726, rather than 24 payments of $ 2,226. He’ll pay an extra $ 1,000 in interest.

But he’ll have an extra two years of Roth IRA contributions —  $ 12,000 — invested.

That $ 12,000 alone compounded over 35 years in a market seeing 6% return will turn into $ 92,000 by the time Adam is 62.

Even though he’ll pay an extra $ 1,000 in interest, because Adam is paying off his loans so fast,  taking advantage of some investing while paying off his debt would net him an extra $ 90,000 in the long run.

… but Sharon Should Focus on Getting Rid of Debt

If Sharon pays back her $ 50,000 debt over 10 years, she’ll make 120 payments of about $ 570. She’ll pay a total of around $ 18,000 in interest.

If she starts maxing out her Roth when she becomes debt-free — in 10 years at age 35 — she’ll have contributed $ 30,000 by age 40. If she continues contributing $ 500 per month from age 36 to 60, assuming 6% growth, she’ll have $ 304,000 at age 60.

If Sharon decides she doesn’t want to wait to invest and puts $ 50 per month toward her Roth IRA, she’d end up making 137 payments of $ 520 and paying over $ 2,700 extra in interest on her debt. She’ll have contributed $ 6,850 in her Roth over that time. At 6% growth, the balance would be $ 8,357 by the time she’s debt-free.

That’s a growth of $ 1,507 in her Roth at the expense of an extra $ 2,700 in interest paid on debt.

If she then starts contributing $ 500 per month to her Roth at age 38 through age 60, she’d have $ 290,000 at that point — $ 14,000 less than if she’d focused on paying off her debt instead of investing during that time.

Of course, no financial situations will be the same as Adam and Sharon’s are.

The most valuable lesson from these scenarios is that you have to run the numbers for your own situation.

You might not stick with the strategy you begin with. If you’re not investing, you might spend a few months refining your budget and getting used to going out less. Maybe you’ll then find that you have extra money to invest or that you can pay off your debt much quicker than you anticipated.

Alternatively, you might invest for a while and then encounter something that cuts your income. So it might make sense to take a break from investing in the short term.

As a rule of thumb, if you can max out an IRA and still be debt-free in four years or less, it may be worth paying a little extra in interest to start investing. If your budget is too tight, or your interest rates are hovering at or above the average rate of return we use to calculate retirement savings — 6%-8% — then don’t stress about your IRA.

But remember: As long as you’re doing wise things like saving, paying off debt and investing, you’re already on the right track.

This article contains general information and explains options you may have, but it is not intended to be investment advice or a personal recommendation. We can’t personalize articles for our readers, so your situation may vary from the one discussed here. Please seek a licensed professional for tax advice, legal advice, financial planning advice or investment advice.

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She and her husband paid off $ 78,000 of debt in less than two years on two less-than-average salaries. She gives money saving and debt payoff tips on Instagram at @modernfrugality.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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This Democratic Socialist Says We Should Embrace Nationalism

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty

John Judis, longtime Democratic socialist and veteran left-wing journalist, wants you to be a nationalist.

If you’re a progressive, chances are you’re as puzzled, maybe as disgusted, as I was when I first read about his most recent book, The Nationalist Revival. Nationalism is the purview of demagogues and bigots, isn’t it? Even Donald Trump admitted that “we’re not supposed to use that word,” before embracing it enthusiastically last October.

But for Judis, nationalism—the concept of a common, shared identity with people in your nation-state—is an indispensable element of a cohesive country. It’s necessary, he says, for people to want to pay taxes and support the common good. And if the left doesn’t embrace it, the right will exploit it.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Amazing underground cities you can and should visit

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The world is filled with amazing cities to explore, but not all of them are as obvious to find as you might think. There are actually a bunch of hidden cities all over the world that are buried underground, and we’ve found the best ones you need to visit.

Wieliczka Salt Mine, Krakow, Poland

Less than 10 miles outside of Krakow in Poland is the Wieliczka Salt Mine that has been producing table salt for the world all the way back in the 13th century. The mine is one of Poland’s biggest tourist attractions, and there are thousands of chambers to be found below the ground.

There are over 180 miles of cave down here, and of the nine floors to explore, three of those have been opened up to the public. The underground city offers guided tours, and you can learn all about life as a salt miner. Religious tours are offered too, and there is a salt statue of Pope John Paul II along the route.

Catacombs, Paris

Paris isn’t all about the Eiffel Tower and famous art galleries, there is much more to this romantic city than first appears. Deep below the bustling city, there are tunnels to explore and an estimated six million Parisians can be found down here. The catacombs are the final resting place for many people to house people who had passed away after the graveyards were overfilled in the 17th century. It’s easy to get lost in the winding tunnels down here so make sure you go in with a tour guide, or you’ll end up walking around forever.

Derinkuyu, Turkey

This labyrinth of tunnels in Turkey dates back to the 8th century and an ancient civilization. It is believed to be a place of refuge for people during times of war and invasion, but it remains perfectly preserved. People can come to visit this ancient city which boasts 18 stories and is essentially a sprawling metropolis, just underground.

There are ventilation shafts, and multiple escape routes as the ancient engineers were well ahead of their time. Although the city is almost as old as civilization itself, the giant underground city wasn’t found until the 1960s. Imagine not knowing this huge underground playground was hiding underneath your feet for centuries!

Bunkers of Berlin

To try and save their citizens from enemy bombers, a network of tunnels were dug as shelter. They were established for the Second World War, and they are available to roam around today. Tourists can follow the arrows painted on the walls and trace where German citizens would follow to safety. You can see the steel doors left on the bunkers that were designed to keep out poisonous gasses and withstand any attacks from Allied troops above ground.

If you feel as though you’ve explored everywhere in the world, it’s time to go underground. These are amazing cities you can explore that have never seen the light of day, and you should make sure to add them to your bucket list ASAP.

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Things you should definitely not pack while traveling

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If you’re getting ready to set off on an adventure and travel the world, then there’s a high chance that you’re equal parts excited and equal parts frazzled. After all, worldwide explorations take a huge amount of planning and prepping, and you’ve probably read every travel blog, every article, and every reviewing site to learn everything you can about where you’re going and what to expect when you get there. In fact, you’ve probably read hundreds of articles that tell you what you should pack in your case or your backpack for an adventure. But what should you NOT pack while traveling?

Expensive jewelry

If you’re planning on traveling the world and living out of a backpack, you don’t need the fancy things in life. You’re going to be wearing the same few clothes, and you don’t want to have to lug around a giant bag that gives you chronic back pain. So, there’s no need to pack your expensive jewelry. Not only will you not really need it (unless you just happen to bump into the Queen), but you also don’t want to risk it getting lost or stolen. Don’t make yourself a target to thieves and pickpockets.

Hiking boots

Of course, this one doesn’t apply if you are literally going on a hiking adventure. Although hiking boots may seem like the perfect shoe to add to your backpack, they can actually end up being your biggest regret. Because these shoes are big and bulky, they will take up valuable space in your backpack and leave you with less space to pack the essentials. As well as this, they aren’t really necessary. Normal sneakers or flat shoes should serve you well within any terrain, whether you’re walking along the beach or plodding through a new city.

Extra toiletries

When you’re packing for an adventure, it can be easy to fill your bag with all kinds of mini soaps and shampoos. You never know when you’re going to need them, so it’s best to stock up, right? Well, not quite. Although these can prove to be handy when you need them most, it’s actually better to simply buy the bare minimum and then buy as you go along. There’s no use filling up your backpack with small bottles that are full of liquid because we bet you’d rather smell for a few hours than ruin all of your clothes!

A large towel

It might seem like a no-brainer to add a large towel to your packing list. After all, you’re going to need to shower, and you’re probably going to be showering in a large communal space with other hostel users besides you. However, these towels can be big and bulky, and sometimes they can take up almost all of your backpack space. Don’t worry though, because you don’t need to air dry. Swimmers towels are the perfect alternative, because they are extremely absorbent, but also extremely small.

If you’re packing for your travels right now, take a step back and ask yourself: Do I NEED these items?

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Should You Wear High-Waisted Pants?

Like lapel width, the rise on a pair of pants is one of those things that go in and out, or rather, up and down, over the decades. But what exactly is it?

When you buy a pair of pants, do you look for the rise? If you are new to the finer points of men’s garments, the rise may not be your first consideration. So, in this article, let’s hike up our pants and address what trouser rise means and what sort of rise is best for you.

Cary Grant in The Red List wearing spectators and full cut trousers

A young Cary Grant in The Red List wearing spectators and full cut trousers that sit on the natural waistline

What is Trouser Rise?

Trouser rise is measured as the distance from the front waistband between the legs to the crotch seam.  The whole rise may be generically referred to as the “crotch.” Low rise pants have a smaller measurement and sit lower on the torso while higher rise pants have a higher measurement and sit higher on the torso.

Low, mid and high rise pants

Low, mid and high rise pants

This may be in the range from 7-13 inches depending on the size of the pants (smaller sizes have lower rise height).  The waistband of low-rise pants rests at the hip bones, mid-rise between the navel and hip, and high rise at the natural waistline (close to the belly button or directly on it).

Mottled, fainted red jacket with green knit vest - too short, and rise of pants too low

These low rise pants elongate the torso and make the jacket appear very short

To remember this easily, keep in mind the two reference points of hips (low rise) vs. belly button (high rise). Rise height matters because the amount of fabric in this area dictates how long your legs and your torso are perceived to be. A higher rise makes your legs look longer, while a low rise elongates your upper body. As we’ll discuss later, this will factor in what sort of pants rise you choose.

Ethan Wong wearing high-rise trousers

A mid-rise trouser rise at left–not too high, not too low. Photo by @sebastianmcfox

Pants Rise and Fashion

As mentioned in our introduction, pants rise is heavily impacted by fashion. High-rise also referred to as “long-rise” or “high-waisted,” pants have had a bad reputation for several decades because they are associated with either out-of-touch granddads or young nerds with their pants hiked up to their chests.

Steve Urkel in high-rise pants

Steve Urkel’s high-rise pants defined his nerdiness – if he’d just worn a jacket, lengthened his hem and worn some real socks, this would have been a totally different look

High-rise trousers are colloquially referred to as “old man pants” and were worn by the likes of Steve Urkel on Family Matters and Martin Short’s character Ed Grimley on Saturday Night Live. Of course, these are either intended for comedic effect or illustrate simply that the majority of people don’t think about how to dress well.

Look at the grey suit - beautiful lapels, high waisted trousers, boutonniere and pocket square plus collar pin - stunning from Night After Night

These high waisted trousers in Night After Night were du rigeur in 1932 – just look at how long they make the star’s legs look!

Some older men may recall that “back in the day,” high-rise trousers were the standard, and this is true. If you look at illustrations in Apparel Arts or vintage advertisements, you’ll see high-rise trousers, also with wider legs, so quite the opposite of the skinny and low fits promoted in today’s fashions.

Viennese Suit Styles

The style of the 1930’s was dominated by high-rise trousers with a longer, wider leg

The changeover to a lower rise is only a recent development. Ironically, along with a move to casualization, lower-rise pants are at the opposite extreme on the continuum, sometimes lying below the hip bones, or in the case of streetwear down toward the buttocks.

As with most things in life, it’s best to avoid the extremes. If you choose a mid-height rise, you can be assured that what you wear from the waist down will have enduring value. However, the middle of the pack can be boring too, so there are other factors to consider.

What Rise Should You Choose?

Navy pants with inward pleats worn with suspenders for a smooth look

Sven Raphael Schneider often opts for higher-rise pants because they drape nicely over fuller thighs

Consider Your Body Type

The first consideration in choosing trouser rise is your body proportions. Because there’s more fabric in the rise of high-waisted pants, they create the impression that your lower body, and especially your legs, are longer. On the other hand, low-rise pants make your upper body appear longer because your pants only start at your hips.

So, if you have a long upper body, high-rise pants will counterbalance that and make you look more proportional. On the other hand, if you are short waisted, a lower rise should be your choice to make your upper body appear longer.  Of course, if you wear a suit jacket or sport coat and keep it buttoned when you walk around, these differences will matter less.

High-Rise Pants Elongate the Legs

Jan (@mrjantleman) of the Armoury Hong Kong showing how high-waisted trousers can elongate your legs and balance your torso and lower body.

Similar to pleats, a high rise can make your more comfortable if you carry weight in your abdomen. Often high-rise pants will also be pleated. As a side benefit, a higher waistline also helps disguise your belly.

If you wear low-rise pants, even some holiday overindulgence at the dinner table will give you an overhang or muffin top above your waistband. This makes the tucked-in bottom of your shirt look sloppy in turn, and if you wear a knitted sweater or vest, this in combination with lower-rise trousers will visually emphasize your gut.

Spezzato Suit Jacket and Matching Vest with Contrasting Yellow Pants and Brown Oxfords

Sven Raphael Schneider wearing bespoke mustard yellow high-rise pants

Higher-rise pants are therefore more flattering under these several conditions. When sizing, be aware that if your waist measurement is a certain size but you have a belly, you may need to have high-rise pants let out at the waist because it sits up where your stomach is and not at your hips.

Ethan Newton with Higher-Rise Pants

Ethan Newton of Brycelands in Beijing demonstrating how high-rise trousers can be flattering to different body types; note the pleats as well

The shape of your body also tends to change with your number of years, and pants rise is also a part of dressing appropriately to your age. While younger men have a wider range of possibilities when considering rise, an older man wearing low-rise pants risks looking like he is trying to recapture his lost youth. However, for younger men too, low rise will maintain a perception of youthfulness, but a strong motive for wearing tailoring and classic menswear is to avoid dressing like a boy.

An off-white suit

Low rise pants are a distinctly youthful look

Usually, this means not wearing flip-flops, a t-shirt and a backward baseball cap as your day-to-day outfit, but to be perfectly frank, a moderately high waist gives you a more mature appearance than pants that hang off your hips.

Check How the Pants Fit

Your decision then goes to which is more comfortable for you. When you try on a pair of pants, if the waistband is level and you feel like the crotch is bunching up or confining you, you may need a higher rise.

On the other hand, if it looks like there’s excess fabric in the rise and the material is hanging down, you need a lower rise. On the internet, you can find some old tailor’s formulas for calculating the optimal rise for you based on taking your usual pants waist size, dividing by 52 and then multiplying by 18. So, if you have a 34 waist, you would calculate 34/52 x 18, giving you a rise of 11.8.” This seems about right, but try the formula for yourself.

Clark Gable wearing high-rise trousers

Clark Gable wearing high-rise trousers

Consider the Aesthetics of Your Look

Other aesthetic considerations come into play when choosing rise height. Note as well that high rise trousers usually will help keep your shirt tucked in as a whole simply because the shirt has a long way to rise out above the waistband. With lower-rise pants, simply moving around, bending and getting up will force you to re-tuck your shirt throughout the day.

Keep in mind that because your waistband is higher your tie will either have to be quite short to keep it just touching your waistband. Though the image of Oliver Hardy has some comic intent, such short ties were more common with the high-rise trousers of the time. Otherwise, you’d need to tuck your tie into your waistband or wear it sprezzatura style with the blades hanging below the waistband. The trick to pulling this off is to make it obvious that it is intentional.

If you like looking fashionable and contemporary, a low rise–in a slim fit, along with a fitted suit jacket or blazer–will be your choice. However, if you prefer a traditional, even vintage, look, opt for a higher rise. That’s the way men during the Golden Age of menswear wore them, and they knew what they were doing in creating a clean, uninterrupted transition from the jacket to the pants.

Sam Smith and unknown - velvet green dinner jackets are nice but sockless tassel loafers are not for black tie events

Green velvet dinner jackets are elegant, but only when paired with pants high enough not to show the shirt under the buttoning point

There should never be a small triangle of shirt showing below the buttoning point of your jacket when you have it closed as this disrupts the flow of your look. If your trouser rise is too low, that bit of shirt will certainly be visible where the quarters (front skirt) of your jacket begin to separate. You can disguise this gap with your tie, which is a little better though technically still incorrect form, but the best solution is a higher waistline; some mid-rise pants will be high enough.

Fabio Attanasio Lower Rise Pants

With lower rise pants, your shirt will be visible below the buttoning point. Photo of Fabio Attanasio via The Bespoke Dudes.

Gents from the first half of the 20th century also knew high-waisted pants look best if you are wearing a suit jacket, blazer or sport coat, especially closed. If you open your jacket, high-waisted pants risk making your chest look concave or sunken and also shortens your torso. Even the Swedish sartorial icon Andreas Weinås looks better with his jacket closed when wearing high-rise trousers.

Closed and Open Jackets with High-Rise Trousers

A closed jacket tends to look better (more proportional) with the jacket closed

Where to Buy Mid- and High-Rise Trousers

So, ultimately, in most cases, it’s better to go with a mid- to high rise. That’s why many gents who try a higher rise say they’ll never go back to something lower. We certainly would welcome a return of popularity for the more traditional high rise on dress pants!

High Rise Pants are Rarely Available Off the Rack

In fact, it’s virtually impossible. The trend for lower rise pants, despite the fact that they are flattering for so few, means you’re less likely to find high-rise pants because they won’t appeal to a broad clientele. One possibility is to try small menswear boutiques and haberdashers. Berg & Berg, for example, only sell higher rise trousers, but the selection is fairly small.

Mid-Rise Pants, However, Are Much Easier to Find (Just Avoid Fast Fashion)

On the other hand, it’s much easier to find mid-rise pants from brands that lean classic, such as Ralph Lauren. They list the height of the rise in the “details” section of their product listings. Many of their OTR models are mid-rise, even though they aren’t advertised as such. In general, pleated pants require a higher rise to drape properly, so that feature is an indication the rise might be higher than average.

Avoid fast fashion brands entirely; they are simply too trend focused to offer mid- or high-rise pants.

Order High Rise Pants Bespoke or MTR

Button closures on a pair of pants

Multiple button closures on a pair of custom Luxire trousers

A better option, though often more expensive, is to go bespoke or made to measure. Luxire is a name that often comes up when discussing custom trousers. They’ll copy a pair of pants with a rise height you like in any fabric they stock, and they have a lot. The quality is not the highest, but the fits are good.

Buy Pants Large and Tailor Them to Fit

Ethan Wong of Street x Sprezza presents interesting advice for how to get around this shortcoming. He recommends buying pants 1-2 sizes larger than you normally wear and getting the legs tapered and the waist taken in. Bigger sizes will have longer rises by default, and you can will have a larger selection to choose from if you think outside the box this way.

Ethan Wong wearing high-rise trousers

Ethan Wong wearing high-rise trousers

Conclusion

Although many men don’t think much about the rise when buying a pair of pants, those who are true sartorialists understand that it has a tremendous impact on how the trousers fit, how they look and how they feel. Though the current trend is toward lower rises, a medium to high rise usually has more benefits in terms of appearance and comfort. The choice ultimately depends on your body shape and personal taste. So, what sort of rise do you prefer?


Gentleman’s Gazette

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Beauty of 5: Amazon Launched A New Skincare Line And These Are The Products You Should Try

You're as beautiful as you believe you are

Source: LumiNola / Getty

Amazon launched their own beauty line and the entire world is excited. Belei is a cruelty-free collection, free from sulfates, parabens, phthalates. The in-depth skincare line was designed to address every blemish, dark spot, and wrinkle on your face. Get ready to indulge in serums, moisturizers, cleansers, masks and so much more. This is the first of the brand’s kind so the pressure is on for it to do well in the beauty market. If this launch sparks your interest, get ready to learn about 5 products carried by the collection that you must try.

 

One of the most amazing feelings in the world is taking a full face of makeup off with a damp cleansing wipe. Belei’s Oil-Free Micellar Facial Cleanser Wipes ($ 9.00, Amazon.com) has a fragrance and alcohol-free formula that won’t irritate or dry out your skin. You can count on this product to lift makeup, dirt and oil, while unclogging your pores. What I love most about this product is that you’re receiving 2 packs of facial wipes for just $ 9.00. Every makeup regimen needs an effective moisturizer. The key to healthy, clear, beautiful skin is hydration. Belei’s Retinol Refining Moisturizer ($ 35.00, Amazon.com) will smooth the appearance of wrinkles, and fine lines. Best use for this product? Anytime! Apply in the morning before makeup, at night before bed, or during the day on a clean face.

 

 

Adult acne is, unfortunately, a real thing that many people battle. Belei’s Blemish Control Spot Treatment ($ 22.00, Amazon.com) is designed to address each dark spot and blemish head-on. Apply once a day to the affected area after cleansing your face. With a combination of washing your face, using the spot treatment, and moisturizing your face, you’ll be able to eliminate those pesky pimples! A good skincare regimen is so important. Us melanated folks have proven that we can age backwards. With the help of good products, we can really maximize on the youthfulness of our skin. Amazon dipping into the beauty industry is kind of major. The name alone packs enough power to have me curious about this collection.

What do you think? Will you be sampling the Belei line?

 

 

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Early Access: Here’s How Star Zachary Levi Thinks You Should Experience ‘Shazam!’ In Theaters

Early Access: Here's How Star Zachary Levi Thinks You Should Experience 'Shazam!' In Theaters

On March 23, you can be among the very first to see Shazam! when Fandango brings the latest DC Comics movie to theaters nationwide for one day only prior to its official April 5 release. To grab tickets and find out where Shazam! will be screening early by you, fly on over to our Fandango Early Access page right here.

To celebrate these early screenings, we sat down with Shazam! star Zachary Levi for a special episode of Concession Confessions. What is the…

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Total Silence or Gossip Central: How Close Should You Be With Your Hairstylist?

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For some women raised on the feel-good ethos of Steel Magnolias and Legally Blonde, where salons were sacred spaces and the bond between stylist and client almost therapeutic, a hair appointment is more than just a cut or color.

“We’re the first ones to know about cheating, pregnancies, wedding plans, job interviews, health changes, doctors visits,” Devin Toth, a stylist at Salon SCK in New York’s Upper East Side, told The Daily Beast. “I see many of my clients more than I see my parents or best friends.”

This weekend, Lady Gaga walked the red carpet of The Daily Front Row awards with longtime hairstylist Frederic Aspiras on her arm. The newly-single Gaga and Aspiras mugged for the cameras like professionals, holding hands, cheek-kissing, and even dancing for the paparazzi.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Why you should consider couch surfing for your next vacation

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It’s fair to say that Airbnb changed the way we travel, and how we stay during said travel! Hotel rooms were becoming mundane, holiday apartments soulless, a change was needed. People wanted a more authentic experience when they stayed somewhere, and this is what gave rise to the popularity of Airbnb – renting a stranger’s home for the duration of your stay.

There is no question that Airbnb has taken the world of travel and tourism by storm, and it has certainly made vacations more authentic and enjoyable. But, accommodation options don’t end there, oh no! There is a whole new world developing for modern travelers, and it’s known as couchsurfing. So, let’s find out more about this growing trend, and how you can make the most of it.

So what is couchsurfing?

Couchsurfing, in layman’s terms, is staying on a couch (usually an actual bed) in someone’s home, as opposed to getting your own room. Think Airbnb, but a much more stripped back version. Instead of renting out someone’s home, you basically sleep on their couch instead. It’s a great way to meet new people in the place you’re traveling to, and is perfect for short-term trips.

Any costs involved?

One of the main questions you are most likely to have is whether or not there are any costs involved in couchsurfing. Well, in fact, the whole process is free, but that’s not to say there isn’t some sort of unwritten rule that you should offer some kind of token. Cooking dinner, buying your host a few drinks, or giving a gift is certainly something that you can (and should) do for your host by way of recompense.

You can get involved both ways

Something that you’ll really love about couchsurfing is that you can get involved both ways. As a traveler, this is definitely something you are going to want to check out for your next vacation. You can enter dates and locations for your travel, and people will be able to offer you places to stay. However, it is also something that you can get involved with as a host, even when not traveling. Offering your couch or spare room is a great way of helping someone out, and making new friends at the same time as well.

Some of the benefits

There are plenty of benefits to couchsurfing that make it the perfect choice for any intrepid adventure (who’s not too fussy about having a hotel room). For a start, this is going to be a very cost-effective way of finding accommodation, and in many cases will cost you nothing more than cooking a meal or buying some drinks! Secondly, there is the social factor, and couchsurfing gives you a great opportunity to expand your social network while exploring the road less traveled.

So, as you can see, there are a lot of great reasons why you should consider couchsurfing on your next vacay. There are plenty of great benefits to taking this choice, and it’s a wonderful way of getting a cheap and sociable form of accommodation, perfect for young travelers and backpackers.

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If You Share A Bed, You Should Share Financial Responsibility: Here’s Why

Earlier this month, the New York Times highlighted a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research that shines further light on a problem many couples face: how to distribute responsibility for finances. The study’s author discovered that when couples divide money management unequally, the person taking a less active role is putting themselves at a financial literacy disadvantage over time.

WHY IS PUTTING ONE PERSON IN CHARGE OF THE MONEY SUCH A PROBLEM?

While such a division of labor may seem convenient, it comes at a cost. The authors of the study found that “people generally develop expertise on a “need to know” basis—they pay attention to what they think they need to know, when they think they need to know it—and that the need to know is at least partly determined by one’s social relationships.”

Simply put, when one partner is the money person, that person continues to grow and hone their financial literacy. At the same time, the other person doesn’t develop and maintain the same degree of knowledge about their household financial management. This results in a financial literacy – and financial confidence – gap that grows over time.

A Fidelity survey supports this finding. Among respondents who were married or in a long-term committed relationship, 93 percent of those who said they had primary financial responsibility in their household said they were confident managing money, while just 52 percent of the less involved partners said they would be confident doing so.

DO MOST COUPLES PICK ONE PERSON TO HANDLE FINANCES?

Yes. Over half of respondents in numerous surveys reported deferring to their better half when it comes to money. And women are more likely to step back from managing long-term household financial decisions – retirement accounts, mortgages, and insurance – even as we tend to be responsible for day-to-day purchases.

A UBS survey last year found that 56% of married women leave key financial decisions to their husband. Given that women have a longer life expectancy than men, this is especially problematic. And among younger generations, the trend is actually getting worse! The same UBS survey found that 61% of millennial women reported leaving financial decisions to their partner compared with just over half (54%) of women from older generations.

WHAT CAN LISTENERS DO TO AVOID FALLING INTO THIS TRAP?

One of the best ways to ensure you are both engaged in your joint finances is to have a shared financial plan that outlines your long-term vision. Discussing what you want to prioritize – buying a house, your retirement, your children’s education – and putting it on paper incentivizes each of you to be invested in achieving these goals.

You should also develop a joint budget each year that is benchmarked to this plan. Second, set aside time each month to review your shared financial accounts and assets, and make any necessary adjustments or decisions jointly. If you have shared goals and financial responsibilities, you will both have more peace of mind.


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Life & Style – Black America Web

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A friend claimed my book as his own — what should I do?

Dear John: In 2011 I put out a book called “Fighting for Redemption: The Irish Teddy Mann Story.” This was about me and was accomplished with the help of a supposed friend, who has since then pushed me to the point of a nervous breakdown by claiming the book. The book was finished by 2005…
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John Boehner’s Weed Hypocrisy: D.C. Should ‘Get the Hell Out of the Way’

AUSTIN, Texas—John Boehner’s bizarre transformation into weed enthusiast/businessman reached its apex on Friday when the former Republican House Speaker spoke at South by Southwest.

CNBC Fast Money regular Tim Seymour moderated the early afternoon conversation between Boehner and Kevin Murphy, the founder and CEO of Acreage Holdings, a Canadian-based marijuana investment firm.

Boehner spent his entire tenure as the most powerful lawmaker in the country being “unalterably opposed” to the decriminalization of marijuana but now runs his own lobbying group that advocates “changing federal law to acknowledge states’ rights to regulate and manage cannabis policy.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Why you should be paying attention to the latest Instagram challenge

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If there’s one Instagram challenge you need to pay attention to this month, it’s this one. It has become one of the fastest growing hashtags in the UK in March, with more than 28k posts and creating an ever-growing community.

So what is it?

The #MarchMeetTheMaker2019 hashtag sees small business owners taking to the social media platform to show their followers exactly what goes on behind the scenes. Whether it’s talking about how they set up their business, showing the hard work and love that goes into creating every product, talking about making their brand more eco-friendly or simply sharing the bits that we never see on Instagram, it’s a breath of fresh air and an important place to be for anyone who wants to know the ins and outs of starting a creative business from the people who are doing it right now.

First created by Joann Hawker in 2016, it encourages small businesses to share daily posts about themselves and small company throughout the month – with a different focus point each day – so that customers can see through the gloss and get to know the minds behind it all.

Here are some of the creatives showing what #MarchMeetTheMaker means for them.

@sweetcecilys

This homemade, sustainable, cruelty-free family run business has been sharing how much work goes into creating their range of creams, face masks and lip balms.

@damsontreepottery

Marienne Cavaciuti makes handmade, nature-inspired ceramics and is showing customers that the ceramic making processes may be messy, but ends with a beautiful creation.

@girlbandbird

Owner Annah creates bespoke bags made out of vintage maps and has been keen to show how she reduces waste day to day.

View this post on Instagram

Reducing waste. This is something that I’ve actively tried to do everywhere that I can in my studio! I’ve managed to tweak my pattern pieces, and cutting method, to mean that I waste only the tiniest bit of my backing fabric which is so satisfying! My fabric is printed to order which means minimal waste, too. . I recently switched to biodegradable poly bags which, although they’re ten times the cost, give me ten times more peace of mind! . . . #mmtm . . . . . . #marchmeetthemaker #marchmeetthemaker2019 #marchmeetthemaker19 #joannehawker #heytheremaker @heytheremaker @joannehawker #ukmaker #maker #ukmade #madeintheuk #smallbiz #smallbusiness #girlboss #selfemployed #map #cartography #vintagemap #homeiswherethehearti #reduceplastic #reducewaste

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@woolners_woolies

Hannah Woolner’s makes handmade needle-felted animals – including replicas of people’s pets, FYI – and has been explaining how she started her business, showing her followers inside her studio and the secrets behind her work.

View this post on Instagram

Day 8 of #marchmeetthemaker and it’s PRODUCT RANGE: My needle felted creations span the entire animal kingdom from sloths to kingfishers. My work is split between my own creations and commissions. The creations come from my imagination e.g bears in baths and moles with glasses and miniature books. They are often tongue in cheek and playful, giving them human personalities which my customers can relate to. . . My commissions tend to be pets (mostly beloved dogs of all breeds) and occasionally cats which I love creating in felt. They often take me longer to complete and a lot of love and care go into them as they are one of a kind personalised pieces which have a sentimental value to my customers. . I have included a few pics of the range of work I do for you to see; sloth, wedding mice, kingfisher, lion, terrier, cat, one eyed red setter! . #heytheremaker #makersgonnamake #joannehawker #needlefelting #productrange #animalsofinstagram #animalkingdom #needlefelting #felt #craftcommunity #sloth #mice #kingfisher #lion #dogs #humansbestfriend #smallbusiness #commissions #creations #handmadewithlove #bespoke #personalisedgifts

A post shared by Woolner's Woolies (@woolners_woolies) on

@theprintbee

Printmaker and artist Lissie Beckett turns drawings of nature into enamel pins, plushies and wash bags.

@helensheredesign

Helen creates delicately detailed and beautiful pieces of jewellery and is using her platform to show how exactly how her business works behind the scenes.

@swalkcreative

This eco-friendly cards and gifts company, and owner Megan is using the hashtag to show how much thought, effort and love goes into creating each product.

@rlhprints

Rachael Hibbs Linocuts is a London based printmaker specialising in block print artwork which is printed onto anything from t-shirts to cards, and is using the challenge to showcase the maker behind the art.

@rose_agar_designs

Rose Agar is a print artist who has used this challenge to show the weird and wonderful range of products she can print designs on for her customers.

So whether you’re interested in starting your own crafty creative business, or you just want to find and support some new, smaller brands, check out the hashtag and see what you find.

You’ve still got a couple more weeks until the month is out.

Go, go, go!

The post Why you should be paying attention to the latest Instagram challenge appeared first on Marie Claire.

Marie Claire

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Style Your Home’s Outdoors with All the Perfect Additions from MacKenzie-Childs! Save on Tables, House Letters & Chairs. Shop Now!

Whoopi Goldberg announces battle with pneumonia, sepsis: What you should know

Whoopi Goldberg announced her battle with pneumonia and sepsis on Friday. Here’s what that means.
ABC News: Health

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

These Bluetooth earbuds sound so much better than they should for $15.99

Best-Selling Bluetooth Earbuds On Amazon

With more than 8,000 5-star customer reviews on Amazon, the Mpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones have been best-sellers for as long as we can remember. They offer outstanding sound quality, solid battery life of nearly 10 hours per charge, a great design, and IPX7 water-resistance. All that for around $ 25… how can you go wrong? Well, we suppose you can go wrong if you pay full price, and right now they’re on sale for $ 19.99. But wait! Use the special coupon code MP088AR3 at checkout and you’ll only pay $ 15.99. This deal is a new all-time low, and it won’t be around for very long.

Mpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones Waterproof IPX7, Wireless Earbuds Sport, Richer Bass HiFi Stere…: $ 15.99 (use code MP088AR3)

Here are the highlights from the product page:

  • IPX7 SWEATPROOF EARPHONES: Mpow IPX7 Water-resistant Nano-coating efficiently protects sport headphones from sweat and ensure more guaranteed life span, perfect for running, jogging, hiking, yoga, exercises, gym, fitness, travelling and etc. Everyday with Mpow is like a valentine’s day!
  • REDEFINE YOUR EARS IN RICHER RANGE: You may not get used to this earbuds with richer bass and mid at first if you used to use earbuds with flat or sharp sound. Thanks to the tuned driver, CSR chip and Bluetooth 4.1, you can get superb bass sound, as well as richer and crisp sound with Mpow earbuds at the furthest degree that in-ear & Bluetooth-compression items can achieve.
  • ENHANCED COMFORT & WEARABILITY: 1. We have improved the ear hooks to the proper hardness for snug fit. 2. Additionally come with a pair of memory-foam ear tips (adapt to ear canal to provide a perfect seal and snug fit to help keep your earbuds in place) and a cord clip, besides 3 pairs of regular ear tips in different sizes for your custom fit. 3. Suitable for normal size ears.
  • 1.5-HOUR QUICK CHARGE FOR 7-9 HOURS PLAYING: Improved lithium polymer battery brings up to 7-9 hours pleasure musically and socially with a quick charge of only 1.5 hours. It will show the remaining battery power of the headphones on the iOS Phone screen. Note: 1. Mpow Flame has 12V over-voltage hardware cut off, 1A over-current restored fuse to achieve safe charging. 2. Please use charging cable provided, or certified brand charging cable. 3. We don’t recommend using fast charging.
  • WHY WE RECOMMEND MPOW FLAME TO YOU: Mpow has been dedicated to produce Bluetooth headphones for many years, and we have a professional team of experts in this area. Mpow Flame not only gives you attractive & stylish look, but also provide IPX7 waterproof protection and richer bass to meet your practical needs. Every Mpow product includes a 45 days money back & 18-month warranty.

Mpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones Waterproof IPX7, Wireless Earbuds Sport, Richer Bass HiFi Stere…: $ 15.99 (use code MP088AR3)

Trending Right Now:

  1. These Bluetooth earbuds sound so much better than they should for $ 15.99

These Bluetooth earbuds sound so much better than they should for $ 15.99 originally appeared on BGR.com on Fri, 8 Mar 2019 at 07:56:06 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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All Deals on HP, Dell and Lenovo!

Work Smarter, Not Harder: How Contractors Should Capture Homeowner Data to Optimize Marketing Techniques

In 2019, the same old approach to home improvement lead generation is not going to cut it.

That’s nothing new — and yet research shows contractors do not utilize digital and online information or capabilities to further their business interests. Think about the amount of time we’re all on social media – less than one percent of home improvement contractors are using social media to reach potential clients! That’s a huge missed opportunity in today’s digital marketing environment.

Meet your 2019 key performance indicators (KPIs) and exceed them with an intentional approach. One of the easiest—and fastest—ways to assess the current state of your business is processing some data that you already have.

Data analytics measure your online presence and determine which parts of your business are currently and potentially most profitable. Online programs such as Google Analytics measure and report on the following aspects of your websites:

  • Total site visits for a given period (day, week, month, etc.)
  • Individual page visits
  • Where visitors come from geographically
  • How your site visitors came to your page — which links they used to get to you, or an online derivative of referrals

At Modernize, for example, we use the thousands of surveys homeowners submit to us to learn more about homeowner needs and challenges in the home improvement space — whether for solar, roofing, HVAC, windows, or other projects. Learn more about our most recent findings in the latest Homeowner Survey Index: Q1 2019

Repeat Successful Contractor Behaviors for Successful Outcomes

What are your best-performing channels? What types of projects led to the most repeat business? How are you using referral data to create new leads and create an ongoing funnel of new work?

These are some basic questions to get you started on finding out what works for your business and what doesn’t. Some contractors repeat past behavior without the data to back it up, relying instead on memory or top-line information — like product brand and time of project — to assess current tactics.

That’s not enough. Supplement your unique marketing strategy with an additional online presence and increased storytelling in the form of blogs and social media posts. You’re also going to need to keep track of the feedback you receive from homeowners. Within your CRM or Lead Management Tool, you should always add a lead status pick list to show where homeowners live within your sales funnel, and how the lead ended up closing out in the end. For example: Completed Project, Budget, Timing, Not a homeowner, Credit Reject, etc. By religiously updating your lead source, lead status, and close dispositions, you’ll be able to make informed marketing decisions over time, discard leads that will never convert,  and create drip campaigns for the ones that have the potential to eventually convert. The more detailed information you can capture, the more you can make intelligent business decisions about where and how to invest your outreach, marketing, and lead generation budgets.

Whether you restart an old lead generation campaign that didn’t work out in the past or amp up your social media creativity, this is the year to start taking chances for the sake of growing your company. Just don’t take silly risks, take informed ones.

Keep An Eye on the State of the Home Improvement Market

While your own data is important, new business means new data — if you want to generate leads, you know to get to know clients you haven’t worked with yet.

For example, you should know and base your tactics on the fact that between 40 and 60 percent of homeowners conduct most of their research online before taking on a home improvement project — depending on which trade is involved, from solar paneling to roofing.

The term online is a vast and broad one, and we can get more specific because Modernize data provides perspective from thousands of homeowner surveys — it’s one way we stand out in the value we can offer you.

Here are the online resources homeowners find “the most helpful” with planning their project:

  • 54%: Google
  • 17%: Home improvement websites (like Modernize)
  • 14%: Social media
  • 8%: Youtube
  • 7%: Email Newsletters

It’s this type of information that you can compare to your own past work to come up with a data-driven and intentional strategy in the year ahead. Many contractors use Modernize for assistance in devising and building just such a strategy. Find out today how Modernize can help do the same for you.

Other Lead Generation Tips to Help You Meet Your KPIs in 2019

Modernize provides a vast array of resources for contractors to achieve their objectives and learn about the homeowners they want to work with.

Take a look at our blogs, case studies, infographics, videos, and more to learn something new today. For now, here some quick hits to take away and use while you build an analytics-based strategy for the coming year.

  • 78% of prospects convert with the first party that makes contact.
  • 80% of leads do not close on the first call.
  • 40% of leads eventually convert with long-term follow-up.
  • 50% of leads only get one call.
  • Calling a prospect twice as opposed to once increases the chance of making contact by 87%.

The best days to contact a lead are, in order:

    1. Thursday
    2. Tuesday
    3. Wednesday

And the best hours to contact a lead are, in order:

    1. 4 to 5 p.m.
    2. 2 to 3 p.m.
    3. 8 to 9 a.m.
    4. 3 to 4 p.m.
    5. 9 to 10 a.m.

Whether it’s starting your online efforts from scratch or diving into your decades of experience to discern trends and help you sharpen your client base, learn more about us today and find out how we can help you.

Ready to grow your business?

The post Work Smarter, Not Harder: How Contractors Should Capture Homeowner Data to Optimize Marketing Techniques appeared first on Modernize.

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Offset Says That Hip-Hop Heads Should Be Kissing The Migos’ Feet For Bringing Hip-Hop Mainstream — Gets Bashed By Lupe Fiasco!

Offset is making his rounds to promote his new album ‘Father of Four.’ After catching the attention of his baby mama for a comment made about the paternity of his daughter, the 27-year-old is ticking off some of the veterans of popular rap with his latest interview.

Offset chatted with Ebro of ‘Ebro in the Morning’ on Hot 97 about the hate that younger artists receive from the older generation. Although some of the most popular rap songs seem to be a poppin’ beat masking misogynistic and drug-filled references, the genre is the number one type of music listened to in this new age.

If you ask Offset, instead of hating, the hip-hop heads need to be thanking the new wave rappers for making it so mainstream.

“If you’re an older artist, you should be thanking us, kissing our feet. Not just the Migos… Hip-hop has never been the No. 1 genre ever. Right now when you go to Spotify, you’re not seeing the other genres [like] pop, country.”

View this post on Instagram

The disconnect…The Reconnect. Firstly let me say that I’m a huge fan of the Migos (specifically Emitt Smith & Fight Night. Also when I go to the club I only really get up and dance dance my little dance to Migos. True story) Secondly let me say that the only visceral problem with brother offsets statement is the use of the cliche “kissing feet”. That’s not a sign of respect that’s an act of subjugation of something lower to something higher and as Busta Rhymes told me when it comes to rap there are no classes, or superiors vs inferiors. We are all a team. Each with individual attributes that add their special skill set and energy to the whole. The metrics of industry don’t successfully define the essence of hiphop nor do they replace its legacy or the efforts of its pioneers who achieved great things with little to nothing in terms of materials (i.e. the internet and massive marketing budgets) and from that poverty of capital created a Culture, not a business, a legitimate Culture and were actively combatted by opposing forces from all walks of life. Streaming and selling records is only a part of the project that is hip hop. It’s a great feeling and milestone to sell a million records and be celebrated for that achievement. But it is just as great to be an amazing lyricist respected by thousands or just 1 for your abilities to craft amazing pieces of communication that can operate to influence society as a whole not just exclusively on a dance floor. Hip hop got its RESPECT from rappers who spoke truth to power and struck fear in the comfort zones of oppression and inspired folks to take a look at their surroundings, analyze and OVERCOME. Hip Hop isn’t respected because of how many records it has sold or how many dances it has created UNLESS WE TALM BOUT BREAKDANCING. Hip Hop is respected because it’s kisses nobodies feet. And never will. Our feet don’t belong on the mouths of our pioneers they belong on their shoulders. . . . The true rapper is the one who continues to do it when it’s no money, no fame, no cars, no jewelry…just the love of the craft that keeps them on that grind. That’s the bar. Everything else other than that is just filler and cap.

A post shared by Lupe Fiasco (@lupefiasco) on

The ‘Taste’ musician added: “Because of how streams is, people are listening to hip-hop more than any other time. So you should salute us, we made this bigger than it ever was. You fought for it, you set the tone, your style is just different.”

The problem that hip-hop veterans have with today’s popular songs is that you don’t necessarily have to have talent in order to have a successful career. With the right trendy look and a producer who can make a trap beat — almost anyone can be a rapper.

Additionally, many feel that the songs don’t have meaning the way that they used to. Lyricism is not as appreciated as it once was.

Lupe Fiasco shared his opinion on Offset’s recent remarks via Instagram in a lengthy caption that read, in part: “The metrics of industry don’t successfully define the essence of hip-hop nor do they replace its legacy or the efforts of its pioneers who achieved great things with little to nothing in terms of materials (i.e. the internet and massive marketing budgets) and from that poverty of capital created a Culture, not a business, a legitimate Culture and were actively combatted by opposing forces from all walks of life. Streaming and selling records is only a part of the project that is hip hop. It’s a great feeling and milestone to sell a million records and be celebrated for that achievement.”

What do you think about what Offset said? Is he being cocky or does he have a point?

Celebrity Insider

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Scouted: 12 Best Selling Books Published in February You Should Read in March

We know you love books and we know it’s hard to stay up-to-date on everything coming and going.

Whether you choose to catch up using a Kindle or stack your hardcovers horizontally to make a statement, we figured we could help you with your choices. So we put together a list of Amazon’s best selling titles that were released in February and that we think you might enjoy reading in March. Below each one is Amazon’s quick summary.

Read on.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

The Daily Beast Latest Articles

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

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Ex-Fed’s Dudley: Wall Street should stop blaming the central bank every time stocks drop

Dudley, who retired from the Fed in June 2018, said the central bank's actions have become a "convenient whipping boy."
Economy

ECONOMY NEWS UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

7 Black-Owned Etsy Shops and Black Artisans That Should Be On Your Radar

If you’re looking to #BuyBlack all-year round, but don’t know where to start, black-owned Etsy shops and the black artisans that create crafts on the platform offer an alluring array of options. With the help of Dayna Isom Johnson, the e-commerce’s site trend expert and judge on NBC’s Making It, we unearthed some beautiful, black-owned Etsy shops that we can bet will turn you into a fan, frequent buyer, and not to mention, a supporter of these talented and hustling young artisans and entrepreneurs.

Part of Isom Johnson’s role as a trend expert is to identify the people who are sharing one-of-a-kind creations. And it’s something she’s passionate about.

“I especially love trying to discover shops and support these designers,” Isom Johnson said. “I’m able to communicate these stories of people who may not be able to do it because they’re on such a small scale. It feels good to be able to share their stories.”

The fact these businesses are black-owned is also an inspiration to her and a driving force behind her trend picks and highlights.

“As a member of the Black community and an advocate for small businesses around the globe, it’s always a priority for me to shine a light on both,” she said.

With the exception of one, all the black-owned shops on this list are owned by women and the sellers are as young as 18. They carry a range of items from statement earrings and body and hair products to home goods, leather goods, pottery, and canvas prints—all with designs that reflect the African diaspora while sparking happiness and individual expression.

7 Black-Owned Etsy Shops to Check Out

Lingua Nigra
Black-Owned Etsy Shops

Edge of the Earth – Sterling Silver Acid Etched Hand Cut Earrings from the Lingua Nigra Etsy shop

Artisan Alicia Goodwin creates hand-crafted, organic jewelry, like the Shower of Faith baby fringe earrings, a bestseller in her shop, and the edge of earth-sterling silver acid etched hand cut earrings.

The New York Fashion Institute of Technology alum calls her creations, “sculptural design for everyday adornment.”

Her designs are inspired by nature with a focus on ancient talismans and Victorian era work. She uses techniques like acid etching and metal reticulation. Each creates a random texture ensuring a truly unique, individualized product.

Check out her adornments here.

Bespoke Binny
Black-Owned Etsy Shops

African Print Pillow from Bespoke Binny.

Maker Natalie Obenewa is a cognitive behavioral therapist by day and by night she creates vibrant African print home goods including pillows, lampshades, aprons, and table runners.

“I really wanted to find a way to use African prints in new and interesting ways,” she said. “My family is originally from Ghana, West Africa, and Jamaica in the Caribbean. It’s such a vibrant culture, and though I live in the western world, I wanted to find a way to integrate the different parts of who I am through Bespoke Binny and share it with others.”

Check out her designs, here.

Zandra Beauty
Black-Owned Etsy Shops

Handcrafted Exfoliating Sugar Scrub by the Zandra Beauty Etsy shop. (Photo Alexandra Reed)

Plant-based beauty treatments are all the rage at this Etsy shop, so much so 18-year-old Zandra Cunningham’s products and entrepreneurial prowess have been featured in BLACK ENTERPRISE, Seventeen and Inc. Magazines.

Her Rize Up hair and body souffle contains the happy and health-promoting herbs burdock root and milk thistle, and other popular ingredients like shea butter, sunflower oil, avocado oil, olive oil, castor seed oil, and cocoa butter.

The handcrafted exfoliating sugar scrub is a blend of chai, organic vanilla beans, and the calming herb lavender. The feel-good vibes extend into her colorful labels that convey mood-boosting messages like, “I am enough” and “scrub your troubles away.”

Check out her products, here.

Pottery by Osa
Black-Owned Etsy Shops

Pair of custom plates in a geometric pattern from Pottery by Osa.

From mugs and custom plates to plant pots and vases, Osa Atoe’s designs can fit seamlessly into any home. And that’s exactly what she wants.

“I envision my pottery being used daily as opposed to being set aside for special occasions,” say states on her Etsy page. “I’d like to see more people bringing the art & intentionality of handmade crafts into their everyday lives.”

Check out her designs, here.

Kingsley Leather
Black-Owned Etsy Shops

Leather Keyring, handmade by Kingsley Thompson at Kingsley Leather<

For Kingsley Thompson, the craftsman and artisan behind Kingsley Leather, his lifelong love all things leather led him to turn his passion into a living. Now he runs his Etsy shop full time, fulfilling orders from across the globe. He places an emphasis on crafting products that are stylish yet simple and functional; products he himself would use.

“What inspired me to take up leatherworking in particular was that I have always admired leather goods and how they gain character as they age, think old leather suitcases and satchels,” he writes on his Etsy page. “My biggest inspiration is the process of being able to create something special using my hands, hand tools, and utilizing traditional techniques.”

Check out his craftsmanship, here.

Thepairabirds
Black-Owned Etsy Shops

Queen’s Robe Art, Royalty print illustration by Thepairabirds.

Tabitha Brown’s eye-catching illustrations are colorful, feminine, and exude an air of royalty. One look and you’ll most likely want to purchase multiple prints for every dynamic woman in your life who appreciates art that reflects who she is. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Brown is a graduate of Chicago’s American Academy of Art and her vibrant creations have been featured on the Huffington Post, ModCloth Blog, and the Urban Outfitters Blog.

See her illustrations, here.

Lovely Earthlings
Black-Owned Etsy Shops

Book Smart Afro gal tote from LovelyEarthlings.

Karina Daniel Paris’s creations include canvas artwork, canvas tote bags, art prints, journals, and greeting cards, all inspired by the women around her. The self-taught artist is based in Brooklyn.

Her obsession with all things girly lavishly displays itself in her work; whether it’s a canvas print that exudes a sunny tropical aesthetic, or a greeting card urging the receiver to indulge in some self-care.

Find her canvas and tote creations, here.

The post 7 Black-Owned Etsy Shops and Black Artisans That Should Be On Your Radar appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise

FASHION DEALS UPDATE:

Here’s when you should really book your flights

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Booking flights is usually a time filled with excitement as means a vacation is coming. Don’t you sometimes wish your flight could be just a little cheaper though? If you’ve been thinking there must be a cheaper way to book your flights then you’re in luck, there is! It all depends on when you book them, and these are the best ways to book your flights.

Private browsing

First things first, when you’re shopping around for flights you’re going to want to do it incognito. Those pesky airlines are monitoring you every time you check their prices online. Every time you go back to their website the prices will go up, so the best way to stop that from happening is to use your web browser’s private function. It’s normally a box you can check in the options section and is very easy to turn on. Using this will prevent airlines from tracking your browsing history as it stops your cookies being made available.

Paying in other currencies

Sometimes it’s actually cheaper to pay in a different currency. You can see what payment options you have available to you and then do a quick currency conversion to see if it would be better to pay using a different one. Check with your credit card company that you are not charged for using different currencies as that can basically wipe out the saving you might have made.

Book well in advance

It is amazing how much money people can save on their flights if they just book them well in advance. As it gets closer to the flying date airlines know they can bump up the price, especially if the flight is filling up fast. Make sure you get in ahead of the rush and book your flight at least four weeks before departing. Try not to book them too early either though as those tickets also come at a premium. Booking four to eight weeks before you’re due to fly is the best time for cheap flights. If you’re traveling to your destination for a major holiday the best time to book is one month before the big day, and six before Christmas and New Years Day.

Booking on Tuesdays or Wednesdays

Airlines often have sales during the week and these two days are the most common for them. Also, when you’re booking your flight try to fly out on a Tuesday or a Saturday. People who are traveling for business tend to fly on the Monday and those going on vacation will want the entire weekend. That’s where you can swoop in and take the cheap airline seats before anyone else does. Airlines want to fill their planes, so these are great days to fly to keep your costs low.

These helpful little tips will make sure you have more money in your wallet to spend on vacation, rather than spending all your cash getting there. Always explore your booking options, get in there nice and early, and turn on your private browsing, it’s really worth it.

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The post Here’s when you should really book your flights appeared first on Worldation.

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Here’s who should win at the 2019 Oscars

The 91st Academy Awards airs Sunday, February 24 at 8 p.m. on ABC. Here’s who will bring home a trophy. Best Picture “Black Panther” “BlacKkKlansman” “Bohemian Rhapsody” “The Favourite” Winner: “Green Book” Voters have a choice between art (“Roma”) and heart (“Green Book”). They’ll go with the latter. “Roma” “A Star Is Born” “Vice” Best…
Entertainment | New York Post

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Why you should take a road trip on the historic Route 66

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Route 66 is known as “America’s Highway” as it connects Illinois with California. The route has been driven by millions of Americans and tourists, but what is so special about it? Is Route 66 just another road or is it as special as people make it seem? This is why you should take a road trip along Route 66.

It’s long

Getting from one end of Route 66 to the other is a big commitment. You’ll travel over 2400 miles, crossing into eight different states. That means you’re going to have a real adventure and that’s what life is all about. You’ve probably heard the saying, “Life is about the journey, not the destination,” and that couldn’t be truer on Route 66.

The road is fun

Unlike traveling a long journey on the interstate, you’ll find lots to keep you interested during this route. It is a well-trodden path that cuts through many small towns giving you an insight into life in rural America. You can just enjoy cruising along the open road, not worrying about what lane you’re in, just taking in the amazing sights. Make sure you stop off in some of the ghost towns abandoned by their residents years ago. It’s a great insight into recent history, and a cool opportunity to take some memorable pictures.

You’ll not go hungry!

One thing America is known for is it’s quality diners, and along Route 66 you’ll find your fair share of them. You can be safe in the knowledge that you’re never too far away from your next delicious burger, fries, and milkshake. There are plenty of vintage ‘50s-style diners to give you that authentic meal on the road experience. Just try not to stop at all of them or your trip will take you way longer than expected, and your pants definitely won’t fit by the end.

The attractions

There are so many fun roadside attractions to break up the journey. You’ll come across a giant rocking chair, the Whale of Catoosa, Cadillac Ranch, the WigWam Motel and the Mid Point Cafe. The Mid Point Cafe is a must, as you’ll know you’ve made it halfway and there’s still plenty of road in front of you. There are a bunch of fun gifts shops to stop at to find the perfect souvenir to remind you of your time on the road.

Amazing people

What makes experiences even better is having someone to share them with. The Route should be shared with a buddy, to at least to spread the driving load if nothing else. If you do make the journey solo, you won’t feel all that lonely. You’ll meet a bunch of fun characters along Route 66, all who are more than happy to share some of their stories about the famous road.

If you’ve been thinking about doing Route 66 then what are you waiting for? You’re going to have a great time experiencing America’s Highway, taking in the quirkiest, strangest, but most exciting road in the USA.

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The post Why you should take a road trip on the historic Route 66 appeared first on Worldation.

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Dear Penny: I’m Debt-Free! But What Should I Do With All My Money Now?

Dear N.,

Congratulations on being debt-free! Your world is filled with nothing but possibility.

I was you once. I paid off all my business, credit card and undergraduate debt, rejoiced for but a moment, and then turned around and took out a car note. We all make our choices. Don’t make the same one I did!

The trouble with possibilities is that it’s easy to start disbursing money into so many different buckets: savings, other savings, a rainy day fund, a house fund and so on. If you try to divide and conquer too much, you’re not going to conquer anything. Those small achievements for each of your goals could actually leave you feeling disheartened instead of empowered.

For your best next step, I turned to Jen Smith, a fellow writer at The Penny Hoarder who paid off $ 78,000 of debt with her husband in two years. Smith is my savings role model.

Smith recommends starting your debt-free life by first saving three to six months of expenses in a high-yield savings account, and then making sure 15% of your income goes toward retirement. “Fifteen percent isn’t a hard-and-fast rule,” she said, “but if you want to retire on time, then prioritizing it is essential. Then, any extra can go toward saving for a house.”

Since you’re already saving, you can probably skip ahead to focusing on your retirement accounts. Smith is a fan of contributing to your company-sponsored 401(k) up to the offered match. Then it’s time to open a Roth IRA if your income permits.

“Roth IRAs are great because you have full control over the investments, and the contribution limits are reasonable enough to be able to max it out,” she explained. (The contribution limit for 2019 is $ 6,000; if you’re 50 or older, you can contribute an extra $ 1,000.)  

If you still aren’t setting aside that full 15 %, go back to your 401(k) or HSA and contribute more to one of those. If you’re not catching the drift, your priority should be to stash as much money as you can for retirement now, before a house or kids enter the picture.

But while you’re making these plans, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back. The progress you’ve made is noble and worth celebrating. Smith and I salute you!

Have a tricky money question? Write to Dear Penny and you might see your question answered in an upcoming column.

Lisa Rowan is senior writer at The Penny Hoarder, and the voice behind Dear Penny.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Why we should thank Andrew McCabe for his dishonorable service

Andrew McCabe is a national disgrace. He was part of the most corrupt and most partisan leadership team in FBI history and was fired for being dishonest under oath. And yet, America owes him a big thank-you. McCabe, you see, has reminded us once again that there really is a powerful deep state, and that…
Opinion | New York Post

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U.S. should have ‘discretionary enforcement’ of summer ban if E15 rule delayed: USDA official

U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky said on Wednesday he is “hopeful” the administration will complete its rule allowing year-round sales of E15 gasoline by summer, but that the government should use “discretionary enforcement” of the E15 summertime ban if there is a delay.


Reuters: Environment

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Diana Ross celebrated her 75th birthday at the 2019 Grammys like a living legend should

Diana Ross celebrated her 75th birthday at the 2019 Grammys like a living legend should


Diana Ross celebrated her 75th birthday at the 2019 Grammys like a living legend should

“Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday to me!”

It’s hard to believe that Ms. Diana Ross is turning 75 in March, but her performance at the 2019 Grammys is certainly the most appropriate way for the diva to celebrate. After a sweet introduction from her admiring young grandson, The Supremes songstress hit the stage in a flowing red gown fit for a fairy godmother. Ross broke into a medley of hit songs from her career with Motown Records, illustrating that her gifts to the world of music span decades. Starting with 1993’s “The Best Years of My Life,” she transitioned into 1970’s “Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” and was soon surrounded by her family in the audience, including daughter and actress Tracee Ellis Ross.

Ross ended the performance with a short speech, reminiscent of the spoken interludes with which Supremes fans are familiar. In addition to emphatically wishing herself happy birthday over a month early on television (goals), she delivered motivational words to the audience that touched on the transformative power of music—a tone set by Michelle Obama earlier in the evening:

“So much love in this room. Together we have no limits…There’s only success ahead, and you can lead the way. Learn, dream, unlock new doors, all is possible, all is possible with music and with you.”

Diana Ross a 61st Grammys
Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Diana Ross was the lead singer of ’60s Motown girl group, The Supremes, alongside groupmates Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard. After going solo in 1969, she scored multiple number one hits (including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”) and earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in Lady Sings The Blues.

The Recording Academy tweeted that the performance was meant to “[honor] her landmark career and contributions to music.” Happy birthday to Ms. Diana Ross, indeed.

The post Diana Ross celebrated her 75th birthday at the 2019 Grammys like a living legend should appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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I have a chronic illness. Should I become a parent?

I have a chronic illness. Should I become a parent?


I have a chronic illness. Should I become a parent?

My husband Ryan and I adopted our rescue puppy, Daisy Blue, a thirty pound black Lab mix, a month before doctors figured out that I needed major surgery. After three ER visits, surgeons removed twelve inches of my small intestine due to inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease.

I missed the first two months of Daisy’s growing up, FaceTiming her from the hospital bed, hoping she might still recognize my voice and face. Once home and recovering, I missed most of her puppy training, walks, and dog park visits as I lay posted up on the couch, protecting my newly sewn up stomach.

In the months that followed, Crohn’s and its symptoms left me fatigued and in pain, so I stayed inside for most of Daisy and Ryan’s adventures. I came along when I could, but I often suffered from severe stomach pain, dehydration, and headaches due to Crohn’s.

I felt guilty watching Ryan and Daisy’s bond grow stronger while I remained inside, wishing I could be a part of her active training and her early life.

Now, as a freshly minted 28-year-old newlywed, Ryan and I discuss the possibility of having children soon.

Woman holding her stomach in pain
Westend61/Getty Images

“I want to,” I say. “But what if they get Crohn’s from me? What if I can’t take care of them? What if I can’t give them all of the care and love and attention they need?”

These are my worries. I know that, often, much of the child raising responsibilities fall on the mother. We haven’t yet discussed how it might work out for us if Ryan needs to do more of my share of changing diapers, driving to soccer practices, or grocery shopping.

If I can barely take care of a puppy at times, how am I going to give a baby all that they need? What if I pass on this awful, chronic disease—the abdominal pain, the vomiting, the surgeries, the embarrassment of all of this—and worse, what if they develop Crohn’s even more severely than I have it? After all, children with a parent who has Crohn’s have a 7-9 percent chance of developing the disease, and a ten percent chance of having an inflammatory bowel disease during their lifetime.

This past year, I’ve barely had a handle on my own monstrous medical bills; what if I wouldn’t be able to afford my child’s necessary treatments?

What if my future child hates me for the times I’m bedridden, unable to pick them up from school, unable to make it to their dance recital? Would they be too young to understand that I’m not being lazy? That it’s not that I don’t love them, but that I can’t do these things?


One day, I write my mother, telling her that I’m not sure if I should have children. She texts me back, saying, “Kids are the reason for our lives.” That we should pass on to them all of the opportunities that we’ve had. That life is the greatest gift we can give to someone. I think these sentiments sound nice, but what if the truth is that all I can give them are the same things they will resent me for?

I think often about the ways my mom was a good mother to me: Always up in the morning before me, she asked what I wanted for breakfast, like a private chef making ready-to-order meals. Cinnamon toast? Egg in a Hat? Monkey bread? I think of how she’s been my vigilant patient advocate keeping files on my disease, doing her own expert-level research, asking doctors all of the questions I never knew to ask at 17 years old when I was diagnosed. I think of my mother in awe, and I wonder how I might possibly be as good, already knowing my physical limitations.

Like most parents, I want to be able to give my child everything they need and more. The attention they deserve at their track meets, during our one-on-one time playing outside. I want to provide for them, comfort them, and make them feel better when they are sick themselves. But what if these are things that I can barely do for myself?

I do want children very much. I know that now is as good a time as any to have them, given my age and financial stability. But I also know that Crohn’s is chronic—meaning forever. That I will always fight flareups and go through ups and downs. My Crohn’s will never really go away. And like any parent—including possible parents or future parents—I will worry about my children’s lives before they are even born, wondering if it is even possible for me to be good enough for them.

The post I have a chronic illness. Should I become a parent? appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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Senate finance chair says tariffs on steel, aluminum should go

Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley on Wednesday called on the Trump administration to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico before Congress begins considering legislation to implement the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade deal.


Reuters: Politics

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Terry Crews Claps Back at D.L. Hughley for Questioning His Sexual Assault Allegation: ‘Should I Slap the Shit Out of You?’

Terry Crews is firing back at comedian D.L. Hughley for questioning Crews’ alleged sexual assault.

In August, DL was asked his opinion on Terry’s #MeToo experience and DL ridiculed Terry for not using his muscles to prevent being assaulted.

“I think it’s hard for me to think that a dude with all those muscles can’t tell an agent to not touch his ass,” Hughley explained during an interview with Vlad TV.

“I don’t understand. I think that now everybody’s so into this notion that, ‘It happened to me to me too.’ Hey, motherf——, God gave you muscles so you could say no and mean it,” Hughley added.

Terry saw the clip and called DL out on Twitter — and ultimately threatened to slap him.

DL has yet to respond.

The post Terry Crews Claps Back at D.L. Hughley for Questioning His Sexual Assault Allegation: ‘Should I Slap the Shit Out of You?’ appeared first on lovebscott – celebrity news.

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If You Fall in One of These 4 Categories, You Should Buy Postage Now

Every time I mention I need to buy stamps, someone always scoffs, “Who uses stamps anymore?”

But every time I go to the post office, I end up in a line six or eight deep.

Mailing stuff is still big business. But it’s about to get a little more expensive.

This month, prices are going up from 50 cents to 55 cents cents per stamp.

Penny Hoarders know what this change means: The best time to buy postage is right now.

Why You Should Buy Stamps This Week

Unless you’re looking for a special edition postage stamp, most stamps are now labeled “Forever” instead of with a monetary value; you can use them regardless of the fluctuating price of stamps.

On Sunday, Jan. 27, the price for those Forever stamps will increase 5 cents. Here are the mailing price changes you need to know:

  • Letters (1 oz.): 50 cents to 55 cents
  • Letters (metered 1 oz.): 47 cents to 50 cents
  • Small Priority flat-rate box: $ 7.20 to $ 7.90
  • Medium Priority flat-rate box: $ 13.65 to $ 14.35
  • Large Priority flat-rate box: $ 18.90 to $ 19.95
  • Large APO/FPO flat-rate box: $ 17.40 to $ 18.45
  • Regular flat-rate Priority envelope: $ 6.70 to $ 7.35
  • Legal flat-rate Priority envelope: $ 7.00 to $ 7.65
  • Padded flat-rate Priority envelope: $ 7.25 to $ 8.00

If you fall into one of these categories, you should probably get in line to buy stamps or Priority postage right now:

1.You Actually Send Letters

If you buy a book of 20 stamps this week, you’ll pay $ 10. Next week, a book of stamps will cost $ 11. Five cents per stamp doesn’t seem like much, but think about how many letters you mail in an average year. If it’s more than 20 — people who still pay rent by mail, sing it with me — it’s worth stocking up now and saving a buck per book.

2. You Sell on Etsy, eBay or Another Online Platform

If you sell anything online, you’ll probably see a small increase in the cost of mailing each package. A cent here or there? No big deal. But over the course of a year, the increase can mean hundreds in additional business costs.

Make plans now to adjust your prices to account for the postage increase. Then, buy whatever supplies you can before the price goes up on stamps or Priority flat-rate postage.

3. You’re Getting Married

There is a little good news — at least for those hearing wedding bells: The single-piece additional ounce price will be reduced from 21 cents to 15 cents. So a 2-ounce stamped letter, such as a typical wedding invitation, will cost less to mail, decreasing from 71 cents to 70 cents.

But you’re probably putting stamps on the invitation-response cards. And the save-the-dates. And all those thank-you cards you’re totally going to write within three months of the wedding.

I’m not saying you have to send all those items to have a fun wedding celebration. I’m just saying that if you plan to mail any of them, you’re about to pay a bit more.

4. You Want to Make Some Extra Cash

Did you know you can buy and sell unused postage stamps on eBay? Buy a bunch at 50 cents each now and sell them later as the price continues to increase. Bonus tip: Don’t just buy whatever stamp the guy behind the counter offers you. Ask for the cool stamps that collectors or letter-writing fanatics might be looking for later. Your profits may be small, but a small profit is way better than no profit.

What’s Up With All the Price Changes on Stamps? They’re Just Stamps

The price changes are actually more calculated than you might think.

In 2014, the U.S. Postal Service got permission to raise stamp prices by 3 cents (from 46 cents to 49 cents) for a two-year period. The hike was essentially a fundraiser for the Postal Service, which doesn’t receive any government funding — thus you still receive your mail during a government shutdown. Instead, it makes all its money off us mailing things.

Stamp prices are typically tied to the rate of inflation, so when the two-year special increase expired in spring of 2016, stamp prices dropped back to 47 cents — which was in accordance with the inflation rate.

This month’s increase is just another turn in the inflation game.

Lisa Rowan is a senior writer and on-air journalist at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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If you have ‘stomach flu,’ chances are it’s actually norovirus: What you should know

norovirus, also called a stomach flu, is the most common form of foodborne illness in the U.S.
ABC News: Health

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Why you should take a trip to the desert

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If you’re currently looking for your next vacation destination, there’s a high chance that you’re looking for something a bit different. So, where do you go? Do you go cage diving in South Africa? Do you go bungee jumping in New Zealand? Do you go backpacking in Asia? While you can do all of those things, we were thinking of something a little more unique. This is why you should take a trip to the desert.

You can sleep under the stars

Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, you probably don’t appreciate the night sky as much as you should do. This may be because you simply cannot see the stars above the giant skyscrapers, or it may be because you just don’t look up. However, if you do choose to take a trip to the desert, you could quite literally sleep under the stars. With little cloud cover and no pollution in sight, you’ll have unedited views of the night sky. What could be better than that?

You can try out a new form of transportation

Bored of driving your car to work every day? Can’t be bothered to sit next to the man who constantly coughs on the subway? It sounds like you’re ready for a new form of transportation to make its way into your life. No trip to the desert would be complete without a ride on a camel, and we reckon it could be the perfect way to put a smile on your face. You won’t have the hump, at least.

You get a front-row view

If you’re fond of a good ol’ sunset, you’ll be able to get more than enough photos for the ‘Gram in the desert. Without a soul in sight, you’ll get a front-row view of the sun setting beyond the dunes, and you’ll be able to see your bright oasis transform before your very eyes. Make sure you take a jacket, though, because the desert can be pretty chilly once the sun goes down.

You can experience a whole new world

Although we’d love for Aladdin to come along with his flying carpet, that’s not what we mean by a whole new world. The desert is a weird and wonderful place, and it’s sometimes impossible to believe that you are still on planet earth. With sand all around you, it looks like you’re on another planet – and that’s something most of us will never experience in our lives. So, might as well take advantage while you can.

You can try out a new sport

While many people take a trip to the desert to check out the rolling hills of sand, there are other people who go there to try out a new sport. From sandboarding to 4×4 driving experiences, there are so many ways to enjoy these hills. Where else can you surf without there being any water around? Only in the desert, baby!

If you’re currently in two minds as to whether you should go to the desert or not, here’s your answer: Yes.

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