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5 Ways To Give Yourself The Gift Of A Happy Retirement

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happy retirement

After having lived a full fast-paced life, a peaceful retirement is not too much to ask for, is it? As it turns out, if you play your cards right, it is definitely possible for happiness and retirement to go hand in hand.

Mind you, it’s not just about having saved enough money to fall back on, neither is it about having an impressive pension coming through, but of course, both of these things will definitely help.

In this piece, we will look at 5 ways in which you can give yourself and your partner the gift of a happy and satisfying retirement. The definition of getting retired is not the same as it was a decade ago. For many people, retirement is not about calling it quits at 65 and then living a life of complete relaxation. There’s so much that can be done and so much still left to explore.

That being said, here are the 5 ways that will surely increase your chances of leading a life of retirement in complete bliss:

1. Establish what you expect out of your retired life

By this we mean that you have a fair idea of how you would like to spend your days, where do see yourself spending these days and what would make this one of the most fulfilling experiences of your life.

One such key decision is to figure out where you wish to retire and how much are you willing to travel. Having lived majority of their lives in one place, some people choose another place or another country altogether to retire. Now we are not implying that this is everyone’s cup of tea, but a survey conducted by 389 expats by the website of Places in the World to Retire discovered that 81% of the people were happier in a new country as compared to where they resided before.

Now those stats are staggering in a good way of course because for one, the standard of living and the resulting costs were often much less in the new place. That meant that retired couples or individuals did not need to worry much about the expenses. They didn’t have to worry about finding a high-paying job when in retirement.

Several of these expats also stated that they were far less stressed as compared to before because the new country they migrated to wasn’t as fast paced. Many were also recorded saying that they loved their new and ‘simple life’, particularly because they had so much free time on their hand.

In case you’re wondering about the best places in the world to retire, the answer will largely depend on the survey conducted. International Living states that Panama and Ecuador are the ultimate places topping the list.

2. Have a frank discussion with your partner about what you want out of your retired life

Two heads put together are better than one and taking the opinion of your better half into consideration will sort out a lot of things for you. It is helpful for couples to discuss their expectations and dreams regarding retirement and write them down for good measure. Once this is done, these couples should go ahead and classify each item on their list as a ‘must have’, ‘a want’ or a ‘wish’ and be prepared to make compromises.

Another thing that couples must definitely talk about is the amount of time the two want to spend together since this might probably be the first time in years that the both of them will be available all the time. Researches and surveys have shown that some couples came up with a solution to this – early in the week, they would end up spending time either by themselves or with their friends. Then towards the end of the week, they’d plan to do things together like go to the theatres, museums or restaurants.

3. Come up with a brilliant retirement income plan

Of course this should be topping your priority list. You ought to know how much money you have, its whereabouts and how much are you likely to get each month. Figure out how much all your accounts will contribute when put together, any kind of security or investment that you have and the money that you’re likely to get out of it. Think about the pension you get and how much you can afford to withdraw each year out of all your available options. The general rule of thumb is to not go above 4% to live a comfortable life. You must also figure out which accounts you can tap into first for withdrawals to save on taxes.

Devising a foolproof retirement income plan before it comes knocking on your door, will go a long way in reliving your stress once you actually retire. Another important thing to remember is to not be surprised in case your retirement income or expenses does not turn out the way you thought it would. A survey conducted by Ameriprise shows that three types of expenses were more than what the retirees expected and these are – food, health care and taxes.

4. Stay occupied and healthy

It is a proven fact that the happiest retirees are the ones who have occupied their time engaging in some fruitful activity or are actively employed somewhere. Retired individuals have become successful entrepreneurs, have started encore careers, signed up for either paid work or taken up volunteering work for the greater good.

Along with this, these individuals can put in real time efforts at keeping themselves fit and healthy by adopting good eating habits, sleeping soundly and engaging in exercise at least thrice a week while also maintaining strong social connections. Health is wealth and truer words haven’t been spoken and according to a survey conducted by Age Wave and Merrill Lynch, good health is the key reason of leading a happy retired life.

5. Pursue your passions and learn new things

Reacquaint yourself with passions you had when you were much younger but somewhere along the way you just stopped pursuing it. It could be absolutely anything from learning to play an instrument or painting or maybe writing or singing – basically any activity that makes you immensely happy. Retirement is great to discover new passions, polish it and make something out of it. You could sign up for one-on-one lessons as well to get good at what you want to pursue.

Check out the local colleges for courses that you can possibly take and learn about. You could emerge equipped with skills that you can put to use or just acquire knowledge for the pure joy of it all. The world is at your feet and options are innumerable!

Amidst all the fun that awaits your retired life, do not forget to make important decisions for your loved ones. Use a free Will template to draft your Will so that your final wishes are honoured just the way you want. When you get all the important stuff out of the way, there’s nothing else that can stop you from living a happy retired life, after all.

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4 Reasons Why Microfiber Cloths are Better for Cleaning

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Microfiber cloths for cleaning, Is microfiber cloth good for dusting

There are many products that claim to do a better job than the original, like exercise machines that promise to burn more calories or shoes that claim to be better for your posture. Indeed, many have fallen for these promises and ended up disappointed. 

Microfiber cloths are in a league of their own, however, because they really ARE better than rags and other cleaning implements. Don’t believe it? Here are a few reasons why you should buy microfiber cleaning cloths and towels for your home. 

They are Better for Dry Dusting

The physical structure of microfiber cloths is what makes them different and more effective: the tiny fibers of this synthetic fabric are split into even thinner, tinier “hooks,” which pick up and hold on to the dirt and grime. Other materials like cotton or cotton blends simply don’t have this property, and that’s why you end up just scattering dust or transferring it onto another surface. 

Another benefit of microfiber is that it leaves no residues that often end up attracting more dust. You can even use the same cloth as a surface polisher; just flip over the cloth and buff the surface for a lint-free shine. 

They Do a Better Job Removing Grime

Sometimes, you really have to use a wet cloth to get out some stubborn grime, like grease stains or soap spots. The good thing about microfiber is that you don’t need to use special cleaners to do the job — most of the time, a little bit of water will do. If you need more environment-friendly cleaning power, white vinegar will do just fine. Simply moisten one end of your microfiber cloth, scrub the grime away, then use the other end to dry and shine the surface your cleaned. 

Microfiber also has another edge over other materials: where other cloths leave lint behind, whether you use them wet or dry, microfiber doesn’t have this problem; it cleans without any lint and streaks. If you’ve ever experienced cleaning something that ended up looking dirtier than before, because of all the streaks and smudges, you’ll certainly appreciate a high-quality microfiber cloth. It’s especially wonderful to use on glass and mirrored surfaces!  


‘Calibri’,’sans-serif’; mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri;”>It’s Better for the Environment

Because there is no need for chemicals and other harsh cleaners, microfiber cloths are safer for the environment. Even the washing process of microfiber is a lot more ecologically friendly — no need for bleach and fabric softeners, just some mild detergent. 

What’s more, high quality microfiber doesn’t degrade as easily. As long as you follow the proper care instructions, one piece of microfiber cloth can last for about 300 to 500 washings! This means you also reduce the waste you generate while cleaning. Less waste also means less expenses, so it really is a win-win situation. 

It’s Better for Your Health

Apart from the reduced exposure to harmful chemicals, microfiber cleaning cloths can also protect you from physical strain. Why? It’s a lot lighter than cotton even if it absorbs so much more moisture. This saves you from neck, wrist, and back injuries that may be caused by carrying heavy, water-soaked mops. 

Microfiber has also been scientifically proven to be able to remove 93 percent of viruses and up to 98 percent of bacteria from surfaces. And because it dries much faster than cotton, it’s a lot harder for bacteria to grow in the cloth; this also drastically reduces that chances of cross-contamination. 

Finally, using microfiber cloths and cleaning implements like dusters and mops cuts down your cleaning time. You therefore have more time to rest or do other things like your hobbies, which is definitely better for your overall health. 

Over the years, many revolutionary products have come and gone. They may actually do as they promise, but they could be complicated to use or a bit too expensive for many people to access. Microfiber cloths, however, have truly changed our lives for the better. Although not as technological when compared to smartphones and computers, microfiber cloths have definitely made our lives easier, healthier, and more comfortable.

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How to Create a Beautiful Garden in a Small Space

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Garden ideas for small spaces, Garden design ideas

There are many benefits to having a garden in your home. The most obvious one of course is that it is a visually pleasing addition to any living space. Tending to a garden has also been scientifically proven to be beneficial to one’s physical and psychological health. What’s more, if you grow crops and herbs, you’ll be able to cut down your grocery expenses as well.

Contrary to what many people might think, a beautiful garden doesn’t need too much space. There are also a lot of plants that thrive even with minimal care, so you don’t have to worry if you don’t have possess the proverbial green thumb. Here are some tips on how you can maximize your yard space and cultivate a small yet charming garden of your very own.

Create Levels

You may not have a lot of horizontal floor space, but you can certainly create more by building upwards. Try planting on layered boxes (think of bleacher benches) or building archways, plant towers, or trellises where plants can craw. You can also consider installing a frame on a wall where you can hang aerial plants. Dividing your garden into sections may also create the illusion of a bigger area. Create the divisions using stones, grass, or even a line of small plants.

You can also try what is called “square foot gardening” for some variety. This simply entails dividing the growing area into individual patches, usually one square foot each, where you plant different kinds of vegetables, herbs, and other plants that don’t take up much space.

Add a Water Fountain

Installing an outdoor water fountain can instantly beautify your small garden. However, just like gardens themselves, outdoor water fountains are often thought of as something that requires a lot of space. This is simply not true, as there are many space-saving models available in the market. Look for tall, tower-type floor fountains or a pedestal model where you can arrange a small collection of plants underneath. If your yard is flush against a wall, an outdoor wall fountain is an ideal choice. Surround it with hanging plants and watch them thrive with the additional moisture!

Very small garden ideas, Small garden landscaping ideas

Go for an Edible Garden

If you’re really going for the maximum output in the smallest amount of space, plant vegetables, root crops, and herbs instead of ornamentals. Edibles are low-maintenance (no mowing or frequent clipping required!), require less watering, and, except for a few species that need specific conditions to grow, can thrive in almost any kind of environment. Plus, you’ll get to harvest fresh, healthy, and organic foods.

Tomatoes are easy to grow and bear fruit quite quickly; they’re also pleasant to look at with their various colors. Blueberries, blackberries, parsley, sweet potatoes, and other plants that can tolerate acidic to moderately acidic soil are also good choices if you aren’t quite a skilled gardener. Meanwhile, if you’re gunning for variety, you can plant quick-to-harvest crops like baby carrots, green onions, lettuce, and other leafy greens.

Plant in Containers

Instead of planting directly on the soil, use various containers that you can hang or stack. Planting in containers easily increases the amount of space where you can plant, and adds mobility to your garden so you can rearrange it to add more plants and crops whenever you want. Planting in pots, boxes, and other kinds of containers also allows you to use spaces that won’t be normally accommodating plants, like window sills or walls.

Bring Some Plants Indoors

Sometimes, you really don’t have enough space in your yard. In that case, moving a part of your garden indoors is a good idea. Bust out the planters and pots for succulents, a variety of cactuses, and flowers. For edibles, pick a spot in the house that receives the most sun — window sills are often the most ideal locations for herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. You can even grow dwarf trees like figs, lemons and limes, mulberries, oranges, and olives using bigger pots that drain well.

You may have limited acreage in your yard but remember: your creativity is limitless! Put your imagination in action and your garden will soon flourish.

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Diagnostic Car Tool, What is it? Benefits Of A Car Diagnostic Scanner

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OBD2 scanner bluetooth

All modern cars have some form of computer control system usually referred to as the ECM (Electronic Control Module). The ECM controls the operation of the Powertrain or what you and I would call the engine and transmission.

Although there are some parts of the Powertrain that each vehicle manufacturer has to monitor there are others that are optional or specific to each manufacturer.

So, as with almost anything that has a computer control system, it is inevitable that it will have some form of diagnostic system built in so that when a problem occurs it can be easily pinpointed and fixed. The term used for a vehicles diagnostic system is OBD or On Board Diagnostics.

When a fault is picked up by the OBD, a warning signal on the vehicles dashboard lights up. This is usually referred to as the MIL or Malfunction Indicator Light.

To help us find out what the error is, a diagnostic car tool is required. If you are a competent DIY mechanic or someone who knows about electronics/computer systems then you can buy your own diagnostic car tool as their price has become affordable considering the cost to get a dealer or car mechanic to do it each time the MIL comes on.

Why Do We Need OBD?

Vehicle on board computer systems were originally introduced in the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s more vehicle manufacturers started to introduce electronic systems to monitor their engines functions so that they could diagnose problems earlier. In the late 1980’s the California Air Resources Board (CARB) required all new cars to have a form of OBD. This was usually referred to as OBD 1.

In the mid 1990’s, to meet the increasing stringent EPA emission standards and to have a state-wide emissions testing program the CARB issued the OBD-II / OBD2 standard. In 1996 the OBDII/OBD2 standard was made mandatory for all new cars sold in the USA. In 2001 a similar standard was also implemented in Europe known as EOBD. This sophisticated standard provides almost complete engine control and also monitors parts of the chassis, body and accessory devices, as well as the diagnostic control network of the car.

Benefits Of A Car Diagnostic Scanner

Put yourself in this picture…. You’re driving home from a holiday, its pitchblack, you have your family with you and you still have a long journey before you get home. Suddenly the engine warning light or MIL light flashes on, your heart sinks as you think oh no!, what could be the problem and will you be able to get home?

Luckily you had the foresight to buy an OBD2 car diagnostic scanner that has a description of all possible faults built in. After plugging the OBD2 scan tool center into the car, you find out that the problem is not so serious and you can continue your journey.

Of course the problem could have been more serious but as you knew what it was from your scanner you would be able to give the breakdown service an accurate diagnosis of your car’s problem. This would then enable them to make sure they had the necessary tools and parts to attend to your car properly.

So having a good car diagnostic scanner, which you carry with you, allows you to diagnose any problems that occur and to then make an informed decision as to the correct route to take to resolve the issue.

What I mean by this is you either continue your journey safe in the knowledge that the problem is not serious and can be fixed when you get home. If a serious problem has been detected by the OBD2 scan tool center you can call the breakdown service and give them a more accurate description of your problem than just saying “the engine warning light has come on”

P.S. This really did happen to me 🙂

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