Getting Sick Can be Expensive

(NewsUSA) – Did you know that each time you get sick, the estimated cost is $200, according to the Center for Disease Control ?That doesn’t count time off from work. It also leaves out time lost with family and friends, days lost of leisure or retirement, and just plain enjoyment of life.So what would you pay not to get sick?Those who have purchased a simple device for under $70 say they have stopped getting colds and certain other illnesses, and that it is well worth the money.The device, called a CopperZap, uses the newly discovered ability of copper to kill viruses and bacteria just by touch."Viruses and bacteria are rapidly killed by copper," says the American Society of Microbiology.Reports from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Institutes of Health confirm that copper kills germs and can stop the spread of illness. As a result, hospitals have started using copper surfaces in places frequently touched by sick patients. They report sharp declines in the spread of infectious diseases among patients and staff."I have gone over seven years without a cold," says Doug Cornell, the inventor, who has been using it the longest.Cornell indicates that over 99 percent of people who have used the device, according to Directions and reported results, say they have completely stopped at least one cold with it."I got mine years ago," says Jeannette from Colorado. "I have not had a cold since."Susan in Arizona says, "I have not had a cold for years since having it.""It paid for itself with the first cold I stopped," says another consumer. Since it is made of pure solid copper, it can be used indefinitely.Users also say they have stopped flu, sinus trouble, cold sores, and other ailments. Dr. Bill Keevil, who leads one of the science teams behind the research, says "Copper is great at killing superbugs."His team tested it successfully against one strain of Coronavirus. The research indicates copper is a general virus killer, so it is believed to kill other strains as well. It also kills drug-resistant bacteria such as MRSA, according to the EPA."I would pay ten times as much for this," says Kristin Ann from Illinois. It is made in the US and shipped every business day by first-class mail, with a 90-day, full- money-back guarantee.For more information, go to www.copperzap.com

Eco-Friendly, Health-Enhancing Home Design

(NewsUSA) – Today most homeowners want to do right by the environment while also caring for the health and wellness of their own families. But they don’t always know what measures they can take with the design, construction, and furnishing of their houses to achieve eco-friendly, health-enhancing results."Many responsible consumers are uncertain what a ‘sustainable’ product or material is," notes Linda Jovanovich of the American Hardwood Information Center, www.hardwoodinfo.com."It simply means the particular resource is self-replenishing – something we can use freely now without fear that its supply will run out in the future. Since American hardwood forests renew themselves almost twice as fast as they are harvested, the U.S. supply of hardwoods for flooring, furniture, cabinetry, and millwork is sustainable now and for generations to come."As well as being plentiful and sustainable, American hardwood is carbon neutral: Growing trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and break it down into oxygen, which is returned to the air, and carbon, which is used to create roots, trunk, branches, and leaves. In short, the use of natural American hardwoods throughout a house helps with the long-term removal of carbon from the environment.Hardwood can also benefit a household’s general well-being.When artist Hadley Williams renovated her family home in California’s Bay Area, she asked the makeover team – designer Sherry Williamson, architect Andrew Mann, and builder Michael McCutcheon – for a clean-lined, ultra-eco-friendly residence. They wrapped all the floors, ceilings, walls, and casework in the gutted interiors with plain-sawn American white oak, achieving a beautiful balance among aesthetics, sustainability, and healthfulness.Since the latter was a priority, each and every building product used was screened for a comprehensive list of more than 900 chemicals of concern. Using solid timber helped avoid the unhealthy volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in laminate glues. Thanks to those efforts, the house has been certified LEED Platinum – the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest ranking.Architect Stephanie Horowitz of Boston-based ZeroEnergy Design is another expert at creating contemporary, environmentally sensitive, family-friendly homes."We regularly specify domestic, sustainably harvested hardwood floors," she says."When paired with a non-VOC finish, a hardwood floor helps maintain healthy indoor-air quality while allowing us to support local business and overall environmental health."Such was the case with a house she recently designed for a client who wanted an exceptionally healthy and comfortable living environment in a traditional neighborhood. By installing quarter-sawn white-oak floors, and selecting other durable materials and finishes with low or no VOCs and no added urea formaldehyde, Horowitz was able to achieve LEED-platinum certification for the house and, more importantly, ensure that its inhabitants can breathe easy.Visit www.hardwoodinfo.com for more about sustainability and healthfulness in relation to home applications and products using American hardwoods. 

Keep Your New Year’s Resolution With These Weight Loss Tips

(NewsUSA) – Did you make a resolution to lose weight and get healthy in 2020? This may be the most common New Year’s resolution, but it’s also one of the most difficult to keep.In fact, according to U.S. News, 80 percent of people give up on their New Year’s Resolution by mid-February. There’s no one reason to explain why this happens, but we do know that it’s difficult to change our behavior over long periods of time. If you made a promise to yourself to improve your health and lose weight, don’t give up now. Start by making small, achievable changes to your routine. Here are five tips to help you stay on track:* Try activities that don’t revolve around eating or drinking. Almost all family gatherings seem designed to gather us around the snack table. But there are plenty of other activities you can do together that will get you moving and making memories. Think of events that will emphasize connection and fun rather than snacking and drinking. Brainstorm with friends and family to find a new activity to try – bowling, hiking, pottery – the options are endless.* Offer to host. If you really want to take control, play host! Invite friends and family over to your place, where you can prepare everything so there are no surprises. Or if you’re meeting at a friend’s house, offer to bring a dish, and make something healthy that you know you’ll enjoy. When it’s time to eat, you can pile a big portion of this item on your plate and fill in the rest with other offerings that look good to you.* Don’t dance around your cravings. If you’re really craving a slice of pizza, order one and have a portion-controlled size."When you avoid your cravings, you can end up overeating by trying to satisfy them with other foods," says Courtney McCormick, corporate dietitian at Nutrisystem. Instead, identify what it is that you’re craving, order something that will satisfy, and take the time to truly savor and enjoy it.* Don’t turn a cheat meal into a cheat day. Many dieters trip up at one meal, get discouraged, and go overboard for the rest of the day because it’s already "ruined."The term is "cheat meal," not "cheat day." If you have a meal that you think could set you back, remember that it’s only one meal. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t give up."It’s always a good thing to learn from your missteps," says Marie Osmond, entertainer, author, host of The Talk, and Nutrisystem ambassador. "Maybe the first time you crave chocolate, you’re going to grab a candy bar. Next time, you’ll have a smaller piece of dark chocolate or make yourself a Nutrisystem chocolate shake!" Cut yourself some slack, remember how much you enjoyed the "cheat," and then get back on track – little decisions that you make, starting right away, will lead you closer to success.* Stay hydrated. You’ve heard this one before, but that’s because it works: if you do indulge in alcohol, alternating each drink with a glass of water will help slow your consumption so you don’t get too tipsy – which can lower your inhibitions to other foods and portions you’re trying to avoid. In fact, the alcohol may make greasy foods and sweets seem more appealing. Water will also keep you hydrated, which can make you feel less "snacky," since our bodies sometimes mistake thirst for hunger.For more info and tips on how to get healthy and stay on track all year long, visit leaf.nutrisystem.com.

Three Ways Millennials Can Start Saving More Money

For too long, Millennials have gotten a bad rap about money and their ability to save for a rainy day or retirement.

However, a new “Relationship With Money” survey by financial services firm Edward Jones found that not only do more Americans born between 1981 and 1996 consider themselves “savers” than those in their parents’ Gen-X cohort (48 percent vs. 46 percent), but that Millennials also were better at socking away emergency funds (75 percent vs. 66 percent).

That’s right. The same Millennials whose motto could be “Why buy a car when you can Uber?”

Evaluating Your Debt

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored Content -Debt is a burden that the majority of adult Americans carry. Per CNBC, the average American carried $38,000 in debt in 2018, not including mortgages.
Money concerns can lead to many issues, including, but not limited to, relationship strain, health problems, and even depression. Some of the most common debts are credit cards, student loans, auto loans, mortgages, and medical debt. Assessing your financial situation is important, and while it may not always be pleasant, it can give you a good starting point for paying off your debt and improving your quality of life.
While it is ideal to be completely debt-free, it is important to be aware that there are good debts and bad debts.
Good debts are debts that can potentially increase your net worth and benefit you in the long run.
Mortgages are a great example. As you pay down your mortgage, there comes a time when your home is worth more than you owe. This allows you to sell your home for a profit or even refinance your home at a lower interest rate, which could potentially save you a great deal of money in the long run.
“Bad debt” is money owed that will not improve your net worth. Credit card debt, new car loans, debt for jewelry, or installment-based payment plans for goods are all examples of bad debt.
Many people struggle with bad debt. So what do you do if you are one of them?
The first step is to take a step back and breathe. There are legitimate solutions to your money problems. It may be difficult, but it will be worth it once your bad debt is gone forever.
Now that you know there are solutions out there, the next step is to assess your situation.
Family Credit Management is a non-profit credit counseling agency that has great, free, tools that you can use to help assess your situation.
The “How Serious is my Debt” quiz, at www.familycredit.org/how-serious-is-my-debt, can help you assess your situation from an objective point of view.
The certified credit counselors at Family Credit Management will be able to analyze the results of the quiz and help you come up with a plan of attack, even if the debt management program would not be the right fit for your situation.
You can find additional resources, such as a personal finance course, savings tips, a personal spending plan outline, and even a children’s book created to help talk to your children about finances, at www.familycredit.org/resources.

2020 Is A Year for Savings – 8 in 10 People Plan to Save More

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Most Americans don’t have $400 saved to cover for an unexpected emergency, but a recent poll from Chase found that consumers may be ready to change that this year. 80 percent plan to save more and 51 percent say emergency savings is their goal.
Savings is key to financial health and Chase Financial Education Ambassador Farnoosh Torabi has tips and advice on how to get started and make savings a habit. (watch video)
According to Torabi, increasing savings is key to stability and gives people the ability to quickly recover when there are ups and downs.
Chase is focused on helping encourage the habit of savings and support people by providing information and resources that can help customers on their savings journey.
Take a first step by understanding your expenses and building a budget. Budget Builder is a great tool from Chase to help you monitor your monthly spending and saving.
Once you have this baseline, the key to reaching your goals is to just start saving, even if you’re starting small. “My advice is to automate,” says Torabi. “There is a great feature through the Chase App called Autosave which allows you to decide on your own how much you want to save and how frequently you want to save, so you can feel in control of this. The good news is the technology does the savings for you.” With this feature, you can save as little as $1 a day.
While consistency is key, savings is about what works for you. In a month when you have extra cash, you can always accelerate your savings, but in a tighter month, it’s all right to take a pause or draw from your savings to cover an unexpected expense.
Check out chase.com/autosave for more information and tips on how to make savings work for you.

What Parents Need to Know About Kids and E-Cigarettes

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Did you know that 1 in 4 high school students uses e-cigarettes?
Nationally, 5.3 million middle and high school students use these products, which means that even if your children are not using e-cigarettes, they almost certainly have friends who are. Rates of youth e-cigarette use more than doubled between 2017 and 2019, to the point that the U.S. Surgeon General declared the problem an “epidemic.”
Parents need to understand how prevalent e-cigarettes are – and the serious health risks they pose to young people – in order to protect kids from this growing threat. Many of these products look like pens or flash drives, and they can be disguised as watches or tucked into the sleeve of a hoodie. These disguises help kids hide them from parents and teachers, but just knowing what to look for puts you one step ahead.
E-cigarettes are also sold in a huge variety of kid-friendly flavors, from gummy bear and banana ice to mango and mint. Studies have found that most youth e-cigarette users use flavored products and say they use these products “because they come in flavors I like.” These flavors hide the fact that e-cigarettes can deliver massive doses of nicotine, which is a highly addictive drug. Popular brands such as Juul deliver as much nicotine as a whole pack of cigarettes.
A 2016 Surgeon General’s report concluded that youth use of nicotine in any form, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe, causes addiction and can harm adolescent brain development, which impacts attention, memory and learning. E-cigarettes can also expose users to harmful and carcinogenic chemicals such as formaldehyde and lead. Studies have found that young people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to become smokers.
To prevent youth e-cigarette use, health advocates are calling for a comprehensive ban on all flavored e-cigarettes. You might have seen President Trump’s announcement restricting certain flavored e-cigarettes, but what you may not know is that this policy contains loopholes that exempt thousands of flavored products that appeal to kids. These include cheap, disposable e-cigarettes with bright colors and sweet flavors, and vials of nicotine liquid in nearly every imaginable flavor. We need a complete ban on flavored e-cigarettes to protect our kids from harm.
This is a lot of scary news – but there are people fighting this problem and you can too! A growing number of states and cities have passed laws banning flavored e-cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products. Congress is considering a bill to do the same, called the “Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act.” So contact your elected officials at all levels and urge them to take action to protect kids. It’s also important to talk to your kids about the health risks of e-cigarettes and create an open dialogue with them. Know the products, know the risks, know the signs of use, and make sure you can protect your children against this growing health crisis in America.
For more information, visit tobacofreekids.org/ecigarettes.

The Panama Canal Celebrates 20 Years

(NewsUSA) – Canal cruises are increasing in popularity as a unique, close-up, and relaxing way to experience local culture. Panama Canal cruises offer a chance to see one of the world’s most well-known canals, and this year is especially historic, with the 20th anniversary of the United States’ transference of the canal to Panamanian ownership on December 31, 1999.Panama Canal cruises are distinctive in that travelers are able to appreciate the canal’s historic and modern features from the water. The Panama Canal cruise from Caravan Tours, for example, includes views of the canal’s historic locks, which influenced shipbuilding for decades because of the canal’s importance in the world economy. The Panama Canal has remained a major transit route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and newer locks were added as part of an expansion project that doubled the capacity of the Panama Canal to accommodate the passage of modern container ships and other large ships. Only certain Panama Canal cruises include travel to both the old and new locks at Miraflores and Pedro Miguel.The Panama Canal museum, located near the locks at Miraflores, details the Panama Canal history, from early construction to current operation and includes the Panama Canal Expansion Operations Center, with prime viewing of the locks.As a vacation destination, Panama offers something for everyone.In addition to the Panama Canal and its history, visitors can experience the Biomuseo, a state-of-the-art science museum dedicated to biodiversity and the environment, located at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. The Biomuseo building was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, and features multiple galleries with themes including "Oceans Divided" and "The Living Web." Interactive displays engage and educate visitors of all ages.Visitors to Panama on a Caravan Panama Canal cruise can also explore the flora and fauna of the rainforests, cruising through jungle canals and learning about the culture of the local Embera people who call the Panama River and the rainforest home. Panama Canal cruises also offer opportunities for beachfront strolling and relaxing in a top-notch resort setting.Caravan Tours, an operator of Panama Canal cruises, has been in business since 1952.For more information about Panama Canal cruises, go to caravan.com

The 2 Keys to America’s Improved Retirement Score

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Credit increased savings – and something else that doesn’t get talked about enough – for American investors being better prepared financially for retirement.
In fact, according to Fidelity Investments’ latest biennial Retirement Savings Assessment, the typical American household is on track to have 83 percent of the income they’ll need over the course of their expected retirement years – with about half in even better shape than that. Fifteen years ago, when the assessment was first conducted, the projected figure was a bleaker 62 percent.
“It’s a testament to the hard work many families have made in taking control of their finances,” says Melissa Ridolfi, vice president of retirement and college leadership at Fidelity.
The study was based on a comprehensive national survey of 3,234 people identified as saving for retirement, age 25 to 74 in households earning at least $20,000 annually, and looked at assets like retirement accounts, home equity, inheritances, and current or expected pensions and Social Security benefits. The one disheartening finding: Twenty-eight percent of respondents might just as well be walking around with bright red warning signs if they don’t take significant steps to make up their current shortfall.
Fidelity actually used color-coded indicators to give a fuller picture of households’ ability to cover their estimated expenses in a down market during those later years:
* Dark Green (“On Target”). Thirty-seven percent were on track to handle more than 95 percent of their freight (up 5 percentage points from 2018).
* Green (“Good”). Seventeen percent were on track for 81 to 95 percent – the essentials, but not discretionary items like travel and entertainment (down 1 percentage point from 2018).
* Yellow (“Fair”). Eighteen percent came in at 65 to 80 percent, and hence face “modest adjustments” to their lifestyles (down 3 percentage points from 2018).
* Red (“Needs Attention”). Twenty-eight percent were completely off-track at less than 65 percent of expenses (down 1 percentage point from 2018).
The two factors driving the shift into the green?
First, the median savings rate has steadily increased over the years – it’s now at 10 percent, as opposed to 8.8 percent two years ago – with Baby Boomers socking away the most (11.7 percent of their salaries). Even Millennials, a generation noted for its crushing student loan debt, managed a rate of 9.7 percent.
And second – and here’s what’s often overlooked – improved asset allocation. “Sixty percent of respondents are allocating their assets in a manner Fidelity considers age-appropriate,” Ridolfi said, “compared to 48 percent in 2006.”
One reason being that many workplace retirement plans began defaulting employees into target date funds and managed accounts over the past decade.”
For those curious about their own retirement readiness, Fidelity’s free Retirement Score tool allows anyone to get their score and shows the percentage they’re anticipated to have saved versus their projected needed income. Better yet, you can also test out potential tweaks that would allow for a cushier retirement lifestyle.
And if cushy is what you crave, never, ever forget three of the greatest “accelerants” for improving your preparedness. Specifically, by upping your savings rate to the recommended minimum 15 percent (including any employer 401(k) contributions), ensuring an age-appropriate asset mix, and deferring Social Security benefits till at least age 66 or 67, you could dramatically boost your total score to more than 100.
“Any one accelerator is clearly helpful,” said Ridolfi, “but all three combined could help bring you from a ‘good’ to great.”

Millennials May Be Getting A Bad Rap When It Comes to Money

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Maybe it’s time to reconsider what you thought you knew about Millennials.
A new “Relationship With Money” survey by financial services firm Edward Jones found that not only do more Americans born between 1981 and 1996 consider themselves “savers” than those in their parents’ Gen-X cohort (48 percent vs. 46 percent), but that Millennials also were better at socking away emergency funds (75 percent vs. 66 percent).
That’s right, the same Millennials who are supposedly more into indulgences like avocado toast than, say, home ownership.
The same Millennials whose motto could be “Why buy a car when you can Uber?”
“This debunks the myth that Millennials aren’t as financially focused as other generations,” said Edward Jones investment strategist Nela Richardson.
And the survey isn’t some outlier.
The Federal Reserve Survey on Consumer Finances found that while Millennials are deep in debt, more than 42 percent have retirement accounts, the highest share for those under 35 years of age since 2001.
Part of what’s driving Millennials’ emphasis on saving could stem from lingering memories of the Great Recession. “Back in the late 2000’s, the oldest cohort of millennials entered the worst job market since the Great Depression of the 1930’s,” said Richardson. “For younger millennials, watching their parents and other family members go through that experience may have also made them more aware of the risks of a market downturn or some other unexpected event, like losing a home or a job, and so they’re more conservative when it comes to spending and saving in their adult lives,” said Richardson.
One potential alarm bell uncovered by Edward Jones’ sampling of more than 2,000 adults nationally age 18 and over: While 92 percent were honest enough with themselves to recognize there was room for improvement in their financial health, the very thought of saving money sufficed to make more than a third feel either “anxious” or “overwhelmed.”
If that sounds familiar, here are three steps to consider:
* Identify your money-related emotions. People often have emotional responses to money. Getting a big bonus at work can make you feel euphoric; agonizing over what to do with it can be paralyzing even as the logical part of your brain (invest at least most of it) fights it out with the emotional part (splurge it all!). What’s key is knowing that letting your feelings dictate your spending, saving and investing choices can lead to poor decisions.
* Develop a financial strategy. Keeping your cool starts with identifying your main goals – a down payment on a new home, college for your children, a comfortable retirement – and then sticking to a sound, long-term path for attaining them.
* Get an “accountability partner.” Meaning, someone with whom you’re comfortable sharing your finances. It could be a family member. Or a professional financial advisor, like a local one at Edward Jones, who has the perspective, experience and skills necessary to help you make the right moves.
“Whether you are strapped with student debt, saving to buy a home or trying to build an emergency fund, there are trade-offs that must be made in balancing these short-term goals and our long-term financial future, such as investing for retirement,” Richardson said. “Without a sound financial strategy, most people tend to be reactive rather than proactive and feel like their money is controlling them.”