Wisdom Archives 2

friday, april 30

Elderly Scams

There are some scams out there we really need to be on the lookout for, on behalf of our parents and grandparents...

We're all at risk of being ripped off, but the elderly are prime targets for scammers. Kiplinger's Personal Finance has some advice to protect our parents and grandparents life savings, and possibly even your nest egg.

Watch out for claims that you can retire early based on high returns -- a common pitch salespeople use when they hear that a company is making early-retirement offers.

Be skeptical of 'free lunch' seminars. Salespeople often make their initial contact with seniors in "free lunch" seminars. In a sweep of these types of seminars, the Securities and Exchange Commission found unethical business practices in nearly half.

Don't feel pressured. The elderly should consult with their adult children or another financial adviser before investing any money.

Ask regulators for help. If you have questions or discover that you or your parents have been sold an unsuitable investment, contact your state securities department, go to www.nasaa.org for links.


Walk It Off

If you've just got to have that ice cream sunday, or candy fix, walk it off. 97% of women, and 68% of men experience food cravings. And it may come as no surprise that chocolate and sweets top that must-have list. In a recent study, researchers found a brisk 15 minute stroll can kill a craving for sweets. Neuroscientists believe the reward centers of the brain get all fired up with a craving, and exercise helps balance those out.


Handy Man

If you'd like your man to help out more around the house, don't marry him!

If your boyfriend is a handy man around the house, you might want to think twice before marrying him. It turns out married men do less housework than live-in boyfriends. On average, men reported spending about 9 hours per week on housework, but regardless of income or work hours, the co-habitating guys clocked in more hours at home than the husbands.

This helps explain the other results of the study. Married women trumped the live-in girlfriends when it came to hours spent getting things done around the house, picking up the slack, and the socks, for the husbands.

thursday, april 29


Yard Sale

Need some cash? Consider a yard sale. The average take is $600!

$600 in a weekend is a pretty good take, and it's the average earned from a weekend yard sale. Now check out these things you can do to really rake in the profits:

Advance planning can really pay off. Check with your neighbors and consider a multi-family sale. Shoppers will hit your neighborhood first.

Pick a theme. It can actually increase sales. It could be Christmas, or baby, tools or books, whatever you've got a surplus of.

Brightly colored signs do make a difference, and large arrows help too. The easier it is for a passing motorist to see, the more traffic you'll get.


Yard Sale Part 2

If you're planning a yard sale, you can double your profits with a few sales tricks...

If you're planning a yard sale, chances are you'll have a lot of competition on a nice weekend. There are a few sales tricks that can help you outsell the Jones' and double your profits:

Offer a freebie. Maybe you've got something you'd like hauled away for free. Food works wonders too, coffee or doughnuts can really attract the early birds who tend to spend more.

Consider a stuff-the-bag sale. If you've got a lot of stuff to move, you'll sell more of it by letting shoppers stuff a bag for $5. Just be sure to keep the big ticket items separate and clearly marked.

Make the front line items count. You want the best stuff visible, and not mixed in with junk.

Hang your clothes. It can increase sales by 50%. A lot of people don't have the patience to dig through boxes of clothes.


Dreams Revealed

You're finished with school. So why are you back there in your dreams?

Have you ever dreamed your back in school, and struggling? It's a common one. Kelly Sullivan Walden, author of I Had the Strangest Dream tells us why. That dream can be common for someone who is motivated and determined to succeed, and they usually do.

If you're falling in your dream, something may off-kilter in your waking life. We usually don't feel the impact of the fall in the dream because the real situation is still up in the air a bit. And if you're being chased in your dream, there's a good chance there's something you're not looking forward to dealing with in the next few days.

wednesday, april 28
Menu Speak

The menu in a restaurant might be saying more than you know...

The next time you peruse a menu, read between the lines. There are some interesting techniques restaurants use to enhance your experience, and your bill.

If there are no prices listed, there's a good chance you'll spend more. A lot of people don't feel comfortable asking about prices in certain situations.

Just the absence of dollar signs can increase profits. Research shows diners spend 8% more without those money reminding icons.

Tangy, zesty, succulent, crispy. Those are some powerful words. If the menu can get our mouths watering, we tend to spend more.


Dress for the Job

If you're interviewing in the corporate world, your wardrobe can speak as loud as your resume...

With a lot of people interviewing outside of their comfort zone these days, a change in career path usually requires a change in wardrobe. Here are a few suggestions for specific professional environments:

Corporate environments, such as banks and law offices: Both men and women should go with the suit. For women, a tailored skirt suit is the best choice. Keep the heels at about 2 inches, and never go bare legged. And wear a watch, nothing too sporty or sparkly though.

Creative environments, such as magazines, ad agencies or art galleries: The suit is still a good option for both men and women, but consider adding some style with some color or texture in the shirt. The right accessories can say a lot about your creative sense. Consider an artsy watch or tie and a unique piece of jewelry for women.


Third Hand Smoke

You've heard about the hazards of second-hand smoke, and now it seems we should be worrying about third-hand smoke too!

We've all heard the warnings about second-hand smoke, but we're supposed to be avoiding third-hand smoke too. What is third-hand smoke? It's the nicotine-concentrated vapor that burning tobacco releases. Experts say that stuff sticks to walls, carpeting, fabric and hair, and can pose a health hazard, especially to infants and children. They suggest giving smokey rooms a thorough cleaning before allowing your family to spend time in there. And if you're a smoker, or have been hanging out with one, consider a quick change before handling an infant. That tiny mouth and nose usually end up near your shirt or hair.

tuesday, april 27

Skinny Bones

If you're on a diet, you could be losing more than weight, your bones could be getting thinner too...

You hear it all the time, diet AND exercise go hand in hand when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. And if you diet, there's new evidence showing skipping the exercise can really be a problem. In a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that women on a low-fat diet could be at a higher risk for long-term problems like osteoporosis. Diet without exercise can have a detrimental effect on bone mineral density. While calcium intake is important to bone health, it's no substitute for bone boosting physical activity.


6 Figure Moms

Have you ever wondered what a stay-at-home mom would earn if she were paid for all those jobs?

According to salary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, a multi-tasking mother's annual salary would be over half a million bucks! Here's how it breaks down annually:

Child care: $13,000

Recreation worker: $15,000

Full time chef: $40,000

Food service worker: $20,000

Meal planning, dietitian: $41,600

Housekeeper: $9,000

Registered nurse: $35,000

Attending functions/Management analyst: $41,000

Family financier: $44,000

Investment manager: $39,000

Psychologist: $29,000

General office clerk: $19,000

Social worker: $30,000

Even if mom doesn't do all those things, pick a few, chances are she's underpaid.


Secret Shopper

Have you heard about Secret Shopping? It's a hot new trend in making some extra cash on the side, but there could be a catch....

Being a secret shopper, or a mystery shopper, can be a tempting way to make some cash on the side, but it could take some shopping around to avoid the scammers. Secret shoppers can make about $5 to $50 per shop, posing as a customer and filing a detailed customer service report back to the agency. However, the Federal Trade Commission says they charge a fee to be a mystery shopper, take a pass. Legitimate secret shopping doesn't cost a thing. The FTC suggests visiting the Mystery Shopping Providers Association web site, it's a database with available jobs and information. The address is http://www.mysteryshop.org/.

monday, april 26


Before you rid your lawn of dandelions, you might want to pick a few...

Dandelions might be a nuisance in your lawn, but they do have some redeeming qualities beyond their cheery yellow color:

Age spots: Open the stem, and rub that milky sap onto age spots 2 or 3 times a day, and they'll start to fade.

Warts: Use the same technique on warts. Dandelion sap contains a natural latex that exfoliates the top layers of damaged skin.

Tea: The young leaves of the dandelion are the tastiest to brew, and are chock full of vitamins and health benefits.

Salad: Dandelion greens can make a delicious spring salad.

Pick your dandelions wisely. Be sure they are from a pesticide free area, and not from a patch in the yard where your dog hangs out.


Ticket Proof

If you worry about getting a speeding ticket, we've got a few spots to watch for that can slash the odds of getting pulled over...

Getting a ticket can not only ruin your day, but can hike your insurance rates by as much as 25%! Here are some things to keep in mind that will help you avoid getting pulled over:

Take note on curves and hills. They're considered radar hot-spots. The same goes for bridges and overpasses. By the time you spot the cruiser, it's too late.

No U-Turn signs are another favorite spot for ticketing. On interstates, 85% of radar ready troopers are in that U-Turn vicinity.

And if you usually speed up to pass trucks, the cops are on to that one. They often stay in front of commercial trucks, where you can't see them. You're an easy catch as you whiz by in the left lane.


Business Card

When you're handed a business card, I'll tell you why you should read it thoroughly...

The next time you're handed a business card, take a moment, and read it thoroughly. In Japan, it's considered rude not to spend at least 10 seconds admiring the card. According to Nicholas Boothman, author of How to Connect in Business in 90 seconds or less, it's a simple move that makes a difference in the business world. He says treating someone's card with respect subconsciously shows you'll treat them the same way when you're working together. After looking at the business card, take a moment to put it carefully in your purse or wallet.

friday, april 23


Talking Text

It seems texting became the new talking, and now it looks like it may come full circle. I'll tell you why we'll probably go back to talking...

5 years ago, it seemed like every other person was talking on their cell phone. One year ago, they were texting right and left. Next year, experts say we'll be back to talking again. But not necessarily to our friends. Chances are, we'll be talking to our phone, command style. Voice activated technology is advancing at the speed of sound which should allow us to type, text, navigate and search without fingers. A few popular browsers already have voice recognition apps available to search by voice, and with the popularity and technology of smart phones on the rise, it's likely we'll all be hands free in the near future.

There are a few technological hurdles tripping up software developers with voice translation accuracy, accents and background noise.


Job Search Myths

Everyone knows a resume should be one page, right? Wrong. I've got a list of job search myths...

How many times have you heard we should keep our resume down to one page? Well, unless your a recent college grad, that's just not the case. The normal length of a resume is actually two to three pages, at most. Here are some other job search myths:

Myth: Don't take notes during an interview.

Truth: There's nothing wrong with taking notes, just keep them brief and stay focused on the conversation.

Myth: Summer is not a great time to be looking for a job.

Truth: Summer is a great time. This is when the business world is a bit more casual and laid back, and often more approachable.

Myth: Your experience should be in a particular order.

Truth: Relevant experience to the job your applying for should be the first thing a potential employer sees. Many employers will spend a mere 20 seconds glancing at your resume, make sure the most important information is easy to see.


Good Bad Food

If you're trying to lose weight, there are some really good bad foods you can have...

If you're trying to lose weight, go ahead and indulge, but just a little. We found a list of bad foods that can actually help your diet:

Steak. A lean cut has about the same amount of saturated fat as chicken.

Eggs. Eat them in the morning, and you'll get a good dose of protein which helps you feel full for longer.

Peanut butter. Sure it's got fat and calories, but research shows people who eat it feel fuller and are more likely to lose weight and keep it off.

Coconut. Yes, it's got saturated fat, but coconut oil can increase your metabolism and help you lose weight.

Desert. Think sorbet. There's no fat and it can be just as tasty as ice cream.

thursday, april 22


Check Your Pockets

Check your pockets. Are they too low? I'll tell you how pockets can make or break that perfect pair of jeans...

If you're looking for that perfect pair of jeans, check the pockets. If they're too high, they can make your butt look big, and if they're too low, that flattens things out and adds sag to your shape. If the pockets are small, you look bigger in contrast, and larger pockets can have the opposite effect if they blend in. If the stitching in your jeans is a contrast color, or the pockets are embellished or have a flap, that adds volume too.

The same goes for that distressed look. That faded whisker effect can be really unflattering too. When trying on jeans, make sure to check the mirror from a distance, front AND back. Generally, a dark wash, with dark stitching will be the most slimming.


Is Your Toilet Running?

Is your toilet running? Well you better go fix it. It could be costing you big bucks! I'll tell you what to check first...

If you're toilet is running, you better go catch it, and fix it! A running toilet can waste 2 to 6 gallons of water a day, and lots money down the drain. If you hear that persistent sound of running water, here's what you should do. Take the lid off the tank, and flush. If the tank is not refilling, the flush valve is not sealing. I could be a simple fix. Make sure the chain is not getting stuck on the flush arm, and that it has enough slack when the flapper is down. If it's just a leaky seal, it's time for a new flapper. You can get one at any hardware store for a fraction of what a plumber would cost, or the cost of all that wasted water.


Say Goodbye

How do you say Goodbye? Is it short and sweet, or does it take a while? I'll tell you what it says about your personality...

When you say goodbye, do you drag it out, or cut to the chase? Psychiatrist Dr. Raymond Chaitin says how you say goodbye says a lot about your personality. The abrupt goodbye usually comes from someone who is preoccupied, and maybe a bit self-centered. The lingering goodbye can take forever, and usually comes from an extrovert. Here are a few other common types:

The adviser, suggesting you take care of yourself, or drive carefully, is most likely a worry wort.

The well wisher is usually genuine, and good with advice.

The stroker, who says goodbye with a touch, are dynamic and decisive types.

The complimenter is a born politician and usually a social butterfly.



One Sip at a Time

Not so fast with that cup of coffee! I'll tell you why you'll get more of a boost from sipping than gulping...

Before you gulp down that first cup of joe, take a moment and savor it, one sip at a time. Research shows nursing a cup of coffee, or tea, or any other caffeinated drink, over the course of an hour or so, will keep you alert for a lot longer. Small amounts of caffeine are actually more effective at blocking the drowsy chemical in our brain. When we gulp it down, we get too much at once, and then we're prone to that caffeine crash a sooner.


Bear Left

There's a good reason the perfume department is located at the front of that department store, it can make you spend more...

Even if you don't but perfume, department store perfume counters can boost sales big time. That's why they're always near the entrance of the store. To most people, it smells really good, and that get's our saliva glands going. Getting shoppers to literally salivate has proven to be a great psychological marketing tool according to researchers. It has a way of making us slow down and feel less disciplined as we weave through the merchandise.

There's also a reason the high ticket stuff is usually placed to the right. Most shoppers tend to veer right after entering a store. Bear left, and avoid the perfume counter, and there's a good chance you'll spend less.


Youthful Resume

Looking for a job? Look younger! I'll tell you how your resume can make you look old...

Like it or not, age comes into play on the job front. According to Robin Ryan, author of Over 40 & You're Hired, hiring managers admitted thinking people under 40 will work for less money, show more initiative, and have better computer skills. That's why she suggests taking a good look at your resume to make sure you don't look old on there. And for the interview, the same theory applies. Here are some key things to work on:

Your resume should focus on the past 10 years.

For an interview, look vibrant and contemporary. Don't wear anything dated, too tight or too loose. Men should be clean shaven, women should go light on the makeup.

If you are over 50, EXPECT to be questioned about your computer ability. Nothing makes you look older than not knowing how to attach a file to an e-mail.



Calling Mother Nature

Feeling stressed out? Mother Nature can help! And her remedy will only take ten minutes...

If you're feeling any stress or anxiety, Mother Nature would like to see you. Your appointment is free, with no wait, and will only take about 10 minutes. New research affirms that simply spending 10 minutes relaxing outside can be a powerful antidote to stress, and it's effects can last for up to seven hours. The compounds released by plants and trees stimulate the areas of the brain in charge of emotion. If you need an extra dose of stress relief, freshly cut grass has even more of the good stuff.


Say a Prayer

If you'd like a stronger connection to your spouse, say a prayer...

If you'd like to strengthen that connection to your spouse, and enhance your marriage, start praying. A study out of Florida State University shows that spouses that pray for their partners' well-being feel closer to each other. Praying has a way of tapping into our compassion, and can strengthen the bonds of love. Couples who prayed for each other had an easier time letting go of resentments and overlooking their partners' flaws.


Dirty Brush

When is the last time you washed your comb and brush?

Do you wash your comb or brush? You should. And they need more than just a rinse. Over time the collect residue from hair styling products and from the natural oils in your hair and scalp. If you soak them in a bowl of warm water and a few teaspoons of baking soda for a minute or so, you'll avoid brushing that buildup back into your clean hair.

If you use a natural wood or boar bristle brush, you'll want to avoid soaking it. Water get's trapped in the head of the brush and can cause damage. For these you want to give it a dryer clean by swishing just the bristles in some water, and running a clean comb through it. 



Wedding Website

If you're planning a wedding, you might want a website for that. I'll tell you about the latest bridal trend...

A wedding website? It might sound trendy, but according to the experts, it's a good idea. Setting up a website for your wedding can provide one click access for you and your guests with several different aspects of the big event.

Save on printing. Of course you'll want traditional invitations, but having additional information and directions available on a website can save you a lot of money in printing, and your guests won't lose the details.

Registry access. You can link all that information to your wedding website.

Accurate head count. Let's face it, some people don't fill out that card and respond on time, now they've got no excuse.

You can also add photo galleries and blogs which can be a lot of fun both leading up to the event, and for sharing pictures and stories after the big day.


Older and Wiser

As we get older, we get wiser, and more easily distracted...

Older and wiser, and more distracted. As we age, the parts of the brain that specialize in daydreaming get more active. That's because our brains work harder in youth, and even middle age, absorbing new information. With age and wisdom, there's less of that stimulation, and we get distracted more easily. This can have a dulling effect on retaining new information. Researchers have found that the older and wiser can use their new found imagination to their advantage. If you need to remember to buy milk, picture yourself taking it off the shelf. If you need to remember someone's name, imagine yourself writing it.


Foreign Trip Tips

If you're traveling to a foreign country, and need a restaurant recommendation, ask a pharmacist...

If you're planning a foreign vacation, there's a book called The Smart Family's Passport that has some great tips you won't find in the brochures:

Before you book your flight, check your airline's foreign counterpart. You might just find the same flight for a lot less money.

In foreign countries, ask a pharmacist for local recommendations such as restaurants and attractions. They usually speak English and know the safest spots.

Before you travel overseas, ask your health insurance for their international number, the 800 numbers usually won't work.


Crash Dieting

If you're going on a diet, consult your doctor, not your friend...

Crash dieting could put you at a higher risk of heart attack. According to cardiologist Isadore Rosenfeld, author of "Doctor of the Heart", super low-calorie regimens can slow your metabolism, and deprive your body of essential nutrients. Crash dieting repeatedly can weaken your immune system and increase the risk of dehydration and heart palpitations. And yo-yo dieting can really damage your blood vessels, all that shrinking and growing can cause tiny tears in them.

Low-calorie, or crash diets, should always be supervised by a doctor, and unfortunately many dieters are more likely to consult their friends than a doctor, which can get them in to real trouble.



Canine Smile

If you are SURE you saw your dog smiling, you may be right. Certain breeds actually do...

Wagging a tail isn't the only way your pet can smile, some can even do it with their face! According to Warren Eckstein, author of How to Get Your Dog to Do What You Want, when dogs and cats are in a good mood, they use the same facial muscles we do to smile. Especially Golden retrievers and Dobermans.

In wolves, pulling their lips back into a smile position generally indicates nervousness, but with domesticated dogs, they learn as puppies that this expression usually gets them some positive attention, and that smile becomes more genuine.

Phone Interview

If you're on the job hunt, be prepared for the latest interview trend, the phone interview...

More and more companies are conducting interviews over the phone to narrow down candidates from the piles of resumes. There are some key things to do to make the most of that phoner:

Hydrate. Before the scheduled call, make sure to have some water on hand, and maybe a cough drop. You want your voice smooth and ready to talk.

Landline. Few things are more frustrating than a bad signal or lost call on an interview. Hopefully, you've got access to a land line for this important chat.

Stand up. You'll sound more confident if you're standing and moving around a bit during a phone interview.

Dress for success. Lose the p.j.'s, and dress the part. Our wardrobe can really influence our state of mind and presentation.