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7 Simple Ways to Save Money on Taxes This Year

It’s officially tax time – a time to look back over the previous year with an eye toward maximizing deductions and tax credits and lowering your tax burden. Do you find yourself cringing at how much you pay in taxes each year though? You’re definitely not the only one who feels knots in their stomach when reviewing how much in taxes comes out of your paycheck each month. Taxes are unavoidable, but you can minimize the impact they have on your bottom line. While every scenario is different, one thing is universally true, and that is that planning is the key to get the most out of taxes. If you don’t plan, then you’re not going to get anywhere. The good news is there are simple ways you can start planning right now to save on your taxes this year. Taking action now can make a big difference in the…

5 Tips for Improving Work Life Balance

A good work ethic is not only important, it’s vital. Always doing your best and having a positive, proactive attitude will take you far in the workplace, and nothing reinforces a healthy sense of self-worth like a job well done. But with smartphones facilitating around-the-clock accessibility, office hours are starting to extend well past the traditional nine to five, and finding work-life balance is becoming more difficult. While putting in extra hours here and there is inevitable, devoting too much time to work can lead to exhaustion, reduced productivity and compromised job performance. It can also lead to feelings of resentment and neglect on the parts of our families and those closest to us. These five tips can help you strike a balance between your work and your personal life – no matter how busy you are! Prioritize There are only so many hours in a day. To ensure you…

5 Super Tips to Achieving New Year’s Resolutions Success

Ah, the excitement of a brand new year is upon us. You can feel and almost taste the change in the air. With a New Year comes the opportunity to once again select some of those all-important New Year’s resolutions. About every other person will make at least one resolution this next year, but how many of them will succeed? Studies show that roughly 77 percent of people can stick with their resolutions for the first week. The first week is all. But by weeks three and four, the numbers have dropped to 64 percent. They continue to fall even further by weeks five and six.  In fact, only 50 percent are still working towards their New Year’s resolutions at the three-month mark and just 46 percent at six months. So what’s the bright side you might ask? People who can stick with their resolutions by the six-month mark are 10…

5 Ways to Look and Feel Better in the New Year

Every January, you get the chance to start fresh with a new year and a new you. Statistics show that those who consciously make New Year’s resolutions are 10 times more likely to achieve them than people who don’t, so take the time to write them down or talk about them with those closest to you.To kick-start your efforts, here are five ways to make your life better in 2016. Get Healthy This year, resolve to replace your fat pants and cigarettes with a plan to get (and stay) healthy in 2016. Start with a pledge to achieve a healthy weight. According to Shape Magazine, you’ll be more likely to keep accurate calorie if you have someone else do the counting, so recruit a weight loss buddy and resolve to hold each other accountable. Next, pledge to toss your smokes. According to The American Cancer Society, smoking is the largest…

The Financial Case for Gratitude

Thanksgiving gives us a wonderful opportunity to reflect on all the gifts we’re blessed with: health, family, food on the table, a career, a home…the list goes on and on. But what you may not realize is that being thankful can actually make a positive impact on your financial situation. When it comes to our finances, many of us have a tendency to “compare and despair” – meaning we obsess about what we don’t have, and beat up on ourselves for not having as much as our family members, neighbors or friends. But a daily practice of being thankful for all you do have has been proven to stave off overspending and help you save. Here are four ways that adopting an attitude of gratitude can help you build wealth. You’ll Stop Comparing Yourself to the Joneses or the Kardashians It’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking…

What Effects Life Expectancy: Factors to Consider

Morbid curiosity aside, there’s a strong case for wanting to know your life expectancy. Estimating how long you’ll live can help you make better financial decisions, especially when it comes to life insurance, social security, annuities, and pensions. Factors affecting life expectancy range from health and lifestyle choices to family medical history and genetics. Answering these five questions will give you a sense of how long you’re likely to live. Do You Have a Family History of Heart Disease, Cancer or Diabetes?  Not only are these medical conditions hereditary, they can shave years off your life expectancy. If your answer to this question is yes, be as proactive as possible. Get screened regularly for the types of cancer that run in your family. To lower your chances of developing heart disease, keep an eye on your cholesterol level, avoid fatty foods, and don’t smoke. To fend off diabetes, avoid eating…

Longevity for Less

Most of us are all too familiar with the standard formula for living a longer life: Don’t smoke, drink only in moderation, eat well, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. While no one can argue with that advice, a specific list of action items tends to be more helpful – especially for those of us who are creatures of habit. Here are five simple – and inexpensive – steps you can take to improve your longevity today. Sit Less Sitting for less than three hours a day can add two years to your life expectancy. A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of developing life-threatening conditions like diabetes, obesity and cancer. If your job requires that you sit (and most jobs do), try to get up once every 20 minutes or so to walk around. Drink Coffee While coffee can have negative side effects like sleeplessness and anxiety, a new report from…

The Financial Benefits of a Healthy Lifestyle

While eating well and exercising are inarguably good for your body, they can also be good for your wallet. This may seem counterintuitive given how pricey gym memberships, grass-fed beef, and organic produce can be. But the fact that so-called “superfoods” and exercise have been shown to reduce cancer risk, help maintain a healthy weight, and even increase brain function informs an important financial reality: lower life insurance premiums. How Can Eating Well and Exercising Lower my Life Insurance Premiums? Life insurance companies consider a number of risk factors when determining premiums, including family health history, weight and diet. The healthier and younger you are, the lower the risk – and typically, the lower your premium. While simply eating superfoods and being physically fit won’t affect your life insurance premiums, the effect that they have on your body – and your lifestyle – could. What Superfoods Should I Be Eating? Superfoods are rich in nutrients…

10 Efficiency Tips for Busy Parents

10-30-14 SQ BlogManaging a home and a family can be very rewarding experiences with the right amount of attention. Life may seem chaotic at times with work, school, clubs, sports, washing, maintenance, cleaning, bill paying, gardening, dentist appointments, visits to the vet, and more. Any parent reading this will relate to that list and mentally add a few more items of their own.
Running a more efficient household requires a parent to handle multitasking with ease. However, reaching that desirable state takes diligence and a commitment to routine. Following the 10 steps below will help any busy parent to become more efficient.

Can Pets Keep You Healthy?

Blog SQ 10-23-14Pet owners have long known a simple truth – pets provide a calming and soothing experience that can deliver a wide spectrum of real health benefits.
A day in the life of a pet owner seems normal, but the pet-specific activities that owners experience daily provide a sense of comfort and friendship that others don’t see. These activities, among many others, are great for the average pet owner and can collectively contribute to a greater sense of health and well-being.

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