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The 6 Craziest Ways Millennials Can Save Money To Retire Early

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saving, save money, investment, frugal, FIRE movement, Financial independence retire early

Financial independence, retire early.

It sounds like the dream. But it takes a lot of work to be part of the elite group of Americans in the so-called FIRE movement. While their counterparts were splurging at bars, they committed to save money from their corporate jobs…or even take on side hustles to build their income.

Inspired in part by the personal finance tome, “Your Money or Your Life” by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, these millennials are pinching pennies in order to build up big nest eggs. The goal is to then live off their investments.

And while the end sounds nice – who doesn’t want a break from the office – the road there can be tough, with millennials in the FIRE movement saving anywhere from 60% – 90% of their paychecks.

From keeping a car from 2006 to saying no to out-of-state weddings, here are six resolutions for 2020 for some of the leaders in the financial independent, retire early movement. While some ideas might be a bit zany for you – like sharing your personal finance history with a friend – it’s helpful to see what the experts recommend.

Even if your goal isn’t to retire by 40, there’s something to be said about being frugal going into this new decade. Here’s some of the craziest ways FIRE leaders jumpstarted their savings.

Kiersten and Julien Saunders are co-creators of the award-winning blog, rich & REGULAR. On their platform, they document their journey through parenting, work life, entrepreneurship, real estate investing and their pursuit of financial independence. They can also be seen in the 2019 documentary, “Playing With Fire.”

Give yourself an allowance.

We stopped thinking of savings as leftovers. It’s a bit of a brain hack, but the idea is that most people do their budget and then use the leftovers as their baseline savings rate. This approach assumes that everything is savings until you spend it.

This is saving, but in the affirmative. So you’re starting with a 100% savings rate and any time you spend money you subtract a %. It helps you easily identify the areas of life you need to change to meet your goal. If your goal is a 50% savings rate but the moment you pay your car note, your 100% starting point drops to 60%, then you know the car is an impediment to the goal.

Julie Berninger is a 30-year-old new mom, blogger, and Etsy-seller living in Seattle, WA. Julie and her husband paid off over $100,000 of debt and are now saving towards financial independence. She blogs at Millennial Boss, interviews early retirees on her podcast, Fire Drill, and teaches others how to blog and sell printables for profit at Gold City Ventures.

Say no to out-of-state weddings.

I stopped saying ‘yes’ to out-of-state weddings and expensive events associated with weddings such as destination bachelorette parties. We sent a nice note and a gift instead. We prioritized the events where we were closer with the couples but avoided spending hundreds of dollars on weekend trips. We’ve not attended at least three out of state weddings since making this decision and I did not attend a destination bachelorette. I estimate that saved us a few thousand dollars total.

Tanja Hester, author of WORK OPTIONAL: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way, is a former political communications consultant. Since retiring early from formal employment at the age of 38 along with her husband Mark Bunge, she devotes all her time to fun and purpose: writing her award-winning financial independence blog Our Next Life, podcasting on The Fairer Cents, gathering women together to talk about financial independence at Cents Positive retreats, volunteering in her community, traveling the world, and skiing, hiking, biking, paddling, and climbing around her home in North Lake Tahoe, California. Basically: living the dream.

Set up your paycheck to auto deposit into savings. 

Back when I was in debt and struggled to save any money at all, I decided to do new payroll paperwork at work so that part of my paycheck went straight to savings instead of checking, so I’d never feel like I had that money to spend. I started with $50 a paycheck, but you can do any amount. Especially if you get a raise at the start of the year, challenge yourself to live on what you earned last year and save as much of your new money as possible.

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 to help people achieve financial freedom sooner, rather than later. In 2012, after spending 13 years in investment banking, Sam decided to retire at the age of 34. He spends his free time writing, playing tennis, and taking care of his two young children. 

Talk about your financial habits. 

One of the best ways to learn is to teach. Therefore, of the best ways to elucidate your financial weak spots is explain your financial habits to someone close to you. Not only will you better understand your spending and savings habits, the person listening may also offer some constructive criticism. Get rid of complacency. Seek criticism to improve your financial health!

Mabel A. Nunez is the founder and Chief Investment Officer of Girl$ on The Money – a stock market investing education company targeted to women, minorities, and individuals that are underrepresented in the world of investing. Through courses and resources, she empowers women to take action towards wealth creation and to take control of their lives. 

Live frugally and keep your old car. 

In 2006, as I got started in my career after undergrad, I paid full price (less than $5,000) and bought myself a high quality used car to take me to work and back. My commute totaled more than 1.5 hours both ways, Monday through Friday. I am not ashamed to share that I drive the same car to this day. I am confident that this key decision allowed me to save and invest thousands of dollars over the years.

Kristy is a world-traveling, early retiree. She and her husband Bryce used to live in one of the most expensive cities in Canada, but instead of drowning in debt, they rejected home ownership. What resulted was a 7-figure portfolio, which has allowed them to retire in their 30s and travel the world. They now spend time helping people with their finances and realizing their travel dreams on their blog millennial revolution. Their also wrote a bestselling book “Quit Like a Millionaire.”

Embrace minimalism.

I grew up poor so hoarding was a big problem of mine. I wouldn’t even throw out empty CD cases (remember CDs?) just in case I might need them again. Luckily, before our one bedroom apartment turned into an episode of “Hoarders”, I realized how much money we’d be wasting by moving to a bigger apartment (our rent would have increased by 50%), so I started donating and de-cluttering our belongings, while making a pledge not to buy anything that wasn’t an absolute necessity.

This saved us a lot of rent – probably about $550 a month or around $6,600 by not upgrading to a two bedroom.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

Based in Lebanon, I cover travel and personal finance topics for millennials. I’m committed to a life of adventure and have lived in four countries before turning 30. My work appears regularly in Playboy Magazine, Outside Magazine and AFAR Magazine, among others. Before becoming a full-time writer, I was the founding Editor-in-Chief of StepFeed in the Middle East.

Source: The 6 Craziest Ways Millennials Can Save Money To Retire Early

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Scientists, Designers And Activists Collaborate To Tackle Fashion’s Biggest Problem

SWITZERLAND-DAVOS-POLITICS-ECONOMY-DIPLOMACY-CLIMATE

As the first World Economic Forum summit of this decade in Davos approaches, several announcements and launches are taking place to define the direction of sustainability across industries, with a notable focus on fashion. The upcoming Study Hall – Climate Positivity At Scale conference in New York (and live-streamed online) later this month will bring together eminent environmental scientists, chemists, fashion designers and activists to push the sustainability conversation beyond incremental and marketing-driven initiatives towards a decade of “listening to the scientists,” as urged by activist Greta Thunberg. The Study Hall Conference will use the UN Decade of Action to begin writing a new chapter in fashion history, where science is its closest collaborator.

Fashion and science have historically had a tricky relationship. Fashion reinvents itself perpetually and is heavily influenced by art, politics and popular culture, dancing to the beat of ephemerality, fleeting trends, and creative whims. Science employs a rigor and methodology that demands an entirely different and resolutely rational approach. The environmental situation we find ourselves in today demands that the two sectors harness the power of each other to fulfill our collective climate goals.

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Climate Change and Fashion

I spoke to Robin E. Bell, the ground-breaking Geophysicist and environmental scientist based at LDEO, Columbia University, who has been correlating antarctic ice sheet changes over the past three decades with projected climate change and agreed to speak at the conference for two reasons. One is practical and action-oriented, she told me, with the very top line message being “the planet is changing and we are the cause of it.” The second is her belief that the fashion industry can take an intellectual and emotional lead by being part of the climate conversation. She also urges collaboration, saying “it’s very clear that we have to build partnerships across all industries so we have the knowledge to look at this [climate change] as a system.”

This is where the fashion industry has struggled. Sustainable transformation in the context of the industry’s total environmental impact (from design to end-of-life) has been difficult to diagnose and evaluate. Without capturing the critical data and applying appropriate analysis any transformation strategy is a guess—educated or otherwise. This is where listening to the scientists (and digitizing the supply chain to ensure all required data is collected) comes in.

On the topic of the supply chain, Bell will urge fashion companies to assess the use of energy and the amount of CO2 generated, (and therefore the contribution to increased global temperatures) in their supply chain. The subsequent actions of the industry should be “looked at in relation to the CO2 budget,” she stated. Underpinning this is a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

The concept that people think we are doomed—we are not. We are fortunate as a species to be able to see what we are doing. We, as a species, can look at the planet as a whole. We can see how this global system works. We haven’t done that yet because we haven’t gotten awareness of the problem.

Robin E. Bell, professor, Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

What’s striking about the conversation with Bell is that she is utterly optimistic and warns again a fatalistic attitude to climate change. Knowing the facts, I asked why. “We have a lot of resources on the planet— solar, wind, nuclear. The application of this knowledge and the will to do so is missing,” was her response. How can the fashion industry help catalyze action toward renewable energy? “Fashion conveys the sense that our planet is a beautiful home in a way that other industries can’t. Fashion can be a platform for the voice of science,” she believes. She makes the point that it is far more difficult to communicate what we cannot see, like carbon emissions. If the message of science can be delivered by fashion that is a powerful partnership.

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The fashion industry is powerful because everyone sees fashion, it is a way to communicate.

Robin E. Bell, professor, Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Fashion Storytelling

A fashion brand with a voice it isn’t afraid to use is Noah Clothing. Co-founded by Estelle Bailey-Babenzien (interior designer) and Brendon Babenzien (ex-Design Director at Supreme) and based in NY, the brand shares global environmental news interwoven with fashion product images and photos of their community—devotees of the skate, music and fashion scenes.

We present a lot of terrifying facts to our customers, but in the middle of that we are a brand that talks about skateboarding.

Brendon Babenzien, co-founder, Noah Clothing

If fashion is synonymous with culture and lifestyle, then the decisions each of us make about what we wear says something about your beliefs and values. Noah Clothing’s values are rooted in a commitment that puts morals ahead of profits. “We will not grow if it means making a decision we are not proud of. If the conversation becomes about paying people less, that’s not appropriate,” said Brendon Babenzien. This no doubt draws admiration, dedication, and trust from fans of the brand, which is why when Noah Clothing speaks, their community listen.

Brendon Babenzien reflects on the business values he saw as a kid growing up in the ’80s. “It was all about ROI, what Wall Street is saying, the money value. But if you make people sick in the process it is a failure,” he said.

If you have to factor in human suffering everything changes—you’re not going to make as much money. We need a complete and total value shift about how we talk about things.

Brendon Babenzien, co-founder, Noah Clothing

Noah Clothing will contribute to a discussion at the conference on why fashion isn’t sustainable, presenting open and honest viewpoints about why sustainability is often talked about, but rarely achieved in a measurable, verifiable way. When asked about sustainability initiatives within his brand, he points to heavy reliance on textile mills and suppliers to guide them on sustainable materials. However, without the ability to assess the relative merits of one textile versus another, he says they have chosen to opt for the highest quality virgin and recycled materials to ensure the longest possible lifespan of their garments.

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Quantifying Sustainable Materials

A chemist tackling the lack of verifiable material sustainability data hampering companies like Noah Clothing is the CEO of Bolt Threads, Dan Widmaier. He has overseen the growth of Bolt Threads from a three-person material science startup in 2009 to a biomaterials and fabrics company with over 125 staff that has raised over 215 million dollars in investment. Since inception, Bolt has worked on the principle that nature is making extraordinary protein-based fibers that, if they could be made synthetically, would require far less planetary resources. A win for the planet, and a win for those wanting to take advantage of the billions of years of evolutionary refinement that nature has distilled in those natural fibers. Following nature’s blueprint and introducing lab-based efficiencies has led to Bolt Threads developing their Microsilk (synthetic spider silk) and Mylo products (a mycelium-based leather alternative) in small batches to test via designer collaborations.

Bolt Threads are very aware of the power of fashion to tell the story of science and have worked with Stella McCartney and adidas to release small ranges of sportswear knitted from Microsilk yarns. At the conference, Widmaier will discuss the role and methodology of Life Cycle Analysis, which is the current best practice tool (but far from perfect, he told me) for assessing the total environmental impact of a material or product—information that would be highly useful for fashion brands, including Noah Clothing, who do not create their own textiles.

We don’t sense and experience CO2 increase, we see the climate change effects—hurricanes, wildfires…  As carbon goes up, we need to make materials that stop contributing to that.

Dan Widmaier, CEO, Bolt Threads

It is evident that a symbiotic relationship between fashion and science is evolving, along with a moral imperative for the fashion industry, as a global leader in visual storytelling, to present a version of the planet we want to live on, to counter the current doom and gloom view of climate change. The Climate Positivity At Scale Conference is bringing this unique array of speakers together to foster a new fashion and science debate and instigate new collaborations. Other speakers at the conference, which is free to attend, include actress and advocate Yara Shahidi, Creative Director of Timberland, Christopher Raeburn and the fashion designer Mara Hoffman. Sustainability and regenerative farming experts from G-Star Raw and Hudson Carbon will also be amongst the speakers.

 

 

Celine Semaan, Founder of Slow Factory Foundation, a non-profit design lab and sustainable literacy initiative based in New York, established the Study Hall summit series in 2018. Reflecting on the purpose of the upcoming conference she said “fashion has only had a platonic relationship with science so far. What Study Hall is aiming to do is infuse the industry with important knowledge to accelerate the actions needed to achieve a reduction of 30% of carbon emissions by 2030, leading up to zero carbon emissions by 2050.” This feat is surely only achievable by bringing together science-based facts and the powerful voice of fashion. The Climate Positivity At Scale Conference is set to start a new chapter in the partnership that will facilitate this action.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I am a sustainability and fashion tech journalist, innovator and public speaker with several years of experience working across this growing sector. I am also Director of the innovation agency BRIA, where we create materials-tech collaborations and sustainability innovations with brands from both the fashion and technology sectors, directly combining my knowledge of the latest developments in fashion tech with my cross-discipline approach to developing new materials. As one of few specialists with career experience of working in the fields of both science and design, as well as previously running a fashion brand, I use my expertise to write about the new emerging sector of fashion tech, along with the advances which will drive sustainability in the fashion industry. I have written for a number of publications, including HuffPost and my own platform, Techstyler, and have been invited to speak about fashion tech at numerous conferences and events, including delivering a TED talk.

Source: Scientists, Designers And Activists Collaborate To Tackle Fashion’s Biggest Problem

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Volvo To Test 5G Automotive Applications With China Unicom

A light colored volvo xc90.

Connectivity is central to the future of transportation, and if self-driving vehicles are going to enter the mainstream market, they’re going to need 5G. Volvo announced it has partnered with state-owned telecom giant China Unicom to explore vehicle-to-infrastructure and other automotive applications using next-generation 5G mobile network technology.

The two companies will research, develop and test ways that 5G connectivity speeds can be used to help improve safety, sustainability, customer convenience and autonomous driving. The upcoming 5G technology is many times faster than current 4G speeds, and its low-latency is critical for vehicles using the network to communicate real-time information with infrastructure, vehicles, and to cloud-based services. Volvo, which is owned by the Chinese Geely Auto Group, will explore how best to leverage the high-speed network to improve the driving experience.

Your Garage

“Volvo has been a leader in realising the potential of connecting our cars to enable new features and services such as detecting and sharing locations of slippery roads between vehicles,” said Henrik Green, chief technology officer at Volvo Cars. “With 5G, the network performance is improving to allow for many more real-time critical services that can help the driver be safer and get a smoother and more enjoyable ride.”

Applications could help the country improve traffic flow by optimizing speed limits to coordinate with timed lights, or help drivers find open parking spaces. It could also be used to help support Volvo’s “Drive Me” self-driving vehicle pilot program. The auto maker originally planned to put 100 self-driving vehicles on the road in Sweden and China in 2017, but paused testing until 2021. The new 5G connectivity technology will be in the next generation of vehicles built on the SPA2 modular vehicle architecture, which will begin production in 2021.

However, the deployment of v2x technology using state-owned infrastructure could raise privacy concerns. China operates a vast domestic surveillance network that tracks individuals, and is rolling out a nation-wide “social credit” system based on data collected from public and private sources. This credit system can be used to reward citizens with high credit scores, and it can be used to punish those with low scores by limiting their ability to purchase luxury goods or barring them from buying tickets for travel.

Volvo notes that China is “widely expected to implement its own regional standards for vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technologies.” This means that vehicle-to-everything applications developed hand-in-hand with the state-owned telecom without individual privacy protections built in could be the same as handing over the keys to the car to the government.

Follow me on Twitter.

I’m an automotive technology and lifestyle writer covering alternative powertrains, transportation startups, next-generation infotainment systems, and basically anything could “disrupt” your daily commute. My work has appeared in CNET.com, TheDrive.com, CNN.com, and several print and online publications, including Roadandtrack.com, Popular Mechanics, and Penthouse.

Source: Volvo To Test 5G Automotive Applications With China Unicom

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Dave & Buster’s Stock Soars As KKR Boosts Stake Over 10%

DAVE & BUSTER'S EARNS

Topline: Private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) disclosed in a filing Friday that it now owns a 10.7% stake in U.S. restaurant chain Dave & Busters, and plans to continue discussions with management as it pushes for changes to the business.

  • Dave & Buster’s (PLAY) stock surged up to 16% on the news Friday, reaching almost $49, its highest level since June 2019. Shares are currently up 12% for the day while KKR stock increased 2.5%.
  • KKR, which has invested in businesses such as Lyft, Sonos and FanDuel, is one of the largest private equity firms in the world with over $200 billion in assets under management.
  • The firm took a rare activist step in disclosing its stake, saying that it has held discussions with Dave & Buster’s management and board as it pushes for changes, though its filing did not include any specific plans or proposals for the company.
  • KKR, which previously reported a 2.65% stake in Dave & Buster’s last September, also disclosed that it may discuss “any extraordinary corporate transaction” with management and shareholders, including a merger or a change in the board.
  • KKR reportedly has a “good relationship” with Dave & Buster’s management and the two sides have had a “constructive dialogue,” a source told Axios, while also confirming that KKR isn’t internally talking about attempting a hostile takeover.

Image result for amazon gif advertisements for businessCrucial statistics: Wall Street analysts are largely bullish on Dave & Buster’s: It has nine “buy” ratings, four “hold” ratings and zero “sell” ratings, according to Bloomberg data.

Key background: The Dallas-based company, which first opened in 1982, has over 110 locations. Shares of Dave & Buster’s fell 7.5% overall in 2019, while the S&P 500 rose 30%. The company suffered a one-day drop of 20% in June when it reported a surprising decline in quarterly sales that severely rattled investor confidence in the retailer. Facing headwinds like higher wage costs and restaurant oversupply in what is an increasingly competitive industry, Dave & Busters said earlier this week that its comparable store sales would decline between 2.5% to 3% for fiscal year 2019.

Crucial quote: “Based on our review of past engagements, we believe the KKR Fund may undertake a traditional activist campaign and seek to gain board representation if the firm is unable to make progress working directly with management to improve performance,” Stifel analyst Christopher O’Cull said in a note on Friday. He previously predicted that a leveraged buyout of Dave & Buster’s would be possible for around $50 per share, but that the company will be taken private at a significant premium.

Tangent: Raymond James analyst Brian Vaccaro also forecasts a possible leveraged buyout scenario, where KKR, which has steadily increased its stake in Dave & Buster’s since the third quarter of 2019, would pay a price of $55-per share for the company.

Further reading: Gentlemen At The Gate: With Trillions Pouring In, KKR And Its Peers Must Build Up Rather Than Break Up (Antoine Gara)

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I am a New York—based reporter for Forbes, covering breaking news—with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I’ve reported at Money Magazine, The Villager NYC, and The East Hampton Star. I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2018, majoring in International Relations and Modern History. Follow me on Twitter @skleb1234 or email me at sklebnikov@forbes.com

Source: Dave & Buster’s Stock Soars As KKR Boosts Stake Over 10%

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Microsoft Asks 400 Million People To Buy A New PC…And Other Small Business Tech News

Computer Stores Prepare For Release Of Microsoft Windows 7

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Microsoft is recommending that 400 million users buy new PCs by next month.

After recently announcing that they will be ending support for the Windows 7 Operating System, Microsoft released a statement this week suggesting that its nearly 400 million users still on Windows 7 switch entirely to Surface rather than upgrade their devices. The company detailed that—for most users who are using Windows 7—navigating over to a brand new PC that has Windows 10 Pro will be the most efficient move since—according to Microsoft—those devices are more secure, powerful, lightweight, and operate faster than the previous models. (Source: MS Power User)

Why this is important for your business:

OK, no one’s saying that you HAVE to buy a Surface. There are plenty of other great devices you can get for your business that also run Windows 10. But please…if your company still has computers running Windows 7 you have to do something. Upgrade. Switch to new devices. Turn them off. Computers running older operating systems like Windows 7 are very vulnerable to malware attacks which means that the cost of not upgrading could very well exceed the cost of replacing those older computers.

2 — Google is planning to kill support for third-party cookies that track you all over the internet. 

Google announced this past week that—within the next two years—it is planning to cease support for third-party cookies in its Chrome browser. Ad networks and advertisers are typically the ones who add third-party cookies in an effort to track users through various sites in order to help target advertisements and monitor performance. Before Google begins to dial back support for third-party cookies within Chrome, they first plan to navigate meeting the needs of advertisers, publishers, and users who will be impacted by the change. (Source: CNBC)

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Why this is important for your business:

This is a potentially big deal. Cookies from third parties are at the core of many brands’ efforts to track visitors and drive ads to their attention. If your business does online ad campaigns or use re-targeting services to drive traffic to your website, then Google’s potential change could impact your marketing plans. Stay tuned.

3 — Apple’s new privacy features have further rattled the location based ad market. 

The deliberate steps that Apple took this past September to help users stay more informed regarding their data and what they share seems to be working. With their new privacy protection approach, background location data that was available for advertisers to target in the past, is now data that those advertisers need to do without. With the new privacy feature, users are able to decide whether or not they want the apps they are using to share their data with companies who—in the past—would have had access to it. Currently, typically less than 50% of users opt-in to allow their data to be shared with apps when they are not being used. (Source: DigiDay)

Why this is important for your business:

Man, between Apple and Google this is a bad week for advertisers. Does your business use location based advertising to attract customers? If so, then Apple’s new privacy features may have an impact on your marketing spend. The best thing to do is to play close attention to what apps are generating business and make sure that these trends continue over the upcoming months. If you see a drop off, it could be because of Apple’s new privacy protections and may make you change some of your marketing investments.

4 — After years of decline, the PC market saw rare growth in 2019.

Research released this past week indicated that the PC market had seen growth for the first time in 8 years. According to Gartner and IDC—the firms conducting the research—annual PC shipments over the last year went up. Although the numbers released by both firms differed—with IDC estimating the increase at 2.7% year over year and Gartner finding the figure to be only 0.6%— any growth is a move in the right direction for the industry, with smartphones having taken precedence over desktop and laptop purchases. (Source: PCMag)

Why this is important for your business:

Maybe this is understated. If Microsoft had their way, the company (per above) would say another 400 million PCs to buyers too! Two thoughts on this: because PC sales have dropped so dramatically over the past decade, growth was inevitable because things can only drop so far. Secondly, it’s good news. As things have shaken out in the hardware market, it’s clear from what I see at most clients that businesses do need PCs and laptops and that tablets and phones can’t do it all. So go ahead: get that new PC.

5— TurboTax, H&R block, TaxSlayer, and more were described as the best tax software for 2020. 

Editors at CNET—a tech news website—revealed their picks this past week for the best tax software companies for 2020. TurboTax was highlighted as being the best tax software for live personal support, offering several options regardless of how complicated one’s tax scenario is. (Source: CNET)

Why this is important for your business:

Looking for tax software? CNET’s piece above is a great resource for you. According to the editors there, for the best multiplatform option, H&R Block was highlighted for their features helping with taxes such as unlimited technical support, as well as chat and phone support for customers who are on a higher tier. TaxSlayer was deemed as having the best overall pricing for the services it provides, while Credit Karma Tax, Tax Act, and FreeTax USA were also highlighted for their features and offerings.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I was a former senior manager at KPMG and since 1994 the owner of the Marks Group PC, a 10-person customer relationship management consulting firm based outside Philadelphia. I’ve written six small-business management books, most recently “The Manufacturer’s Book of Lists” and “In God We Trust, Everyone Else Pays Cash: Simple Lessons From Smart Business People.” Besides Forbes, I formerly wrote for The Washington Post and the New York Times and now write regularly for The Guardian, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Inc., Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine and Fox Business. I make no compensation from the number of people who read what I write.

Source: Microsoft Asks 400 Million People To Buy A New PC…And Other Small Business Tech News

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Amazon Alexa application is authoritatively accessible in the Windows 10 Store. Amazon Alexa can enable you to complete numerous things on Windows 10 with s

5 Ways to Protect Your Skin

a glass of water

Your skin plays a vital role in protecting your body, so it’s important to take steps to promote skin health. Caring for your skin doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming, and can quickly become second nature, like brushing your teeth.

You can keep your skin looking and feeling great by guarding against a slew of skin woes, from chapped skin to premature aging to skin cancer. “We’re talking about things that happen over decades,” says dermatologist Samantha Conrad, MD, in practice at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

That’s why it is important to develop healthy skin habits —and it’s never too late to start. Here are five skin protection tips you can incorporate into your routine right away.

Limit Sun Exposure

You’ve heard the message a zillion times, but there’s good reason — ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun cause many types of skin damage, including:

  • Skin cancer
  • Wrinkles
  • Freckles
  • Age spots
  • Discolorations
  • Benign growths

Using skin care products that offer ultraviolet protection is one of the best ways to help keep your skin looking fresh and youthful. Try these tips to help protect your skin from the sun:

  • Use sunscreen every day and reapply regularly whenever you’re outdoors for extended periods. “I encourage people to use sunblock that is more mineral- or physical-based,” says Dr. Conrad. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
  • Cover up. “It’s really about protection — that means wearing hats and protective sun clothing,” says Conrad. Long sleeves and pants or long skirts give you more coverage.
  • Stay indoors when the sun is at its most intense, usually between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., according to the AAD.
  • Combine sun protection strategies. A study published in January 2017 in JAMA Dermatology found that beachgoers using an umbrella alone for sun protection were more likely to get sunburn than those using sunscreen alone — but neither strategy completely prevented sunburn. The researchers concluded that combining multiple strategies offers the most protection from the sun’s harmful rays.

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Keep in mind that tanning beds are just as harmful as direct sunlight, as they also emit ultraviolet rays, according to the AAD.

Stay Hydrated

“Drinking enough water/fluids is important for your general health,” says Karyn Grossman, MD, a dermatologist in private practice with Grossman Dermatology in Santa Monica, California, and spokesperson for the AAD. She recommends starting the day with a cup of green tea for hydration, caffeine, and antioxidants.

In addition to drinking enough fluids, keeping your skin moist is essential to skin protection.

“Dry skin can have small gaps in the skin barrier that allow entry of bacteria and fungus,” says dermatologist Michael Lin, MD, medical director of the Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Institute in Beverly Hills, California.

Skin that is properly hydrated retains pliability and is less likely to become chapped, scaly, or flaky. Try these tips to keep your skin hydrated:

  • Use the right moisturizing cream or lotion for your skin. “Look for moisturizers with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, or coconut oil,” says Dr. Grossman. “Always apply on damp skin. This keeps the moisture in the skin.”
  • Take warm (not hot) showers or baths and limit them to between five and 10 minutes. It seems counterintuitive, but exposure to water actually dries out your skin, Grossman explains. If dry skin persists, consider cutting back on the number of baths you take.
  • Invest in a humidifier. “If your skin tends to be on the dry side, using a humidifier in your bedroom at night and in your work space during the day can help keep the air hydrated, which can prevent the air from zapping moisture from your skin,” says Grossman.

Take Health Precautions

Cold sores are caused by a viral infection of the skin bordering the lips, while bacteria can contribute to acne and other skin conditions. Paying close attention to what touches your skin can help lower your chances of exposure to germs. Start with these tips:

  • Don’t share any personal items, such as lip balms or toothbrushes, with others.
  • Don’t share drinks with other people.
  • Avoid touching your face with your fingers, and avoid facial contact with objects that have been used by other people, such as telephone receivers.
  • Don’t pick at cysts or splinters. Instead, ask your doctor to help you with these skin conditions, says Grossman.

Being prompt with first aid is also important, she says. If you get a bug bite or a scratch, “get on it right away.” Grossman recommends cleaning the site, applying antibiotic ointment if there is a break in the skin, using a clean bandage, and cleaning the site twice daily as it heals.

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Washing your face is important to remove dirt, oils, germs, and dead cells from your skin. However, scrubbing your face can cause irritation and lead to chapped skin that can become vulnerable. “I find that people often over-rub, over-scrub, and over-peel,” says Grossman, who recommends avoiding abrasive exfoliation skin care products.

The AAD recommends:

  • Washing your face twice daily with warm water and a mild cleanser.
  • Gently massaging your face with your fingers, using a circular motion.
  • Rinsing thoroughly after washing to remove all soap and debris.
  • Patting — not rubbing — your skin dry, then applying moisturizer.

Know Your Skin

“Check your skin regularly for changing moles and other signs of possible skin cancer,” says Grossman.  Talk to your dermatologist about what kinds of changes should concern you.

Certain skin conditions merit a visit to the dermatologist, including frequent acne, inflamed or irritated dry skin, and skin rashes and irritations that don’t go away, as these could be signs of one of the many types of dermatitis, or skin inflammation.

However, should you ever notice any other skin problems, it’s important to get medical attention to resolve them quickly and avoid putting your skin at risk.

Dennis Thompson Jr

Source: 5 Ways to Protect Your Skin

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Skin Care Products from Amazon.com

Your skin fights the elements daily, whether it be the sun, the wind, or the rain. When you want the perfect combo of protection and pampering, Amazon.com offers skin care products sure to give your skin a little love. Our selection can help you exfoliate, free your face of free radicals, and reduce stress on the skin.

Our Skin Care Products Store features a curated special events section, so you can select from bridal beauty, wedding prep, honeymoon essentials, and summer beauty trends. Even better, our editors’ picks, best of Allure, SHAPE SUN and CEW beauty awards sections can help you customize your look all-year round. With skin care products for everything from men’s grooming needs, new and noteworthy selections, prestige styles, natural styles, 50+ active and healthy living, and more, you can pluck luxurious skin care products from our selection and keep yourself protected from UV rays and more. We even offer our Subscribe & Save program, so we’ll help you save money while stocking up on all the skin care products and supplies that you always need on-hand.

Break The Psychological Barriers Holding Back Your Career

athlete running in red smoke

We tend to find reasons to blame others when our careers are not moving forward. Most of the time we don’t look critically at ourselves. It could be attributed to a bad boss, back-stabbing coworkers, bad luck or some sort of discrimination and prejudice.

These things, unfortunately, occur all too often in the workplace. Those are not the only reasons that hold you back. Sometimes you are your own worst enemy and do harm to your career development and advancement.

People have negative thoughts that play on endless loops. We experience feelings of anxiety and insecurity. Many of us have a fear of failure and are scared of the unknown. This prohibits us from taking action and moving forward in our careers.

To become successful, it’s important to counter these bad thoughts and feelings. You need to adopt a positive mindset which motivates you into action. Waiting, wanting and wishing for a miracle to happen is not a realistic plan. What’s required is a burning desire to achieve a desired goal, along with assertive actions.

We have all experienced difficult and and some traumatic events in our younger years. You may be thirty or fifty years old, but still view the world through the eyes of young, afraid kid who was bullied in school. These feelings are real, but you have to find a way to effectively deal with and rise above it. Incessantly reliving bad events from the past will inhibit you from living in the present. The constant negativity will eat-up your energy and restrain you from achieving great things.

To move forward with your career and succeed you must let go of the past. Stop reliving bad memories and quit being the victim. You can’t undo the past but you can build a bright new future. Forgive yourself and others so that you can move on with your life and career with a clean slate. Clear you mind to focus on the present moment and your goals for the future.

You may feel stuck in a rut but don’t know what to do next. Time goes by and you become increasingly frustrated. It’s easy to start getting resentful and angry at your situation. You will promise that a change will be made next week or after the New Year.

Stop saying it and start doing something positive. Take constructive steps to move forward. Keep in mind, an object in motion stays in motion. If you don’t move forward, you are falling behind. It’s too easy to become complacent and take the path of least resistance by staying in a bad situation.

It gets harder to change the longer you remain in a bad work relationship. Acknowledge your  feelings and start taking proactive steps. Devise a plan to change your circumstances. Write down the ideas to keep yourself honest, then take proactive measures every day. Push forward even if you’re tired and don’t want to do it. By cultivating these habits you will build mental and emotional muscle. You will become stronger, more confident and feel better about yourself as you take charge of your life.

We teach our children that if they try hard enough they can become anything they desire. Somehow as we get older, we’re not so sure about this. As grown working adults we doubt our abilities. After some setbacks, we believe that great success is solely for other people and not us. You need to heed your parent’s advice. Use the unique skills, attributes and gifts that you possess and relentlessly build upon them to achieve want you want in your career and life.

To succeed you need to let-go of the past, ignore the negative voices in your head, take bold initiatives and don’t give-in to excuses.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I am a CEO, founder, and executive recruiter at one of the oldest and largest global search firms in my area of expertise, and have personally placed thousands of professionals with top-tier companies over the last 20-plus years. I am passionate about advocating for job seekers. In doing so, I have founded a start-up company, WeCruitr, where our mission is to make the job search more humane and enjoyable. As a proponent of career growth, I am excited to share my insider interviewing tips and career advancement secrets with you in an honest, straightforward, no-nonsense and entertaining manner. My career advice will cover everything you need to know, including helping you decide if you really should seek out a new opportunity, whether you are leaving for the wrong reasons, proven successful interviewing techniques, negotiating a salary and accepting an offer and a real-world understanding of how the hiring process actually works. My articles come from an experienced recruiter’s insider perspective.

Source: Break The Psychological Barriers Holding Back Your Career

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Vidsnatcher The World’s Most Powerful Cloud Video Editor

VidSnatcher is the first cloud-based, open-canvas editor with text to speech AND language translation and much more! It is equipped with all the editing tools the most expensive video editors have PLUS even more powerful features like the built-in text-to-speech and language translator– all at an extremely affordable price!

In other words, VidSnatcher is a cloud based video creation and editing software, perfect for creating e-learning online courses, training videos and marketing videos in Any language. It comes loaded with a huge library of media assets to make your video creation workflow simple and seamless.

It’s like Camtasia, but with text-to-speech and language translation BUILT-IN, and ALL in the Cloud!

  • It opens business opportunities around the World and completely crushes language barriers, opening access to markets that were virtually impossible to reach before now.
  • This Video App will enable ALL of us to tap into the fastest growing online video market for years to come.
  • Includes Commercial License, is equipped with more features, and is easier to use

ALL at a fraction of the cost to comparable video editors on the market. It’s perfect for the explainer, how-to, show me videos that kicked Todd’s career off with a major bang! Every single one of us can capitalize because the topics and niche’s are literally endless. We can all teach and train others on whatever we choose.

And for the next hours (or possibly even minutes depending on when you’re reading this VidSnatcher Review), you’re going to be able to get the ultimate discount – the lowest price you’ll ever see VidSnatcher, or any other similar video editor for that matter!

Features of VidSnatcher

VidSnatcher Is A Cutting-Edge Video Editor That Every Video Marketer Will Want To Get Their Hands On with ton of the great features:

Screen Capture

  • Record your screen and import directly into VidSnatcher
  • ​IMPORT MEDIA – Import video, audio, and images from your computer or directly from an online source.

Drag-And-Drop Timeline Editor:

  • Drag and drop media, add unlimited layers for easy editing
  • ​Easy green screen removal- Remove greenscreen from any video with just a few clicks.
  • ​Transition effects – Create stunning videos with seamless transitions.

Icon & Shapes Library

  • ​Choose from pre-made icons and shapes to use in your videos
  • ​Text editor – Input any text font and size, in any language.

Voice Recorder

  • ​Record and import any audio directly into VidSnatcher
  • ​Add subtitles – Upload SRT files for to add subtitles to any video!

Text-To-Speech Engine

  • ​Instantly turn your text into a life-like male or female voice
  • ​Language translator – Translate any text-to-speech language into a different language with accents.

Powerful Editing

  • ​Complete editing capabilities such as undo/redo/cut/copy/paste and more

Source: Vidsnatcher – World’s Most Powerful Cloud Video Editor

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Portable Projectors That Will Make Your Presentations Shine

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Why You Need More Vitamin D In The Winter

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Winter is upon us and so is the risk of vitamin D deficiency and infections. Vitamin D, which is made in our skin following sunlight exposure and also found in oily fish (mackerel, tuna and sardines), mushrooms and fortified dairy and nondairy substitutes, is essential for good health. Humans need vitamin D to keep healthy and to fight infections. The irony is that in winter, when people need vitamin D the most, most of us are not getting enough. So how much should we take? Should we take supplements? How do we get more? And, who needs it most?

I am a medical microbiologist and immunologist who studies the functions of vitamin D in immune cells. My laboratory has been interested in figuring out why the immune system has vitamin D receptors that determine which cells can use vitamin D. In the immune system, vitamin D acts to improve your ability to fight infections and to reduce inflammation.

Where to get your vitamin D

Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin since it is made in the skin after exposure to sun. The same UVB rays that cause a sunburn also make vitamin D. Sunscreen, darker skin pigmentation, clothing and reduced daylight in winter diminish the skin’s ability to make vitamin D. The people who experience the biggest seasonal swings in vitamin D levels are fair-skinned individuals living in the northern regions of the U.S. and at higher latitudes around the globe where there is very little daylight in winter.

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But those most at risk for low vitamin D levels are people of color and people living at higher latitudes. Dark-skinned individuals are more likely than fair-skinned individuals to be low for vitamin D year-round because the darker skin blocks the UVB rays from producing vitamin D. However, even in dark skinned individuals, vitamin D is lowest in the winter.

In the winter, in addition to high vitamin D food, adults should take additional vitamin D from foods and/or supplements to get at least 600 IU per day of vitamin D. People who have dark skin or avoid sunshine should eat more vitamin D year-round.

Food rich in vitamin D. photka/Shutterstock.com

Vitamin D is important for bones and your microbes

Originally, doctors thought that vitamin D was only important for bone health. This was because the vitamin D deficiency caused bone diseases like rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults.. However, in the 1980s scientists discovered that immune cells had receptors for vitamin D.

My group’s research has shown that vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining health in the gastrointestinal tract. Higher levels of vitamin D reduce susceptibility to inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease, gut and lung infections in animals and people.

My colleagues and I have discovered that one of the ways vitamin D functions is by keeping the microbes in the gut healthy and happy. Vitamin D increases the number and diversity of microbes living in the gut, which together reduce inflammation throughout the body.

Low vitamin D levels are associated with inflammatory bowel disease in humans. Researchers have found that inflammatory bowel disease patients in Japan have more symptoms in winter than during other seasons.

Why is vitamin D more important in winter?

In the winter, humans are exposed to more infections and spend less time outside. Exactly how much vitamin D healthy adults should have is debated. Some authorities recommend from 200 IU per day to 2,000 IU per day. In the U.S., the Institutes of Medicine recommends 600-800 IU per day for adults, while the Endocrine Society states that optimal vitamin D status may require 1500-2,000 IU per day. In the winter, people have a reduced ability to make vitamin D when they go outside, so amounts of at least 600 IU per day of vitamin D from food or supplements would help maintain vitamin D status at summer levels.

But, just like many things, too much vitamin D can be harmful. Vitamin D toxicity does not result from too much sun or food. Because of the risk of skin cancer, dermatologists and other health professionals do not recommend unprotected sun exposure to boost your vitamin D. Instead they suggest supplements. But vitamin D toxicity can occur if an individual takes too many.

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The experts that set the national intakes of vitamin D for the U.S. recommend that adult individuals take no more than 4,000 IU per day of vitamin D to avoid toxic side effects. Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium from your diet, but when vitamin D is too high, calcium levels in the blood go up and that can lead to kidney disease.

By consuming more vitamin D during the winter your gut microbes will be healthier and you’ll be more resistant to infection and inflammation year-round.

Distinguished Professor of Molecular Immunology, Pennsylvania State University

 

Source: Why you need more Vitamin D in the winter

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Collaborative Tech: Must-Haves For Workplace Flexibility

Cubicles and 9-to-5 schedules are becoming relics of the past in today’s highly competitive labor market, where top talent demands a new paradigm.

The Capital One 2019 Work Environment Survey found that 61 percent of professionals expect their next employer to offer flexible hours, and 54 percent expect the ability to work remotely.

“Flexibility to work outside traditional business hours and the four walls of the office is no longer just a nice-to-have for today’s professionals–it’s an expectation,” says Stefanie Spurlin, vice president of workplace solutions at Capital One.

To meet those expectations, business leaders must make smart technology choices, especially in the area of collaboration. Employers must provide solutions that make it easy for employees to stay up-to-date with what’s happening in the office and to collaborate with their coworkers while they are traveling or working remotely.

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“The goal is to find tools that build connectivity across geographies and locations, allowing teams and individuals to work as if they are sitting together,” Spurlin says.

While pursuing those objectives, business leaders must also keep in mind the type of work being done, especially the distinction between synchronous (people working at the same time) and asynchronous (people working at different times) work, says Anita Williams Woolley, associate professor of organizational behavior and theory at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.

“When you think about project-based work, there’s usually some combination of the two involved,” she says.

The Time Zone Challenge

Employees working in different time zones often have limited opportunity for real-time communications. This geographical divide drives a need for technology solutions that enable workers to clearly record what they’ve done and organize information so their coworkers can find it easily and pick up where they left off.

“Documents should allow threaded discussion in the text by enabling comments and allowing users to ask questions so colleagues can come in later, look at the document, and catch up easily,” Woolley says. Robust document storage and threaded conversations on chat platforms are also important.

Whether employees are separated by thousands of miles and multiple time zones or just a couple of floors in an office building, technology plays a critical role in helping them to maximize their job performance. When asked which technologies would improve job performance and success at work, 75 percent of respondents in the Capital One 2019 Work Environment Survey cited video meeting or conferencing capabilities and 74 percent mentioned real-time collaboration tools.

“Putting the proper technologies in place to help people connect just as easily with their colleagues when working remotely as if they were in the office together gives employees the freedom to work away from their desks without feeling like they are sacrificing interaction with their coworkers,” Spurlin says.

Helping Leaders Meet Management Challenges

Technology also helps business leaders meet the challenges of managing a multi-geography workforce. When employees are working in multiple locations, extra effort on the part of managers may be required to make sure those employees feel connected.

As Spurlin explains,“they should feel empowered to approach the manager digitally, perhaps via chat or a quick text, the same way an employee in the office may swing by a manager’s office to ask for a few minutes to check in.”

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Making video rather than phone calls–the default means of connecting for check-ins or status meetings with employees working in different locations–is one way business leaders can leverage technology in this effort. Doing so ensures that valuable face-to-face meeting time is regularly scheduled.

“People management is one of the things that is really changing as the workforce becomes more and more distributed, but technology enables managers to bridge any gaps and facilitate different management styles or needs,” Spurlin says.

Flexibility is an increasingly important consideration for today’s employees when evaluating job opportunities and comparing prospective employers. Eighty-one percent of respondents in the 2019 Capital One 2019 Work Environment Survey cite flexible schedules as one of their top two reasons to stay with a company.

“With that in mind, companies can gain an edge by putting technology solutions in place that will help to foster a collaborative work environment and better work-life integration for employees,” Spurlin says.

By: Capital OneView

Source: Collaborative Tech: Must-Haves For Workplace Flexibility

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