risk http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8974/all en-US 17 Things You Should Never Skimp on for Safety Reasons http://www.wisebread.com/17-things-you-should-never-skimp-on-for-safety-reasons <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-things-you-should-never-skimp-on-for-safety-reasons" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_carseat_000041847428.jpg" alt="Man not skimping on car seat for safety reasons" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every year, bad financial decisions kill or injure millions of people. While we can all stand back and shake our heads at cheapskate Darwin Award winners, poverty, poor planning, or straight up lack of awareness put many people in harm's way.</p> <p>Are you cutting corners that shouldn't be cut?</p> <h2>1. Cab Fare</h2> <p>It's one thing to risk your life in the line of duty. It's another thing entirely to risk your life commuting. If your commute home is dangerous &mdash; say you have to walk through a sketchy part of town to your stop &mdash; take action to reduce your risk. Look at reducing spending on other budget categories in order to free up money to pay for safe transportation. If you cannot afford to hire a cab or Uber driver, find a commuter buddy who is willing to carpool even part way or escort you on public transportation to safety.</p> <p>Or, ask your employer if you can adjust your hours to avoid walking home while it's dark. Being safe can mean walking to a subway stop that's further away because the route is better lit or more populated or walking around the perimeter of a park rather than through it. A short cut home doesn't save any time or money if you end up getting mugged.</p> <h2>2. Car Maintenance</h2> <p>&quot;You know, you can bring your car for repair while it's still drivable,&quot; was the sage advice from my mechanic. Like many magical thinkers, I fully embraced the idea that, like the human body, my car would just repair itself&hellip; somehow. Then I broke down on the on ramp leading from the 10 freeway to the 405, which may be the busiest freeway interchange in the nation. Really, it shouldn't have taken a near-death experience to turn me into a responsible car owner, but there you have it. I am grateful to this day that no one was hurt.</p> <p>Car maintenance is expensive, but it's generally cheaper than paying for major repairs caused by neglect.</p> <h2>3.&nbsp;Child Safety Seats</h2> <p>Car seats are expensive and annoying to install, so many parents think that it's okay to use an old, hand-me-down seat for their new baby, as long as they've checked that the model hasn't been recalled. However, car seats have expiration dates for a reason &mdash; plastic becomes brittle over time, especially when repeatedly exposed to the extreme heat and cold of a car's interior. The force of even a small fender bender can cause the plastic components of a car seat to shatter, with fatal results.</p> <p>Looks are deceiving. Since damage to car seats is often not visible, it's also important to know a used car seat's history. If a car seat is involved in a collision, that car seat should be replaced.</p> <h2>4. Ear Protection</h2> <p>Hair cells in the inner ear are responsible for hearing and balance. Alas, just like brain cells, hair cells do not regenerate. Once you lose them, they are gone forever. Loud noises, <a href="http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Ototoxic-Medications/">certain drugs</a>, and smoking all damage hair cells. Wearing $3 earplugs to concerts will help ensure that you can enjoy music for your entire life. Also, if you are a music lover, invest in properly fitting headphones or ear buds that will let you listen to music without having to crank up the volume. Or take a cue from airport maintenance workers and wear Noise Reduction Earmuffs over your ear buds so you can listen to your tunes in blessed sonic isolation.</p> <h2>5. First Aid Kit</h2> <p>The mass shooting in Tucson that took the lives of six people and injured seven others, including Representative Gabby Giffords, could have been even more lethal were it not for the prep work of Tucson SWAT team medic David Kleinman. Although it is unusual for police officers to carry first aid equipment used by combat medics in Iraq, Kleinman had designed individual <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/21/AR2011012105860.html">first aid kits</a> that included such low cost items as gauze strips soaked in a coagulant for Tucson police deputies to carry. Since it's possible to bleed to death in mere minutes, these bandages literally kept people alive during the six minutes it took for the paramedics to arrive on the scene.</p> <p>The Tucson shooting is an extreme example, but first aid kits for the home and the workplace <a href="http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/get-kit/anatomy">should be assembled</a> with horrible emergencies in mind, and checked regularly for expired contents. Since I live in Los Angeles and have survived my share of evacuations due to earthquakes, fires, and riots, I also like to keep a first aid supplies in my car as part of my emergency kit.</p> <h2>6. Fruits and Vegetables</h2> <p>Even in this rotten economy, every year, more and more people are dying from diseases of affluence, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, due to a sedentary lifestyle and a diet that is high in fat and sugar. Luckily, there is an easy and delicious way to stave off a number of chronic illnesses: <a href="https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vegetables-and-fruits/">eat more fruits and vegetables</a>. Several long-term health studies have found that people who eat more than five servings of fruit or vegetables per day, lowered their risk of stroke and coronary heart disease by 20%.</p> <p>Unfortunately, access to fresh produce isn't a given for everyone, so it is important to note that frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are a nutritious and often cheaper alternative. Another great way to get more fruit and vegetables into your diet is to grow or glean your own. Consider joining forces with a few neighbors to share the work of growing a victory garden. Use Craigslist and Freecycle to find people who have surplus fruit. Fallen fruit causes vermin problems and everyone hates to waste food, so often people will give you free fruit just to keep it from falling on the ground.</p> <h2>7. Gun Safe or Gun Lock</h2> <p>About one-third of American children live in homes with guns, and 1.7 million children in the United States live in homes with guns that are <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1446208/pdf/10754974.pdf">loaded and unlocked</a>. Data from the Center for Disease Control shows that, on average, 62 children die from unintentional shootings each year. However, when researchers for Everytown looked at publicly reported gun deaths, they found that from December 2012 to December 2013, at least <a href="http://everytown.org/documents/2014/10/innocents-lost.pdf">100 children were killed</a> in unintentional shootings. And 65% of these deaths took place in a home or car that belonged to the victim's family, most often with guns that were legally owned, but not secured. Most child gun deaths are tragically preventable. As of April 2015 there were at least <a href="http://everytownresearch.org/notanaccident/">110 child shootings</a> in America. That's one accidental shooting every 36 hours.</p> <p>Responsible gun owners keep their guns out of the hands of unsupervised children, and they talk to their kids about gun safety.</p> <h2>8. Immunization</h2> <p>Remember that time you got polio? No, you don't, because your parents got you vaccinated. Ironically, the fact that vaccines have rendered many once common diseases rare has lead to the opinion among some parents &mdash; who are too young to remember the terrible disabilities and death toll associated with preventable illnesses like diphtheria, measles, and mumps &mdash; that immunization is not necessary.</p> <p>Although the last two generations of Americans have largely grown up without experiencing first hand the human cost of preventable illnesses, there are plenty of stories that explain what a miracle vaccines are for people all over the world. For example, the yearly Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race in Alaska commemorates the 20 men and their dog teams who transported diphtheria serum by dog sled 700 miles, in blizzard conditions, to stop an outbreak of the disease in Nome, Alaska. The 20 men who volunteered were postal workers; normal, everyday people. They agreed to a suicide mission because they knew that the vaccine would save the lives of 1400 people. These men were willing to lose their hands and noses to frostbite because they lived in a time when diphtheria killed many, many people.</p> <p>Across the globe, immunization has proven to be one of the most successful and cost-effective medical treatments. According to the CDC, vaccinations will <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0424-immunization-program.html">prevent 21 million hospitalizations</a> and 732,000 deaths among children born in the last 20 years. In addition to saving lives, vaccines dramatically reduce the cost of medical treatment. Although anyone who has watched Masterpiece Theater knows that polio can cause paralysis, a lot of Americans don't know that diphtheria can cause permanent heart damage, measles can cause deafness, and tetanus can cause brain damage.</p> <p>Translated into money terms, vaccines will save $295 billion in direct costs and $1.38 trillion in societal costs!</p> <p>The Affordable Care Act has made <a href="http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/factsheets/2010/09/The-Affordable-Care-Act-and-Immunization.html">immunization available</a> to more people. Vaccine coverage is available at no cost for eligible children through the <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/features/vfcprogram/">Vaccines for Children Program</a>.</p> <h2>9. Knife Sharpening</h2> <p>It seems counter-intuitive, but <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/knife-injuries-and-other-kitchen-mishaps-afflict-both-top-chefs-and-everyday-cooks/2013/01/07/92e191f8-4af0-11e2-b709-667035ff9029_story.html">dull kitchen knives</a> are more dangerous than razor sharp ones because you have to push the knife harder to get through the food. Although I bring my knives to a professional knife sharpener for convenience, knife sharpening by hand is not a hard skill to master. Most home cooks only need to sharpen their knives with an electric knife sharpener or a whetstone twice a year.</p> <p>Contrary to popular belief, that honing steel that gets a lot of pro chef action on cooking shows, and might even be part of your knife set at home, is not a sharpening stone. Sharpening stones work by removing a tiny layer of the blade to restore the sharp edge. Honing steels realign the blade by pushing it back to center and straightening it. A properly aligned blade cuts more efficiently. Honing should be done often to keep knives in top condition.</p> <h2>10. Mammograms</h2> <p>For a routine medical treatment that all women over 40 are supposed to get yearly, mammograms are horrifically expensive. But breast cancer is the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cancer.gov/types/breast">second most common cancer </a>in women, and 75% of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/news/20091006/mammograms-cut-risk-breast-cancer-death">breast cancer deaths</a> occur among women who do not get regular mammograms.</p> <p>Mammogram costs vary widely depending on insurance coverage and technology. To cut costs, it is very important to speak to your insurance about what is actually covered under your policy. For example, under my insurance, the basic breast cancer mammogram screening is 100% covered. Alas, what is not covered are the radiologist charges, other doctor fees, and the diagnostic follow-up sonogram that I also must endure because I have dense breast tissue&hellip;which pretty much renders images from a standard mammogram useless. Mammograms that are coded Diagnostic are typically much more expensive than those coded Preventative or Screening. Some insurance companies will also not cover mammograms that use alternate, but otherwise completely standard, screening technology such as ultrasound, MRIs, or even 3D mammography machines.</p> <h2>11. Rags</h2> <p>Leaving oily rags in a pile can cause them to <a href="http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fire-causes/chemical-and-gases/spontaneous-combustion-or-chemical-reaction">spontaneously ignite</a>, and even washing them in the laundry can <a href="http://www.cultureofsafety.com/safety-tips/spontaneous-combustion-of-oily-rags/">lead to a fire</a>. While throwing away rags might seem counter-intuitive, certain common chemicals like acetone are highly flammable and pose a risk to your safety if stored improperly. Reusing oily rags isn't environmentally friendly or financially smart if that practice results in a structure fire.</p> <p>Rags that have been used to apply oils such as linseed oil or turpentine should be submerged in water inside a covered metal can (such as a paint can), and taken to your local hazardous waste disposal center as soon as possible.</p> <p>Finally, read the material safety data sheet before using any product marked flammable. It could save your life.</p> <h2>12. Running Shoes</h2> <p>Running can be one of the cheapest forms of exercise, but depending on your feet and your running style, running shoes can feel like a costly investment. Running shoe manufacturers recommend replacing shoes every six months or every 400 to 600 miles. I used to stretch the mileage limit to save money, but then I broke a bone in my foot while training for the Florence marathon &mdash; because I was running in old shoes. Take it from me, very little ruins the romance of Italian cobblestone streets more than having to hop on them with your one good foot.</p> <p>Of course, these time and distance recommendations are easy to follow if you are a regular runner who keeps track of mileage. For everyone else, it's more of a guessing game. And, even if you are in training, how fast your shoes wear out depends a lot on how much you weigh and your running style. For example, because my running style has been described as &quot;Helga, the stomping mare,&quot; my shoes have a lifespan of 300 to 400 miles.</p> <p>Instead of these generic mileage rules, I now pay attention to what my body tells me. For me, sore arches let me know when the midsole of my shoe is no longer protecting my feet and legs from injury. Do not ignore these signs &mdash; they can turn into a permanent injury if you try to run through them.</p> <p>One of the easiest ways to check if you need to replace your shoes is to go to the shoe store and try on the same shoes you've been training in. If you can feel the difference in support between the new shoes and your old shoes, it's time to replace your shoes.</p> <h2>13. Sleep</h2> <p>Insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic. According to the CDC, over 35% of Americans get fewer than seven hours of sleep a night, and a terrifying 4.7% of Americans reported nodding off or falling asleep behind the wheel at least once in the preceding month. The National Department of Transportation estimates that drowsy driving is responsible for 40,000 injuries and 1550 deaths each year in the United States. In addition to car crashes, insufficient sleep is also linked to disasters such as Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and even the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.</p> <p>Sleep deprivation can also <a href="http://www.bcbsnm.com/health/achieving_wellness/sleep">alter the immune system</a>, making you more susceptible to major diseases such as hypertension, depression, and even cancer. Recent medical studies have shown a link between lack of sleep and obesity.</p> <h2>14. Sunglasses</h2> <p>Most people don't think about their eyes when they think about sun damage. Unfortunately, long-term sun damage can result in cataracts or macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in America. In addition to protecting your vision, sunglasses protect the eyes against cancer and corneal sunburn.</p> <p>Just like sunscreen, sunglasses should be worn year around, even on overcast days, as clouds are not an effective barrier against UV light.</p> <p>Not all sunglasses are created equal when it comes to sun protection. Look for sunglasses that block at least 99% of UVA and UVB light. The best sunglasses also block HEV light. Size matters. The more skin around your eyes that you can cover, the better.</p> <h2>15. Sunscreen</h2> <p>Skin cancer is now the <a href="http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/823419/10-most-common-cancers-in-the-us">most common</a> of all cancers. Medical research shows that most skin cancers can be avoided by protecting your skin against sun damage. If you were only trying to avoid getting a sunburn, then sunscreen wouldn't be vital to your health.</p> <p>However, your skin can be damaged by long-term sun exposure, regardless of whether or not you see a burn. Everyone, including people who tan easily, have dark skin naturally, or already have a &quot;base tan,&quot; should wear an SPF of 15 or higher.</p> <p>Sunscreen is very effective when used properly. Unfortunately, most people do not use sunscreen properly. To be most effective:</p> <ul> <li>Sunscreen should be applied at least 20 minutes before going outdoors, anytime you will be exposed to the sun for more than 30 minutes.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours while outdoors, even if the product claims to have &quot;all day protection.&quot; If you get wet or sweaty, sunscreen should be applied more often, even if the product claims to be waterproof.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Sunscreen should be applied in a thick layer on the surface of the skin. The most effective sunscreens actually act as a physical barrier to the suns rays. This means that you need at least two tablespoons of sunscreen (a shot glass full) for your body and nickel-sized blob for your face alone. To avoid looking undead, you can buy tinted sunscreen to match your skin tone or wear sunscreen under make-up.</li> </ul> <h2>16. Tire Maintenance</h2> <p>Tires are the only contact between your car (or bike) and the road, so tire maintenance is an important safety function. Under inflation is the leading cause of tire failure, which can result in accidents. Most drivers don't realize that a car tire can lose 50% of its pressure before it looks visibly flat, so it's a good idea to check your tires (including the spare) once a month. Cars driving on tires under inflated by more than 25% are three times more likely to be <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2012/05/nhtsa-study-finds-underinflated-and-worn-tires-increase-the-likelihood-of-a-crash/index.htm">involved in a crash</a> than tires with proper inflation. Under inflation also negatively impacts tread wear and handling.</p> <h2>17. Windshield Maintenance</h2> <p>Many car manufacturers now count the windshield as not only a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/protect-your-home-and-family-from-fire-with-these-easy-safety-basics">safety feature</a>, but also part of the structural integrity of their vehicles. Those tiny, star chips from road gravel are more than just an aesthetic nuisance. When deployed, front airbags are designed to bounce off the windshield to better protect the motorist. Chipped windshields are more likely to explode during accidents, making airbags less effective. There are insurance companies that offer free windshield replacement, but most require that you opt-in to that coverage. Even if your insurance does not offer free windshield replacement, if you live in a place like Arizona where chip sealing or gravel damage to cars is prevalent, it is worth it to pay a small annual premium for glass replacement.</p> <p>Also, don't wait to have visibility issues before you change your windshield wipers or clean the inside of your windshield. Sun and console glare are a common cause of car versus pedestrian accidents.</p> <p><em>Have any of you been saved by a small ticket item or service that didn't make this list? Please share your story in the comments section!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-things-you-should-never-skimp-on-for-safety-reasons">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/6-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars">6 Affordable Ways to Deter Burglars</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/beware-these-16-holiday-hazards">Beware These 16 Holiday Hazards</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/7-things-you-should-never-do-when-camping">7 Things You Should Never Do When Camping</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/9-ways-you-put-your-life-at-risk-every-day">9 Ways You Put Your Life at Risk Every Day</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/20-hiking-hacks-to-take-to-the-trail-this-summer">20 Hiking Hacks to Take to the Trail This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks injury risk safety skimping Mon, 27 Jul 2015 11:00:10 +0000 Max Wong 1499530 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 More Supposedly Healthy Things That Are Actually Hurting You http://www.wisebread.com/9-more-supposedly-healthy-things-that-are-actually-hurting-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-more-supposedly-healthy-things-that-are-actually-hurting-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000019512056_Large.jpg" alt="woman beach sunscreen" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My recent list of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-supposedly-healthy-things-that-are-actually-hurting-you">10 Supposedly Health Things That Are Actually Hurting You</a> was so popular, it got me thinking about even more things that we do for our health &mdash; but shouldn't. The more I learn, the more I think that the safest thing to do is not try to be healthy at all. So please pass the Girl Scout cookies, and I'll be in the TV room, staying healthy.</p> <h2>1. Douching</h2> <p>Although many women see regular douching as an important hygienic measure, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-dont-need-to-clean">recommends against it</a>, warning that it can lead to <a href="http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/douching.html">yeast and bacterial infections</a>.</p> <h2>2. Internal Steam Baths</h2> <p>As if the false promises of the douche weren't bad enough, good old Gwyneth Paltrow recently mystified and confused women everywhere by recommending the Mugwort V Steam, a spa treatment that steam cleans the vagina.</p> <p>&quot;The lactobacilli strains that keep vaginas healthy are very finicky about their environment and raising the temperature with steam... is likely not beneficial and is <a href="https://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/gwyneth-paltrow-says-steam-your-vagina-an-obgyn-says-dont/">potentially harmful</a>,&quot; wrote OB/GYN Jennifer Gunter. I guess it's the word of a consciously uncoupled actress against the doctor's &mdash; believe who you will.</p> <h2>3. Coconut Oil</h2> <p>For a while, it was dietary dogma that all fats were bad for you. Then we started hearing about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fat-filled-foods-you-should-stop-avoiding">health benefits from certain fats</a>, and lately, the golden fat is coconut oil. It is supposed to do everything from burning <em>body</em> fat to killing germs to lowering cholesterol. The truth is, researchers say, a lot more studies are needed before we really know whether <a href="http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/coconut-oil-and-health">eating this saturated fat</a> is a net positive or negative for your health.</p> <p>For now, let's just say that coconut oil may not deliver on the health claims you have heard about, but like all fats, it is guaranteed to provide your body with nine calories per gram. And it's guaranteed to be harder on your wallet than many other oils.</p> <h2>4. Low-Fat Packaged Foods</h2> <p>There are low-fat versions of just about every packaged food nowadays, from soup to cereal to yogurt. But did you ever wonder what food manufacturers do to foods to make them palatable with less fat? Read the ingredients and you may get an eyeful, such as really high amounts of sugar, sodium, or unpronounceable flavor agents.</p> <h2>5. Diet Drinks</h2> <p>Switching from regular Coke to Diet used to be considered a healthy move. And cutting back on the sugar that comes in a soft drink is good for you. But mounting evidence warns that even &quot;natural&quot; artificial sweeteners may be dangerous, primarily due to a <a href="http://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/artificial-sweeteners-may-contribute-diabetes-and-obesity">link to diabetes</a>. Artificial sweeteners may damage the microflora in our guts, too, and their super-sweet taste may increase our desire for sweets. <a href="http://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/your-body-diet-soda-infographic">Diet soda consumption</a> is also linked to heart attack risk, tooth decay, and other ills.</p> <h2>6. Annual Mammograms Starting at 40</h2> <p>On my 40th birthday, my mother reminded me to make my first mammogram appointment. I didn't, and here's why: New research suggests that women who start annual mammograms at that age expose themselves to an amount of <a href="http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/new-mammogram-guidelines-why-yearly-mammogram-may-be-bad-idea">radiation and stressful false positives</a>&nbsp;that is not worth the reduction in cancer deaths.</p> <p>Women with a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors are still advised to get the test early and often, but for &quot;a woman with lower risk, it might make sense to start later or screen every other year,&quot; Diana Zuckerman, PhD, president of the National Research Center for Women &amp; Families, told Prevention.</p> <h2>7. Baby Powder</h2> <p>Fortunately, many powders on the market today are no longer made with talc, a mineral product that could cause lung damage if inhaled. But non-talc powders or even plain cornstarch can still be inhaled, and women who use talcum powder around their genitals may be putting themselves at <a href="http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401185/How-Bad-Is-Baby-Powder.html">risk for cancer</a>.</p> <h2>8. Homework</h2> <p>Most parents are annoyed by their kids' homework; it cuts into limited family time and, in many families, leads to endless power struggles. But parents put up with it because it's for the kids' own good.</p> <p>Or is it? A Stanford study concluded that current homework levels &quot;hinder learning, full engagement, and well-being,&quot; by <a href="http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/march/too-much-homework-031014.html">causing students stress</a> and sleep deprivation, and cutting into time to develop life skills.</p> <p>Sure, you say, but what if the harm caused by homework is offset by its benefits? The thing is, experts are hard pressed to prove that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/homework-has-no-benefit-for-very-young-children-little-benefit-for-upper-primary-students/story-fnet08ui-1226501851265">homework benefits students</a>. At all.</p> <h2>9. Some Sunscreens</h2> <p>Wearing sunscreen outdoors is strongly recommended by dermatologists, and yet doctors warn that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sun-screens-can-really-cost-you-by-the-ounce-and-by-the-tumor">some ingredients</a>&nbsp;in sunscreens could be&nbsp;<a href="http://www.webmd.com/beauty/sun/sunscreen-safety-labels-ingredients">hazardous to your health</a>. The Environmental Working Group recommends against <a href="http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/what-not-to-bring-on-vacation/">spray-on sunscreens</a>, and those that contain oxybenzone or vitamin A.</p> <p><em>What supposedly healthy thing have you learned is actually harmful? Please warn us in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-more-supposedly-healthy-things-that-are-actually-hurting-you">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/6-simple-ways-to-get-more-exercise-without-working-out">6 Simple Ways to Get More Exercise Without Working Out</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/6-foods-scientifically-proven-to-increase-your-lifespan">6 Foods Scientifically Proven to Increase Your Lifespan</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/hungry-have-a-drink">Hungry? Have a drink.</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/people-who-love-their-bodies-never-do-these-17-things-do-you">People Who Love Their Bodies Never Do These 17 Things — Do You?</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/healthy-people-have-these-10-things-in-their-homes-do-you">Healthy People Have These 10 Things in Their Homes — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Health and Beauty Health risk wellbeing Wed, 18 Feb 2015 12:00:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1289909 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways Women Are Better Investors Than Men http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-women-are-better-investors-than-men <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-women-are-better-investors-than-men" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-investor-coin-stacks-Dollarphotoclub_63179113.jpg" alt="woman investor " title="woman investor " class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's no secret that the finance and investing industries are dominated by men. The 2013 Catalyst Census study, for example, found that within Fortune 500 companies, <a href="http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/2013-catalyst-census-fortune-500-women-board-directors">women represented</a> only 11.4% of CFOs and 17.6% of executive level officers in finance and insurance.</p> <p>But that doesn't mean women are less successful investors. To the contrary: Some traits found more commonly in male investors, such as overconfidence, are associated with <a href="http://www.investmentphilosophy.com/uploads/cms/51d6f125f21d6.pdf">poor investment decisions</a> and lower returns, according to a Barclays Wealth Insights study of high net-worth individuals. Furthermore, the report suggested five key ways in which women might actually have an edge.</p> <h2>1. Women Trade Less Frequently</h2> <p>Men traded more frequently, perhaps as a risk aversion strategy. Greater trading frequency leads to higher commissions and fees, which can erode returns and potentially undermine an investment strategy. Women are more likely to stay the course long-term.</p> <p><img width="605" height="228" alt="Image" style="border: none; transform: rotate(0.00rad); -webkit-transform: rotate(0.00rad);" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-yRhTnm1iGlxY8c3AROr6QK-L6w5TOGnIJ_HnloEc8RcLlOFlus74O2SYYT0NImHzh2gFI1cr1fU1S-ZswS4EethZfzZygeCAdTSp06-60JhEmP3btHFUOpdolOlX7x9cw" /></p> <h2>2. Women Are Inclined to Use Proven Financial Strategies</h2> <p>When faced with tough financial decisions, &quot;failures of rationality&quot; make it difficult to stick to proven financial strategies, resulting in missed opportunities, short-term financial decision horizons, buying high and selling low, and action bias (trading too often). Women were more likely to use proven financial strategies and avoid these mistakes.</p> <h2>3. Women Choose Lower Risk Investments</h2> <p>The study found that men were more likely to consider themselves financial risk-takers and were more willing to choose high-risk investments in order to achieve higher returns, even when sticking to financial principles would have achieved higher gains. Women pursued a steadier course and had more stable returns.</p> <h2>4. Women Have a Greater Desire for Self-Control</h2> <p>Of the subjects studied, it was concluded that using tested investment strategies was linked to increased financial satisfaction and greater wealth. Women comprised a higher percentage of those individuals possessing a high degree of financial discipline.</p> <h2>5. Women Don't Try to Time the Market</h2> <p>Women were said to more commonly use self-control strategies &mdash; a trait that makes them less likely to react in haste to market swings. Men tried to time the market more often, exposing them to greater risk and return variability.</p> <p><em>What differences have you noticed between male and female investing styles?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-women-are-better-investors-than-men">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/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett">5 Investors With Better Returns Than Warren Buffett</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/6-things-investors-should-know-about-the-october-effect">6 Things Investors Should Know About the October Effect</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/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers">Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers?</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/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make</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/non-financial-investments">Non-financial investments</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment investing investing and gender risk women investors Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:00:05 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1282997 at http://www.wisebread.com Beware These 16 Holiday Hazards http://www.wisebread.com/beware-these-16-holiday-hazards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beware-these-16-holiday-hazards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-burned-chicken-Dollarphotoclub_67120531.jpg" alt="woman burned chicken" title="woman burned chicken" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are plenty of delightful things to love about the holidays &mdash; the people, the parties, the presents! &mdash; but there are also a few dangers that can turn a celebration sour in a flash. Keep your wits about you and your limbs intact by avoiding these common holiday hazards.</p> <h2>1. Christmas Tree Mold</h2> <p>If you think Clark Griswold had a problem on his hands with a stowaway squirrel, you haven't yet encountered the dreaded Christmas tree mold. It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but <a href="http://www.myfoxal.com/story/27521440/doctors-say-mold-found-in-christmas-tree-varieties-can-trigger-allergies">it's a real threat this time of year</a> that can spark a potentially severe attack in allergy sufferers.</p> <p>Just how does the mold get in the tree?</p> <p>&quot;Mold loves moisture, so when you put the water in the tree it's a great place for mold to grow,&quot; says allergist Dr. Weilly Soong. &quot;So it releases mold spores and people become allergic.&quot; Chemicals sprayed on the tree also can trigger allergy symptoms that often are brushed off as a common cold. To reduce the probability of a reaction to tree mold, spray the tree with water and let it dry outside before bringing it into the house.</p> <h2>Potential Poisons and Other Pet-Related Hazards</h2> <p>It's not only our own backs we have to watch around the holidays; our pets also can fall prey to household hazards that could prove deadly. <a href="http://trupanion.com/pet-safety/holiday-tips">Trupanion's Holiday Tips for Dogs &amp; Cats</a> puts pet safety first, so you and your furbabies can have all the safe fun that comes with the season.</p> <h3>2. Beware of Poisonous Plants</h3> <p>Holly, mistletoe, and certain lilies look festive but can be dangerous if ingested. Cover the water for the tree and other plants and make sure your pets always have plenty of water. This will keep them from getting thirsty enough to share a drink with plants that could make them sick.</p> <h3>3. Decorating Dos</h3> <p>Keep tinsel, ribbon, and ornaments out of pets' reach, as they often prove too tempting for curious pets to avoid but can result in costly vet visits when chewed or swallowed. Christmas light cords can also be tempting to an avid chewer or new puppy.</p> <h3>4. De-Ice Those Paws</h3> <p>Remove any snow, salt, or de-icing chemicals from pets' paws right away after being outside in the cold. Frostbitten skin, which will appear red or gray, should be warmed with a moist, warm towel until the skin returns to its regular color.</p> <h3>5. Festive Feasts</h3> <p>No matter how much they beg, avoid giving your pets table food &mdash; many holiday treats can lead to a stomach ache and a swallowed turkey bone could be life-threatening. Many ingredients commonly used in holiday meals &mdash; like chocolate, onions, and garlic &mdash; can be toxic for your pets.</p> <h2>6. Injuries While Hanging Lights and Decorations</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/fMX2kKXX6sw" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>For the first time ever as an adult I decorated the outside of my home for Christmas. I managed to hang lights from the second story of my house without slamming onto the frozen tundra 20 feet below. I'm pretty proud of myself. And statistically speaking, I should be, because according to the CDC, an estimated 17,465 people are treated for <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5348a1.htm">fall-related injuries around the holidays</a>. I'm pleased that I'm not a statistic. You can avoid being one too with this video tutorial from Lowe's featuring <a href="http://www.lowes.com/projects/decorate-and-entertain/tips-for-hanging-outdoor-christmas-lights/project">helpful light-hanging tips</a>.</p> <h2>7. Frying Frozen Turkeys</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/qvlHH7dX7_c"></iframe></p> <p>The most important rule to remember when deep-frying a turkey for your holiday meal is that it should never be placed in that huge tub of boiling oil while frozen. Unless, of course, you want to spend Christmas in a burn unit followed by a homeless shelter. Let <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvlHH7dX7_c">this video from Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services serve as a forewarning</a> to all those who want to tempt fate. Instead, follow these safe and smart tips from The Art of Manliness that take you through <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8wZ7_0J3-Y">the deep-frying process from start to finish in one 15-minute video</a>.</p> <h2>8. Bodily Burns From Cooking and Baking</h2> <p>While turkey frying has the potential to cause major damage if not done properly, it's not as common a hazard as ordinary burns from regular holiday baking and cooking. It's not that difficult to singe a few fingers making that huge holiday meal, especially when all burners and the oven are on at the same time. Also, keep in mind that children like to help out in the kitchen &mdash; especially when you're making sweet treats &mdash; so it's important to ensure that everybody is educated about <a href="http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-prevent-kitchen-burns.html">fire safety and burn prevention</a>.</p> <h2>9. Damage to Your Teeth</h2> <p>While we're busy trying not to kill our pets or burn the house to the ground, we're overlooking a potentially costly &mdash; and painful &mdash; oral holiday hazard. &quot;People tend to use their teeth to open presents, bottles, and chew on candy and other potential hazards that lead patients to our office for fixing,&quot; says Dr. Mark Helm of Helm, Nejad, Stanley Dentistry of Beverly Hills. So he offers a survival guide of sorts to help you keep your pearly whites firmly planted in your face.</p> <h3>Rinse With Water Immediately After Meals or Sweets</h3> <p>It's recommended to wait 30 minutes after eating or indulging in sweets to brush and floss, allowing your mouth to return to its normal pH balance, but we understand that waiting this long after a meal (especially for little ones) is not always realistic. By simply swishing water in your mouth for about 30 seconds after sweets, you can prevent a significant amount of tartar and plaque from taking hold and help your mouth return to normal pH faster.</p> <h3>Don't Forget to Brush and Floss</h3> <p>During the holiday season we're busy spending time with loved ones and traveling, which can make it very easy to forget to maintain our regular brushing and flossing habits. If you find yourself in a situation where you can't brush and floss, don't panic. Simply rinse with water. This doesn't replace brushing and flossing, but it's better than nothing. It's also wise to invest in a to-go toothbrush or designate a pack of floss for on-the-go activities.</p> <h3>Treat Your Teeth to Something Nice</h3> <p>In keeping with the giving spirit of the holidays, why neglect your teeth? Buy yourself or a loved one a new toothbrush. Treat yourselves to some delicious xylitol-flavored gum or candies. Your teeth have been working hard and they deserve it. While you're at it, visit your hygienist and get a teeth cleaning or ask your dentist about whitening options to make all your friends and family jealous of your sparkling smile.</p> <h3>Use Appropriate Tools</h3> <p>With all of the presents, packages, and bottles to be opened, and nuts to be cracked, it can be tempting to use our teeth to take care of these tasks. Do yourself and your dentist a huge favor by using appropriate tools instead of using your teeth for these tasks. It will save you plenty of pain, money, and time spent at the dentist during the holidays that you can otherwise spend feasting.</p> <h3>Just Say No</h3> <p>Candy canes, caramel, sticky sweets, and other hard candies are some of the most common (and tasty) holiday treats that cause the most damage, and they're best avoided. Do your best to limit your intake of these sweets, and if you do decide to enjoy a candy cane or two don't chew on them.</p> <h2>10. Back Strain From Moving Boxes/Bins In and Out of Storage</h2> <p><a href="http://www.jamienovak.com/">Organizing specialist Jamie Novak</a> advises us to avoid back injuries from lugging heavy tubs and containers of decorations in and out of storage areas and up and down flights of stairs. &quot;I suggest storing decorations in smaller tubs, grouping the items you use for one area &mdash; like a single bookcase or tabletop &mdash; in one bin so you can bring out what you need without hurting yourself,&quot; she says. If you're already prone to back problems, ask someone else to do the heavy lifting for you. Doing it yourself isn't worth being laid up for the holidays, unable to enjoy the festivities.</p> <h2>11. Cuts From Clamshell Packaging</h2> <p>One of the most frustrating parts of gift packaging are those annoying hard plastic cases that seem like they've been welded together for the sole purpose of making you curse the day Santa slid down your chimney. And if you're not careful, you could have a bloody mess on your hands. To open these types of packages Novak says, &quot;Always have a clamshell [package] opener at the ready. I keep mine in a decorative box under the tree, so I know just where it is. I also keep one of those tiny screwdrivers in the box so I can open battery compartments easily.&quot;</p> <p>You hear that folks? Put a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000RT8GQY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000RT8GQY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=BVWDMJ4BPCYWVSLS">clamshell package opener</a> on your Christmas list this year &mdash; if only to enjoy the look of what-the-heck-is-that bewilderment from whoever reads it.</p> <h2>12. Unattended Candles</h2> <p>Candles help create a cozy ambience around the holidays, but such beauty can quickly turn into a blaze if the candles are left unattended. The National Candle Association (yeah, I had no idea either) takes safety seriously as detailed in <a href="http://candles.org/fire-safety-candles/candle-safety-rules/">this comprehensive list of candle safety rules</a>.</p> <h2>13. Overloading Power Strips and Outlets</h2> <p>Once you've strung up all your lights, you'll need to plug them in so the astronauts can see them from space. That is your goal, isn't it? While it's perfectly okay to pursue that passion, it's not a good idea to overload your electrical outlets so NASA can pinpoint the big ball of fire that has suddenly appeared on your block. Right where your house used to be. Howstuffworks details some electrical-outlet limits in <a href="http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-safety/fire/outlet-overload.htm">this educational and perhaps life-saving post</a>.</p> <h2>14. Letting the Tree Dry Out</h2> <p>What happens when you put bone-dry greenery next to a potential fire hazard? It could go up in flames. Be a responsible tree owner by keeping the stand filled with water while also minimizing the risk of fire by practicing the safety tips detailed earlier in this post.</p> <h2>15. Choking Hazards for Children</h2> <p>Be mindful of the gifts you're giving children this time of year and make sure that they're age-appropriate. Paramedic Jeff Meyers at Grand Rapids Healthcare Training offers this helpful tip to help you decide what items could mean trouble: &quot;If the object is small enough to fit in a toilet paper roll, it's too small.&quot;</p> <h2>16. Foodborne Illness</h2> <p>Dr. Michael Kaplan, national medical director for <a href="http://www.nextcare.com">NextCare</a>, warns about a hidden danger that can affect any family at holiday time.</p> <p>&quot;Foodborne illnesses &mdash; such as Salmonella and E.coli &mdash; that primarily consist of vomiting and/or diarrhea can lead to dehydration if a person loses more body fluids and salts (electrolytes) than they take in,&quot; he says. &quot;In addition to water, drinking oral rehydration solutions such as Ceralyte, Pedialyte, or Oralyte is recommended to replace the fluid losses and prevent dehydration. Sports drinks such as Gatorade do not replace the losses correctly and should not be used as treatment. Bismuth subsalicylate (i.e. Pepto-Bismol) can reduce the severity and duration of diarrhea, as well. (NextCare can also help to treat gastrointestinal illnesses such as foodborne illness).&quot;</p> <p><em>Do you have other holiday hazards that we should avoid? Please warn us about them in comments!</em></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/beware-these-16-holiday-hazards">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/12-ideas-for-cheap-festive-fall-decor">12 Ideas for Cheap, Festive, Fall Decor</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/wise-bread-reloaded-right-now-is-the-time-to-get-ready-for-thanksgiving">Wise Bread Reloaded: Right Now Is the Time to Get Ready for Thanksgiving</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/14-ways-to-spend-less-money-on-valentines-day">14 Ways to Spend Less Money on Valentine&#039;s Day</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/people-who-love-christmas-do-these-9-things-do-you">People Who Love Christmas Do These 9 Things — Do You?</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/5-thanksgiving-traditions-you-should-skip">5 Thanksgiving Traditions You Should Skip</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment danger holiday risks Holidays injury risk Fri, 12 Dec 2014 18:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1267699 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Small Risks That Can Improve Your Life in Big Ways http://www.wisebread.com/5-small-risks-that-can-improve-your-life-in-big-ways <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-small-risks-that-can-improve-your-life-in-big-ways" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/two-adults-talking-train-56901932-small.jpg" alt="two adults talking train" title="two adults talking train" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Living on the edge feels good. Even the smallest of risks is <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0843/abstract">scientifically proven to increase your enjoyment</a> of whatever activity you're engaged in. Intrigued? Read on for our roundup of some small, specific small risks we suggest everybody consider taking.</p> <p>What have you really got to lose?</p> <h2>1. Buy a Lottery Ticket</h2> <p>Your <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/15/health/psychology-playing-lottery-powerball/">chances of winning the Powerball jackpot</a> are about one in 175 million. But some social psychologists say you should do it anyway. That's because the benefit most of us get from playing the lotto has a lot more to do with the fantasy of winning money than the actual attainment of wealth.</p> <p>&quot;The lottery lets you <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/affluence-intelligence/201203/lottery-itis">believe in magic</a>: that you will be the one who spent a little and got a lot; that you will defy the extraordinary odds against winning,&quot; reads an excerpt from a Psychology Today article titled &quot;Lottery-itis!&quot; It's that &quot;Oh, the things I could buy, the places I'd go!&quot; fantasy that grants us relief &mdash; albeit fleeting &mdash; from the stresses, conflicts, and perceived financial roadblocks in our real lives. In fact, neuroscientists have found that the <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/purepedantry/2008/01/08/does-the-lottery-help-or-harm/">prospect of winning the lottery activates</a> the same brain circuits that would be triggered if we discovered that we actually possessed the winning ticket. &quot;Our pleasure of living is not only based on our current situation, but what could be, what we can imagine our situation could become,&quot; behavioral decision making researcher George Loewenstein says.</p> <h2>2. Conquer a Fear</h2> <p>Turns out that <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/05/22/1205242109.full.pdf">facing our fears really works</a>. Research shows when we expose ourselves to the thing that unnerves us &mdash; be it a gigantic, hairy spider or a red-nosed clown &mdash; we actually help to reduce our fear of that very thing. The results can be truly liberating. So if you're afraid of spiders, go to a zoo that will let you hold one. If it's heights that make you squeamish, go cliff jumping in a safe, designated area. Life is too short to let irrational fears keep you from living vibrantly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-have-any-of-these-4-most-irrational-fears?ref=seealso">Do You Have Any of These 4 Most Irrational Fears?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Talk to a Stranger</h2> <p>Strike up a friendly conversation with a stranger in line at the coffee shop or on public transit during your morning commute. Sure, they might avert their eyes, pretend they can't hear you, or worse &mdash; tell you to get lost. But other than that, you haven't got much to lose.</p> <p>Now let's talk about the benefits. Behavioral scientists say <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/26/opinion/sunday/hello-stranger.html?smid=fb-nytimes&amp;WT.z_sma=OP_HSx_20140427&amp;bicmp=AD&amp;bicmlukp=WT.mc_id&amp;bicmst=1388552400000&amp;bicmet=1420088400000&amp;_r=3">initiating positive interactions</a> with people whose gazes we might otherwise avoid evokes higher happiness levels in both parties. So long as the stranger you choose is willing to chit chat, it's a guaranteed way to jumpstart both of your days.</p> <h2>4. Voice an Unpopular Opinion</h2> <p>Filling your mind with worries about what other people think of you can drain your energy. So don't. Be your own judge of approval. And don't shy away from voicing your opinion or speaking your truth. Sure, your words might be met with silence, eye-rolls, or even resentment. But as mind-body medicine physician Lissa Rankin describes, the alternative can be much worse.</p> <p>&quot;When you squelch what is true for you, the body releases harmful stress hormones that raise your blood pressure, elevate your heart rate, and weaken your immune system,&quot; Rankin said. &quot;When you speak what's true, the body relaxes, your muscles stop tensing, your blood pressure lowers, your pulse slows, <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/owning-pink/201112/tedxfidiwomen-speaking-your-truth-is-good-your-health">your happy hormones get jump started</a>.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Quit Your Job</h2> <p>Quitting your job may not seem like a small risk, but let us put it in perspective. Most Americans are unhappy in the workplace. What's more, research shows that <a href="http://healthland.time.com/2011/08/10/study-your-hostile-workplace-may-be-killing-you/">people who work in hostile environments are more likely to die sooner</a> than those who work in atmospheres that are more favorable. So if you've ever said, &quot;My job is killing me!&quot; &mdash; read on. Holding on to a job that drives us mad is known to provoke aches, stress, and signs of depression. And while putting in your two-weeks notice could put your financial stability on the the line, we hope you'd agree that it's a slightly better alternative to an early death. Besides, the rewards of <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2011/03/03/how-loving-your-job-helps-you-succeed">landing a new, energizing gig that makes you feel valued and worthwhile</a> are well worth the gamble, especially when considering what another few years at your current job could do to your physical and mental health.</p> <p><em>Have you ever taken a small risk and gotten a big reward? Tell us about it in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-small-risks-that-can-improve-your-life-in-big-ways">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/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life">Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways to Change Your Life</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/10-things-you-can-do-today-to-be-happy">10 Things You Can Do Today to Be Happy</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-regular-budget-meetings-might-save-your-marriage">6 Ways Regular Budget Meetings Might Save Your Marriage</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/9-reasons-alone-time-is-good-for-your-soul">9 Reasons Alone Time Is Good For Your Soul</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/7-ways-to-get-people-to-listen-when-you-talk">7 Ways to Get People to Listen When You Talk</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development gamble reward risk upside Tue, 18 Nov 2014 12:00:08 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1255061 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways You Put Your Life at Risk Every Day http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-you-put-your-life-at-risk-every-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-you-put-your-life-at-risk-every-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-drinking-cola-151810423-small.jpg" alt="woman drinking cola" title="woman drinking cola" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you watch cable news, you'd think that we were all at risk of dying from Ebola, falling airliners, or terrorist attacks. But the reality is that the greatest risks to our health stem from activities we take part in nearly every day.</p> <p>Statistically, we are far more likely to get hurt or die doing relatively mundane activities than jumping from planes or getting eaten by sharks. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-most-dangerous-things-hiding-in-your-home-right-now?ref=seealso">The 5 Most Dangerous Things Hiding in Your Home Right Now</a>)</p> <p>Just in time for Halloween, we give you nine common things we do (or don't do enough of) that are a risk to our health. Just prepared for a little scare&hellip;</p> <h2>1. Getting in a Car</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx">National Highway Traffic Safety Administration</a> reported 30,800 fatal crashes involving motor vehicles in 2012 in the United States. That's nearly 15 fatalities for every 100,000 licensed drivers. (And of course, this rate rises among people who were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.) Despite major advancements in automotive safety, accidents make up about a quarter of all accidental deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. These numbers provide ample support for walking and taking public transit if at all possible. Generally speaking, the less you drive, the safer you'll be.</p> <h2>2. Drinking Sugary Beverages</h2> <p>Research from Harvard University <a href="http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/sugary-drinks-fact-sheet/">has linked the sugar content in beverages</a> to more than 25,000 obesity-related deaths in the United States and 180,000 worldwide. A can of soda can have more than 30 milligrams of sugar, or 20% more than the World Health Organization's recommended daily intake for an <em>entire day</em>. This much sugar puts you at risk for conditions like diabetes and heart problems. You can avoid sugar in your drinks by grabbing diet versions, or switching to other drinks <a href="http://www.livestrong.com/article/252999-benefits-of-green-tea-honey/">like green tea sweetened with honey</a>. And what's so bad about plain old water?</p> <h2>3. Eating a Lot of Meat</h2> <p>Meat has its benefits, in the form of proteins and many vitamins. But there is evidence that too much red meat will put you at risk for various health problems, including heart disease. Researchers at <a href="http://healthland.time.com/2012/03/13/just-how-unhealthy-is-that-steak-the-deadly-dangers-of-eating-red-meat/">Harvard reported that a single extra serving of meat</a> each day increased mortality by 13%. And that number jumped to 20% among subjects who ate processed meats like hot dogs or bacon.</p> <p>You don't necessarily have to become a vegetarian to reduce your health risk, but it's possible to get protein from other sources, including fish, chicken, nuts, and whole grains.</p> <h2>4. Sitting!!</h2> <p>There's mounting evidence that sitting for long stretches of time is hazardous to your health. It's a major problem for anyone who works in an office setting, in particular. Numerous studies report that prolonged sitting can contribute to a wide range of maladies including heart disease, bad back, muscle degeneration and circulation problems. One report that looked at studies between 1989 and 2013 <a href="http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0080000">concluded that sitting for more than 10 hours a day</a> contributed to a 34% increase in mortality rate compared to people who sat for one hour a day. But there's a lot you can do to counteract this. Cut down on your TV watching, or watch while at the treadmill at the gym. If you work in an office, get a standing desk (or even a treadmill desk.) Bottom line: just get moving! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-standing-desks?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Standing Desks</a>)</p> <h2>5. Not Sleeping Enough</h2> <p>The average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep, but gets barely more than six, according to multiple studies. The <a href="http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/howmuch.html">National Institutes of Health reports </a>that an ongoing sleep deficiency contributes to kidney problems, heart disease and stroke, and increases your risk of obesity and diabetes. Not to mention, a lack of sleep makes you more vulnerable to accidents; driver fatigue contributes to about 100,000 car accidents and 1,500 deaths each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.</p> <p>In short, it's time to catch up on your sleep. Doctors advise going to bed at the same time every night and keeping away from food, television and electronic devices near bedtime. Regular exercise also helps.</p> <h2>6. Not Getting Enough Sex</h2> <p>Simply put, having an orgasm is good for you, especially if you are a man. An article in the former British Medical Journal studied more than 900 men between 45 and 59, and found that those men who had &quot;high orgasmic frequency&quot; had a 50% lower mortality rate than those who had fewer orgasms.</p> <p>There's also some evidence that sex will improve your mood and <a href="http://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0815/p757.html">reduce your risk of prostate cancer</a>.</p> <p>So, go and have more sex. (Safe sex, with someone you love, of course.) Your life depends on it.</p> <h2>7. Going Out in the Sun</h2> <p>When you actually take time to read about the impact of ultraviolet rays from the sun, you suddenly feel like it's better to just stay inside forever. UV rays will damage your skin, and too many sunburns will place you at risk for several types of skin cancer, including the deadly melanoma. The American Cancer Society reported that there will be an estimated 76,100 cases of melanoma in 2014, with 9,710 deaths.</p> <p>Of course, there are ways to prevent sun damage. Avoiding tanning beds at all cost is advisable. And when you do go out in the sun, avoid going out in the middle of the day and apply a broad-spectrum sunblock with an SPF of at least 30.</p> <h2>8. Entering Your House</h2> <p>To be clear, it's not so much the entering as what can happen to you once you go inside. Specifically, heavy things have the potential to fall on you and hurt you.</p> <p>The Consumer Product Safety Commission <a href="http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/171154/InstabilityorTipoverReport2014Stamped.pdf">reported that between 2011 and 2013</a>, an annual average of 38,000 people went to emergency rooms after a tipover of a television, furniture, or an appliance. More than half of these incidents involved children, and the vast majority of the 430 deaths were among kids aged 10 and under. But adults still got hurt more than 16,000 times. In 2015, the CPSC will implement a $400,000 campaign to educate people about the potential for television and furniture tip-overs.</p> <h2>9. Accumulating Debt</h2> <p>Debt is not just bad for your financial wellbeing, it may also be bad for your health. A recent study from Northwestern Medicine reported that <a href="http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2013/08/high-debt-could-be-hazardous-to-your-health.html">young people with higher loads of debt</a> reported higher blood pressure and poorer mental health. A Gallup Poll in 2014 reported that 34% of young people with <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/174317/student-debt-linked-worse-health-less-wealth.aspx">no debt said they were thriving physically</a>, compared to 24% among those with more than $50,000 in debt.</p> <p>Avoid debt, if you can. If you have debt, pay it off as soon as possible.</p> <p><em>Any risks I've overlooked? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-you-put-your-life-at-risk-every-day">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/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</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/more-children-hurt-in-crocs-related-accidents">More children hurt in Crocs-related accidents.</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/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</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/are-you-giving-burglars-the-key-to-your-home">Are you giving burglars the key to your home?</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/9-more-supposedly-healthy-things-that-are-actually-hurting-you">9 More Supposedly Healthy Things That Are Actually Hurting You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Health risk safety Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:00:04 +0000 Tim Lemke 1240477 at http://www.wisebread.com How Much Should You Invest? http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-invest <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-much-should-you-invest" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6848823919_724f516a05_z.jpg" alt="money" title="money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="192" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;How much should I invest?&quot; is a question frequently asked by savers who want to start making their money work for them. This simple question can actually be quite difficult to answer since there are so many ways to invest and different people have different levels of risk tolerance. Here I will try to answer the question by explaining a few ways to invest and how risky they are, and you can be the judge on what path you should take. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/investments-worth-making-with-50-or-less">Investments Worth Making With $50 or Less</a>)</p> <h2>Almost Zero-Risk Investments</h2> <p>If you absolutely don't want to lose your money, then you can put it in a high-yield savings or checking account, money market account, certificate of deposit, or U.S. treasury bond. You can put all your money into these investment vehicles and most likely be guaranteed that you won't lose any. The downside is that right now most of these are paying very little interest, so the purchasing power of your money could be eroded by inflation. If you don't have a lot of money and don't want to lose any of it, though, then this is probably the way to go.</p> <h2>Slightly-More-Risk Investments</h2> <p>If you have more than a few thousand dollars to invest and do not want to do too much work, then it is quite easy to just put your money in a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mutual-funds-for-wise-bloggers">mutual fund</a>. However, there are thousands of mutual funds that put money in a variety of investments, and you need to investigate which is best for you. Personally I have invested in one of Vanguard's Target Retirement funds that invests in a variety of index funds. It is a low-cost and low-maintenance option if you want to invest for the long term without having to do much work. However, if you do take this path and you invest in mutual funds that are mostly stock based, you need to know that it is possible for the funds to vary wildly with the ebbs and flows of the stock market. If you tend to panic when you watch your money go down or if you need the money right away, then this is probably not for you.</p> <h2>Investments With More Risk and Work</h2> <p>If you are into research and do not mind watching your investments often, then you can try your hand at building your own stock portfolio by buying individual stocks or ETFs. I have not done this before, but I do have friends and family who like to do technical analysis on the stock market and trade stocks for the short term. They usually park a lot of money in cash and then only place a small portion of their capital on each stock pick or &quot;bet.&quot; Many times the stock or ETF is sold within hours or days of their purchase. Some people also trade options, but that's not for beginners. If you want to try your hand at picking stocks, then I would suggest not putting all your money in right away, because it is possible to lose a large chunk in the matter of days. Some people call this speculation, not investing.</p> <h2>Investments With Lots of Risk, Work, and Possible Reward</h2> <p>When you know some investments well, it is possible to invest without putting up any of your own money and instead borrow the capital you need. For example, some real estate investors will borrow 100% of the money they need to buy houses and then either quickly flip the house or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-become-a-landlord-instead-of-selling-your-home">rent the house out</a> and then refinance. Other investors borrow the capital for a business and then pay the loan back over years with the business's cash flow. These methods of investing require a lot more work, and if you don't know what you are doing, you are almost guaranteed to lose money. The upside is that if you make money, you are doing it with other people's funds and you can repeat the process and make more money. If you want to go down this path, you would need to do a lot of research and learn about the business you are targeting. You also need to invest quite a bit of your own time.</p> <p>I have left out a lot of other investing possibilities in this brief article, but the truth is that how much of your time and money you should invest to make more money is completely up to you. That may not be the clear cut answer you were expecting, but what is clear is that if you have saved money, you should probably invest as much of your capital as you can so that eventually you will have an income stream that lets you be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-independence-is-more-than-just-a-number">financially independent</a>.</p> <p><em>How much of your money and time do you invest to make more money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-invest">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/4-quick-ways-to-decide-if-a-company-is-worth-your-investment">4 Quick Ways to Decide if a Company Is Worth Your Investment</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/great-ways-to-generate-passive-income">Great Ways to Generate Passive Income</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-ways-women-are-better-investors-than-men">5 Ways Women Are Better Investors Than Men</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-great-investments-for-first-timers">7 Great Investments for First-Timers</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/7-common-investing-mistakes">7 Common Investing Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment beginner investor passive income risk Wed, 12 Dec 2012 11:00:31 +0000 Xin Lu 957728 at http://www.wisebread.com How To Take Risks Without Losing Your Shirt http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-take-risks-without-losing-your-shirt <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-take-risks-without-losing-your-shirt" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-take-risks-without-losing-your-shirt</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/how-to-take-risks-without-losing-your-shirt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000011916274Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Entrepreneurs are natural risk-takers.&quot; I've heard that phrase more times than I can count ... and it is one of the great myths of entrepreneurship.</p> <p>In fact, I've noticed that entrepreneurs&mdash;and business professionals in general&mdash;are usually terrible risk takers.</p> <p>Now don't get me wrong, entrepreneurs are certainly courageous. They are willing to try a way of life that others are not, and I think that's why people assume that they are risk takers. However, risk isn't really the right word. Just because someone does something outside of the norm doesn't mean that they are doing something risky. And it certainly doesn't mean that they are good at taking risks.</p> <p>Regardless of the situation, most risks share one thing in common: it's rarely the initial decision that dooms a business. Instead, our irrational responses after the initial decision are what turn regular risks into big failures.</p> <p>In hopes of helping you avoid the pitfalls of risk taking, here are three suggestions for taking risks without going out of business.</p> <p><strong>1. Take a Long Term View</strong></p> <p>If you look back on many reckless decisions in business, they are often made because someone didn't want to miss out on an opportunity. The idea of a vanishing window of opportunity often drives us to make decisions we wouldn't usually make. For example, think about your typical bidding war. Often, we pay more than we want because we convince ourselves that &quot;this is our only chance.&quot;</p> <p>As the famous golfer Jack Nicklaus said, &quot;Extremes never work for long.&quot; It doesn't matter whether you're talking about a golf swing or a business move, don't put yourself in an extreme situation because you took the short term view.</p> <p>Opportunities have a way of presenting themselves over and over again. If you're patient enough to pass on the bad deals in the short term, then you'll usually <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/how-to-cash-in-on-long-lasting-fads-1" target="_blank">find some excellent ones in the long term</a>.</p> <p>Of course, that's easier said than done because we often convince ourselves that the deal we see, or the risk we are about to take, is worth it. Which brings me to my next point...</p> <p><strong>2. Stop Fooling Yourself</strong></p> <p>Poor risk taking is often the result of irrational behavior.</p> <p>We see an opportunity, and because we don't want to miss it, we convince ourselves that we should take the risk. We agree to bad terms, we convince ourselves to make excessive purchases, we choose a poor strategic direction ... often because we get wrapped up in the idea of one possibility and search for reasons to convince ourselves that we are making the right move. This can be especially true for entrepreneurs, who often become enamored with new ideas and possibilities.</p> <p>Rather than getting wrapped up in the new idea or opportunity, you can avoid poor risks by viewing a range of possibilities for each and every situation. When you're leaning one way, stop for a moment and consider the other view point. What if you did the complete opposite? What would happen? Why would a smart business person not make the same move?</p> <p>By considering a range of alternatives, you can help prevent yourself from making poor decisions because of irrational reasons.</p> <p><strong>3. Evaluate the Situation as It Currently Is</strong></p> <p>Just because something was the right decision three months ago, doesn't mean that it's the right decision today. Of course, that doesn't mean it's easy to change course.</p> <p>Making the right decision in the moment often requires you to check your ego, ignore the previous time and effort that went into a project, and eliminate your emotional connection to the business. That may sound hard, but the results of unbiased decision making can be excellent.</p> <p>Here is an example. As the story goes, former Intel CEO Andy Grove was debating with current CEO Gordon Moore about the future direction of the company. At the time, Intel was a company that primarily produced memory chips. They also built a small amount of microprocessors. The problem was that Intel was losing money because of Japanese competitors who were building high-quality memory chips at a fraction of the price.</p> <p>Grove looked at Moore and said, &quot;If we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what do you think he would do?&quot; Moore answered by saying, &quot;He would get us out of memories.&quot; That was the moment Intel decided to abandon the memory chip business and start making microprocessors. The rest, as they say, is history. Hidden in that small conversation is a very powerful message.</p> <p>It took a remarkable amount of courage for Moore and Grove to abandon Intel's identity as a company. Despite the difficulty, the two men made the decision that was best for the company at that moment in time. That's the secret to successful risk taking.</p> <p>Risky decisions can be made as long as they focus on what is best for your business right now. Conversely, if you jump at opportunities and convince yourself of their worth for irrational reasons, then you'll chase one bad decision into the ground ... and your business will come along with you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/james-clear">James Clear</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-take-risks-without-losing-your-shirt">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/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</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/join-us-at-the-new-york-times-small-business-summit">Join Us at the New York Times Small Business Summit</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-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</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/lessons-we-can-learn-from-blockbusters-demise">Lessons We Can Learn From Blockbuster&#039;s Demise</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-much-should-you-invest">How Much Should You Invest?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center business forecasting business planning risk risk management small business Wed, 07 Dec 2011 22:25:07 +0000 James Clear 804604 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Tips for Small Business Success in Troubled Times http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/7-tips-for-small-business-success-in-troubled-times <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/7-tips-for-small-business-success-in-troubled-times" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/7-tips-for-small-business-success-in-troubled-...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/7-tips-for-small-business-success-in-troubled-times" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000013494566Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The spastic stock market, an economy in the doldrums, and a narcissistic Congress represent real challenges for small business owners. What happens on Wall Street and in Washington has a very real affect on business, and managing under all that uncertainty isn't easy. Here are a few tips from experience that can help.</p> <p><strong>1. Turn Off the News</strong></p> <p>If you watch TV news you probably expect the world to end any day. No, I&rsquo;m not talking religious zealots preaching that the end is nigh, or nutters that have proof, PROOF, mind you, that the Mayan calendar predicts an apocalypse in 2012. I mean the day in, day out focus of the news on, well, bad news.</p> <p>Now, I&rsquo;m not suggesting that a bazillion dollar national debt isn&rsquo;t legitimate bad news, nor am I suggesting that when brave SEALs are killed we shouldn&rsquo;t mourn their loss. But is life improved when we learn the lurid details of the latest kidnapping, bank robbery, or murder? Is that news you can use?</p> <p>You decide what you watch, and thanks to our <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/mirror-neurons.html">mirror neurons</a>, you feel what you see. Want to feel better about the world and your business? Turn off the news, and get back to work.</p> <p><strong>2. Cash is King</strong></p> <p>The so-called Great Recession of 2007-2008 proved, if nothing else, the maxim that &ldquo;cash is king.&rdquo;</p> <p>Your business has to generate more cash than it uses if you&rsquo;re going to survive. That&rsquo;s obvious; that&rsquo;s what profitability is all about. But what a lot of people don&rsquo;t understand is that you can&rsquo;t spend profits unless they&rsquo;re <i>cash</i> profits. Paper profits aren&rsquo;t worth the paper they&rsquo;re printed on when it comes to survival and growth.</p> <p>In fact, even a very successful company can go &ndash; or <i>grow</i> &ndash; broke if they don&rsquo;t watch their cash position.</p> <ul> <li>If your salespeople are successful at generating orders, even with prices that offer a good profit, stale receivables can bite you in the butt.</li> <li>You borrow for raw materials so you can afford to hire more staff to keep up with demand. And people <i>love</i> what you&rsquo;re selling, so you borrow to get more raw materials and staff, and before long you have a huge backlog of orders &ndash; and huge debt you can&rsquo;t cover because cash is just trickling in.</li> </ul> <p>The sooner you have your customer's money, the sooner you can use it. If you're selling to people who aren't paying you quickly enough, or heaven-forbid not paying you at all, you might as well start a bank because, in effect, you're financing <i>their</i> cash flow problems.</p> <p>Don't let someone else's cash crunch become your own.</p> <p><strong>3. Manage Risk</strong></p> <p>Every organization faces risk. Some you&rsquo;re well aware of, but others may be hidden. When the business environment gets tough you need to stop and think about what can go wrong. The good news is <a target="_blank" href="http://www.quantisoft.com/Articles/BusinessRisk.htm">risk surveys</a> can give you an idea where to look.</p> <p>When you identify, assess, quantify, and mitigate risk, you can reduce uncertainty.</p> <p><strong>4. Reduce Uncertainty</strong></p> <p>There is no question that uncertainty created by partisan politics is pushing a lot of business owners to sit on cash. But you have to continue to operate, even in an uncertain environment, if you and your employees want to eat.</p> <p>How do you do that? Start with where you want to end up and work backward to define the activities, development, expertise, and technology you need. Then work <a target="_blank" href="http://strategywerx.com/blog/2010/11/the-knee-bones-connected-to-the-or-a-cure-for-all-manner-of-social-problems/">from the bottom up</a>.</p> <p>The process is simple, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean it&rsquo;s easy. And you do have to keep generating income and protecting your business while you&rsquo;re planning. The process will reduce the uncertainty and keep you from wasting time trying to get better and better at something you shouldn&rsquo;t be doing at all.</p> <p><strong>5. Don't Compete on Price</strong></p> <p>Discounts only make sense if there are economies of scale that will allow you do deliver the same product or service at a higher volume, or if your marginal cost is low. If you offer rickshaw rides, a discount simply means you make less. If you offer bus rides, carrying a few extra people won&rsquo;t cost you any more so a discount may make sense.</p> <p>The same is true if your business can upsell a new customer, or if a discount customer will come back as a full-fare buyer.</p> <p>But if none of the above is true, don&rsquo;t discount.</p> <p>A lot of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/to-groupon-or-not-to-groupon-the-cost-of-offering-deep-discounts-1">merchants who use Groupon haven&rsquo;t figured this out</a>, by the way.</p> <p><strong>6. Be Agile</strong></p> <p>Argentine revolutionary Che Guevera once famously said, &ldquo;Where there is confusion there is opportunity.&rdquo;</p> <p>While others are pondering what to do, take steps to make your company better able to respond quickly to change:</p> <ul> <li>Don&rsquo;t cut staff; cut bureaucracy;</li> <li>Focus on value and cut waste;</li> <li>Find ways to increase productivity and cut non-performers. (Teleworkers, for example, are repeatedly shown to be <i>at least</i> 25 percent more productive than their office counterparts. <a target="_blank" href="http://img.en25.com/Web/CitrixOnline/Increasing_Productivity%20.pdf">Manage based on results</a> &ndash; not where, when, or how they work &ndash; you&rsquo;ll see involuntary turnover go up, and voluntary turnover go down).</li> </ul> <p><strong>7. Just Do It</strong></p> <p>Sure times are tough, but aren&rsquo;t times <i>always</i> tough for a small business? You can bide your time and assume there will be another upswing, but by then maybe the US will have more debt, China might be an even bigger player, Congress will still be gridlocked, and terrorists may still be terrorizing. Are you <i>sure</i> there will be an upswing? Maybe this is the new normal.</p> <p>Some people sit around and wonder what&rsquo;s going on. Others understand what&rsquo;s going, but don&rsquo;t do anything. Meanwhile some people step up and make it happen.</p> <p>Which are you?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tom-harnish">Tom Harnish</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/7-tips-for-small-business-success-in-troubled-times">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/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</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/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</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/9-ways-you-put-your-life-at-risk-every-day">9 Ways You Put Your Life at Risk Every Day</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/top-6-reasons-why-using-cash-only-rocks">Top 6 Reasons Why Using Cash-Only Rocks</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/basic-tips-for-investing-in-a-business-1">Basic Tips for Investing in a Business</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center cash management agility receivables risk small business uncertainty Sun, 28 Aug 2011 22:08:35 +0000 Tom Harnish 667159 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Lawsuit Mistakes You Can Avoid http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-lawsuit-mistakes-you-can-avoid <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-lawsuit-mistakes-you-can-avoid" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-lawsuit-mistakes-you-can-avoid</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-lawsuit-mistakes-you-can-avoid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000015020806Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="195" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you do business, it&rsquo;s likely at some point you&rsquo;re either going to sue or be sued. The bigger the potential payout, the greater the chance you&rsquo;ll get mired in costly, time-sucking litigation.</p> <p>Most business lawsuits are filed over monetary disputes, such as for services provided or goods sold. Add to that the number of frivolous lawsuits manufactured to extort settlement, and it pays to know when to defend against claims, when to countersue, and when to cut your losses without jeopardizing your business.</p> <p>While troubleshooting liability risks is not a cure-all, there are ways to make you a less attractive target for legal disputes. These include:</p> <ul> <li>Incorporate or form a limited liability company to shield personal assets. Also consider transferring personal assets to family members not involved in the business.</li> <li>Become well-versed in laws dealing with securities, accessibility, and intellectual property.</li> <li>Document partnership agreements, corporate bylaws, and vendor contracts. Contracts may disclaim legal liability and specify that the parties agree to arbitration, mediation, or another form of dispute resolution. Just be sure to have an attorney review the language. Many states have a statute of frauds, which nullifies contracts that are not in writing.</li> <li>Adhere to written employment policies, such as conducting proper background checks on new employees, confirming reprimands in writing, and adequately documenting terminations.</li> <li>Update insurance to include commercial liability and malpractice coverage. Some recommended limits are at least $1 million per occurrence and $3 million total liability.</li> <li>Respond quickly to resolve customer complaints and, when necessary, eliminate &ldquo;high-risk&rdquo; clients.</li> </ul> <p>All of that will go a long way toward reducing your risk. Unfortunately, it won't eliminate it. Here are things you should <strong>not</strong> do in case of lawsuit.</p> <p><strong>Don&rsquo;t Procrastinate</strong></p> <p>We know it&rsquo;s a distraction, but to avoid a judgment in default against you, you must respond within 14 days to a High Court or county court claim. The most successful lawsuits are when a mountain of evidence is on one side and the law is clear. Be diligent in maintaining all records, including electronic mail, associated with the case.</p> <p>Consult with a qualified business litigator (ideally, before getting served). Do not confuse this lawyer with the one who drafted your will or registered your business, says David Newdorf, a San Francisco-based business litigator and owner of Newdorf Legal. Many attorneys will not take a business suit on a contingency basis, so you and your lawyer should discuss in detail a budget of fees and expenses. That billable rate of $300 per hour can get compounded over years with trial delays, so don&rsquo;t be afraid to negotiate. A written engagement letter sets forth the scope of the lawyer&rsquo;s work and the associated fees. Remember that certain legal fees, but not all, are tax-deductible.</p> <p><strong>Don&rsquo;t Fly Solo on Complex Cases</strong></p> <p>With simple matters, when all that is needed is a tersely worded letter threatening litigation, it makes sense to go it alone. But when people breach contracts, infringe on copyrights, or are negligent, do-it-yourself litigation is not advisable.</p> <p><strong>Don&rsquo;t Rush to Trial</strong></p> <p>More than 90 percent of business lawsuits are resolved through mediation or negotiation, notes Newdorf in his article, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.newdorflegal.com/top_10_business_litigation_mistakes.pdf">The Top Ten Business Litigation Mistakes</a>. Carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both options. Since many small business disputes involve sums of less than $50,000, negotiating directly with your opponent may make financial sense, even if you have a stronger case, according to Newdorf. Meanwhile, trial preparation alone could take 18 to 24 months, siphoning business productivity. Further, a lawsuit could expose your company to unwanted publicity, along with drawing attention to proprietary information and other business records from taxing authorities and regulatory agencies. While the monetary limits are considerably lower, small claims court offers quick resolution without the pesky lawyers&rsquo; fees.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re planning to sue, first investigate the opposing party&rsquo;s financial health and realize that half of all suits filed involve a counterclaim, says Newdorf. Don&rsquo;t handicap your lawyer by failing to disclose all pertinent facts in the case, even the &ldquo;bad facts.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Don&rsquo;t Get Emotional</strong></p> <p>Pursuing a case on principle interferes with sound business judgment. Lawsuits are not for the faint-hearted. Don&rsquo;t take it personal. It's just business.</p> <h4>Don&rsquo;t Have Unrealistic Expectations</h4> <p>Once you&rsquo;re in a lawsuit for the long haul, it&rsquo;s difficult to bow out. &ldquo;The business world has a lifespan of days, weeks, and months,&rdquo; says Newdorf. &ldquo;Typically, litigation has a lifespan of years. It&rsquo;s not going to be a fast and easy way to solve your problem.&rdquo;<i><br /> </i></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/margie-fishman">Margie Fishman</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-lawsuit-mistakes-you-can-avoid">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/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</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/enjoy-lawsuit-free-music">Enjoy Lawsuit-free Music</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/20-tips-for-getting-your-security-deposit-back">20 Tips for Getting Your Security Deposit Back</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/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10+ Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</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-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center arbitration lawsuit lawyers legal strategy risk small business small claims court Sat, 04 Jun 2011 19:47:36 +0000 Margie Fishman 550704 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Common Investing Mistakes http://www.wisebread.com/7-common-investing-mistakes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-common-investing-mistakes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5857159777_a9da686035_z.jpg" alt="ripped dollar" title="ripped dollar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all make mistakes.</p> <p>Looking back on my years of investing, I notice some small and some big mistakes I&rsquo;ve made along the way.&nbsp; As I&rsquo;ve talked to other people, I&rsquo;ve found that others have made the same mistakes. In order to help you learn, I&rsquo;ve complied this list of the top investing mistakes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/investing-with-your-values" title="Investing With Your Values">Investing With&nbsp;Your Values</a>)</p> <h3>1. Starting to Invest Too Soon</h3> <p>Conventional wisdom says invest now, but there are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-not-to-invest-now">reasons not to invest now</a>.</p> <p>Many new investors hear a story about some gal tripling her profit in three months and rush home to tell their spouses they need to start investing. Within a couple of days they own stock, but they don&rsquo;t know a lick about stocks or the stock market.</p> <p>There is a right time to start investing.</p> <p>Start investing when your finances are in order. For example, you might consider paying off credit card debt before you start investing.</p> <p>Start investing when you&rsquo;ve learned how to start investing. Don&rsquo;t invest in anything until you have at least a basic understanding of how that investment benefits you.</p> <h3>2. Paying Too Much to Buy and Sell</h3> <p>There&rsquo;s a great place to buy and sell stock, mutual funds, and index funds. You&rsquo;ve probably heard of it &nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;it&rsquo;s called the Internet. Buying and selling online is so simple, and it is a competitive market. That means you can save some serious money by choosing an online discount stock broker.</p> <h3>3. Focusing Too Much on Fund Fees</h3> <p>You might think that #2 and #3 contradict each other, but we&rsquo;re talking about fund fees, not trading fees. Sure, fund fees are important. If you can get the exact same product for .5% fee instead of 1% fee, then that is a good choice.</p> <p>However, you might have one mutual fund that charges 2.5% management fee and one that charges a 1% fee. So which is better?</p> <p>If the one fund has an average annual return of 10% and the other 15%, then the 15% fund is better no matter the fees you pay to own that fund. Returns are more important than fees.</p> <h3>4. Discovering Your Risk Tolerance at the Wrong Time</h3> <p>Everyone has a high tolerance for risk when the market is going up. Hey, I&rsquo;ll take a risk to gain an extra 10% this year. But then when the market turns, you find out that you just lost an extra 10% because of the risk you took.</p> <p>It is often in the middle of a bear market that people decide to sell. They sell because their losses are greater than they anticipated.</p> <h3>5. Changing Your Investing Strategy Based on Market Conditions</h3> <p>Let&rsquo;s say a person was going to invest $100 every month for the year. However, after a couple of months that person sees that he has a loss, so he decides to stop buying until the market goes back up. It seems like that would make sense, but it is a very bad move. It means you actually pay more because you waited for the price to go up.</p> <p>In fact, that is one of the strengths of dollar cost average and value averaging &mdash; they can be effective in good and bad market conditions.</p> <p>Yes, you may need to re-evaluate your strategy based on market conditions, but don&rsquo;t let your investing approach change with every ebb and flow in the market.</p> <h3>6. Looking for Hot Stock Tips</h3> <p>If you listen to any talking head who knows which stock will skyrocket next month, you should run for your life.</p> <p>Investing hot tips are for movies. In real life, people realize no one can predict what&rsquo;s going to happen next. Don&rsquo;t believe me? Ask 100 investing professionals if the market will be up or down this year, and I doubt you&rsquo;ll find more than 10 people who have the same prediction for the same reasons.</p> <h3>7. Paying Outrageous Fees for Investing Advice</h3> <p>Several years ago I fired my financial advisor. The reason was that he would only advise I buy mutual funds that had a 5% front-end load. That&rsquo;s how he made his money. That&rsquo;s how I wasted money.</p> <p>Too many of us think professional financial advisors have some hidden knowledge. They don&rsquo;t. Getting financial advice is good, but just don&rsquo;t pay outrageous amounts of money for it.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>What other common investing mistakes have you encountered? Have you made any of these investing mistakes?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/craig-ford">Craig Ford</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-common-investing-mistakes">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/5-ways-women-are-better-investors-than-men">5 Ways Women Are Better Investors Than Men</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-much-should-you-invest">How Much Should You Invest?</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/learn-to-invest-in-2010-4-steps-to-educating-yourself">Learn to Invest in 2010: 4 Steps to Educating Yourself</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-investing-drives-us-crazy-lessons-from-a-trade">How Investing Drives Us Crazy: Lessons From a Trade</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/10-stocks-to-invest-in-during-the-holidays">10 Stocks to Invest in During the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment financial advisors investing errors learn to invest risk Fri, 21 Jan 2011 14:00:52 +0000 Craig Ford 463850 at http://www.wisebread.com Things to insure, things not to insure http://www.wisebread.com/things-to-insure-things-not-to-insure <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/things-to-insure-things-not-to-insure" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dentist-extraction.jpg" alt="Dentist extracting tooth circa 1943" title="Dentist Extracting Tooth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="272" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Insurance is all about spreading the risk. A bunch of people buy insurance against the risk that a few of them will be the ones who get hit with a big bill that they couldn&#39;t pay. The model works fine for house fires and car crashes. However, it&#39;s a terrible model for ordinary, predictable expenses. Here&#39;s some tips on picking what to insure and what not to insure.</p> <p>The basic rule for all kinds of insurance is: Bear the risks you can afford, insure the ones you can&#39;t.</p> <p>The key point is <strong>risk</strong>. There&#39;s no point in insuring your predictable expenses, even if they&#39;re large. For example, around here homeowners need to pay their property taxes twice a year, and each payment is pretty big. But there&#39;d be no point in &quot;property tax insurance,&quot; because there&#39;s no risk to spread around--the insurance company would have to charge a premium that added up to what you were going to pay in property taxes anyway (plus enough to make a profit).</p> <p>Two fairly common kinds of insurance that fall into this category are dental insurance and optical (or vision) insurance. To the extent that they cover the cost of checkups and basic care (fillings, new glasses), they&#39;re really just paying for routine expenses that you could easily budget yourself.</p> <p>There are two reasons why it&#39;s better to budget these things yourself rather than buy insurance for them (although they both come down to the insurance company&#39;s profit).</p> <p>First, it&#39;s cheaper. The insurance company makes its profit by charging more in premiums than they expect to pay out. If you just pay the expenses yourself, that&#39;s all you have to pay. (The insurance companies also pick up a little interest by holding the money between when you pay the premium and when they pay the claim--which is interest that you could be making, if you budgeted for the expense yourself and set the money aside until you needed to pay for the dental exam or the new glasses.)</p> <p>Second, you&#39;re not vulnerable to capricious insurance company decisions about what&#39;s covered and what isn&#39;t. If you keep your money, you don&#39;t have to go to the insurance company and ask if they&#39;d please give some back to pay your claim. After all, the <em>other</em> way the insurance company ensures its profits is to deny claims. They do that mainly by having complex rules that they constantly change. </p> <p>For example, I used to always get my teeth cleaned in June and December. Then my dental insurance switched from covering two cleanings a year to covering one every six months. Having gotten my teeth cleaned in late June, it was impossible to schedule a December cleaning--the first half of the month was out, because it wasn&#39;t six months later, but with the holidays, there weren&#39;t any regular cleaning appointments left in the second half of December. So, my next appointment ended up being in January--after which, of course, I couldn&#39;t schedule my next appointment in June at all. Never mind that I&#39;d been getting my teeth cleaned in June and December for 30 years. (A few years later they changed the rules again....)</p> <p>There are similar rules for glasses. They&#39;ll cover frames, but only medium-priced frames. They&#39;ll cover lenses, but not the charges for over-sized lenses or progressive bifocals. They&#39;ll cover an anti-scratch coating, but not an anti-reflective coating. If you happen to want just what they&#39;ll pay for (and not want the stuff they won&#39;t), you can get full value--but you can do that by just keeping your money and buying your own glasses.</p> <p>Of course, there&#39;s one big exception to all this: If someone else is paying. If you&#39;re getting optical or dental insurance as part of your employee benefits, it may well be a good deal. It&#39;s still a silly way to pay for getting your eyes examined or your teeth cleaned, but if your employer will give you a couple hundred bucks a year to do that, but won&#39;t just give you the cash, then you might as well take it. (And, of course, there are plenty of kinds of insurance that&#39;s worth buying: <a href="/choosing-life-insurance-term-or-permanent">life insurance</a>, <a href="/health-insurance-costs-too-high-alternative-not-pretty">health insurance</a>, <a href="/disability-insurance-payments-and-pitfalls">disability insurance</a>, <a href="/when-to-drop-collision-coverage-on-your-car">car insurance</a>, <a href="/the-costa-rica-heist-remix-a-case-for-t-i">travel insurance</a>, etc.--because they cover the risk that something bad will happen.)</p> <p>If it&#39;s coming out of your own pocket, there are two key questions:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Is there a risk?</strong> If your cost is predictable, you don&#39;t need insurance, you can just budget for the expense and pay it yourself.</li> <li><strong>Is the risk substantial?</strong> A small risk you can bear on your own--you don&#39;t get insurance to cover the risk that you&#39;ll drop your groceries while bringing them home, because it&#39;s a risk you can afford to take.</li> </ol> <p>If there&#39;s a risk, and if it&#39;s big enough that you can&#39;t bear it on your own, then insurance is the answer. Otherwise, just budget the expense and pay it yourself. You not only get to keep the insurance company&#39;s profit, you make sure that you&#39;re the one deciding how to spend the money.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/things-to-insure-things-not-to-insure">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/9-big-companies-that-offer-benefits-for-part-time-workers">9 Big Companies That Offer Benefits for Part-Time Workers</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/ad-d-insurance-no-good-no-bad-just-ugly">AD&amp;D Insurance: No Good, No Bad, Just Ugly</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/not-free-to-be-poor">Not free to be poor</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/book-review-the-only-investment-guide-youll-ever-need">Book review: The Only Investment Guide You&#039;ll Ever Need</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/if-youre-so-smart-why-arent-you-rich">If you&#039;re so smart, why aren&#039;t you rich?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Insurance dental optical risk vision Fri, 06 Jun 2008 11:16:38 +0000 Philip Brewer 2148 at http://www.wisebread.com If you're so smart, why aren't you rich? http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-so-smart-why-arent-you-rich <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/if-youre-so-smart-why-arent-you-rich" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/smart-but-not-rich.jpg" alt="Smart but not rich" title="Smart but Not Rich" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You don&#39;t hear it much any more, but for a long time, &quot;If you&#39;re so smart, why aren&#39;t you rich&quot; was a pretty effective line for the average Joe when dealing with somebody who was smarter than him.  The expression has kind of fallen out of fashion lately.  Nowadays, there are too many rich smart people.</p> <p>The line worked because, for most of history, being smart wasn&#39;t really a big advantage in becoming rich.  Aside from things like inheriting/marrying wealth, or winning the lottery, there are basically two paths to wealth:</p> <p>Option #1 is the &quot;millionaire next door&quot; way to wealth:  live below your means, save and invest, and let compound interest and the natural growth in the markets work its magic.  If you do this--and  you live long enough--you&#39;ll eventually be wealthy.</p> <p>Option #2 is to be an entrepreneur:  find some need, and then create a product or service that can satisfy it at a profit.  Unlike living frugally and saving, this is not a sure way to wealth.  Many new businesses go broke.  Many of the rest muddle along making less money than the owner could have made working a regular job.  But lots of entrepreneurs make good profits and a few become wealthy.</p> <p>The downside to option #1 has always been that it took too long.  Unless you lived very frugally indeed, it could take 30 or 40 years to turn an ordinary salary into real wealth.  (Even then, success depends on living long enough--and if bad luck or bad choices pushed your income down, your expenses up, or weighed on your investment returns, &quot;long enough&quot; could turn out to be longer than you&#39;ve got.)</p> <p>So, for most of history, option #2 has always been the way to go if you wanted to be wealthy.  But being an entrepreneur took a certain set of personality traits--a set that notably doesn&#39;t include being smart, but includes things like a tolerance for risk, a burning desire for wealth, a thick skin, and a willingness to put running the business ahead of other interests (like hobbies, friends, and family).</p> <p>Over the past generation, the &quot;knowledge economy&quot; has made intelligence a bigger advantage than it used to be.  Besides the dotcom boom (which made it possible for people with only a modest entrepreneurial bent to get rich following option #2), it&#39;s been possible over the past couple of decades to accelerate option #1 as well:  an ordinary smart person, working at an ordinary good-paying job, has been able to support a family at an ordinary middle-class standard of living, and have enough of a surplus for saving and investing to become modestly wealthy in a decade or two.  (Of course, lots of smart people failed to do so, but that&#39;s just because smart people are as prone as dumb people to suffer from the natural human inclination to let the cost of living rise to whatever one&#39;s income will support.)</p> <p>Smart people of the world:  This is your shining hour.  There&#39;s no telling how long just being smart will translate into the kind of income advantage smart people have enjoyed these past couple of decades.  This is very much a &quot;get while the getting is good&quot; kind of situation.  Don&#39;t miss it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-so-smart-why-arent-you-rich">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-7"> <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/how-to-get-rich-by-being-evil">How to get rich by being evil</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/tactics-of-the-rich">Tactics of the rich</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/join-america-saves-week-february-24-to-march-2nd">Join America Saves Week February 24 to March 2nd</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/ten-tenets-for-arranging-your-rich-part-1-rich-is-relative">Ten Tenets for &quot;Arranging Your Rich&quot; - Part 1: Rich is Relative</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/what-does-being-rich-mean-to-you-anyway">What Does Being Rich Mean to You Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living entrepreneur millionaire rich risk smart wealth Fri, 21 Mar 2008 19:01:50 +0000 Philip Brewer 1939 at http://www.wisebread.com