Promotional post

applying to university through clearing

Photo by Logan Isbell on Unsplash

A-level results day is fast approaching in the UK (results are out on 16 August), students will be eager to find out whether they have achieved their first (or second) choice of university. Results day in Scotland is slightly earlier, on 7 August.

For students that didn’t achieve the results they needed to get into their chosen universities – or did better than anticipated and want to change university typically go through clearing. If you are thinking of making a switch, now is a good time to check it out. View Post

Advertisement feature in association with LifeSearch

How much thought have you given to your digital legacy? If you were to die suddenly tomorrow, do you know what would happen to your email or your social media accounts? Does a loved one know your passwords? Would you want them to see all of your personal messages or would you prefer to have your social media accounts automatically deleted when you die?

What happens to your social media accounts when you die?

Like many things linked to death, it’s something that many of us are reluctant to talk about. We bury our heads in the sand, or figure that once we’re dead it won’t be our problem, but with more and more of us having a significant digital presence it’s not an issue you can afford to ignore, especially if you want your death to be as painless and hassle free as possible for your family.

A new study by the UK’s leading life insurance broker, LifeSearch, shows exactly how unprepared we are when it comes to our digital legacy. The study* showed that nearly a quarter of people would like to see automatic deletion of social media accounts on death, and that although more than 1 in 10 people are already worried about the fate of their online accounts, a whopping 92% haven’t prepared by telling loved ones their wishes for their digital presence after death.

I took my own little Twitter poll and it turned out to exactly replicate the findings of the LifeSearch research – most people hadn’t even considered their digital presence after death, and only 8% have a plan in place, meaning 92% don’t have anything solid for loved ones to go on when they die.

digital legacy

To try and help, LifeSearch has launched a campaign called Let’s Start Talking, which encourages the nation to be more open about the subjects that make us uncomfortable, including death, illness, money and mental health. It’s well worth a look if you want to have a difficult conversation but aren’t sure where to start. View Post

Traveling can be one of the most fulfilling things you can ever do in this lifetime. There is so much to see and experience in this world if you just step out of your comfort zone. If you are looking for motivation, you can take a look at the top travel quotes for more inspiration. 

 

  1. “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” (Andre Gide) – Don’t be afraid to go to new places and discover new things. The world is a big place and there is so much to learn and see. You’ll be amazed at the differences and similarities you can have with people who live halfway across the world from you.

 

  1. “Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times” – Aren’t you tired of hearing your friends or families talk about their trips over and over again? Sure, it is really nice to hear that they enjoyed themselves in the hotel or touring around the sites. But it can get tiresome hearing it repeatedly, especially if they traveled in a group. You can get several accounts of just one place, but wouldn’t it be better to see it for yourself? This way, you won’t just imagine or be contented with seeing it in pictures or videos.

 

  1. “Take only memories, leave only footprints.” (Chief Seattle) – Wherever you are traveling, it is important that you respect the area. Study up on the culture if you are going to another country so that can be prepared and not make any faux pas. Now, even if you are not going away to an exotic place, what is important is that you do not leave any trash. Bring a small container with you that can contain all the small trash that you accumulate at the beach or tourist sites where you go to. Dispose of them properly so that you leave the area in the same way you found it. 

 

  1. A ship in a harbor is safe, but it not what ships are built for.” (John A. Shedd ) – It would be easy to just stay where you are. But you should believe that you are not just meant to stay in one place for the rest of your life. Discover new places, new people, new cuisine, and more! It might feel scary the first time, but once you get used to it, you’ll be sure to look forward to your next travel.

 

  1. “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” – Even though you are spending money in order to travel, you are getting something in return. You get a lifetime of memories and experiences that you cannot get from the comfort of your own home, from hearing stories from others or even watching videos on the internet. These adventures are something that you can keep with you for the rest of your life. 

I’m not sure that ‘leader’ is the right term to use here really. I don’t ‘lead’ by any stretch of the imagination – I’ve been volunteering at my local Brownie group for a term now and, thanks to my top notch memory, I still don’t even remember any of their namesThey don’t seem to have noticed though, and as long as I never have to take a register I think we’ll be okay.

Brownie helper? Is that better? That makes it sound like I might just be taking their coats – more of a concierge role. Let’s stick with leader. I do have a Brownie name after all. (Nightingale. Thank you.)

I know that I’ve joked about Brownies in the context of my midlife unravelling, and likened it to me almost auditioning for a role in the local production of Aladdin, but I actually love being a Brownie leader. When you’ve got used to living with teenagers, who aren’t exactly known generally for their zest for life, hanging out with a group of 7-10 year olds, who still get a thrill out of putting their hand up when they know the answer to something, is pretty uplifting.

They actually ENJOY STUFF! Like properly enjoy it, in a pure way, with a lack of self-consciousness that’s a lesson in itself.

This week we did circus skills and it was my favourite week so far. The session was led by circus man Steve, who was absolutely brilliant with them, and seeing them so engaged and interested was infectious. I found myself back in my primary school self, totally engrossed. My sole purpose became balancing that peacock feather on my finger so well that Steve noticed and praised me.

Benefits of being a Brownie leader

How I felt when I flipped a spinning plate in the air and caught it on a stick first time and Steve said I was wasted at Brownies and should join the circus.

View Post

Promotion

More than three-quarters of Americans say they’re “somewhat” or “extremely” concerned about not having money for retirement and a third have less than $5,000 saved according to a recent study by Northwestern Mutual

If you’re looking to start saving or add to what you already have saved for retirement, here are some ideas that can help you accomplish that.

Contribute to a 401(k)

If you’re eligible for a 401(k) through your employer, the biggest mistake you can make financially is to not take advantage of it. It allows you to contribute money before federal income taxes are withheld, which is a significant benefit. For example, if you’re in the 12% tax bracket and have $100 per paycheck taken out, your take home pay will drop by $88 instead of the full $100 (plus any local and state income tax, social security and Medicare). That means you’ll invest more without noticing it as much. And, if your employer matches what you contribute, that’s free money you don’t want to miss out on.

Avoid Taking Too Much Risk

If you don’t have any retirement savings or a relatively small sum, don’t make the mistake of taking on too much risk when it comes to investing. While the potential returns may be higher, the potential loss is also much higher. People who are still in their twenties can handle bigger losses with more time to recover, but if you’re in your forties or older, that’s something you can’t afford. The formula that experts recommend for the most conservative acceptable level of risk is to invest your age in bond funds and put the rest in stock funds. A moderate level of risk would be 110 minus your age in stock funds with the rest in bonds, and the highest risk acceptable would be 120 minus your age in stock funds with the remainder in bond funds.

Limit Dining Out and Reducing Spending in Other Ways

Eating out at restaurants is expensive, and that money could be going towards your retirement. If you don’t know how to cook, learn how and you can save thousands more. It’s relatively easy to put together healthy, tasty meals, which means you’ll be doing something for your health too, which can reduce medical expenses later on when you’re retired. Other ideas for reducing spending include using coupons and looking for other discounts, creating and sticking to a shopping list and looking for ways to reduce energy consumption to save on your electric bill.

Deposit Unexpected Money into Retirement Savings

When you get an unexpected bonus or another type of windfall, don’t immediately spend it all. While it’s okay to spend a little, be sure to put most of it into your retirement savings. It may take discipline, but it will be worth it in the longer run. If you’re used to budgeting based on a certain income and get a raise, consider putting that into savings too – after all, you lived without it before, you should be able to live without it now.

Pay Down Debt

If you have car loans, are paying off a home in Nashville, own credit card debt and/or other high-interest, non-mortgage debt, pay it down so you aren’t spending a ton on interest, which could be going to your retirement savings instead.

switching LPG suppliers

Lots of us are very switched on when it comes to comparing prices for things like phone contracts, insurance providers and broadband deals, but did you know that you could potentially save a lot of money and benefit from better customer service by switching your supplier of LPG – short for liquified petroleum gas?

Just like when you switch from any service provider, it’s important to looks at the pros and cons, read reviews, and do plenty of research to make sure you’re not only getting the best deal, but also signing up to a quality product. Here are some of the things you might want to consider when switching LPG suppliers. View Post