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Archive for February, 2010

Making the most of retirement.

Things have changed dramatically for the current generation of retirees.   These days when we retire, we hopefully have some 25-30 years of active life ahead of us.  It’s a huge opportunity.  However the change from a work situation, to one where there is no structure, is one of the biggest challenges of our lives.

Whatever the length of time we worked and spent travelling to work, and whatever aspirations we have for retirement, filling 40-50 hours each week’s on top of previous leisure times, for the next 25 years, is a major feat!

That’s why going on a pre-retirement course can be one of the best things you can do.   A 2009 study of University of Greenwich found a highly significant increase in life satisfaction among people who had attended such courses, as did a survey by retirement specialists ‘Laterlife Learning’.

What is a pre-retirement course?

There are many such courses, which are purely, or largely, financial.   However we’re concerned here with those that focus mainly on the lifestyle aspects of retirement and also include financial.

The courses help you to think about retirement and the implications, in all it’s aspects and challenge many pre-conceived ideas.

The purpose of such courses is to encourage participants to think seriously about all aspects of their forthcoming retirement in a structured way, so as to increase their chances of enjoying and making the most of this potentially fulfilling phase of their life and avoiding some of the common pitfalls.

A good course will be highly interactive, led by an experienced facilitator and will engage participants in thinking through the changes they are going to undertake and specifically looking at each area of their retirement plans from their own perspective.

As a result of attending the course, participants will often see retirement in a way they won’t have done before and as a result clearly identify issues, opportunities and pitfalls and have lots of ideas and new areas to consider.

For those worried about retirement it will also overcome concerns and fears, making retirement an opportunity to look forward to.

Retirement these days is a time of opportunity and choice.

for more information visit: http://www.retirement-courses.co.uk and http://www.laterlife.com

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Giving Back to the World, by Jeremy Gislason

Are you grateful for everything you have?

Consider this, whether you have a million dollars in the bank or a hundred — if you have a roof over your head, food on your table and the comfort of friends and family, you’re rich.

Millions around the world live a bare bones existence and the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness takes a backseat to survival. If you have a roof over your head, you have food in your stomach, and you probably have at least one car, a bank account, and an abundance of creature comforts then by global standards, you’re rich.

Take a minute to look around you, wherever you are. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading this from the comfort of your couch, if you’re sitting at a table in a coffee shop, if you’re sitting in your car, on your treadmill or exercise bike, or if you’re enjoying the sunshine and reading this outside. Take a look around you and make a mental note of all you have. We’re not just talking about the material items either. Friends, family, mentors, and pets are all blessings.

What about you? You have a wealth of strengths, skills, knowledge, and experience too.

What Are You Doing With All Of Your Wealth?

Gratitude has the power to bring more abundance into our lives. We know this to be true and by simply expressing gratitude daily, in every moment of your life, you will understand it to be true too.

In addition to attracting more of what we’re grateful for, like wealth, love, and good health, gratitude also invites compassion into our lives. There are so many people in this world who suffer, who struggle and who do not have the wealth and abundance you have right now, today. It’s important to point out that this is an opportunity for you. Giving back benefits you in a number of ways.

When you give back, you feel better about yourself, your accomplishments and your wealth — you feel grateful.

When you give back, you learn about yourself and about others — this is a valuable opportunity.

When you give back, you make valuable connections with people who have the power to change your life in any number of amazing ways.

When you give back, you gain both spiritually and monetarily. It’s the Law of Attraction — which states you attract what you focus on. The Law of Attraction says: That which is like unto itself, is drawn.

When you possess gratitude, compassion, and generosity of mind, money and spirit, you attract those things back to you — all which make you richer, smarter, and surrounded by life, love and happiness.

Consider for just a moment the amazing contributions of:

Bill Gates and his foundation which partners with companies around the world to improve health and education.

Oprah Winfrey and her angel network which works on global and local networks to improve the lives of others.

And Kelly a small business owner who regularly motivates her social networking followers to generate thousands of dollars to families in need by donating her time and services in exchange for monetary donations from others.

You, no matter what level you’re at or what goals you are striving for, have the mind-blowing opportunity to improve the lives of others, including your own, in a number of ways.

1. You have the power to change the world, to better the world.

2. By embracing and acting on your power, you will gain abundance both materially and spiritually.

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
-Winston Churchill

How Can You Give Back?

There are a number of ways you can give back to the world.

1.) Volunteer
Volunteer your time, skills and expertise. Volunteering offers a number of benefits:

-You Become Part of a Community
Volunteering has a meaningful, positive impact on your community. We depend on each other for personal and professional survival and when you’re part of a community, your personal and your professional life prosper. Volunteering helps, you build and sustain your community, which in turn will give back to you. It’s a win-win situation.

-Broaden Your Repertoire
People volunteer to contribute their skills and knowledge however it’s practically guaranteed that you’ll walk away with more knowledge and skills than you had beforehand. Volunteering is the perfect vehicle to discover something you are good at and develop a new skill.

-A Sense of Accomplishment
There’s little else in life that offers the same level of satisfaction like watching your hard earned efforts benefit someone in need.

Volunteering also offers you new interests, new experiences, new people, and authenticity and credibility in your industry.

2.) Donate funds
What’s your favorite cause or charity – something that’s important to you, your family or your friends? Perhaps it is the American Cancer Society, the Humane Society, or the Nature Conservancy. These organizations thrive on two things: Volunteers and Donations.

If you have causes, passions and charities which are near and dear to your heart, it’s important to do what you can to keep them in the black, financially solvent, and able to continue to provide their services.

3.) Use your business to tap into the needs of your prospects, community, customers, and associates
One of the truly wonderful aspects about being a business owner is the amazing power you have to give back. As a business owner, you have a rolodex jam-packed with contacts. This includes your lead list but it also includes your associates, vendors, partners, and always your friends, family and community members. You are a veritable Paul Revere — and one word from you has tremendous power, power to change the world and have a positive effect on the lives of others.

4.) Mentor
Mentoring is an exceptional way to share your knowledge and experience with others and give back to the world.

Mentoring is when you meet with someone one-on-one and help them learn and grow. A mentee can be a child or young adult struggling with choices, a professional who is interested in growing their career, or a person interested in starting a business similar to yours. A mentor/mentee relationship is essentially, however you define it.

The Next Step

If history and experience have taught us anything it’s that the more you give, the more you receive. When you take the time to give back to the world with the intention of improving the lives of others, the essential result is that you end up receiving so much more than you can possibly imagine. Give it a try. You’ll be amazed what happens in your life.

About the Author:

Jeremy Gislason is an entrepreneur, online business owner and marketer. He is also a philanthropist with over 12 years of offline and online business experience. Discover The Secret to Lasting Abundance in Mindmap to Riches Vol. 4 at http://www.MindmaptoRiches.com

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According to the Sunday Times of 08.11.09 the jobless graduate tally has hit 100,000.

The number of jobless university leavers is expected to break the 100,000 barrier, heightening fears of a “lost generation”.

Tens of thousands of out-of-work graduates from the class of 2009 have joined the 70,000 from last year who have still not found employment, official figures are expected to confirm.

The flood of applicants for the shrinking number of graduate jobs had led recruiters to become increasingly tough in their entrance requirements.

Unemployment data published by the Office for National Statistics will also show that the total number of jobless under 25 passed the 1million barrier in October, up from 946,000 in August.   The number of new graduates unable to find a job means the nearly 8% of those aged under 25 with a degree are now without a job.

So where does that leave the over 50’s?

As the years have gone by employers tend to employ people who are younger rather than the over 50’s and ageism has crept into the workplace, despite protests to the contrary.   Reaching 50 can be quite daunting and it is extremely difficult to compete with the younger generation for jobs, especially if you are returning to the workplace after a break.

Did you know: the number of Baby Boomers alive in 2030 will be 57.8 million!   And far from dwindling into the mists of time and irrelevance, born between 1946 & 1964, Baby Boomers are the largest demographic segment today!

I was reading an article in the November 2008 issue of Good Housekeeping and came across an article about women who had made major changes in their lives, and one of them really caught my eye.

The lady in question at the age of 52, divorced her husband, went to America to retrain as a Life Coach, set up her own business and now has her own home and freedom she never experienced before.

Was it easy?   Probably not!

You could settle for the Job Centre route, becoming a statistic on a long list of people waiting for employment, or you could take a leap of faith and start your own business.

Why start your own business?   There is a tremendous risk involved with starting up your own business.   There are many issues to be considered, particularly finance, and yet, in this age of insecurity and retrenchments, with more and more people being made redundant, the option of a job becomes less and less likely and less attractive.

So what are the options?

The first thing to consider is what experience do you have, what do you enjoy and what are you passionate about?   Statistics have proven that if you really love what you do, you will make a success of it.

Get together with a group of friends and brainstorm some ideas.   You would be amazed at what our friends know about us! 🙂

Do you enjoy writing?  You could do a course and put together a book, it could be about something you have a lot of experience in, a ‘How To’ if you like.

Do you enjoy dancing?   You could set up a group for your peers and charge them per session

Do you have expertise in sewing?   You could offer basic lessons to the mothers at the local school, in today’s economic climate many women would probably like to save a bit make their kiddies clothes.

Perhaps you had a career in Accounting; consider setting up a training course on how to set and manage budgets.

You could also consider joining an MLM or Network Marketing Company.   The set up costs are usually minimal and the industry has produced more millionaires in the last 50 years than any other industry in the world, ever.   In 2008 Avon received a massive boost when a young lady, Debbie Davis who had lost her job, became an Avon representative, aged just 29 she became Britain’s most successful seller.

You could set up a Joint Venture with someone, pool your experiences and offer your services.

On another level, you could offer courses at the local Community Centre.  What about painting, or drawing or cooking; think Nigella Lawson.

Are you good with your hands?   Many women are exceptionally handy with their hands and have had years of experience fixing things in the house; d.i.y.   You could offer a basic service in the neighbourhood; changing light bulbs, plugs, whatever; offer a service.

What is available for women our age, the Baby Boomers?

And as we explore those options, let us celebrate the unalienable fact that we have so many more opportunities open to us than our mothers did.   We are no longer constrained by the rules of society, we have a choice and in exercising those choices we are able to experience the freedom that brings.

I would be interested to hear what you think!

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I am a great one for ignoring sell & use by dates, mostly because they are quite absurd and there is nothing wrong with the food.  So much food gets thrown away as it is, and the sell by dates play it safe in my opinion.  I was therefor quite interested to read the article. I have posted the link to their site at the bottom of this article, for your perusal

Over 60’s are particularly susceptible to this potentially fatal form of food poisoning.

Many of us, especially the older generation – think we’re being frugal by eating food that’s past its use by date, preferring not to discard produce that’s ‘a little past it’s best’.   However, this seemingly thrifty lifestyle can leave the over-60’s particularly vulnerable to a virulent strain of food poisoning.

Listeria is a bacterium that can live and grow in food: in particular, chilled produce such as pates, cooked sliced meats, soft cheeses and smoked fish.

According to research by the Food Standards Agency, many older people are unaware that consuming food after the ‘use by date’ or having their fridge set at the wrong temperature could put their health at risk.

Although the number of people affected by listeria is very low, one in three of those who do contract it tragically die as a result.

Rather worryingly, cases of listeria amongst the over-60’s have doubled in the past nine years – and, in 2007 alone, increased by 20%.

So, adhere to basic food hygiene guidelines and you’ll minimise your chances of contracting listeria.

Three key ways to avoid listeria

Don’t eat food past it’s ‘use by’ date.

‘Use by’ dates appear on foods that can go off quickly (these are different from ‘best before’ dates, which are more about quality that safety).   Even if food looks and smells fine, consuming it after the ‘use by’ date could put your health at risk.

2)         Set the correct fridge temperature

If fridges are kept at between 0c and 5c (32f and 41f) – this will help stop food-poisoning bacteria from growing.

3)         Follow food storage instructions.

Food that goes off quickly often has special packaging and storage instructions, stating how long it can be kept and if it needs to go in the fridge.   Once opened, it may go off fast, hence guidelines such as ‘use within two days of opening’.

For more information visit http://www.eatwell.gov.uk/listeria

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Some things are worth repeating:

“Note for pet owners.  The following information is to be read with a sense of humour!  This article is purely a bit of fun. We are confident lots of cat’s owners will relate to the unfolding tale!”

1.         Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby.   Position right forefinger and thumb one either side of cat’s mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand.   As cat opens mouth pop pill into mouth.   Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

2.            Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa.   Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

3.            Retrieve cat from bedroom and throw soggy pill away.

4.         Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand.  Prize jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger.  Hold mouth shut for count of ten.

5.            Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe.  Call spouse/partner from garden.

6.         Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws.  Ignore low growls emitted by cat.  Get spouse/partner to hold head firmly with one hand while placing wooden ruler into mouth.  Drop pill down ruler and rub cat’s throat vigorously.

7.            Retrieve cat from curtain rail.  Get another pill from foil wrap.  Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains.  Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set ti one side for gluing later.

8.         Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse/partner to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit.  Put pill in end of drinking straw, prize mouth one with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

9.         Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink beer to take taste away.  Apply Band-id to spouse’s forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10.            Retrieve cat from neighbour’s shed.  Get another pill.  Open another beer.  Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing.  Prize mouth open with dessert spoon.  Flick pill down throat with rubber band.

11.        Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges.  Drink beer.  Fetch bottle of scotch.  Pour shot, drink.  Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot.  Apply whisky to compress to check to disinfect.  Toss back another shot.  Throw blooded T-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12.        Ring Fire Brigade to retrieve the cat from tree across road.  Apologise to neighbour who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat.  Take last pill from foil wrap.

13.        Tie cat’s front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining room table, find heavy-duty pruning gloves from shed.  Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak.  Hold head vertically and pour 4 pints of water down throat to wash pill down.

14. Consume remainder of Scotch.  Get spouse to drive you to Accident & Emergency Dept., sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearms and removes pill remnants from right eye.  Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.  Arrange fro RSPCA to collect cat from hell and call local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.

How to give a dog a pill

1.         Wrap something to eat around it.

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“If you think nobody cares whether you are alive or dead, try missing a couple of car payments.” Ann Landers

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This is a really useful guide

10 Useful steps for your New Year budget

1) Think before you spend.

Stick to a realistic budget that includes everything. (One of the best ways to save money is to have a proper budget, mine is usually worked out 3-4 months in advance with everything I have to pay and when and then I match that back to my bank statements to check it is all in order)

2) Keep a tally of what you spend.

It is very simple to set up a spreadsheet; enter all your purchases and you will soon see where you could cut back on impulse buys. (I have a mega spreadsheet and can tell you what I spent on what going back as far as 2001 – I set up a new one each year)

3) Avoid impulse buys.

Plan your birthday calendar; think ahead of who you wish to buy a gift for and when you find something suitable, buy it then rather than an overspend at the last minute. (This alone can save you a fortune)

4) Use cash for your small purchases.

Set aside a specific amount each month for those quick buys, saves interest on the credit card.

5) Find ways to make rather than buy.

Try making your own greeting cards for special occasions. (A friend of mine makes the most gorgeous cards and uses calligraphy for the writing, her cards are always stunning)

6) Generate extra money.

We all have a skill we can use to earn extra cash. ( I provide a service doing Debt Collection – I am very good on the phone) and my friend mentioned above paints silk scarves – very popular at Saturday markets)

7) Download free software such as skype.

Many people these days have computers – using skype to skype could save you a fortune on overseas calls. (I love skype can chat to my family for hours on end at no cost at all)

8) Save up for special treats.

Pick a coin value e.g. £1 and every time you get one in your change put it into a money box, you’ll be amazed how quickly they add up. (I did this to save for a campervan, in no time at all I had quite a substantial amount in my moneybox – yes I have a red campervan moneybox – soon the real thing)

9) Cut back on transport costs.

Make use of oyster cards or similar; walk if you can, wherever you can.

10) Put the money you save into an ISA and start saving for next Christmas or that special holiday. (also a great was to save, start off by saving 1% of your earnings and then increase it to 2% and so on till you’re saving 10% p.m. – you will be amazed how quickly it adds up)

Have a wonderful 2010

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All the Guru’s talk about setting goals and taking the steps to achieve them.   Very often we set doen ideas and thought about what we think we would like to achieve and possibly even make a start.  But, how long does it last and do you even know how to get there?   Do you really know what it is you want to gain by setting these goals?  I read a very interesting article recently about setting your GPS and some great tips for achieving those goals:

start of article:

“Determine a main goal for each area of your life: career, health, relationship, and spiritual.

Give yourself a deadline, putting the date on your calendar. The more specific you are about writing down your goals the more realistic and REAL they become.  And, give yourself a true and reachable deadline, yet allow yourself to stretch beyond your current boundaries.

Now break each end objective down into quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goals.  When you figure backwards from the end destination it makes for smart planning so you don’t end up short, running out of time or trying to cram too much into your plan.

Allow yourself room to sway off course for fresh opportunities that cross your path.  Keeping your eyes open for alternative ways to get to your goal may actually get you there quicker or in a bigger and better way than you first imagined.  And, here’s where your smart GPS system comes in.  As long as you keep it set on your goal your plan will recalibrate you right back in onto your path.

Enjoy the journey.  How dull would a trip to the Grand Canyon or Yosemite be without taking time to enjoy the view along the way?  Remember to breathe and relish in small victories as well as the bumps in the road that you’re bound to encounter.  That’s the good stuff!

The final step once you set your career and life GPS, is to let go and trust.  I’m sure if Gertrude could talk that is what she would tell my parents.  “Trust me!”  Once your smart plan is set in motion, trust your plan and let go of trying to place too much control over it.  Let your smart GPS guide you.

Margaret Thatcher said, “Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.”  Worked for Britain’s PM, it’ll work for you too.” end of article extract.

Seems like there are some really useful tips there for getting to where it is you want to go, after all if you do not know where it is you are going, how will you know when you get there?

What do you think?

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Volunteers have reopened a railway line reconnecting a seaside town to the national network, more than 37 years after it was cut off.
More than 4,000 people in Swanage, Dorset, have helped rebuild the seven-mile line from Wareham.  They scavenged scraps to restore the track, rebuilt two dilapidated stations and constructed another three.
The chartered services leave from Victoria pulled by a diesel locomotive.
It is the first time since 1972 that trains have been able to run all the way from London to Swanage and the volunteers hope the line will be electrified and regular services will resume.
Mike Whitham, the chairman of the Swanage Railway Trust, said: “It is what we have been working 35 years for – the achievement of a long-held and treasured dream.   The railway has been rebuilt from nothing, bit by bit, bolt by bolt.”

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