18 Cats Who Are Proving They Are Liquids

It’s the cold, hard facts.

According to Merriam-Webster, to be a liquid is to be capable of flowing freely, like water.

18 Cats Who Are Proving They Are Liquids

1. Therefore, cats must be liquids. Look at them.

Therefore, cats must be liquids. Look at them.

2. Just… look at them.

Just... look at them.

3. They fit into anything that isn’t cat-shaped.

They fit into anything that isn't cat-shaped.

4. They are far too squishy to be solids.

18 Cats Who Are Proving They Are Liquids

5. This cat is literally dripping off someone’s legs.

This cat is literally dripping off someone's legs.

6. And this one’s basically waterfalling down the stairs.

7. Kinda seems like if cats were not liquid, they wouldn’t be able to fit into tiny boxes like this.

Kinda seems like if cats were not liquid, they wouldn't be able to fit into tiny boxes like this.

8. Or compressed into little pitchers like this one.

Or compressed into little pitchers like this one.

9. That jiggling looks like a pretty liquid sort of thing.

10. And if sinks are meant for water…

 

11. Then why are so many cats all up in them?

 

12. Seems questionable.

 

13. Here’s a cat leaking through the cracks. Just like a nonsolid.

14. Surely this once identifiable cat can only look so elongated because he is…GASP…A LIQUID!!!

 

15. SOLIDS JUST DON’T LOOK LIKE THAT.

15

16. Like, did that kitten just *magically* pop out of that tiny hole? NO. THAT KITTEN IS LIQUID.

17. Open your eyes, people.

 

18. CATS ?ARE ?LIQUIDS. ?

 18




Originally posted on www.buzzfeed.com
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10 Steps For First-Time Home Buyers

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Buying your first home can be a daunting task. But millions of people have been there before you and survived. If you do your homework, you’ll have the best possible chance of finding a place you can afford for a price you can handle. The big surprise for many first-timers is that they need to finish the first five steps on this list before they can even begin to look for a home.


1. Review your financial health.

Before clicking through pages of online listings or falling in love with your dream home, do a serious audit of your finances.

First look at savings. Don’t even consider buying a home before you have an emergency savings account with three to six months of living expenses. Look at how much is left over in your savings and investment accounts that could go toward a down payment.

Next, review exactly how much you’re spending every month – and where it’s going. This will tell you how much you can allocate to a mortgage payment. “Make sure to account for every dollar you spend on utilities, kids’ activities, food, car maintenance and payments, clothing, entertainment, retirement savings, regular savings, miscellaneous little items, etc., to know how and where a new mortgage payment fits into your budget,” says Liz Recchia, owner/broker at We Sell Real Estate, LLC, in Phoenix, Ariz., and author of “HELP! I Can’t Make My House Payment!”




As you research neighborhoods, factor in how moving would change your transportation costs to work. The Commute Solutions cost calculator takes into account your car’s vehicle type along with car payments, gas, miles traveled and other factors to help you estimate the cost of a potential commute.

2. Check into benefits for first-time home buyers.

Before you start meeting with lenders, it’s good to know what constitutes a good deal. And that includes looking into special programs that might make it easier for you to find a property you can afford. Read Credits For First-Time Home Buyers to learn more about these options. Take this information with you when you start looking for a mortgage.

3. Meet with lenders.

Many realtors will not spend time with clients who haven’t clarified how much they can afford to spend. And in most instances, sellers will not even entertain an offer that’s not accompanied with a mortgage pre-approval. That’s why – if you don’t have all cash (how many first-time buyers do do?) – your next step is talking to a lender and/or mortgage broker.

A lender or broker will assess your credit score and the amount you can qualify for on a loan. He or she will also discuss your assets (savings, 401(k), etc.) and debt, as well as any local programs that might be available for down payment assistance. That’s where your homework on first-time home buyer programs can help. If you think you qualify, look for a lender that handles the program you hope to get.




Do some research online, but work with a live person who can review your situation, answer questions and, if necessary, suggest how you can improve your credit.“Online calculators do not always include insurance and taxes or PMI [private mortgage insurance required if the down payment is less than 20%] and are not always an accurate picture of what the payment or actual fees for the loan are,” says Anita Wagoner Brown, director of sales and marketing for Home Creations, the largest new home builder in Oklahoma. For more information, read Investopedia’s tutorial Mortgage Basics.

4. Shop around for a mortgage.

Don’t be bound by loyalty when seeking a pre-approval or searching for a mortgage. “Shop lenders, even if you only qualify for one type of loan,” says Recchia.

Fees can be surprisingly varied. For example, an FHA loan may have different fees depending on if you’re applying for the loan through a local bank, credit union, mortgage banker, large bank or mortgage broker. See Understanding FHA Home Loans.




When you’ve gotten the best deal you can, get a mortgage pre-approval so you know how much house you can buy. And make sure you are pre-approved, not just pre-qualified.

5. Have a back-up lender.

Qualifying for a loan isn’t a guarantee your loan will eventually be funded: Underwriting guidelines shift, lender risk-analysis changes and investor markets can alter. “I have had clients who signed loan and escrow documents, and 24 to 48 hours before they were supposed to close were notified the lender froze funding on their loan program,” says Recchia. Having a second lender that has already qualified you for a mortgage gives you an alternate way to keep the process on, or close to, schedule

6. Find a realtor.

Once you know how much you can afford and the loan amount you’ll qualify for, it’s time to find a real estate agent. Look for one who works with a team of people who can offer suggestions about home inspectors, insurance agents, etc.




“Realtors do a lot of your groundwork up front for you by contacting listing agents to set up showings and help you negotiate the purchase,” says Brandon Gentile, a real estate agent at Keller Williams Realty in Clarkson, Mich. “The best part is, a buyer doesn’t pay for working with a realtor. The service is free for a buyer, as sellers pay all the commission.”

7. Decide on a neighborhood.

You’ll probably have an ideal location, but keep an open mind as you see how much house you can buy in different areas. Homes and land are less expensive the farther they are from a metropolitan area. On the other hand, imagining that the long commute won’t matter that much is an easy trap to fall into. The stress and costs of a long commute can undermine marriages, finances and mental health. Use the calculator in step 1 to see what that extra trip could add to your monthly bill.

8. When you find a property, crunch your numbers again.

If you’re thinking about making an offer on a home, take another look at your budget. This time factor in closing costs, moving expenses and any immediate repairs and appliances you may need before you can move into the home, notes Felipe Pacheco, a division manager of Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. (PRMI), who is based in Salt Lake City. Don’t overlook hidden costs such as the home inspection, home insurance, property taxes, homeowners association fees and more.


9. Look over utility bills.

First-time home buyers are often moving from rentals that use less energy (gas, oil, electric, propane, etc.) and water than a larger new home will. It is easy to be ambushed by soaring rates when your new house has ceilings higher than your rental – or older windows that leak air. Then there are unexpected utilities, such as buying gas to power a lawnmower. These costs can blow a budget.

Before submitting a purchase offer, request the energy bills from the past 12 months to get an idea of the average monthly cost, suggests Marianne Cusato, an award-winning designer based in Miami, Fla., and co-author of “The Just Right Home.” Most utility companies can provide a homeowner copies upon request. “If you are in love a house and everything else works but the energy bills, have an audit preformed to assess what your options are for making it more energy efficient,” says Cusato. “In many cities the electric company will come out and do the assessment for free.”

10. Don’t forgo a home inspection.

After your offer has been accepted, splurge for a home inspection. Spending even $500 can educate you about the house and help you decide if you really want to pay for necessary repairs. You can also leverage your offer depending on the results of the inspection report and make the seller financially responsible for all or some of the repairs.


The Bottom Line

Purchasing your first home is perhaps the biggest financial decision you’ll ever make. Don’t take on more of a financial obligation than you can handle. A small stretch may be worth it, but a big one could haunt you if life gets temporarily bumpy.

That’s why Recchia suggests keeping your risk tolerance in mind. “If you find great security in owning your house, save more money for a large down payment and find a loan that works for you. The higher the down payment, the less in debt you will be; the less debt, the better you will be able to weather economic storms and still own your house,” she says.




Originally posted on www.investopedia.com

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Top 10 Rags-To-Riches Success Stories Of All Time

Rags To Riches Stories

They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. These inspiring figures had less than a lemon to start out with – and are now known for their sheer tenacity as they climbed to the top.

 

1. Henry Ford

Rags To Riches Stories-Henry Ford

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Henry Ford was a farm boy who went on to revolutionize transportation industry in America. Ford was very interested in mechanics from a young age, when he dismantled and reassembled a pocket watch at the age of 15 his father had given him. A self-taught watch repairman who graduated to being an apprentice machinist, Ford started his personal experiments on gasoline engines which was the beginning of his vast Ford empire. And his net worth, as per Forbes in 2008, is a cool $188.1 billion.


2. Walt Disney

Rags To Riches Stories-Walt Disney

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Our childhood would have been dreary without this genius of a man. Walt Disney was also another boy brought up in a farm – and used to draw pictures for his neighbors for money. He used to be the cartoonist for the school newspaper, Disney went through the jobless phase where no one hired him, and his brother had to help him out with his job search. He went from rags to riches by starting out with advertisements and going on to animating his own cartoons.


3. Ralph Lauren

Rags To Riches Stories-Ralph Lauren

Image Credit: crainsnewyork (dot) com

Born in a strict Jewish family with a house painter for a father, Ralph Lauren grew up with big dreams. He used to sell ties to his classmates to earn some cash, and he mentioned in his yearbook that he wanted to be a millionaire. His interest in ties went on help his put his foot through the door of bigger achievements in the fashion world. When he was signed on to design the clothes for ‘The Great Gatsby’ in 1974, he was catapulted into the fame which he commands today.

4. Steve Jobs

Rags To Riches Stories-Steve Jobs

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This Apple founder is now a household name. Jobs was given away for adoption by his biological parents and he became interested in electronics after his foster dad showed him the joys of technical tinkering in their garage. He had to drop out of college, because his education was costing his foster parents a lot. He used to return Coke bottles for money and live on free meals at the Hare Krishna temple. A hippie who used to trip on LSD, Jobs went from a technician in Atari, Inc. to becoming the CEO of Apple Inc.

5. Richard Branson

Rags To Riches Stories-Richard Branson

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Branson went from being a dyslexic kid who performed badly in school to a British business magnate with a net worth of 4.6 billion. There was a time when Richard Branson started his record business from the crypt of a church – and now he is the fourth richest citizen of the UK. This entrepreneur is an example of how one can be eccentric and yet rake in the moolah. He had his finger in many pies – record label, airways and telecom.

6. John Paul DeJoria

Rags To Riches Stories-John-Paul-DeJoria

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Born to Italian and Greek immigrant parents, this billionaire had to sell newspapers when he was nine to support his family. He has lived in a foster home, been part of a street gang and jumped through a number of jobs. With a loan of $700, he began what is now known the world over as the Paul Mitchell line of hair products. He went on to own 70% of The Patron Spirits Company, the world’s ultra-premium tequila brand. If this is not a rags-to-riches story, we do not know what is.


7. Oprah Winfrey

Rags To Riches Stories-Oprah Winfrey

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Born to a housemaid and a coalminer, Oprah definitely did not grow in the lap of luxury. Living the life of poverty, where she used to have to wear dresses made out of potato sacks and was molested by relatives. She entered the world of media after getting the job of a news-reader in a local black radio station. After she got her first talk-show in Chicago, there was no looking back for this TV personality.

8. J.K. Rowling

Rags To Riches Stories-J.K. Rowling

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Born in a lowly English family, Rowling battled depression, suicidal tendencies and poverty to become one of the most loved British authors in the world for her hugely popular Harry Potter series. Highly imaginative as a kid who thrived on stories, she drew from her surroundings and the people in her life as inspirations for the books which have now become one of the biggest movie franchises. From her humble beginnings, she has gone on to become one of the most powerful women in the United Kingdom.


9. Daymond John

Rags To Riches Stories-Daymond John

Image Credit: bemagazine (dot) me

A black boy growing up in Queens – one would not have pegged John as a potential entrepreneur who would go on to become the CEO of the hip-hop clothing brand FUBU. But that he did, with an entrepreneurial instinct that he honed from his school days. Selling popular wool hats at half their market price, he mortgaged their house for future business expansion. It paid off well – and he now is one of the most influential motivational speakers in America.

10. Chris Gardner

Rags To Riches Stories-Chris Gardner

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This is the man whose life has inspired the Will Smith-starrer ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’. Physically abused by his stepfather as a child and placed in a foster home, Gardner’s woes did not leave him even as he grew up to marry and be a father. As shown in the movie, Gardner struggled with homelessness while raising his kid. It was the strength of the lessons he learnt from his mother that he went from rags to riches by tenaciously building himself to be the CEO

There is no disadvantage these personalities did not suffer on their journey from birth to where they stand today – but sheer tenacity, confidence and hard work led them to the inspiring figures they are today.




Originally posted on www.mensxp.com

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30 FOODS THAT UNCOVER YOUR ABS FOR UNDER $1!—RANKED

side-plank-abs

 

“Dave, can I borrow six bucks?” my friend Chuck asked. We had met up at the gym for a quick sweat session, and on the way out he was ogling the refrigerator at the cafe.

“I can’t believe how expensive this stuff is,” he said, pulling out a carton of protein shake. “What’s ‘ferric pryophosphate’ anyways?”

“Look,” I told him, snatching away the carton. “I don’t know what that is, nor would I ever recommend ‘pyridoxine hydrochloride,’ ‘sodium hexametaphosphate,’ or any of the other weird chemicals in here.” I stuck the container back in the fridge. “I’ll lend you the six bucks, but only if you spend it on a whole week’s worth of ab-building foods, instead of this overpriced chemistry set.”




While there are merits to some of the fancy supplements on the market, there’s no need to break open your piggy bank to buy your way to perfect nutrition. Nature has already created an array of muscle-building, fat-melting superfoods that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, or send you into a frenzy of Googling to figure out what it is you’re really ingesting. In fact, the very best food for abs are cheap, plentiful, natural, and come with an array of healthy side benefits as well. Here are some of my favorites. And blast belly fat–in just two weeks–with these essential 14 Ways to Lose Your Belly in 14 Days!

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HEMP SEED NUTS

Cost: $1 a serving

Similar in taste to sunflower seeds, these nuts are derived from hemp seeds, which are also used to grow cannabis. (We know what you’re thinking. The answer is no.) By weight, hemp seed nuts provide more high-quality protein—6 grams per tablespoon—than even beef or fish. Each nut is also packed with heart-healthy alphalinoleic acid. Find them in your local health-food store or in the natural-products section of your grocery store.



Eat This, Not That! tip: Enjoy straight from the bag, or sprinkle a handful on salads or in your morning oatmeal. And to get the abs you really want—and lose up to 16 pounds in 14 days with mouthwatering breakfasts, lunches and dinners, with 150+ recipes—buy the brand-new book from Abs Diet creator David Zinczenko: Zero Belly Cookbook!

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FROZEN MANGO

frozen mango

Cost: $1 per serving

Think of the frozen packages as the better berries for your health — and budget. Fresh berries tend to be slightly more expensive than their frozen counterparts and are prone to growing mold quickly if they aren’t prepped perfectly. Frozen fruit is also the perfect on-hand solution to squashing sweet cravings before they lead to a binge. Frozen mango is particularly good to have in the house; it boasts a sherbet-like consistency that can keep you from polishing off your pint of Ben & Jerry’s while delivering vital nutrients you’ll never find in the frozen dessert aisle.




Eat This, Not That! Tip: Frozen versions of your favorite fruits are also killer for creating weight loss smoothies. Plus, swapping out ice in favor of frozen fruit is an easy way to keep your shake from getting watered down. “Just make sure the bag does not have any added sugars, syrups and salts,” Isabel Smith, RD, cautions.

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SARDINES

sardines

Cost: $1 per serving, with two servings per tin

These oily fish are a top source of omega-3 fats, rivaling even salmon. Plus, they’re packed with bonebuilding calcium. Research shows that omega-3s can improve everything from your cholesterol profile to your mood to your ability to ward off Alzheimer’s. Look for sardines packed in olive oil. Crown Prince Natural brand is inexpensive, but more discerning eaters may want to check Whole Foods or igourmet.com for upscale products.

Eat This, Not That! tip: You can eat them straight from the can, but for a more sophisticated approach, wrap a sardine around an almond-stuffed olive. Or you can chop sardines and stuff them inside a peppadew pepper. Peppadews are just one of the 20 Superfoods for Abs You’ve Never Heard Of!

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COTTAGE CHEESE

Cost: $1 per serving

If you’re really hungry, you could eat two of these bad boys without passing the 200-calorie mark. Cottage cheese is a good addition to your diet because it’s high in protein and relatively low in calories. It’s also considered a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids your body needs to function properly.




Eat This, Not That! tip: “You can also pair your own Breakstone’s individual low-fat cottage cheese with a piece of fresh fruit,” suggests Maria-Paula Carrillo, MS, RDN, LD.

26
BELL PEPPER

bell pepper

Cost: $1 per pepper

Even if you eat well and exercise, constantly pulling your hair out can prevent your abs from showing. When we stress out, the body starts pumping out the hormone cortisol, which encourages the body to store cholesterol-raising fat around the midsection. The good news is that vitamin C-rich foods like peppers, broccoli and Brussels sprouts can help keep you trim. How does eating the produce squash stress? According to German researchers, the nutrient can lower levels of cortisol during stressful situations, helping those abs take center stage.




Eat This, Not That! tip: Grab a pepper and a few eggs, and get crackin’! This mighty fat-frying duo is sure to help you fit into your skinny jeans in no time. Eggs contain a metabolism-boosting nutrient called choline, and peppers are a good source of vitamin C. What does vitamin C have to do with weight loss? Getting an adequate amount of the nutrient can help fight off cortisol, a hormone that causes fat to accumulate around the midsection. Chop some peppers, add them to a hot pan with some olive oil, add in two or three eggs and scramble them up to stay slim.

25
GREEK YOGURT

greek yogurt

Cost: $1 for a regular yogurt serving—usually a bit more for Greek, but we’ve seen Chobani on sale for a buck per 5.3 oz single serving.

Nutrient-dense Greek yogurt is as buzzed about as any pop culture icon, with some brands boasting their own pop-up shops in SoHo and YouTube spoof videos. But does it have the staying power of, say, Beyonce? All signs points to yes. Good Greek yogurts are low in sugar, high in protein and creamy enough to make you think they’re sinful, making this weight loss staple a perfect breakfast-on-the-go or snack to quell that angry 3 pm hunger.

Eat This, Not That! tip: navigating the dairy aisle is no easy task; with tons of brands offering “authentic” Greek yogurt lined up on your grocery store shelves, you may need a little help weeding out the good from the bad. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best (and worst) Greek ‘gurts: so you don’t have to stress or even read nutrition labels on your next grocery trip. Click here to discover the 11 Best Greek Yogurts for Abs!

24
MANUKA HONEY

honey

Cost: 95 cents per serving

What does it take to become the number one tennis player in the world? A lot of practice. Nerves of steel. And, if you’re Novak Djokovic, a strict gluten-free diet that he says has played a major role in helping him attain the number one ranking. The newly crowned U.S. Open men’s singles winner and reigning Wimbledon champion reveals what he eats during a tournament, in his bookServe to Win. And honey’s one of them. “I eat two spoonfuls of honey,” he says. “Every day. I know what you’re thinking: Honey is sugar. Well, yes, it is. But your body needs sugar. In particular, it needs fructose, the sugar found in fruits, some vegetables, and especially honey. What it doesn’t need is processed sucrose, the stuff in chocolate, soda, or most energy drinks that gives you an instant sugar shot in the body, where you feel like ‘Wow!’ I don’t like ‘wow.’ ‘Wow’ is no good. If you have ‘wow’ now, that means in thirty minutes you’re going to have ‘woe.’”


Eat This, Not That! tip: If you can stretch your budget, Djokovic recommends “manuka honey, which comes from New Zealand. It is a dark honey made by bees that feed on the manuka tree (or tea tree), and has been shown to have even greater antibacterial properties than regular honey.”

23
APPLES WITH THE SKIN ON

apples

Cost: 75 cents per red apple

An apple a day keeps the doctor away—at least if you keep the peel on. While traditional advice for saving the skin was based mainly on its fiber content (an average apple provides 4.5 grams, or nearly two servings of Metamucil), there’s a growing body of research to suggests it’s actually polyphenols in the peel—non-digestible compounds capable of doing everything from increasing sexual pleasure to reducing cholesterol—that are responsible for the apple’s doctor defense. In fact, one study showed 75 grams of apple reduced “bad” cholesterol levels by 23 percent compared to an equivalent serving of notoriously fiber-rich prunes. The health a-peel doesn’t stop there. New research suggests polyphenols can fight cancer, and promote the growth of friendly bacteria in the gut that aids weight loss.

Eat This, Not That! tip: Tart Granny Smith apples reign supreme when it comes to healthy fiber and polyphenol content, research suggests.

22
DARK CHICKEN

chicken skewers

Cost: A mere $1.40 per pound, per whole chicken; $1.60 per pound of chicken legs—and for 2 servings per pound, that works out to 70 or 80 cents per serving!

In our Eat This, Not That! food lab, we compared all major cuts of beef, pork, poultry and alternative meats through a rigorous equation to assess their core nutritional value. The criteria? High protein-to-fat ratio; density of 10 essential nutrients commonly found in proteins; and low saturated fat concentrations and cholesterol levels. Light chicken meat won out handily over all other cuts, with chicken breast being the best you could buy. But for an almost equally healthy chicken alternative, a dark chicken leg will save you 89 cents a pound—and it scored higher in
nutritional value than all cuts of beef except for kidney and liver.

Eat This, Not That! Tip: You can also opt for frozen chicken breast, which contains almost identical nutrients at half the price as the fresh breast. In our taste tests, we found it impossible to tell the difference between fresh and frozen. Or, if you’re more of a meat eater, check out these 5 Best Cuts of Beef for Weight Loss!

21
PUMPKIN

canned pumpkin

Cost: 57 cents per serving
High in fiber, low in calories and full of vitamin A—pumpkin has got a lot to offer your body. Sure, you may consume enough pumpkin at Thanksgiving for an entire year, but pumpkin goes well in more than just pie. At less than $1.50 per can, it’s worth keeping a few stashed away in your pantry.


Eat This, Not That! tip: Pumpkin puree can be used in both sweet and savory dishes—bread, cookies, oatmeal, yogurt, pancakes, smoothies, stews, you name it. Just a few tablespoons are enough to help improve digestion and boost immunity.

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WATERCRESS


Cost: 50 cents per serving
Recently crowned superfood numero uno, watercress may be king of the produce aisle as a nutrient powerhouse. A study report published by the Centers for Disease Control that ranked 47 fruits and vegetables by amounts of 17 disease-fighting nutrients positioned watercress at number one. Kale didn’t even make the top 10! Gram for gram this mild-tasting and flowery-looking green contains four times more beta carotene than an apple, and a whopping 238 percent of your daily recommended dose of vitamin K per 100 grams—two compounds that keep skin dewy and youthful. The beauty food is also the richest dietary source of PEITC (phenylethyl isothiocyanate), which research suggests can fight cancer. Results from a trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggest a daily dose of 85 grams of raw watercress (that’s about two cups) could reduce DNA damage linked to cancer by 17 percent.


Eat This, Not That! tip: A cup of watercress provides 4 calories. Yes, FOUR. So go ahead and eat the whole bag. Exposure to heat may inactivate PEITC, so it’s best to enjoy watercress raw in salads, cold-pressed juices and sandwiches. Click here to learn about the other Top 10 Greens Healthier Than Kale!

19
SWEET POTATO

Cost: 79 cents per sweet potato
The vibrant tubers are called superfoods for good reason: They’re packed with nutrients and can help you burn fat. Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and have a low glycemic index, which means they’re absorbed slowly and keep you feeling full longer. They’re also rich in carotenoids, powerful antioxidants which help stabilize blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance, which prevents calories from being converted into fat. And their high vitamin profile (including A, C and B6) give you more energy to burn at the gym.

Eat This, Not That! tip: Fries don’t have to be fried to be delicious. Infuse sweet potato fries with a welcome smoky flavor by grilling them. The twist helps balance the spud’s natural sweetness. Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven!

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WHOLE WHEAT PASTA

whole wheat pasta

Cost: 57 cents per serving

You know brown is better, but do you know why? It’s because whole wheat contains three parts of the grain, all nutrient rich and fiber-filling. Also try varieties with lentils, chickpeas, black beans or quinoa. And, bonus health tip: If you’re whipping up a pasta sauce, try throwing some flax seeds in the mix, suggests Rachel Fine, MS, RD, CDN. “They’re a great source of healthy unsaturated fats, which are powerhouses for the body’s immune system,” she says. See, because our bodies are exposed to pollutants in the environment, they’re in a constant state of low-severity inflammation. Thanks to their unsaturated fat content, flax seeds help the body battle that inflammation, according to Fine.


Eat This, Not That! tip: Jovial Einkorn Rigatoni is our go-to brand. Because it has never been hybridized, Einkorn is one of the purest species of wheat out there, say its proponents. The whole grain is rich in protein and fiber, and just one serving of this pasta dishes up a quarter of the day’s phosphorus (a nutrient that’s typically only found in milk and meat) and 80 percent of the day’s manganese, an essential nutrient that helps the body process cholesterol, carbs and proteins. Don’t miss these other 10 Essential Carbs That Build Muscle!

17
PUMPKIN SEEDS

pumpkin seeds

Cost: 49 cents per serving

Six dollars per pound may not seem super cheap, but to even breach one pound of raw pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas), you’re going to be taking home what looks like whole year’s supply. The great thing about these crunchy seeds is that you only need to consume them in small quantities to reap the health benefits. One ounce contains more than eight grams of protein and is also high in iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc (important for a healthy immune system).

Eat This, Not That! tip: Add into salads, oats and yogurt, or pop them in your mouth as is for a quick snack.

16
SPINACH

spinach

Cost: 43 cents per serving
It may be green and leafy, but spinach is no nutritional wallflower. This noted muscle builder is a rich source of plant-based omega-3s and folate, which help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. Bonus: Folate also increases blood flow to the nether regions, helping to protect you against age-related sexual issues. And spinach is packed with lutein, a compound that fights macular degeneration. Aim for 1 cup fresh spinach or 1/2 cup cooked per day.


Eat This, Not That! tip: Make your salads with spinach; add spinach to scrambled eggs; drape it over pizza; mix it with marinara sauce and then microwave for an instant dip.

15
LIGHT TUNA

tuna sandwich

Cost: 41 cents per serving

Tuna or to-not? That is the question. As a primo source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), canned light tuna is one of the best and most affordable fish for weight loss, especially from your belly! One study in the Journal of Lipid Research showed that omega 3 fatty acid supplementation had the profound ability to turn off abdominal fat genes. And while you’ll find two types of fatty acids in cold water fish and fish oils—DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)—researchers say DHA can be 40 to 70 percent more effective than EPA at down regulating fat genes in the abdomen, preventing belly fat cells from expanding in size. But what about the mercury? Mercury levels in tuna vary by species; generally speaking, the larger and leaner the fish, the higher the mercury level. Bluefin and albacore rank among the most toxic, according to a study in Biology Letters. But canned chunk light tuna, harvested from the smallest fish, is considered a “low mercury fish” and can–and should!–be enjoyed two to three times a week (or up to 12 ounces), according to the FDA’s most recent guidelines.


Eat This, Not That! tip: “Before my morning training session, I like to have a bit of tuna,” says Dr. Sean M. Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, ATC/L, CSCS Owner and PT. “I slice heirloom tomatoes into a bowl, top them with a can of wild-caught tuna and drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil on top. This provides a great low-carb protein punch, essential polyunsaturated fats and a serving of raw vegetables.” And don’t go for the cheap fish! Click here to find out How Tilapia is Worse than Bacon!

14
CHICKPEAS

chickpeas

Cost: 36 cents per serving
Along with other legumes, chickpeas are a new weight-loss superfood. Their high fiber and protein content increases satiety, and a number of studies have shown that people who add them to a reduced-calorie diet lose more weight and have lower cholesterol.

Eat This, Not That! tip: Chickpeas make you feel fuller longer and lower body mass by releasing cholecystokinin, an appetite-suppressing hormone. This snack’s good balance of proteins and fats make hummus a comfort food in more ways than one.

13
PEANUT BUTTER

peanut butter

Cost: 29 cents per serving, for the good stuff

A study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found a link between the consumption of peanuts and a decreased risk for heart disease. Resist buying reduced-fat versions! The healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats found in peanuts are what provide those heart-healthy benefits. Due to its caloric density, peanuts and peanut butter should be consumed in small portions, but that modest two-tablespoon serving offers eight grams of protein on average.


Eat This, Not That! tip: Don’t sweat super-expensive almond and nut butters, if you can’t afford them. A simple serving of Smucker’s Creamy Natural Peanut Butter will get the job done. Although if you want to spluge, go for one of these16 Best Nut Butters for Weight Loss!

12
BANANAS

Cost: 28 cents per pound

A bloated belly can make even the most toned stomach look a bit paunchy. Fight back against the gas and water retention with bananas. One study found that women who ate a banana twice daily as a pre-meal snack for 60 days reduced their belly-bloat by 50 percent! Not only does the fruit increase bloat-fighting bacteria in the stomach, it’s also a good source of potassium, which can help diminish water retention. Once you’ve kicked the bloat to the curb, you can hit the beach with confidence and show off that hard-earned body!

11
WHOLE EGGS

Cost: $2.90 per dozen, so 24 cents each

When it comes to eggs, it seems we’ve been given scrambled messages. Many of us opt for egg whites over whole eggs because word on the street is that the yellow contains too much cholesterol and raises the risk of heart disease. However, new research has found that cholesterol levels in our bodies are impacted by the types of fats in our food, not just the cholesterol content. Not to mention, yolks contain nutrients that may help lower the risk of heart disease, including protein, vitamins B12 and D, folate and riboflavin.


Eat This, Not That! Tip: What’s more, eating the whole egg can help keep you slim. In fact, they’re one of our top fatty foods that will help you lose weight. The yolk contains a nutrient called choline that boosts metabolism and turns off belly-fat genes. If the thought of eating whole eggs still makes you uneasy, try making an omelet with one whole egg, two egg whites and some chopped vegetables.

10
OLIVE OIL

olive oil

Cost: 24 cents a serving

Extra virgin olive oil may increase blood levels of serotonin, a hormone associated with satiety. Plus, olive oil is also loaded with polyphenols, antioxidants that help battle many diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis and brain deterioration.
Eat This, Not That! tip: Expensive extra-virgin, with its robust flavor, should be saved to dress salads, vegetables and cooked dishes. For cooking purposes, regular or light olive oil is sufficient.

9
KAMUT


Cost: 21 cents per serving

Quinoa, make some space at the table—there’s a new ancient grain on the block. Kamut is a grain native to the Middle East. Rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, it’s also high in protein while low in calories. A half-cup serving has 30% more protein than regular wheat (six grams), with only 140 calories. Eating kamut reduces cholesterol, blood sugar and cytokines, which cause inflammation throughout the body, a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found. Toss it into salads or eat it as a side dish on its own.

Eat This, Not That! tip: Buy it and boil it. Or try Eden Foods Kamut and Quinoa Pasta. In addition to serving up a good amount of protein and fiber, the noodles have 20 percent of the day’s magnesium—a nutrient not normally found in pasta. Not getting enough magnesium has been linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and coronary heart disease. Click here t find out which other 10 Surprising Foods You Need For Abs!

8
RUSSET POTATOES

Cost: 20 cents per potato

Thanks to the popularity of low-carb diets, white potatoes have been unfairly blacklisted. After taking a second look into the science, you’ll see there’s no need to be scared of the spuds—they’re actually powerful hunger tamers that can help you slim down. In an Australian study that measured the satiating index of 38 popular foods, researchers discovered that potatoes were not only more filling and satisfying than dietary demons like doughnuts and cake (no surprise there), they also ranked better than healthy picks like brown rice and oatmeal. As a result, research participants ate less on the days they consumed them. Not to mention, this root vegetable is also a good source of potassium, vitamin C and belly-filling fiber.


Eat This, Not That! tip: Ditch high-cal potato toppings like sour cream and bacon bits, and enjoy the spuds with olive oil, rosemary and fresh pepper instead.

7
OATMEAL

oatmeal

Cost: 19 cents per serving

Aside from generally being sky-high in sugar and basement-low in protein, breakfast cereals are pricey. A 12-ounce box can run upwards of $6 for a dozen servings. By contrast, there are 30 servings in a two-pound container of Old Fashioned Quaker Oats (the silo-shaped package, not the instant packets), which rings in at under $4. Oats are high in soluble fiber and anti-inflammatory compounds, which increase satiety and have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Eat This, Not That! tip: Sprinkle a serving with cinnamon (one of the best fat-burning spices) or top it with fruit.

6
PU-ERH TEA

Pu-Erh Tea

Cost: 19 cents per cup

A fermented Chinese tea with an earthy flavor, Pu-erh can literally shrink the size of your fat cells. To discover the brew’s fat-crusading powers, Chinese researchers divided rats into five groups and fed them varying diets over a two month period. In addition to a control group, there was a group given a high-fat diet with no tea supplementation and three additional groups that were fed a high-fat diet with varying doses of pu-erh tea extract. The researchers found that the tea significantly lowered triglyceride concentrations (potentially dangerous fat found in the blood) and belly fat in the high-fat diet groups. It’s a natural fat-blaster, along with barberry, rooibos and white tea.



How to drink it: We love Pu-erh so much, we made it part of our brand new weight-loss plan, The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse! Test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in just one week!

5
POPCORN

popcorn
Cost: 19 cents for organic
Snack time needs some attention, too. Those of you who didn’t know popcorn was considered a “health food” have been missing out! Microwave popcorn does not qualify, unfortunately. Plain popcorn kernels are a whole grain food high in fiber and antioxidants. When air-popped, the classic snack only contains about 30 calories per cup.

Eat This Not That! tip: You can also pop kernels on the stove in coconut or olive oil for a more indulgent flavor. Sea salt, cinnamon, Parmesan cheese or herbs and spices are a healthy way to kick the flavor up a notch.

4
BLACK BEANS

black beans

Cost: 16 cents per serving

All beans are good for your heart, but none can boost your brainpower like black beans. That’s because they’re full of anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds that have been shown to improve brain function. A daily 1/2-cup serving provides 8 grams of protein and 7.5 grams of fiber. It’s also low in calories and free of saturated fat.
Eat This, Not That! tip: Wrap black beans in a breakfast burrito; use both black beans and kidney beans in your chili; puree 1 cup black beans with 1/4 cup olive oil and roasted garlic for a healthy dip; add favas, limas, or peas to pasta dishes. OR make this Black Bean and Tomato Salsa: Dice 4 tomatoes, 1 onion, 3 cloves garlic, 2 jalapeños, 1 yellow bell pepper, and 1 mango. Mix in a can of black beans and garnish with 1/2 cup chopped cilantro and the juice of 2 limes.

3
LENTILS

lentils

Cost: 14 cents per serving

Lentils are like the Chuck Taylors of nutritional all-stars—old-school, somewhat pedestrian in style, yet hugely popular the world over. The edible pulse has been a part of the human diet for some 13,000 years—an inexpensive form of vegetarian protein and fiber touted by health experts for its ability to reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, promote fat metabolism and dampen appetites.


Lentils are a resistant starch, a slow-digesting fiber that triggers the release of acetate—a molecule in the gut that tells the brain when to stop eating. In fact, a systematic review of clinical trials on dietary pulses found that people who ate a daily serving of lentils (about 3/4 cup) felt an average 31 percent fuller compared to a control diet. And a second study found a diet rich in blood-sugar stabilizing foods like lentils could reduce disease-related inflammation by 22 percent!

Eat This, Not That! tip: Replacing meat with lentils can increase a recipe’s fiber content while lowering saturated-fat. Swap four ounces of ground beef (280 calories) for a cup of cooked lentils (230 calories) in your chili, and you’ll boost fiber by 16 grams while slashing 22 grams of fat from your meal.

2
FROZEN VEGGIES

frozen peas

Cost: 11 cents per serving

The days of finding a rotten half head of lettuce at the back of your fridge can be a thing of the past — if you get to know the frozen foods section of your local supermarket. And don’t you dare feel bad for skipping the produce section in front; frozen veggies retain more nutrients than their fresh-sold counterparts because “the frozen ones are picked then immediately (or soon after) frozen,” according to Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian and founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition. “Just read the labels on frozen packages to make sure there is no added sodium, sugar, or chemicals,” she advises. Plus, frozen veggies can be used on your own schedule — without fear of waste. Adding a handful of frozen spinach or other veggies to dishes here and there is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense way to boost satiety and lose weight.

Eat This, Not That! Tip: Frozen vegetable medleys are an easy way to get more variety into your diet. Different colors of produce are natural indications that you’re getting different vitamins and minerals; the more colors you eat, the better. Next time you’re at the store, grab a bag of frozen tri-color bell peppers. Peppers are low-calorie and rich in vitamins A and C, which are important for healthy vision and vibrant, glowing skin.

And the #1 Cheapest
Food for Abs…
CANOLA OIL

canola oil

Cost: 5 cents per serving

Canola, derived from the seeds of a plant in the broccoli family, has near-perfect 2.5:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats. According to a study review published last year in Experimental Biology and Medicine, people who achieve a dietary ratio similar to this have been able to battle cancer, arthritis and asthma more effectively. It’s also rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential omega-3 fatty acid that may play a role in weight maintenance, according to a recent study.


Originally posted on www.eatthis.com.

 

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Re-reading is inefficient. Here are 8 tips for studying smarter.

The way most students study makes no sense.

That’s the conclusion of Washington University in St. Louis psychologists Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel — who’ve spent a combined 80 years studying learning and memory, and recently distilled their findings with novelist Peter Brown in the book

USING ACTIVE LEARNING STRATEGIES IS MOST EFFECTIVE

The majority of students study by re-reading notes and textbooks — but the psychologists’ research, both in lab experiments and of actual students in classes, shows this is a terrible way to learn material. Using active learning strategies — like flashcards, diagramming, and quizzing yourself — is much more effective, as is spacing out studying over time and mixing different topics together.


McDaniel spoke with me about the eight key tips he’d share with students and teachers from his body of research.

1) Don’t just re-read your notes and readings

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Photofusion/UIG via Getty Images

“We know from surveys that a majority of students, when they study, they typically re-read assignments and notes. Most students say this is their number one go-to strategy.

WHEN STUDENTS RE-READ A TEXTBOOK CHAPTER, THEY SHOW NO IMPROVEMENT IN LEARNING

“We know, however, from a lot of research, that this kind of repetitive recycling of information is not an especially good way to learn or create more permanent memories. Our studies of Washington University students, for instance, show that when they re-read a textbook chapter, they have absolutely no improvement in learning over those who just read it once.


“On your first reading of something, you extract a lot of understanding. But when you do the second reading, you read with a sense of ‘I know this, I know this.’ So basically, you’re not processing it deeply, or picking more out of it. Often, the re-reading is cursory — and it’s insidious, because this gives you the illusion that you know the material very well, when in fact there are gaps.”

2) Ask yourself lots of questions

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Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

“One good technique to use instead is to read once, then quiz yourself, either using questions at the back of a textbook chapter, or making up your own questions. Retrieving that information is what actually produces more robust learning and memory.

RETRIEVING INFORMATION IS WHAT PRODUCES MORE ROBUST LEARNING AND MEMORY

“And even when you can’t retrieve it — when you get the questions wrong — it gives you an accurate diagnostic on what you don’t know, and this tells you what you should go back and study. This helps guide your studying more effectively.

“Asking questions also helps you understand more deeply. Say you’re learning about world history, and how ancient Rome and Greece were trading partners. Stop and ask yourself why they became trading partners. Why did they become shipbuilders, and learn to navigate the seas? It doesn’t always have to be why — you can ask how, or what.


“In asking these questions, you’re trying to explain, and in doing this, you create a better understanding, which leads to better memory and learning. So instead of just reading and skimming, stop and ask yourself things to make yourself understand the material.”

3) Connect new information to something you already know

“Another strategy is, during a second reading, to try relating the principles in the text to something you already know about. Relate new information to prior information for better learning.

“One example is if you were learning about how the neuron transmits electricity. One of the things we know if that if you have a fatty sheath surround the neuron, called a myelin sheath, it helps the neuron transmit electricity more quickly.

“So you could liken this, say, to water running through a hose. The water runs quickly through it, but if you puncture the hose, it’s going to leak, and you won’t get the same flow. And that’s essentially what happens when we age — the myelin sheaths break down, and transmissions become slower.”

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(Quasar/Wikimedia Commons)

4) Draw out the information in a visual form

“A great strategy is making diagrams, or visual models, or flowcharts. In a beginning psychology course, you could diagram the flow of classical conditioning. Sure, you can read about classical conditioning, but to truly understand it and be able to write down and describe the different aspects of it on a test later on — condition, stimulus, and so on — it’s a good idea to see if you can put it in a flowchart.

“Anything that creates active learning — generating understanding on your own — is very effective in retention. It basically means the learner needs to become more involved and more engaged, and less passive.”

5) Use flashcards

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Deb Stgo

“Flashcards are another good way of doing this. And one key to using them is actually re-testing yourself on the ones you got right.

KEEPING A CORRECT CARD IN THE DECK AND ENCOUNTERING IT AGAIN IS MORE USEFUL

“A lot of students will answer the question on a flashcard, and take it out of the deck if they get it right. But it turns out this isn’t a good idea — repeating the act of memory retrieval is important. Studies show that keeping the correct item in the deck and encountering it again is useful. You might want to practice the incorrect items a little more, but repeated exposure to the ones you get right is important too.

“It’s not that repetition as a whole is bad. It’s that mindless repetition is bad.”

6) Don’t cram — space out your studying

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Johannes Simon/Getty Images

“A lot of students cram — they wait until the last minute, then in one evening, they repeat the information again and again. But research shows this isn’t good for long term memory. It may allow you to do okay on that test the next day, but then on the final, you won’t retain as much information, and then the next year, when you need the information for the next level course, it won’t be there.

PRACTICE A LITTLE BIT ONE DAY, THEN TWO DAYS LATER

“This often happens in statistics. Students come back for the next year, and it seems like they’ve forgotten everything, because they crammed for their tests.

“The better idea is to space repetition. Practice a little bit one day, then put your flashcards away, then take them out the next day, then two days later. Study after study shows that spacing is really important.”

7) Teachers should space out and mix up their lessons too

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Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images

“Our book also has information for teachers. And our educational system tends to promote massed presentation of information as well.




“In a typical college course, you cover one topic one day, then on the second day, another topic, then on the third day, another topic. This is massed presentation. You never go back and recycle or reconsider the material.

“But the key, for teachers, is to put the material back in front of a student days or weeks later. There are several ways they can do this. Here at Washington University, there are some instructors who give weekly quizzes, and used to just put material from that week’s classes on the quiz. Now, they’re bringing back more material from two to three weeks ago. One psychology lecturer explicitly takes time, during each lecture, to bring back material from days or weeks beforehand.

THE KEY, FOR TEACHERS, IS TO PUT THE MATERIAL BACK IN FRONT OF A STUDENT DAYS OR WEEKS LATER

“This can be done in homework too. It’s typical, in statistics courses, to give homework in which all of the problems are all in the same category. After correlations are taught, a student’s homework, say, is problem after problem on correlation. Then the next week, T tests are taught, and all the problems are on T tests. But we’ve found that sprinkling in questions on stuff that was covered two or three weeks ago is really good for retention.

“And this can be built into the content of lessons themselves. Let’s say you’re taking an art history class. When I took it, I learned about Gauguin, then I saw lots of his paintings, then I moved on to Matisse, and saw lots of paintings by him. Students and instructors both think that this is a good way of learning the painting styles of these different artists.

“But experimental studies show that’s not the case at all. It’s better to give students an example of one artist, then move to another, then another, then recycle back around. That interspersing, or mixing, produces much better learning that can be transferred to paintings you haven’t seen — letting students accurately identify the creators of paintings, say, on a test.

“And this works for all sorts of problems. Let’s go back to statistics. In upper level classes, and the real world, you’re not going to be told what sort of statistical problem you’re encountering — you’re going to have to figure out the method you need to use. And you can’t learn how to do that unless you have experience dealing with a mix of different types of problems, and diagnosing which requires which type of approach.”

8) There’s no such thing as a “math person”

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Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

“There’s some really interesting work by Carol Dweck, at Stanford. She’s shown that students tend to have one of two mindsets about learning.

IT TURNS OUT THAT MINDSETS PREDICT HOW WELL STUDENTS END UP DOING

“One is a fixed learning model. It says, ‘I have a certain amount of talent for this topic — say, chemistry or physics — and I’ll do well until I hit that limit. Past that, it’s too hard for me, and I’m not going to do well.’ The other mindset is a growth mindset. It says that learning involves using effective strategies, putting aside time to do the work, and engaging in the process, all of which help you gradually increase your capacity for a topic.

“It turns out that the mindsets predict how well students end up doing. Students with growth mindsets tend to stick with it, tend to persevere in the face of difficulty, and tend to be successful in challenging classes. Students with the fixed mindset tend not to.




“So for teachers, the lesson is that if you can talk to students and suggest that a growth mindset really is the more accurate model — and it is — then students tend to be more open to trying new strategies, and sticking with the course, and working in ways that are going to promote learning. Ability, intelligence, and learning have to do with how you approach it — working smarter, we like to say.”

Originally posted on www.vox.com

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Live With Confidence Using To-Do Lists

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As a new year approaches, you’re likely reflecting on how to live a better life. Whether you seek convenience, effectiveness, or success with goals, consider using To-Do lists. Even if you have a great memory, your mind can always use a little help holding onto everything you need to do.

 

If you use To-Do lists, you’ll feel confident that nothing will fall through the cracks. Also, not trying to recall every single thing will help reduce your stress.

 

Putting things down on paper means you don’t have to expend your precious energy trying to recall scads of small details and tasks to do. Instead, you can confidently accomplish projects and daily goals with minimal effort. This way, you save your energy for the big things, the ones that really matter.

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Over time, as you use To-Do lists for daily accomplishments, you’ll notice a boost in your confidence. It makes sense that if you achieve more in a day, you’ll feel better about yourself.




 

Try this simple, effective system:

 

  1. Buy a spiral notebook. Write “To-Do List” on the front of it in big letters. Utilize this notebook only for this purpose.

 

  • Get the size of notebook that will be most convenient for you. If you like a full size 8 ½ x 11 inch notebook, go for it! If you prefer one that fits in a purse, that’s good, too.
  1. Make a commitment to yourself. Always use your notebook as your To-Do list. Avoid writing your lists on scraps of paper here and there. Put your name on the notebook.

 

  • Your To-Do list is your key to experiencing more success in everything you do. Nothing builds confidence like knowing you’ll eventually achieve every single goal. All you’ve got to do is write down tasks to be completed and goals to be met. Then do them!

 

  1. Start using your To-Do list today. Open the notebook and on the first page, start listing all the tasks you want to complete. Don’t worry about big projects versus small tasks. It doesn’t matter how many pages it takes to think of every project/task/errand you want to finish.
  2. Celebrate completing tasks. When you finish a task, cross it off the list.

 

  • As you learn to depend on your To-Do list, you’ll find you worry less about whether you’ll complete tasks. Your confidence will grow as you learn that when it’s on the list, it’ll get done. Plus, putting a line through completed tasks will build feelings of success.
  1. Tear out old pages. Eventually, you’ll start to have pages where every task has been completed and crossed out.

 

  • It’s an amazing feeling to realize you’re getting things done every single day. Sure, some days you’ll get more done than other days, but still, you’re doing something to be proud of. Who would’ve thought you’d feel so confident, just tearing out a page from a spiral notebook?

 




A simple to-do list will bolster your confidence in many different ways. You’ll be proud that you planned ahead and followed through with your tasks. Plus, finishing each job and getting rid of a whole page of completed tasks will boost your confidence enormously.

 

Writing down what you want to accomplish in a day can be an integral part of an organized, effective and self-assured life. Start living today and every day with more optimism and confidence by making use of To-Do lists.


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Healing Negative Childhood Memories With Journaling

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Have you ever found yourself confronting painful memories of situations you experienced when growing up? Remembering these situations can be like re-opening old wounds and feeling the same emotions over and over again. Fortunately, you can use some very productive strategies to help you heal. One of those strategies is journaling – writing down how you feel and think.




 

Try these journaling techniques to help you resolve the pain of negative childhood memories:

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  1. Write about what you thought and felt. Going back in time, ponder what the negative situations were like for you. Did you feel embarrassed when Dad pointed out your teeth to people? Were you angry about Mom’s consistent efforts to make you stand up straighter and taller? Write it down.
  2. What are your current thoughts and feelings? Next, use your current “adult mind” to take a look at the situation the best you can. What does your adult mind tell you about what really happened? Maybe you see things more clearly now. Was Mom or Dad’s goal to simply make you a “better person?” Jot down your current interpretation of the situation.



  3. Document how the challenging situations affected you then. How did you react as a child to what happened? How did you make sense of the trying situations then? Who, if anyone, did you talk to about the troublesome times? Mention them in your journal.
  4. Ponder how the hurtful events from the past affect you now. See if you can make any connections between your past and present. Make a conscious decision to better manage your feelings and behavioral choices now. Write down how you can manage your emotions differently.
  5. Vow to gain understanding. If it was a situation when your parent did something that you just couldn’t understand, can you make sense of it now? Maybe your father didn’t make you stay home from a trip to punish you – perhaps he thought you’d be exposed to something unsavory or even unsafe and he was hoping to protect you.
  • Explore these possible explanations through writing in your journal.
  1. Re-write your history. Re-construct your childhood on paper how you would have liked it to be. It’s a learning experience to formulate how you would have liked your growing up years to have been different. Re-writing your history can also help you heal.



  2. Make a conscious decision to overcome your past. Whatever your old hurts, decide to disconnect them from your current life. This effort must be made consciously and with great thought. Write down how you can release yourself.
  3. Recognize these events were in the past. As you record your thoughts and feelings, make note of how long ago the situation or events occurred. Label them as “in the past” in your journal. Start a new section called, “In the present” and write about how you’ll respond to those types of hurts now.
  4. Formulate a plan to let it go and move on. In your writings, consider steps you might take to move on in your life and live more openly and without being tethered to your historic pain.
  5. Give yourself permission to release the old, negative emotions. In your journal, jot down that you no longer have to carry the hurt. Allow yourself permission to leave it behind you. You can even draw a picture of the tangled web of feelings and state you’re leaving all the pain right there between the lines of your journal.

 

Expressing yourself with pen and paper, or even on a computer, will help you discharge your troublesome feelings and move on with your goals. Live your best life now by using journaling to help heal old wounds.


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11 steps to financial freedom

by Julie Cazzin

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Want a new car? A bigger house? An earlier retirement? Make your own financial plan right here, in 11 easy steps.

 

I learned everything I know about money from my dad. Even though he had little formal education, he understood how money works, how to get it and how to make it grow. One moment stands out in my memory: it was a Sunday afternoon when I had just turned 12. Dad took his tan leather briefcase down from the top shelf of his bedroom closet, pulled out his notebook and preceded to show me how to create what I now know was his personal financial plan.




That afternoon, at our kitchen table, he showed me how saving can earn you money through compounded interest, and how owing money can bury you in debt. His message? If you have a financial plan, you have choices—and having choices and setting goals is what leading a successful and satisfying life is all about.

My dad’s personal financial plan was his road map, helping him navigate to his dreams. And the roads to those dreams were built on details. For instance, dad always knew exactly what his take-home pay was, how much the family spent every week on groceries and gas, and how much he needed to save each month to pay off his mortgage in 10 years—his main financial focus when I was growing up.

His plan wasn’t just about counting pennies though, it also allowed him to plan for luxuries—and pay for them in cash. That’s why there was a special column in his plan for $50 in weekly savings towards a family trip to Italy. He had a system he believed in, and made sure the household finances were managed effectively.

These days, most people I know don’t have a financial plan. We spend a lot of time planning for other aspects of our lives, such as our careers, marriages and having kids, but many of us fail to build a plan to achieve our financial goals.




If you would like to stop wondering about whether you’ll ever realize your financial goals, and build a plan to actually reach them, I can help. Read on and I’ll not only show you how to build a proper financial plan, I’ll take you through each step, complete with worksheets and a blank financial plan template that you can fill in at the end. Follow my simple instructions and in no time at all, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with a professional-quality personal financial plan—without having to pay a financial planner a dime.

1. Talk to your spouse
Most couples never talk to each other about their financial goals. If you’re in a relationship, before you roll up your sleeves and dig into the numbers, talk to your spouse about what you want to accomplish. “Have a brief conversation about goals, values, and what kind of lifestyle you want,” says Karin Mizgala, chief executive officer of Money Coaches Canada, a national network of fee-only financial experts based in Vancouver. “That’s key to a good start.”




Action step #1: Click here to find 10 worksheets in the “MoneySense financial plan kit.” There is a PDF version of each worksheet that you can download and print out if you want to fill in the sheets with a pencil or pen. There is also a Microsoft Word version you can fill out on your computer. Print out “Worksheet 1-Prioritize your goals” for this step. You and your spouse should fill this sheet out separately, then compare the results when you’re done.

2. Figure out where you’re at
Before you start worrying about where you want to go, you first have to figure out where you are now. In this step you’ll create a net worth statement, which is essentially an honest measure of your current wealth. You do this by tallying up the value of what you own (your assets) and what you owe (your liabilities). When you subtract your liabilities from your assets, you get a number that represents your net worth. Your net worth statement is an important tool that charts your financial progress over the years. For instance, if your net worth is going down, you’re eroding your wealth and making it harder to achieve your goals. If it’s increasing, you’re on your way to getting richer and achieving your financial goals.

Action step #2: Determine your net worth. Print out “Worksheet 2-Gather your documents.” It’s a checklist to help you pull together what you’ll need before you start, including bank statements, credit card statements, and life insurance polices.

Once you have all your documents in front of you, you’re ready to fill out “Worksheet 3-Your net worth statement.” First list the values of all of your assets, including your home, your cars, your cash and investments. Then list your liabilities, including credit card debts, your mortgage and any other outstanding loans. Tally both your assets and your liabilities and transfer those amounts to the following section, your simplified net worth statement.

Finally, subtract your liabilities from your assets to discover your true net worth. This shorter net worth statement gives a clear snapshot of exactly where you stand today.

3. Track your spending
The key to building a strong financial plan for the future is to understand how much you spend and save right now. This is called tracking your cash flow, and it can give you a sense of control and confidence that makes it easier to make financial changes in your life.

Personally, I’ve kept a small journal tracking my spending for years because it helps me modify my behaviour if my spending gets out of control. It’s not always easy, but it works.

“The part most people dread is taking a really close look at their expenses,” says Mizgala. “But don’t put it off. Successfully managing cash flow is your key to financial control. It will give you an awareness that has more long-term value than anything you can invest in, buy or sell.”

The point of the exercise is to find out whether you finish each year with a cash surplus or a cash deficit. This number will tell you a lot about your general financial shape. A surplus means you’re living within your means, while a deficit shows you’re spending more than you make. If you have a deficit, you will have to cut your expenses (or increase your income) to achieve any financial goals.

What do most people find after doing this exercise? “They’re shocked,” says Mizgala. “It’s a very revealing exercise, mainly because if you have a family with two spouses with debit and credit cards, it’s hard to really see the complete financial picture unless you write it down. This awareness allows you to set up a system for the household.”

Action step #3: Record your cash flow. Fill out “Worksheet 4-Your spending and savings.” It shows what money is coming in (wages, interest, government benefits) and what’s flowing out (rent, debt payments, utility bills). Fill in all your monthly expenses in column 1 and your annual expenses in column 2. (You can leave column 3, the estimate for your future spending in retirement for a later date.)

Tally up your expenses in both columns and subtract them from total net income on both a monthly and yearly basis. The result is your cash flow deficit or surplus.

A good way to approach this exercise is to start with your regular monthly after-tax income and subtract the bills that don’t change month to month, such as rent or mortgage payments. If you don’t know the exact numbers, put in averages for things like groceries, gas or children’s activities. Then add in expenses that only come up a few times a year, such as travel, car repairs and gym fees. Estimate a total for these and divide it by 12, and put that figure in the monthly column of your worksheet. You may not pay the bills in 12 monthly installments but imagine you are setting money aside each month so that you have the total amount when the bill comes due.




4. Adjust your spending
Look closer. Are your expenses higher than your income? If so, you’re living beyond your means. You’ll need to adjust your expenses accordingly so you don’t go further into debt.

This step is not about punishing yourself or laying blame. If you’d rather eat out four times a week than buy a cottage in 10 years, that’s your choice. But you owe it to yourself to be honest about what you’re doing so you’re not wondering why you can’t reach your financial goals.

If you decide to cut back, there are some less painful ways of doing it. Consider renegotiating your mortgage to a lower rate or cutting out one major expense completely. A close friend of mine cut the $5,000 annual family vacation and substituted a couple of long weekends of camping instead. It saves his family $4,000 annually.

If you have a cash surplus, congratulations. You can start allocating money to meet your goals right away.

Action step #4: Compare your spending to your goals. Take a second look at “Worksheet 1-Prioritize your goals” and “Worksheet 4-Your spending and savings.” The idea here is to look at how well your current spending habits mesh with your goals. If you have a cash flow deficit you won’t be able to meet your goals, so you’ll have to see if you can free up cash by cutting back your spending in areas that are less important to you.

For instance, if you have a $5,000 a year deficit on Worksheet 4 and one of your goals is to go on a $4,000 family vacation to Britain in four years, you need to figure out a way to cut $6,000 a year from your spending. You could try using only one car and taking public transit to work. Such a cut could save you $6,000 a year in vehicle costs, allowing you to both balance your budget and reach your travel goal.

5. Set your life goals
Financial goals don’t just happen. You make them happen. This step requires you to assess where you want to be five, 10 and 20 years from now and answer some big questions, such as where you want to live in retirement and when you want to stop working.

One tip is to visualize what your life will be like 10 years from now if you do everything right. The truth is when they picture their future lives, very few people see themselves in a $10-million house in Hawaii. Most people’s goals are more realistic, such as keeping up their current standard of living in retirement (with maybe a few upgrades), preventing any financial disasters, and having the freedom to do the things they love, such as spending more time with friends and family.




“Think of what type of life you want in the future and how you are going to organize your life right now to get it,” says Mizgala. “Your job is to structure your finances so you can achieve your vision.”

Action step #5: Set your top three goals. Fill in “Worksheet 5-Your life and financial goals” and “Worksheet 6-Your top three goals.” If your are in a relationship, sit down with your partner and examine what your goals are and how they fit in with your spending and saving patterns. On Worksheet 5, list each of your top four or five goals and assign a dollar value to each, as well as a time frame for achieving the goal.

Now, compare how closely your goals align with those of your partner. In Worksheet 6, list the three most important goals that you both agree on, in order of priority, in column 1.

6. Develop a strategy
Once you know where you’re going, you need a plan to get there. The usual route is to spend less than you earn and invest the surplus in such a way that you can get where you want to go.

One word of caution—if you’ve identified your goals but you’re in debt, you probably should address that debt before you start investing for the future. “Even when people are not overspending and have debts that carry reasonable interest rates, I encourage them to work aggressively at paying those debts down,” says Norbert Schlenker, founder of Libra Investment Management in Salt Spring Island, B.C. “Don’t even think about investing before your debts are all gone.”

Action step #6: Chart a path to your goals. Go back to “Worksheet 6-Your top three goals” and in column 2, note any obstacles to achieving each goal. Then, in column 3, write down the action steps that you and your spouse have both agreed on to make that goal a reality. For instance, when you tally up the costs of your top three goals, you may find that you need an extra $65,000 in five years to meet those goals. The main obstacle may be that your household income is low because one partner works only part-time. That partner may decide to work full-time in order to earn extra money. The key is to develop strategies and appropriate timelines to make your goals materialize.

7. Review your insurance
If you work full time, much of your insurance may be provided by your employer’s group plan. But is it enough? If you feel confident enough to do some basic calculations yourself you can find out.

Many workplace benefit plans include disability insurance, but if yours doesn’t, get enough to replace at least 60% of your after-tax income.

Then look at your life insurance needs. The general rule of thumb is to get enough life insurance to cover 10 times your income if you have kids under 10 years old (five times your income if you have kids over 10), plus the amount needed to pay off your debt. So if you make $50,000 a year, you have $250,000 outstanding on your mortgage, and two kids under 10, you will need $750,000 in term life insurance. Go to www.term.ca for quotes.

At this point, it may make sense to have an agent review all your insurance policies—disability, life, auto and home—to make sure your coverage is adequate. But be careful. “Do not be oversold on insurance by an industry that is famous for doing exactly that,” says Schlenker. “Pay attention to fees, especially with life insurance. If you need more life insurance, chances are renewable term is the right product for you. You want plain vanilla coverage for a plain vanilla problem—your kids going hungry because you can’t work.”




Action step #7: Review your coverage. There’s no worksheet for this step, but you should still take some time to carefully review all of your insurance coverage. If you don’t have group coverage through work, you probably have private insurance policies for medical, dental, life and disability insurance. Consult an independent insurance agent for a quick review. If you need extra coverage, make a note of it so you can include that in your final financial plan.

8. Slash your taxes
Most tax planning is relatively simple. You’re probably doing a lot of things right already. For instance, if you own your home and use RRSPs, Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs), and Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), you’re already taking advantage of the best tax shelters out there.

To reduce the taxes you pay on your investment portfolio returns it helps to understand that the income tax system treats the various sources of investment income differently. Interest on bonds and foreign dividends is taxed at your full marginal tax rate, Canadian dividends are taxed at rates about one-third lower, and capital gains at half the full rate. So there are advantages to holding investments that generate capital gains and Canadian dividends outside of your RRSP and TFSA if you’re tight on contribution room.

Action step #8: Consider calling a tax accountant. Again, there’s no worksheet for this step. But a few basic principles apply. For those with low to moderate incomes, paying off debt—including the mortgage—is the best tax-planning you can do. That’s because you don’t pay taxes on the capital gains on your home and there’s no tax on the return you get for getting out of debt. If, however, you’re in a higher tax bracket—earning $85,000 a year or more—it may be worth paying for a couple of hours of an accountant’s time to see what mix of investment options—RRSPs, RESPs and TFSAs—is right for you tax-wise. Have these suggestions handy for your final plan.

9. Create an investing policy
Every professional financial plan includes an Investment Policy Statement (IPS) that recommends how a portfolio should be invested. It puts in writing the rules that will make you a more disciplined investor. Having an IPS helps you to stick with your plan and keeps you from changing course when the market gets volatile.

A typical investment policy might specify that your portfolio should always maintain a ratio of 60% stocks to 40% fixed-income investments. This ratio is determined by your time horizon and risk tolerance. The longer your time horizon and the greater your tolerance for risk, the higher the equity portion of your portfolio. As you near retirement and need the security of more stable income from your investments, the portfolio mix will usually tilt towards bonds.




An IPS also states the expected annual returns for your portfolio—typically 5% to 6% per year—over a very long time period, such as 20 years or more. Your IPS might also note the volatility you should expect for a given portfolio. For instance, it could say that you should expect the portfolio to suffer a 10% drop in the short term at least once a decade.

Action step #9: Determine which investments are right for you. Fill in “Worksheet 7-How are you currently invested?” and “Worksheet 8-Which investments are right for you?” On Worksheet 7, itemize every investment you own today—including cash, fixed-income products and equity holdings.

Worksheet 8 will help you assess how much you need to save monthly, when you’ll need the money, and what your risk tolerance is. The results will allow you to zero in on how you should invest in future to meet your goals.

If you have trouble with this section, you can always leave it for now. Once your financial plan is complete, you can consult a fee-only adviser to help you build an investment strategy that’s right for you.

10. Write up a will
Every adult who owns assets and has a spouse or children should have a will. An accurate and up-to-date will is the only way to ensure your assets will be distributed the way you want them to be. If you don’t have one, you’re letting the laws in the province you live in make those decisions for you. And if you hold the belief that your spouse will automatically inherit everything—you’re wrong. In most parts of Canada children trump partners. Without a will your husband or wife will get a predetermined amount of your assets—the rest goes to the kids.

Action step #10: Create or update your will. If you have an updated will it should be filed with your financial plan. If you don’t have one, hire a lawyer to draw one up for you. Visit www.lawyerlocate.ca and search for lawyers in your area who specialize in wills and estates.

11. Create your final plan
A typical financial plan has five main parts. The first outlines where you stand right now, that’s your current situation. The second contains your top financial goals, or where you want to go. The third is a simple net worth statement. The fourth lists the steps you must take to achieve your goals. It includes your income and expenses, an overview of your insurance, a section on retirement planning, and a section on estate planning. Finally, the fifth section—usually a separate document—is your Investment Policy Statement, which lays out how your portfolio is to be invested.

To get a better feel for what your financial plan might look like, let’s take a look at a plan that has already been created by a fictional couple, Patty and Walter Berglund. The Berglunds are a 34-year-old couple living in Halifax. They have two daughters, Debra and Marie, ages 5 and 2. Their household income is $110,000 and after all expenses have been paid, they have $20,000 in cash left over each year.

Their plan lists their top five goals—to pay down $20,000 in consumer debt, save $5,000 for a family trip to Disney World in two years, pay off their $150,000 mortgage in 15 years, save $60,000 in RESPs for their daughters’ post-secondary education and finally, to retire comfortably at age 60.

This is followed by a basic statement of their assets and liabilities that shows a net worth of $82,000. The couple’s projected income and expenses show a $20,000 annual cash surplus. That money is earmarked for their goals in the following way: In the first year the entire $20,000 surplus will go towards paying down the debt. In year two, $5,000 will go towards the big family Disney World trip, $5,000 towards an extra payment on their mortgage, $5,000 to the RESPs and $5,000 to a spousal RRSP for Patty. The couple agrees to continue using the annual surplus in this way each year until their goals change.




After consulting with an insurance agent, the Berglunds agreed that their group plans with their employer are mostly adequate but they decided to increase Walter’s insurance coverage by $300,000. In the section on retirement planning, the couple made some assumptions: that Walter remains employed as a physiotherapist and stays in the hospital’s defined benefit pension plan until age 60, and that Patty continues working part time earning $30,000 a year as a social worker. Walter will start saving $5,000 annually in a spousal RRSP for Patty once their consumer debt is paid off (excluding the mortgage). If they do this, the couple should have more than enough to cover their retirement expenses adequately. Their wills and power of attorneys are all in order.

The second document, the Investment Policy Statement (IPS), outlines the Berglunds’ investment plan. They have an average tolerance for risk and don’t require regular income from the portfolio right now. So a balanced 60% equity, 40% fixed income mix suits them fine. The couple wants a well-diversified portfolio at minimal expense. Thus, their policy states that low-cost index funds or exchange-traded funds are to be used wherever possible.

Their IPS also states that once a year the Berglunds will review their portfolio and rebalance to bring the asset allocation back to their pre-determined target mix of 60% equity and 40% fixed income. It also states clearly that sudden market price movements are not grounds for revision. This will help stop the Berglunds from making impulsive investment decisions out of fear or greed.

Action step #11: Create your financial plan. Open “Worksheet 9-Your financial plan” and gather together all of the worksheets you have already filled out. Worksheet 9 is a blank financial plan with all the sections already labeled for you. At this point, all you are really doing is taking information from the completed worksheets and putting it all together to form your plan. Before you proceed, it may help to review the sample plan for Patty and Walter Berglund at the end of Worksheet 9.

Now fill out “Worksheet 10-Your investment policy statement.” Again, refer to Patty and Walter Berglund’s Investment Policy Statement at the bottom of this worksheet for guidance. Write a brief summary of your current status, and under Objectives and Constraints write down your risk tolerance, time horizon, any taxation strategies you plan to use, and the amount of time you wish to spend managing your portfolio—in many cases, minimal.




Under Investment Strategy Guidelines, write an outline of how your investments will be allocated, according to asset class. The next three headings—Security Guidelines, Location Guidelines and Risk Control, Monitoring and Review are fairly generic and are already filled in for you.

Phew, it’s done! You now have a financial plan for the rest of your life. From this point on, as your goals change, modifications to your basic plan will be straightforward.

Of course you still have to follow your plan. But you’ll probably find that the process of putting it together has already changed some of your beliefs about how your money should be spent and invested, so changing your financial behaviour may not be as hard as you think.

To make sure you stay on track, you should take the time to review your plan at least once a year, and update it as necessary. It’s also a good idea to pull it out whenever you run into a big financial or life event, such as a market crash, marriage or job change. “It’s a tool to support you through life,” says Mizgala. “Money and household finances won’t be as scary when you break it down into these manageable bits. If you truly commit, it will be a huge boon to your emotional and financial well-being.”




Originally posted in www.moneysense.ca

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This Pretty Girl Was Seeking A Rich Husband. The Reply She Got From A Banker Was Priceless!

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The following is what a women posted on a dating forum seeking a rich husband:

I’m going to be honest of what I’m going to say here. I’m 25 this year. I’m very pretty, have style and good taste. I wish to marry a guy with $500k annual salary or above. You might say that I’m greedy, but an annual salary of $1M is considered only as middle class in New York.

My requirement is not high. Is there anyone in this forum who has an income of $500k annual salary? Are you all married? I wanted to ask: what should I do to marry rich persons like you?

Among those I’ve dated, the richest is $250k annual income, and it seems that this is my upper limit.
If someone is going to move into high cost residential area on the west of New York City Garden(?), $250k annual income is not enough.




I’m here humbly to ask a few questions:

1) Where do most rich bachelors hang out? (Please list down the names and addresses of bars, restaurant, gym)
2) Which age group should I target?
3) Why most wives of the riches are only average-looking? I’ve met a few girls who don’t have looks and are not interesting, but they are able to marry rich guys.
4) How do you decide who can be your wife, and who can only be your girlfriend? (my target now is to get married)
Ms. Pretty

A philosophical reply from CEO of J.P. Morgan below:

Dear Ms. Pretty,
I have read your post with great interest. Guess there are lots of girls out there who have similar questions like yours. Please allow me to analyse your situation as a professional investor.
My annual income is more than $500k, which meets your requirement, so I hope everyone believes that I’m not wasting time here.



From the standpoint of a business person, it is a bad decision to marry you. The answer is very simple, so let me explain.

Put the details aside, what you’re trying to do is an exchange of “beauty” and “money” : Person A provides beauty, and Person B pays for it, fair and square.
However, there’s a deadly problem here, your beauty will fade, but my money will not be gone without any good reason. The fact is, my income might increase from year to year, but you can’t be prettier year after year.

Hence from the viewpoint of economics, I am an appreciation asset, and you are a depreciation asset. It’s not just normal depreciation, but exponential depreciation. If that is your only asset, your value will be much worse 10 years later.

By the terms we use in Wall Street, every trading has a position, dating with you is also a “trading position”.
If the trade value dropped we will sell it and it is not a good idea to keep it for long term – same goes with the marriage that you wanted. It might be cruel to say this, but in order to make a wiser decision any assets with great depreciation value will be sold or “leased”.


Anyone with over $500k annual income is not a fool; we would only date you, but will not marry you. I would advice that you forget looking for any clues to marry a rich guy. And by the way, you could make yourself to become a rich person with $500k annual income.This has better chance than finding a rich fool.

Hope this reply helps.

signed,
J.P. Morgan CEO




Originally posted on http://www.worthytoshare.net/

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5 Benefits Of A Falling Market

by Bob Roger 

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A good friend sent me a text the other day. The market was down, and he was nervous. “Is this the correction,” he asked. My response, which never changes each time he asks, was simple. “I don’t know. Stick to your investment plan.”

Study after study shows that investor behavior does a lot of damage to a portfolio. Good intentions aside, investors pile into stocks when the market reaches new highs. When it falls, they jump ship. The result is a repeating cycle of buying high and selling low.

Investor returns suffer. As this Morningstar report shows, investors’ actual returns lag mutual fund performance due to poor market timing. Carl Richards calls this the Behavior Gap.

There are ways to ‘Mind the Gap.’ Chief among them is to recognize the problem. We are more likely to avoid adverse investment behavior the more we understand it. Selling out of fear as the market declines produces sub-optimal returns. At a minimum we should consider this fact before executing a trade out of fear.

Beyond recognizing the problem, however, we can change our mindset. Lower equity prices, like falling prices on anything we buy, allows our money to go further. We’re thrilled when the price of gas falls. We are often less sanguine about falling stock prices. Yet the decline in the stock market offers several key benefits to any portfolio.

Here are five of them.

1.  Monthly Contributions Buy More Shares

As you contribute each month to 401(k), IRA, or taxable accounts, your money goes further. Even if contributions remain the same, the lower stock prices result in the purchase of more shares. It’s worth looking at your accounts to see this in action.

2.  Reinvested Dividends Go Further

Dividends can represent a significant portion of an investor’s returns. According to one study, from 1802 to 2002 dividends contributed five percentage points of the total 7.9% returns of stocks. Dividend reinvestment is key to these results.

According to one analysis, the reinvestment of dividends accounts for nearly 95% of the compound returns of the S&P 500 since 1926:

An investment of $10,000 in the S&P 500 Index at its 1926 inception (Figure 2) with all dividends reinvested would by the end of September 2007 have grown to approximately $33,100,000 (10.4 percent compounded). [Using the S&P 90 Stock Index before the 1957 debut of the S&P 500.] If dividends had not been reinvested, the value of that investment would have been just over $1,200,000 (6.1 percent compounded)-an amazing gap of $32 million.

Lower stock prices help supercharge the effect of reinvested dividends. At lower prices, reinvested dividends buy more shares of a company, fund or ETF.

3.  Share Buybacks Generate More Value

For the same reason that lower prices benefit new contributions and dividend reinvestment, lower prices also benefit corporate buyback programs. According to a WSJ report, companies repurchased $338.4 billion of stock in the first half of this year. As a company’s stock price drops, money spent on buybacks will purchase a greater number of shares.

4.  Rebalancing Enables You To Sell High And Buy Low

A fourth benefit of a falling market is an opportunity to sell high and buy low through rebalancing. Rebalancing, by definition, involves selling assets that have risen in value and using the proceeds to buy assets that have fallen in value.

As stock prices fall, rebalancing typically involves selling bond funds and using the proceeds to buy stock funds. The simple step of rebalancing results in increased risk-adjusted returns, in some cases improving results by 21%.

5.  Opportunity To Gain Priceless Investment Experience

Finally, a falling market gives investors invaluable experience. Many investors will manage a portfolio for decades. Living through a significant market decline provides a frontline opportunity to understand exactly how one will manage their emotions. This information can in turn inform future investment plans and expectations.

All of this leads me back to my friend’s question.  Is this the correction?

I don’t know.  Stick to your investment plan.

Originally posted on www.forbes.com

More about Author, Bob Roger 

I am an invesde1c2794bde5140ddad11640c3bb7f64tor, lawyer, blogger, husband, father, and Buckeye fanatic. I graduated in 1992 from law school and have worked in private practice, in-house for a publicly traded company, and for a regulator in the securities industry. I’ve written about building wealth since 2007 on my blog, doughroller.net. I also publish a weekly newsletter and podcast. My motto is simple–the best thing money can buy is financial freedom.

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