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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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Health

The Ultimate Guide to Minimizing Neck Pain Caused by Office Work

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These days, just about everyone spends a significant portion of their workday sitting at a desk.

Spending hours at a time hunched over a computer or other device is terrible for your neck — that’s why nearly 50 percent of office workers have reported experiencing neck pain at some point during a 12-month period.

Most people are aware that their desk job is bad for their neck, but they don’t know what to do to fix it. For most of us, quitting our office jobs and embarking on a new, less posture-killing career path simply isn’t an option.

So, what do you do if you work a desk job but are tired of dealing with a sore, achy neck? For starters, you can give these tips a try.

Adjust Your Computer Monitor

One of the first things you can do to relieve neck strain is to adjust your computer monitor. Make sure it’s positioned directly in front of you and is raised to eye-level. If you have to look down to see your computer screen, the monitor’s too low.

While you’re adjusting your monitor, you should also take a look at the settings on your screen to make sure it’s bright enough. If you find yourself leaning in to read text on your screen regularly, you may also want to adjust the settings to increase the font size and make it easier to see.

Adjust Your Desk

In addition to changing the orientation of your computer monitor, you may also want to adjust your desk to make it a bit more ergonomic.

Make sure your work surface is high enough that you can naturally type while keeping your wrists neutral and forearms parallel with the floor.

Your desk should also be deep enough that you can slide your monitor back at least twenty inches away from your eyes.

Must Read: How To Burn Unwanted Calories At Your Desk Job

Get a Better Office Chair

A high-quality office chair is another important upgrade you might want to make to your workstation. You office chair should have a full back the reaches all the way to your shoulders (or higher). This will give you the support you need to avoid slouching forward.

Make sure the chair also comes with good lumbar support to help you maintain a neutral spinal curve.

Finally, make sure all aspects of the chair are adjustable. That way, you can raise or lower the seat and armrests to fit your body specifically.

Use a Phone Headset

If you have to talk on the phone regularly as part of your job, consider investing in a headset. That way, you don’t have to tilt your head to hold the phone in place while you type. Over time, this puts a lot of strain on your neck muscles and increases the risk of experiencing neck pain.

Do Some Desk Stretches

Research shows that regular stretches is better for minimizing neck pain than using anti-inflammatory drugs (both over-the-counter and prescription). Not only is stretching free, but you also get to avoid the potential negative side effects that come with using anti-inflammatory drugs.

The following are two good stretches to do while sit at your desk:

  • Chin tucks — Push your head forward and stick your chin out, then pull your head back and tuck your chin in (while keeping your neck straight), as though you’re trying to make a double chin
  • Side stretches — Tilt your right ear toward your right shoulder while extending your left arm down and out to the side. Hold for 30-60 seconds before switching sides.

Do these exercises every hour to keep your neck muscles nice and loose.

Don’t Use Your Cell Phone to Check Emails

Thanks to smartphones, it’s easy for coworkers and clients to get a hold of us at all hours of the day. This means we often end up spending more time than is ideal bent over our phones checking emails.

To minimize neck pain caused by staring down at your phone, set a rule saying you can only check emails on your office computer. If someone really needs to talk to you, they can call you. Otherwise, it can wait until you get back to your desk.

Stand Up

If your office will allow it, consider swapping out your regular desk for a standing desk. As long as its height can be properly adjusted, this can significantly minimize neck pain.

If you use a standing desk, make sure you’re still working on improving your posture. A standing desk won’t do you any good if you’re still slouching over it.

In addition to adjusting the height, make sure you’re standing with feet shoulder-width apart and your trunk upright. Your neck should be directly over your spine and your head should be directly over your neck. Avoid leaning forward over your desk if you get tired — instead, lean back against a stool (there are many that are sold with standing desks) to take a break without undoing all your hard work.

Work with a Professional

No matter how much work they do to try and upgrade your workspace, some people still struggle with job-related neck pain.

If this is the case for you, you may need to work with a professional to solve your neck issues for good. This is especially true if you’re dealing with a serious neck condition like limited range of motion, numbness, or severe headaches.

A chiropractor or physical therapist will be able to work with you to put together a plan to fix these issues once and for all.

Final Thoughts

Neck pain is a common side effect of working in an office. But, it’s definitely not inevitable. There are lots of things you can do to minimize neck pain caused by your desk job, starting with the suggestions listed above.

Author Bio: Natalie Thongrit is a freelance writer who focuses primarily on fitness, health, and wellness-related content. You can connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn, or check out her portfolio to read more of her work.

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Lifestyle

Retractable Awnings – The Perfect Marriage of Style and Functionality

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Retractable roofing system

If you have a hi-tech home and are looking at shading options, you can sample the future today with retractable folding arm awnings that are tailored to suit any outdoor area. Technology has given us many benefits, with composites that are stronger and lighter than traditional materials, and regarding awnings, it is now possible to span a considerable area without the need for ugly support posts, using an ingenious folding arm principle, where the arms fold inwards as the awning is retracted, making for a sleek and tidy operation.

Smart Technology

Motorised solutions and weather sensors make this the perfect addition for the smart home, and the awning controls can be incorporated into your smart home system and when the sun moves around, the awning will automatically provide the right shading. You can control your shading with a smartphone app, and the range of add-on sensors (sun, wind and rain) take the strain out of adjustment. The days of ropes and pulleys are behind us, and with a bespoke design that can either be attached to the building or as a stand alone unit, the awning will blend in perfectly with the surrounding décor.

Say Goodbye to Posts and Beams

Having a covering that encompasses the entire terrace used to require a few unsightly poles or pillars, and even the sleekest of awnings had a look of permanency about them and were quite restrictive, whereas modern awnings are supported by an ingenious folding arm mechanism that is invisible when the awning is fully closed. For open areas, you can choose a stylish side-post cantilevered unit that is very stable and looks like the terrace was built around it, rather than the other way around. Once you have located a company that tailors folding arm awnings in Melbourne, then it’s simply a matter of selecting a colour and style, and with the supplier’s wealth of hands-on experience in shading character properties, you can be sure the design will tick all the boxes.

Protect your Home

Having a tailor made retractable awning fitted will protect your furniture from the harmful effects of the UV rays, and with full remote control, you can forget having to get up every ten minutes to adjust the shading, and the smooth and silent motor (which is guaranteed for 6 years) will always ensure the ideal amount of shading and natural light, no matter the time of day. Without adequate shading, the sunlight will penetrate your patio doors and will likely cause carpets and furniture to fade, yet a retractable awning in place ensures that your interior is always shaded and protected from harmful UV rays.

Fabric Choices

As you would expect, there is an impressive range of solid colours and striped patterns, and by selecting something that looks like it belongs, your shading will also be an integral component in the overall look of the terrace. The highest quality imported fabric means the endless hours of strong sunlight will not affect the surface in any way, and this is guaranteed! Ideally, your chosen supplier would visit you at home, where you can both discuss the many options, which would include a retractable roofing system and several different brands of folding arm units, and there’s no rush to make your mind up regarding the fine details, which will give you time to visit their showroom, where you can experience the units in a real life outdoor setting.

A Prime Investment

Adding a retractable awning will certainly increase the value of your property, and should you ever decide to sell up and move on, you would likely get a good return on your investment, as the awning would last for many years. A fully retractable awning is classed much the same as a permanent roof and would therefore add significantly to the property value, and with a long product warranty, you can enjoy the benefits for many years to come.

Large Expanses

A single awning can cover an area 9m x 3m, with 3 specially formulated folding arms that recede into a customised cabinet, thus protecting the fabric while the awning is not in use. If your terrace is longer than this, why not have a pair of identical units side by side? That way, the entire area can be covered and there won’t be any posts or pillars for support, leaving the terrace with an unobstructed view, and with all the components corrosion resistant, you can expect to enjoy many years of trouble free use.

Online Suppliers

If you would like to explore the possibilities of having a folding arm awning fitted, an online search will bring up a list of local suppliers, and with a little browsing, you should be able to narrow down your search, and maybe ask several companies to quote for the project. Each would want to visit you at home and discuss the many options, and by setting aside one evening for each, you will soon have a good idea of what is available and more importantly, which supplier to choose.

Once you have agreed to everything, contracts are signed and within a few days, the surveyor will pay you a visit and take the very precise measurements needed for fabrication, which will be carried out at their factory. You would then be given an installation date and the units would be fitted by a team of technicians, who would invite the client to inspect the finished unit.

Interest Free Credit

If you’ve decided it is high time to sort out the outdoor shading, but finances are not as good as they might be, most suppliers would offer their clients interest free finance, which spreads the cost over a few months, and this avoids having to wait until next year in order to have your terrace shading.

If you take the time to look into the latest generation of folding arm awnings, you might be pleasantly surprised at the many options available, and you and your family can enjoy those long summer days relaxing on the terrace in complete comfort.

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Lifestyle

Why One Must Read Rhonda Byrne’s ‘The Secret’

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Why One Must Read Rhonda Byrne's 'The Secret'

Everybody needs motivation or inspiration at some point in their lives. It could be to set goals and how to achieve them, get inspiration, and relieve stress amongst other things.

Anyone or anything which can influence your mind could be your source of inspiration like a good book, a good movie or a life coach can help you overcome your difficulties and move ahead in life.

The Secret is one such self-help book written by Rhonda Byrne which will help you eliminate the negativity from your life and have a fresh mind and mood. It was released in 2006 and was one of the bestselling books of the year. It was also adapted into a movie based on the same name.

It is such a powerful book that it has the potential to change your life forever and fill it with positivity and enthusiasm. Though the book has several influential strokes that one should have from time to time to do something really good with their lives, here are few that can help us all at some point:

1. Be Grateful

This is general philosophy that we become what we think. Our life is exactly what we make it. If we see and think only about the dark side of the life then that negativity ingrains in our mind and we gradually start acting on it. And if we look at the positive side and feel the good that happened to us, we move more towards that.

The author of The Secret says to not think much about what is not working in your life, just see and feel all the good things that you have. Be grateful for all those who have made your life great. Do the things that give you pleasure in the smallest of ways.

2. Decide Your Goals

Walking a long way without any destination doesn’t make any sense. It just takes time and efforts. The author of the book says the same. If you are bestowed with this precious life then know the meaning of it, know yourself, know why you have been given this life, set the purpose of your life, decide the goals, and then select the right way to reach to that desired point.

No matter how difficult your destination is, mould yourself as per the journey to assure your presence on that fixed point; develop the abilities in you to make things happen. At this point don’t think that your goal is big or small – just love it and start working towards it.

3. You Are Important To You

If you think you are paying a lot of attention to someone else, sacrificing for them and loving them more than yourself then you will be resentful. First of all love yourself as you are the protagonist of your world. Pay attention to what you need and take good care of yourself. The world will love you only if you love yourself. Don’t let anybody hurt you. Nothing and nobody can affect you until you allow them to do so.

4. See The Possibilities

Nothing in this world is impossible if we are determined to do something. The only thing that we need is our self confidence. There are possibilities for everything; all we need to do is have an eye for those hidden possibilities. Do not let the fear and impossibilities dominate on your mind, see the chances beyond it and think of how it will better your situation. Follow your persistence to turn these possibilities into reality and attain your goals.

5. Do What You Love To Do

Living your life for others is good but only to an extent, beyond that point, it becomes a burden, a task. You have only one life and one opportunity to make your dreams come true. Do not pass on the chances you have to live your life. Do the things that your heart wishes to do. These things could be small or big; all that matters is it makes you happy. Some of these little things are:

  • Sitting by a window and enjoying the rain outside with a cup of hot tea.
  • Listening to music and let yourself sink deep in thoughts.
  • Talking to the plants in the garden and sharing your sorrow with them.
  • Talking to your old friends after a long time.
  • Spending a Sunday watching funny programmes on TV etc

In short, sooner or later we all need some kind of mentoring to see the new and unseen side of life and deal with the stresses and dilemma that’s in store for us. The book The Secret is indeed a good way to fill your heart with fresh thoughts and new energy, and everybody must read it at least once.

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