preparedness http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10785/all en-US 4 Red Flags That Your Retirement Plan May Be Off Track http://www.wisebread.com/4-red-flags-that-your-retirement-plan-may-be-off-track <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-red-flags-that-your-retirement-plan-may-be-off-track" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy_bank_and_house_model_for_finance_and_banking_concept.jpg" alt="Piggy bank and house model for finance and banking concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're 55 or 60 years old, the end of your working days may be in sight. After all, most people retire somewhere around age 65, so you may assume you will also. But how prepared are you?</p> <p>Take a look at the following potential <em>unpreparedness </em>indicators. After reviewing them, if you don't see any concerns, you may, indeed, be headed down the right path toward retirement. However, if you <em>do</em>, it'll be far better to address them now while you're still gainfully employed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Financial Moves You Should Make Five Years Before Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>1. You haven't run the numbers</h2> <p>Ignorance may be bliss when it comes to the latest neighborhood gossip, but not when it comes to preparing for retirement. Now is the time to estimate your post-career income and expenses.</p> <p>Start with your anticipated monthly expenses. Some of your outgo categories may disappear in retirement, such as contributions to your retirement plan, commuting, and other job expenses. Others may at least decline, such as how much you spend on clothing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-can-you-afford-to-spend-in-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Can You Afford to Spend in Retirement?</a>)</p> <p>However, some expenses might actually go up, at least temporarily. Many retirees find that they spend more on travel and entertainment initially, but less as they get older.</p> <p>Next, add up the monthly income you expect to receive. How much is your Social Security benefit likely to be? Find out through the <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/oact/quickcalc/" target="_blank">Social Security Administration's estimator</a>. How much are you likely to have in your retirement account by the time you retire? The <a href="https://www.fidelity.com/calculators-tools/fidelity-retirement-score-tool" target="_blank">Fidelity Retirement Score</a> calculator will give you a ballpark idea.</p> <p>What's a conservative estimate for how much you could withdraw from your retirement nest egg each month? One popular rule of thumb is that you should be able to safely take 4 percent of the balance each year without having to worry about running out of money.</p> <p>What other sources of income will you have?</p> <p>Planning future income and expenses isn't a perfect science, but running some estimates may help you avoid unpleasant surprises. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unexpected-expenses-for-retirees-and-how-to-manage-them?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Unexpected Expenses for Retirees &mdash; And How to Manage Them</a>)</p> <h2>2. You haven't saved enough</h2> <p>One of the most unpleasant facts you may discover by taking the step above is that you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement?ref=internal" target="_blank">haven't saved enough</a>. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, almost half of workers ages 55 or older have less than $100,000 set aside for retirement. That won't go very far.</p> <p>Let's say you're in better financial shape and are on target to have a $250,000 nest egg by the time you retire. Using the 4 percent rule mentioned above, even that amount will allow you to withdraw just $833 per month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-retirement-rules-of-thumb-that-actually-work?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Retirement &quot;Rules of Thumb&quot; That Actually Work</a>)</p> <p>What to do? Plan to stay on the job longer. Doing so will increase your Social Security benefits (when I checked my benefits, I found that waiting until age 70 would boost my monthly benefit amount by 28 percent vs. taking benefits beginning at age 67). Plus, that will give you more time to build a larger retirement nest egg. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a>)</p> <h2>3. You still have a mortgage</h2> <p>For most people, a mortgage is their biggest monthly expense. Making sure your mortgage is retired by the time <em>you</em> retire is ideal. However, a growing number of older homeowners are bringing mortgages into their retirements. Many of them refinanced into a lower interest rate in recent years, but reset their 15- or 30-year mortgage clock in the process. If that's you, here are some options to consider:</p> <p>If you're planning to move after you retire, and especially if you'll be able to downsize into a home you could buy outright with the equity in your current home, no problem. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a>)</p> <p>If you're planning to stay put, you might consider paying extra on your mortgage in order to wipe it out by the time you retire. But you'll have to weigh that against the potentially better benefits of using that money for added contributions to your retirement plan.</p> <p>Keep in mind that this isn't a strictly mathematical exercise. Many people argue that it would be more profitable to invest more through your workplace retirement plan than accelerate payments on a low-interest mortgage. However, you may decide that the emotional benefit of being out from under your mortgage is more valuable. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-safe-to-re-finance-your-home-close-to-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is it Safe to Re-Finance Your Home Close to Retirement?</a>)</p> <h2>4. You still have student loan debt</h2> <p>A surprising number of older people have education debt, usually because they co-signed on a loan for a child or grandchild who is unable to make the payments or because they took out a Parent PLUS loan. If that's you, consider consolidating your loans to a lower interest rate (you can even &quot;consolidate&quot; a single loan). Then put your loan payoff on a faster track by paying more than the required amount each month.</p> <p>This list isn't meant to discourage you; it's meant to help you prepare to retire <em>successfully</em>. Where else do you need to shore up your retirement plan?</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-red-flags-that-your-retirement-plan-may-be-off-track&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520Red%2520Flags%2520That%2520Your%2520Retirement%2520Plan%2520May%2520Be%2520Off%2520Track.png&amp;description=4%20Red%20Flags%20That%20Your%20Retirement%20Plan%20May%20Be%20Off%20Track"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20Red%20Flags%20That%20Your%20Retirement%20Plan%20May%20Be%20Off%20Track.png" alt="4 Red Flags That Your Retirement Plan May Be Off Track" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-red-flags-that-your-retirement-plan-may-be-off-track">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youre-retiring-with-debt">What to Do If You&#039;re Retiring With Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-retiring-with-debt-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Why Retiring With Debt Isn&#039;t the End of the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-its-time-to-retire">8 Signs It&#039;s Time to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings">Half of Americans Are Wrong About Their Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement expenses mortgages owing money preparedness red flags saving money student loans unprepared Thu, 31 Aug 2017 08:00:07 +0000 Matt Bell 2012369 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Have a Successful Skype or Video Job Interview http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-successful-skype-or-video-job-interview <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-have-a-successful-skype-or-video-job-interview" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-656378092.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all had a good laugh over the British journalist <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh4f9AYRCZY" target="_blank">being upstaged by his kids</a> while trying to give a BBC video interview. All laughs aside, it did bring up an important subject: How do you conduct a great video interview for a new job?</p> <p>It's now possible to interview for positions all over the country, if not the world, using modern technology. It's also easy to get distracted or interrupted. If you're getting ready to jump online for your next interview, follow these steps for success.</p> <h2>1. Clean up the area</h2> <p>It's imperative that you have everything you need at hand before starting the video interview, including a clean home office. Organize your workspace thoroughly, clean the desk, and tidy up the room. You may look the part, but a messy, disorganized background can send red flags to the interviewer.</p> <p>If you really don't have the time or ability to clean up the space behind you, consider a backdrop. Something as simple as a plain bedsheet (nothing patterned or &quot;loud&quot;) hung from the ceiling can work. Black or gray works best, but as long as it doesn't distract, it will do the job.</p> <h2>2. Look directly into the camera</h2> <p>This cannot be emphasized enough &mdash; the camera lens should be treated like the eyes of the person interviewing you. If you don't focus your attention there, you're not making eye contact with the interviewer, and that can come across just as rude as if you were doing it face-to-face.</p> <p>There are a few steps you can take to make this easier. First, you could place something next to the camera, like a bright sticky note (you can even draw eyes on it as a reminder). Throughout the interview, that will prompt you to focus your gaze there.</p> <p>Another option is to turn off the webcam preview that shows you what your interviewer is looking at &mdash; you. It's in our nature to look at ourselves, and when we see that little window with our picture in it, our eyes immediately wander there. By turning that off, you'll be much more inclined to look at the camera.</p> <h2>3. Go to the bathroom first</h2> <p>It may sound like a no-brainer, but before you know it, you're shifting in your seat five minutes into a one-hour interview. This is not good. Not only will the interviewer pick up on how uncomfortable you are, but it will totally hamstring your performance. You won't be able to think clearly, your responses will be rushed, and you might even start sweating.</p> <p>Do yourself a favor: Go to the bathroom beforehand, even if you're not feeling the need. And don't drink a lot of water right before you start.</p> <h2>4. Keep the interview room off-limits</h2> <p>If there's one thing we can take from the poor journalist being interrupted by his kids, it's that he should have found a way to secure the room. If you have the ability to lock the door, do it. If you don't, consider putting a bolt on the door, or use something to block the entrance (as long as it isn't showing on camera).</p> <p>Take it a step further and ask the people you live with if they'd be willing to step out of the house when the interview is scheduled. Even if the room is secured, noises from outside the room can still be very distracting. Ideally, you want a quiet room in an empty house.</p> <h2>5. Do your homework</h2> <p>Just like any other interview, you need to have your ducks in a row. With a video interview, your facial expressions are actually more apparent, because that is all the interviewer will be focusing on. So, when you're stumped on a question, or struggling to find a reply, it will really show.</p> <p>To avoid that, spend time studying the company. Prepare a series of questions to ask the interviewer. Do a practice run with a friend or colleague. Make sure you know as much as you possibly can, and then, practice a great response for questions that really will stump you.</p> <h2>6. Check the equipment thoroughly</h2> <p>Any time anyone does something live, they fear gremlins in the works. Technological glitches are common, and they can happen to anyone. Life being what it is, they often happen at the worst possible times.</p> <p>So, do everything you can to test your equipment thoroughly the day before the interview. Make sure the camera is working, and focused. Check the microphone. Check the sound levels. Check the cables. Do a test run, record yourself, and play it back. By doing this a day before, you give yourself plenty of time to fix the issues without risking missing your interview.</p> <h2>7. Dress for success</h2> <p>A video interview is no excuse to wear casual clothing and look like you've just gotten out of bed. This is not a phone interview. You are presenting yourself to your potential employer, and you want to look the part.</p> <p>That means dressing for the occasion, and that can differ between industries. If you're in a corporate career, you'll need to dress for business. If it's a more creative profession, you can obviously be a little less formal, but you'll still need to look the part. And of course, you need to look fresh and camera-worthy. Hair, makeup, clean teeth, clean nails, the works. Treat this just like you'd treat a regular interview, and give yourself plenty of time to get ready.</p> <h2>8. Remember you're on camera</h2> <p>The interviewer can see you, and you can see them. But if you're sitting in front of a computer that doubles for your personal use, it can be easy to forget, and slip into a more comfortable position. Gradually, you may start to slouch, scratch your nose (or pick it &hellip; disaster), divert eye contact, or even start flicking through messages on your phone.</p> <p>If these things happened in a face-to-face meeting, you'd be hard pressed to finish the interview. You'd have blown it. It's just the same over video chat. The interviewer will feel insulted and disrespected, and you will have blown any chance of a follow up. If it helps, put a sign next to the camera that says &quot;Smile, you're on camera!&quot; It may sound silly, but it really makes a difference.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-successful-skype-or-video-job-interview">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-make-a-good-first-impression-at-your-next-job-interview">13 Ways to Make a Good First Impression at Your Next Job Interview</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-questions-to-ask-before-you-take-a-job-offer">12 Questions to Ask Before You Take a Job Offer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-you-should-ask-at-every-job-interview">5 Questions You Should Ask at Every Job Interview</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-ace-your-next-phone-interview">7 Ways to Ace Your Next Phone Interview</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-yourself-to-potential-employers">How to Sell Yourself to Potential Employers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Job Hunting Technology conference call distractions Job Interview preparedness skype video chat video interview Mon, 15 May 2017 08:30:06 +0000 Paul Michael 1945044 at http://www.wisebread.com Half of Americans Are Wrong About Their Retirement Savings http://www.wisebread.com/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-172427755 (1).jpg" alt="Couple learning they&#039;re wrong about their retirement savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some financial mistakes are easier to recover from than others. Failing to properly plan for retirement falls into the not-so-easy camp. And yet, the latest in a long series of retirement preparedness studies indicates that many working age households in the U.S. are making this very mistake.</p> <p>This new study, prepared by the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College, analyzed two key findings. First, it compared people's objectively measured, actual retirement preparedness with their perceived preparedness. And second, instead of just highlighting how many people are less prepared than they think (a common finding among retirement studies), it also found that some people are actually more prepared than they realize, causing needless worry.</p> <p>Let's break it down.</p> <h2>Over half are not well prepared</h2> <p>According to the CRR study, over half (52 percent) of working age households are at risk of not being able to maintain their current standard of living in retirement. That's even if these households work until age 65, annuitize all of their financial assets, and turn their home equity into an income stream via a reverse mortgage.</p> <p>In 1989, just 30 percent of households were deemed to be at risk. The study's authors attribute the growth in this number to three main factors:</p> <ul> <li>The increased time people are spending in retirement &mdash; the result of a fairly static average retirement age (around 63) combined with lengthening life spans.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Increases in Medicare premiums.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The sweeping change from defined-benefit to defined-contribution retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans. In managing their own retirement accounts, the authors said, &quot;individuals make mistakes at every step along the way,&quot; which has resulted in a woefully inadequate median retirement account balance of just $111,000 for households nearing retirement.</li> </ul> <h2>Over half of the unprepared don't realize it</h2> <p>Of the 52 percent of households that are at risk of not being able to maintain their standard of living in retirement, the CRR study found that nearly two-thirds (63 percent) don't know they're in trouble at all &mdash; the worst possible situation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Signs You Aren't Saving Enough for Retirement</a>)</p> <p>The study's authors identified two main reasons.</p> <p>First, there is a &quot;wealth illusion&quot; that comes from having a 401(k). In other words, a person may have what seems like a lot of money in their plan, but not realize how little income it could actually produce in retirement.</p> <p>For example, a standard assumption is that 4 percent of your retirement savings can be withdrawn each year in retirement without too much danger of running out of money. A $100,000 balance would then translate into just $4,000 per year.</p> <p>The second reason is a false sense of security that comes from having a relatively high income. A high-income earner may not understand that Social Security benefits will replace a smaller percentage of his or her income than someone with a lower income. In other words, for high-income people, it takes more personal savings to maintain their standard of living in retirement than they may realize.</p> <h2>Of those who are prepared, half don't realize it</h2> <p>If 52 percent of all working age households are not adequately preparing for retirement, that means 48 percent are doing a good job. However, of those prepared 48 percent, the CRR study found that half worry that they're not on track. Of course, that's a much better problem to have than not realizing you're unprepared, but unnecessary worry is still a problem.</p> <p>The study's authors cited three main factors:</p> <ul> <li>For homeowners, not understanding how much income could be generated through a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reverse-mortgages-the-best-way-to-eat-your-home?ref=internal" target="_blank">reverse mortgage</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>For those still covered by a defined-benefit pension plan, not fully appreciating just how valuable that benefit is. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do?ref=seealso" target="_blank">If You're Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If married, not understanding how much money they may be entitled to via spousal Social Security benefits.</li> </ul> <h2>Solutions</h2> <p>What should you do if you realize you may be under or over-preparing for retirement? Run some numbers using a retirement planning calculator &mdash; preferably a couple of calculators since different tools use different assumptions &mdash; and rerun the numbers periodically. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-have-saved-for-retirement-by-30-40-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Should You Have Saved for Retirement by 30? 40? 50?</a>)</p> <p>Knowledge is your best bet when it comes to staying on track with your retirement savings. Don't just guess. Figure out how much you need to be investing each month so that you can afford to live comfortably in your retirement years, and then, make the necessary changes in your budget to set that money aside. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-common-retirement-regrets-you-can-avoid">3 Common Retirement Regrets You Can Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-revive-an-old-retirement-fund">How to Revive an Old Retirement Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-smart-thing-you-can-do-for-your-retirement-today">One Smart Thing You Can Do for Your Retirement Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/intimidated-by-retirement-investing-get-professional-help">Intimidated by Retirement Investing? Get Professional Help!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-you-cant-postpone-planning-for-your-retirement-and-how-to-start">This Is Why You Can&#039;t Postpone Planning for Your Retirement (And How to Start)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) investing IRA nest egg preparedness saving money Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:00:08 +0000 Matt Bell 1935019 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Emergency Situations You Must Prepare For (and 5 You Can Ignore) http://www.wisebread.com/5-emergency-situations-you-must-prepare-for-and-5-you-can-ignore <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-emergency-situations-you-must-prepare-for-and-5-you-can-ignore" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house-73271468.jpg" alt="flooded house" title="flooded house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Prepping&quot; is a term that defines the process of getting ready for a catastrophic event. While the word used to have a negative connotation, reserved for folks who take preparation to an extreme, many more everyday people today are using a common sense approach to mitigate damages from a variety of tragic events. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preparing-financially-for-a-natural-disaster?ref=seealso">How to Prepare Financially for a Natural Disaster</a>)</p> <p>The key to keeping your preparations realistic is to weigh the possibility of a particular event actually happening against the amount of work needed to prepare for it. Some events may almost certainly never arrive, while others could happen more than a few times during a person&#39;s life. Many are ridiculously expensive to thwart, while others require just a few dollars a week in extra supplies.</p> <h2>Realistic Preparation</h2> <p>Given the likelihood of a disaster happening, and the possibility of being ready for it, let&#39;s look first at the five disasters you should prepare for.</p> <h2>1. Catastrophic Weather Events</h2> <p>Nebraska and much of the rest of the Midwest and Eastern U.S. recently experienced what scientists have called a &quot;vortex&quot; of cold weather. Temps reached below -50 degrees F due to wind-chill, and this caused a number of issues beyond your typical cold-weather inconveniences. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-safest-cities-in-america-from-natural-disasters?ref=seealso">Safest Cities in America From Natural Disasters</a>)</p> <p>Most Nebraskans, however, weren&#39;t caught unprepared for such an event; we are, after all, accustomed to very cold weather. The same can be said for tornadoes, which happen annually, blizzards, and drought. Each area of the country has its own pattern of weather-related extremes, but since their possibility is no surprise (only their timing and severity), you should be taking appropriate steps throughout the year to have an adequate supply of food, water, and essentials on hand for any disruptions weather may cause.</p> <p>What do we consider &quot;adequate&quot;? While it may vary according to your location, size of family, and stage in life, this basic list from <a href="http://www.ready.gov/basic-disaster-supplies-kit">Ready.gov</a> gives a good basic starting point. A bare minimum of what you would need for your basic comfort and biological needs for 72 hours is a great place to start. This will include:</p> <ul> <li>Food (and items to open, prepare, and serve it)</li> <li>Water (one gallon per person per day for drinking plus what&#39;s needed for food prep, cleaning, toileting, and washing)</li> <li>Medicines (both prescription and basic OTCs) and first aid supplies</li> <li>Sanitary supplies (diapers, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, wet wipes)</li> <li>Communication devices (cell phones and solar or handcrank chargers)</li> <li>Radio with weather alerts (plus batteries or a means to charge them)</li> <li>Flashlight, LED lantern, or other lighting</li> <li>Basic tools (hammer, wrench, etc)</li> <li>Entertainment (cards, chargers for iPads, games, or books)</li> </ul> <p>Many pre-made kits will contain other &quot;must-haves,&quot; but only you can assess if these items are truly necessary. Putting together your own kit ensures you have only those items that are appropriate for your particular needs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-items-you-might-have-forgot-in-your-emergency-kit?ref=seealso">6 Items to Add to Your Emergency Kit</a>)</p> <h2>2. Loss of Power</h2> <p>Most people take small steps to guard against the complications of having a power outage, and expect that they could happen during weather events. But what about those power outages that take everyone by surprise? Disruptions lasting a few minutes to a few days can happen for a variety of reasons, including freak accidents and scheduled repairs. Waiting until you&#39;re in the dark is too late to come to terms with the chance of a blackout. Stock what you need to go without power for 2&ndash;3 days, at a minimum. It likely will happen at least once every two years.</p> <p>In addition to all the items needed in the basic preparation list above, you&#39;ll need alternative ways to heat food and charge electronics. Camp stoves can be handy for this purpose, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DD6B9IK/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DD6B9IK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">solar chargers</a> for a cell phone or radio can be purchased for as little as <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00449U3K0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00449U3K0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">$20 online</a>. If you have access to a gasoline generator, operating one safely may be a blessing to your home and your neighbors! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-things-to-have-on-hand-for-power-outages?ref=seealso">20 Things to Have in a Power Outage</a>)</p> <h2>3. Loss of Income</h2> <p>Whether you lose your job, or you take a drastic cut in pay or hours, having less to live on is a reality for most everyone at least once in a career. Most established families have (or should have!) some kind of emergency fund to live on, typically three months income, but having extra essentials on hand may prove to be more useful. (Consider how affordable it may be to stock up on extra non-perishables when they are on sale versus trying to come up with an extra $100 in grocery money down the road during a layoff!) Take into consideration expenses that are slightly &quot;irregular&quot; when you save, as well. Having your annual property taxes due after losing a job can be devastating to an unprepared household. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?ref=seealso">How to Create Your Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>4. Sickness</h2> <p>Whether it&#39;s a ruptured appendix or a terminal case of cancer, illness can rock the worlds of both the patient and their loved ones. In addition to added medical bills, there can be loss of income, an increase in time spent traveling for treatments, or even a major move in school or home location. Being prepared for the worst through illness can be as simple as securing extra coverage on a life insurance plan or getting your advance directive in order before you fall ill. Take time to consider the possibilities of how illness can change things, then work methodically to address each obstacle one by one &mdash; before it happens. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youre-hit-with-a-huge-medical-bill?ref=seealso">What to Do If You Get a Huge Medical Bill</a>)</p> <h2>5. Fire or Flood (not Weather-Related)</h2> <p>Our family has a tendency to breathe deeply once tornado season is over. The thought of having our home (and all the contents) completely destroyed is a terrifying one, and tornadoes make it a very real possibility. But what about the other ways someone could lose their house? Fires and floods are common, as well, and can happen at any time of year and in any location in the U.S. or around the world. If you don&#39;t already have adequate insurance coverage on your abode and possessions, the time to do that is now. (But be aware; flood coverage is not automatic on home policies. Check your policy language and ensure that you have a separate plan in place.) You&#39;ll also want to take inventory of all of your belongings so that they can be replaced when it comes time for that claim.</p> <h2>Disasters You Probably Don&#39;t Have to Prep For</h2> <p>So what about those situations that aren&#39;t useful to prepare for? While there is no harm is doing some of the legwork for the following disasters (especially those steps that are identical to preparing for other disasters), spending a disproportionate amount of time and money preparing for these events may not be worth the trouble.</p> <ul> <li>Nuclear fallout</li> <li>Electromagnetic pulse (EMP)</li> <li>Collapse of the economy</li> <li>Worldwide pandemic or plague</li> <li>Zombie Apocalypse (yes, there are those who believe)</li> </ul> <p>While the possibility of these five are very real (for some of us, anyway), preparing for each one, specifically, can be costly and may not do much to help you escape the outcome. By starting small, you can be in compliance with my favorite prepping rule: prepare for what makes sense. As times change, the threats will also, but the necessities needed to survive likely will not.</p> <p>(For more information on following common sense prepping rules, I highly recommend &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1616083875/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1616083875&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">The Disaster Preparedness Handbook: A Guide for Families</a>&quot; by Dr. Arthur T. Bradley.)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-emergency-situations-you-must-prepare-for-and-5-you-can-ignore">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-need-a-disaster-survival-kit">Do You Need a Disaster Survival Kit?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-generators">The 5 Best Generators</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-essentials-every-emergency-bag-should-have">13 Essentials Every Emergency Bag Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-food-supplies-for-the-lazy-skinflint">Emergency food supplies for the lazy skinflint</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-preparedness-for-your-freezer">Emergency Preparedness For Your Freezer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks disaster disaster supplies emergency emergency supplies preparedness Wed, 22 Jan 2014 11:36:08 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1112799 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Generators http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-generators <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-generators" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/generator-117957537.jpg" alt="generator" title="generator" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Electricity powers most, if not all, of our important daily necessities and has become an essential resource sustaining our lifestyles, which is why when the power goes out, it can be quite distressing. Fortunately, a solution can be found in the form of an electric generator, which can help keep the power flowing in the event of a power blackout. Wise Bread is here to help you find the best generator to keep your power going with our top 5 list.</p> <h2>What Is a Generator?</h2> <p>A generator is a gas-powered machine that converts mechanical energy into electric energy, which can then be used to generate power in areas or in situations where no power is readily available. There are three main types of generators: stationary, portable, and inverter generators. Depending on the size of their wattage output, a generator can power everything from home appliances to entire houses for hours or days at a time. Inverter generators specifically provide a stable electrical current that's safer for powering delicate electronics, such as TVs and computers. Before buying a generator, it's important to consider what you intend to power with the machine to ensure that you get the most appropriate model for your needs.</p> <h2>Best 5 Generators</h2> <h3><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004Q0KJII/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004Q0KJII&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/gen-kohler.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 227px; float: right;" /></a>Kohler 14RESAL</h3> <p>A top pick from Consumer Reports, the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004Q0KJII/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004Q0KJII&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">Kohler 14RESAL</a> is a powerful stationary generator with myriad reliable features that can power you through an extended blackout whenever it happens.</p> <p>Whether you're home or not, the 14RESAL automatically starts up immediately when the power goes out, thanks to its automatic transfer switch. From there, it can quietly generate a whopping 12,000 watts of smooth electrical power using natural gas, or 14,000 watts using propane, that can power everything in your home for virtually as long as you need it to. Its air-cooling design includes a useful low-oil shutoff feature with a warning light that helps keep the generator from overheating. The 14RESAL also comes in a corrosion-proof enclosure that effectively protects the generator from the natural elements.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004Q0KJII/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004Q0KJII&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">Currently $3,615.00 on Amazon.</a></em></p> <h3><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C2LV4H8/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00C2LV4H8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/gen-generac6237.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 229px; float: right;" /></a>Generac 6237</h3> <p>Don't let the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C2LV4H8/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00C2LV4H8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">Generac 6237</a>'s smaller size fool you. This stationary generator is another recommended choice from Consumer Reports that is just as capable and reliable at powering your entire home in the case of a blackout and comes at a much more affordable price.</p> <p>A transfer switch and electric start mechanism allows this generator to automatically turn on when a power blackout occurs. The 6237 can generate a hearty 7,000 watts of clean electrical power on natural gas and 1,000 more watts on propane, and it can keep the power going for days. The 6237 comes pre-wired and connects to your home's existing natural gas or propane supply to automatically fuel itself, thus making the generator incredibly hassle-free and easy to operate. An automatic low-oil shutoff comes standard on this model as well for added safety.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C2LV4H8/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00C2LV4H8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">Currently $2,093.80 on Amazon.</a></em></p> <h3><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00372TPCC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00372TPCC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/gen-briggs.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 300px; float: right;" /></a>Briggs &amp; Stratton 30470</h3> <p>Both a Consumer Reports and Consumer Search top pick, the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00372TPCC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00372TPCC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">Briggs &amp; Stratton 30470</a> is heavy-duty portable generator that can produce up to 7,000 watts, which many users say can easily power an entire house and is especially effective at powering well and sewage pumps too.</p> <p>This generator also comes with automatic voltage regulation, which is a nice feature that allows it to provide surge-free power to smaller electronics. Other notable features on the 30470 include an electric start mechanism that effortlessly powers on the generator and a very helpful fuel gauge and hour meter. Users have also said that this hefty generator is quite easy to move around despite its slightly bulky design.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00372TPCC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00372TPCC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">Currently $879.00 on Amazon.</a></em></p> <h3><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005BXE9S0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005BXE9S0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/gen-generaclp.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 300px; float: right;" /></a>Generac LP3250</h3> <p>Another Consumer Search top pick, the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005BXE9S0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005BXE9S0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">Generac LP3250</a> portable generator is a superb basic generator option that's been praised for its convenient features and impressive energy output.</p> <p>The LP3250 is fueled by liquid propane, which is more accessible and environmentally friendly than gasoline. A handy fuel tank holder is also integrated into its lightweight design, allowing you to easily transport the generator and its fuel supply as a single unit. Its 3,250-watt power supply generates enough electricity to keep several home appliances running simultaneously and can provide over 9 hours of power on just half of its fuel tank. Many users also appreciate the LP3250's surprisingly quiet performance as well as its automatic shutdown feature that triggers at low oil levels.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005BXE9S0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005BXE9S0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">Currently $609.00 on Amazon.</a></em></p> <h3><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002RWK9N2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002RWK9N2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20"><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/gen-yamaha.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 300px; float: right;" /></a>Yamaha EF2000iS</h3> <p>With a 4&frac12; star average rating from over 200 customer reviews on Amazon, the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002RWK9N2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002RWK9N2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">Yamaha EF2000iS</a> is a great choice for an inverter generator that has many users impressed by its quality performance.</p> <p>With a continuous surge rating of 1,600 watts, the quite compact EF2000iS can adequately power basic appliances and expensive electronics, but it is possible to daisy-chain two EF2000iS units together to produce more power if desired. This inverter generator is also quite the fuel workhorse, one that's capable of providing 7-10 hours of power using just a quarter of its 1 gallon gas tank, all while never sounding louder than the volume of a normal conversation. While it doesn't come with an electric start mechanism, users say that one pull of the ripcord is all it takes to get this machine up and running.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002RWK9N2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002RWK9N2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">Currently $989.10 on Amazon.</a></em></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best generators. As always, be sure to check out the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar">Wise Bread Shopping Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/william-tran">William Tran</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-generators">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-emergency-situations-you-must-prepare-for-and-5-you-can-ignore">5 Emergency Situations You Must Prepare For (and 5 You Can Ignore)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-indoor-tv-antennas">The 5 Best Indoor TV Antennas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-mops">The 5 Best Mops</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-aaa-batteries">The 5 Best AAA Batteries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-fabric-softeners">The 5 Best Fabric Softeners</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Buying Guides disaster emergency generators power blackout preparedness product reviews Wed, 22 Jan 2014 10:24:49 +0000 William Tran 1113808 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Items City-Dwelling Dudes Should Keep in Their Bags http://www.wisebread.com/9-items-city-dwelling-dudes-should-keep-in-their-bags <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-items-city-dwelling-dudes-should-keep-in-their-bags" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mikey_man_bag.jpg" alt="Man wearing a bag" title="Man wearing a bag" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every urban guy who counts on public transportation &mdash; and his own two feet &mdash; to get from point A to B knows that a good satchel is essential.</p> <p>Granted, carrying that bag around day in and day out can be a nuisance, but it&rsquo;s required, if only because we no longer have the luxury of junking up the back seat of our SUVs like our suburban buddies.</p> <p>Which type of bag you choose &mdash; backpack, one-shoulder, murse &mdash; is up to you, but the contents should remain the same: practical, no-nonsense items that can stop the bleeding, feed the beast, and help you avoid the walk of shame. Even in the rain.</p> <h3>Umbrella</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve been caught in a storm plenty of times, and it never fails that I forgot my umbrella. Frankly, that's the last thing I think to bring along when I&rsquo;m cross-checking my bag. Having learned my lesson again and again, now I keep a small pocket umbrella tucked away in the bottom of my attaché. Better safe than soggy.</p> <h3>Dining/Activity Coupons</h3> <p>This might sound silly to some, but I keep a whole slew of <a href="http://www.restaurant.com">Restaurant.com</a> gift certificates and clipped coupons from the <a href="http://www.entertainment.com/discount/home.shtml">Entertainment Book</a>&nbsp;on hand. It&rsquo;s very convenient to choose a place to eat or relax after a long day of traveling the city when there&rsquo;s 50% off or buy one, get one free at my fingertips.</p> <h3>Snacks (Non-Chocolate, Non-Crushable)</h3> <p>You&rsquo;ll save money if you pack your own snacks, because you won&rsquo;t be tempted to indulge as you pass the newsstands or convenience stores on every corner. A dollar here and a dollar there really adds up. Hard and gummy candies and other sturdy snacks (they should be able to withstand the wear and tear of travel) are also great while you&rsquo;re waiting, like in the doctor&rsquo;s office or, say, when the subway shuts down and you&rsquo;re trapped for a few hours. It happens &mdash; and you&rsquo;ll never be hungrier than in those ostensibly life-or-death first moments.</p> <h3>Pens/Pencils</h3> <p>Seems obvious, right? It is. Which might be why I pull my hair out every time I can&rsquo;t find one. The worst is when I get to the ATM to make a deposit and all the chained-to-the-desk pens are missing. Now I store five or six at a time in my bag. Gotta put that money in the bank, folks.</p> <h3>Clean Underwear</h3> <p>Two reasons: A) after the gym, and B) the morning after. We never seem to think those situations through, do we?</p> <h3>Business Cards</h3> <p>An extra stash means that you won&rsquo;t miss out on important opportunities, potential new clients, and impressing that hot guy or girl you&rsquo;ve got your eye on at the end of the bar. Think about it this way, too: You come across rather unprofessional when someone asks for a card and you can&rsquo;t come up with one. Makes you look like an amateur in a room full of power players.</p> <h3>Antibacterial Wipes</h3> <p>Roll your eyes all you want, but I promise you this is the single most important part of a properly packed carryall. I use mine after meals, when I&rsquo;m sweaty, and to sanitize after a subway ride, among other things; they instantly make me feel fresh and clean when no restroom is available to wash up. I buy mine in packs of five 48-count cylinders for about $10 at my local wholesale club, but space-saving options (smaller packs) are available at your nearest convenience or grocery store.</p> <h3>First-Aid Supplies</h3> <p>You&rsquo;d be surprised how many situations require rubber gloves and Band-Aids. I&rsquo;ve been in circumstances where people are bleeding, and I often need adhesive bandages to relieve the chafing that the backs of my shoes cause when I don&rsquo;t wear socks. It&rsquo;s just good form to be prepared. Your first-aid kit doesn&rsquo;t have to take up a lot of space, either. Just throw a few necessities in a Ziploc bag and tuck it away. Hopefully you&rsquo;ll never need it, but if you do, it&rsquo;ll save the day.</p> <h3>Extra Phone Charger</h3> <p>My phone dies at the most inopportune times &mdash; like right when I&rsquo;m supposed to meet my husband at a crowded place &mdash; so I&rsquo;m sure yours does, too. It&rsquo;s the one thing that throws me into a panic because I don&rsquo;t want people to think I stood them up, or worse, that something has happened to me. Now I keep an extra USB charger in my bag, so I can plug in wherever I&rsquo;m at, and I carry a rechargeable battery to juice up even quicker. Expect your friends to pat you on the back too when you save their hides from lack of power. What a guy.</p> <p><em>What item(s) do you keep in your bag at all times &mdash; and why? Let me know in the comments section.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F9-items-city-dwelling-dudes-should-keep-in-their-bags&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F9%2520Items%2520City-Dwelling%2520Dudes%2520Should%2520Keep%2520in%2520Their%2520Bags%2520%25281%2529.jpg&amp;description=9%20Items%20City-Dwelling%20Dudes%20Should%20Keep%20in%20Their%20Bags"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/9%20Items%20City-Dwelling%20Dudes%20Should%20Keep%20in%20Their%20Bags%20%281%29.jpg" alt="9 Items City-Dwelling Dudes Should Keep in Their Bags" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-items-city-dwelling-dudes-should-keep-in-their-bags">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-holding-onto-too-much-stuff-is-a-burden-for-your-loved-ones">Why Holding Onto Too Much Stuff Is a Burden for Your Loved Ones</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-your-junk">How to Get Rid of Your Junk</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-crap-a-book-review-and-tips">How to Sell Your Crap: A Book Review and Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-live-in-a-big-city-on-a-small-town-budget">How to Live in a Big City on a Small-Town Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/city-shopping-finding-your-new-frugal-home">City Shopping: Finding Your New Frugal Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Organization bags city life preparedness Mon, 24 Jan 2011 00:01:05 +0000 Mikey Rox 470797 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Things You Should Do Today to Prepare for a Pandemic Flu http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-you-should-do-today-to-prepare-for-a-pandemic-flu <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-things-you-should-do-today-to-prepare-for-a-pandemic-flu" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/emergency.jpg" alt="Emergency" title="Emergency" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="200" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For the past few years people have been telling us that it's not a matter of &quot;if&quot; a pandemic occurs, but a matter of &quot;when.&quot;</p> <p>Well, a pandemic may be upon us in the form of swine flu. Or it may not. Either way, it's a good time to review your emergency preparedness.</p> <p>There's no reason for alarm, but having previously worked on pandemic planning, I know that you'll save time and money by preparing now, instead of waiting until there is an emergency.</p> <p>Here are 15 things you should do right now to prepare yourself.</p> <h2>1. Get Extra Cash</h2> <p>I know I should have some emergency cash somewhere in my house. I used to have $200 hidden in a jar, but somehow I kept needing it for an &quot;I don't have time to stop at the ATM&quot; emergency.</p> <p>If you don't have at least a little extra cash available, swing by the ATM today.</p> <h2>2. Hoard Soap</h2> <p>The best way to protect against the flu is to <strong>wash your hands</strong>. You can't do this without soap. Alcohol-based hand wash (like Purell) also works -- just make sure it's at least 60% alcohol.</p> <h2>3. Buy Water</h2> <p>I hate bottled water. It's terrible for the environment. But let's face it: without water we can't survive. Buy a few gallons of water to store in case of an emergency.</p> <h2>4. Purchase Dried Grains</h2> <p>If your shelves are looking scarce, go buy a few packages of pasta or rice.</p> <h2>5. Procure Non-Perishable Proteins</h2> <p>Dried beans are amazing. They keep forever, are tasty, and are immensely cheaper than canned beans. Peanut butter is another favorite protein. Unless you want to be sitting in your house eating plain rice during an emergency, now is the time to buy a few other staples.</p> <h2>6. Stock up on Canned Fruits and Veggies</h2> <p>Would storing a few cans a peaches and green beans in your cabinet be so difficult? Canned fruits and veggies may not taste the best.&nbsp; But, they're cheap and they keep.</p> <h2>7. Check Your First Aid Kit</h2> <p>Do you have the basics in your first aid kit? A thermometer and acetaminophen or ibuprofen are probably the two most essential items for the flu. Here's <a href="http://www.redcross.org/services/hss/lifeline/fakit.html">the Red Cross' First Aid Kit Checklist</a>.&nbsp; Or you can <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fs%3Fie%3DUTF8%26x%3D0%26ref%255F%3Dnb%255Fss%255Fgw%26y%3D0%26field-keywords%3Dfirst%2520aid%2520kit%26url%3Dsearch-alias%253Daps&amp;tag=adailyscoop-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957">buy a pre-assembled first aid kit</a>&nbsp; for about $15.</p> <h2>8. Find Your Flashlight</h2> <p>Chances are you have a flashlight, but it's tucked away in the darkest cupboard in your basement. Find it and check the batteries.</p> <h2>9. Test Your Portable Radio</h2> <p>Neither your iPod nor Pandora will help you if you don't have electricity and you need to get the latest news. You will need a portable radio with working batteries.</p> <h2>10. Make an Emergency Contact List (on Paper)</h2> <p>Again, if there is no electricity your cell phone battery will only last so long. Now is the time to get your emergency contact numbers off of your phone and write them on paper.</p> <h2>11. Stash Away Extra Prescriptions</h2> <p>If you, your pet, or anyone in your family is on a prescription medication, make sure you have 1-3 months extra supplies.</p> <h2>12. Consider Buying N-95 Masks</h2> <p>About 3 years ago my dad bought me a few <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fs%3Fie%3DUTF8%26x%3D0%26ref%255F%3Dnb%255Fss%255Fgw%26y%3D0%26field-keywords%3Dn95%2520masks%26url%3Dsearch-alias%253Daps&amp;tag=adailyscoop-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957">packages of N-95 masks.</a> His good friend who is a doctor told him that if there was ever a pandemic these things would be gone from the shelves in a heartbeat. At the time I sort of laughed at my dad. But guess what -- I still have those masks.</p> <p>This may being going a little too far, but buying a few N-95 masks is worth thinking about. They are relatively cheap considering the mental comfort they may give you.<br /> Also note -- studies have shown they much more effective when placed on a sick person than on yourself.</p> <h2>13. Know Your Work/School's Emergency and/or Pandemic Plan</h2> <p>What is your work or school's plan in case of an emergency or pandemic? Will you be expected to work remotely? Will classes be canceled?&nbsp;Most large companies and schools have their emergency plans online -- take a look.</p> <h2>14. Understand Basic Prevention</h2> <p>To keep from getting sick practice prevention methods <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits.htm?s_cid=swineFlu_outbreak_003">endorsed by the CDC</a>:</p> <ol> <li>Stay away from others who are sick.</li> <li>Stay home if you're sick.</li> <li>Cover your mouth when you cough.</li> <li>Wash your hands.</li> <li>Don't touch your face, nose, eyes.</li> <li>Be healthy; that is get enough sleep, drink water, eat well, and exercise.</li> </ol> <h2>15. Do Further Research</h2> <p>Take 20 minutes today to glance through some emergency preparedness websites. Even if you don't stockpile 3 weeks worth of food like they say, it's still a good idea to know what the recommendations are. <a href="http://www.ready.gov">Ready.gov</a> is a pretty solid site. And as a Minnesota resident I'm proud to say that MN's site <a href="http://codeready.org">CodeReady</a> is another top site that's applicable for people living throughout the U.S.</p> <p>Honestly, I've never been one for preparedness hype. And so far there has been no reason to panic. But the current pandemic possibility is a good reason to review your needs and your preparedness level. By doing so, you'll save yourself time, money, and anxiety in the long run.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-you-should-do-today-to-prepare-for-a-pandemic-flu">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surviving-swine-flu">Surviving Swine Flu</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/economic-effects-of-pandemic-flu-in-a-recession">Economic effects of pandemic flu in a recession</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-preventing-swine-flu-naturally">Tips for Preventing Swine Flu Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/using-money-to-track-swine-flu">Using Money to Track Swine Flu</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty pandemic preparedness swine flu Thu, 30 Apr 2009 19:54:11 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 3106 at http://www.wisebread.com