Three Tips for Getting Your Retirement Started off Right


When hearing the word retirement you may think of sandy beaches and hours upon hours of free time. The reality is though, without a decent amount of preparation and organization, retirement is anything but a trip to the beach.

Start now.
Ask any financial guru and they will all tell you the same thing – start saving now. No matter your age, it is never too early to begin planning for retirement. The earlier you save, the longer your money has to grow. Each year’s saving will build upon the prior year’s saving, and slowly but surely you will accumulate wealth. If you don’t have much cash to spare, consider easy ways to cut back on spending and put what money you don’t spend toward retirement.

Take advantage of help.
Some companies have great retirement incentives, like 401 (k) plans. This particular type of plan is typically a salary reduction deferral, which regularly contributes a specified amount of an  employee’s paycheck to their 401(k). This plan is designed specifically for retirement savings and can be a great way to help you start saving early. Although you may think receiving your full salary is more beneficial than filling your 401(k), remember the money you aren’t receiving today will be there when you retire.

Set goals.
The worst retirement plan is no retirement plan at all. Knowing this, set realistic goals about the type of lifestyle you want to have after you retire. Consider every expense you may encounter, including living, travel, and food. According to the Department of Labor, “almost 20 percent of retiree income will be spent on health care,” so be sure to save for emergencies as well as luxuries in your later life.

Although retirement may seem like a distant journey, it is never too late to start preparing for it. Remember, the sooner you begin saving, the longer your money will have to accumulate and the better you will be able to enjoy your new post-career life. 

What’s Most Important to You in a Career?

Personal incomes were up 0.2% in July, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, which could in part stem from businesses reinstating salary increases and other benefits that were cut or frozen in 2009. As the economy improves and businesses look for more ways to increase employee engagement and retain their key workforce, we want to know what you value most in your job.

3 Areas to Improve your Health at Work

If you notice you feel stressed, bored, weak, or tired in the workplace, you may be experiencing the effects of your health habits. If this sounds like you, it may be time to boost your energy on the job. Follow these tips to improve your health in the workplace to help you feel energized, focused, and ready for whatever the day brings.

1. Eating Habits. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or just maintain good health, your eating habits can have a strong impact on your wellness and health. Before you head out to your favorite joint for lunch, keep these tips in mind for a happier, healthier you.

  • Don’t skip breakfast.Many of us skip breakfast because we don’t schedule enough time to eat in the morning. Eating a healthy breakfast can help you start the day right and avoid getting hungry before lunch. Also, it can help you stay focused and energized. Some great ideas for quick and easy breakfasts include: peanut butter and waffles, oatmeal, fruit and cheese, yogurt, or a strawberry smoothie. Making time for a healthy breakfast is also a great way to stay satisfied and avoid the usual office doughnuts.
  • Pack a healthy lunch and avoid eating out. Although eating out can be fun, only do it once in a while, and save the opportunity for a special occasion like catching up with a friend or celebrating a colleague’s birthday. On other days, pack your own lunch for work. Doing so allows you to pack healthy food options. Pick foods like salads and fruits that are packed with nutrients to help you function well in the workplace and not leave you feeling heavy and sleepy. And, as an added bonus, packing your own lunch can help you save money!
  • Snack healthy.Snacking doesn’t have to be bad, as long as you’re eating the right things. Be careful to avoid vending machine snacks at work. Although they are tasty and easily accessible, they are usually full of sugar and saturated fats. If you like to munch on food while you work, bring healthy foods from home. Nuts are a great choice because they contain unsaturated fats that help decrease bad cholesterol levels. And, if you do give in to the vending machine’ call, look for the healthier choices like animal crackers instead of chips.
  • Drink plenty of water. Drinking plenty of water will keep you feeling hydrated and refreshed. It will also help regulate your body temperature and avoid harmful effects from dehydration like headaches, dizziness, and tiredness. Many experts recommend drinking six cups of water daily.

2. Mental Health. The way we think can determine the way we function. When you’re stressed at work, it can be hard to concentrate on the task at hand. So, help relax your mind with these tips.

  • Get enough sleep.How much sleep you get can determine how your body and mind perform throughout the day. So, get enough rest to help you function at your best. Experts recommend that adults get seven to eight hours of sleep each day.
  • Listen to music.Listening to music can have a soothing effect and can enhance your mood at any given time. So, plug in your headphones and listen to your favorite tunes to help you focus and block out any distractions. Music that is uplifting and relaxing is a better alternative than music that evokes anger and stress or makes you feel sleepy. Also, be sure to use headphones so the music itself doesn’t distract those around you or prevent you from hearing a phone ringing or someone asking you a question.
  • Read a motivating quote. Quotes can be inspirational, wise, or even funny. Pick a quote a dayand reflect on it. It may just change your outlook on things!
  • Use your vacation time. Make use of your vacation days when you can. If you have the time and your work schedule allows, take a break from work to do something fun or relaxing. This will enable you to come back to work feeling energized and refreshed.

3. Personal Health. According to a survey by the University of Arizona, the average desktop has more bacteria than any bathroom surface. And, when working with others, you’re sure to come in contact with germs. Guard against sickness like the common cold or flu with this advice.

  • Wash your hands and use hand sanitizers.Your computer mouse, keyboard, and phone can harbor huge numbers of germs. Protect yourself and others by washing your hands and using hand sanitizers in the workplace. This will help eliminate germs that can make you sick.
  • Clean your work area. Although many companies hire custodians to clean office space, take the responsibility to also clean your deskand pick up after yourself. If you don’t take the necessary precautions to clean your work area regularly, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Use disinfectant wipes to wipe the surface of your desk, keyboard, monitor, telephone, and anything else you may use while you work.
  • Take vitamins. Multi-vitamins rich in Vitamins C and D can help build your immune system. If you’re not sure what to take, ask your doctor which one is suitable for you.

When work and life get busy, it’s easy to get your health off track. But by following these easy tips you just may even outlast the energizer bunny to keep going and going at work.

Disclaimer: These general guidelines do not constitute medical advice. Please consult with a physician to determine best health practices for your needs.

Are You Jealous of Your Friend’s Job?

So, you think every one of your friends has an exciting job except for you. Feelings of envy, jealousy, or maybe even resentment can cloud your mind and cause you to doubt your feelings about your own job. Maybe it’s their company credit card that pays for all those so-called “networking dinners,” business trips to exotic places like Europe, the Bahamas, or New York City – hey, that’s exotic for some people – or invitations to all the upscale parties with very important people in the industry. While at your typical 8-5 job, the biggest perk is getting a pat on the back for a job well done.

If you sit around wondering how you can find a glamorous job, you may start to dwell on all the negative aspects of your job and completely overlook why you got into your profession in the first place. You begin to forget about the positive attributes your employer or position offers, which can take a toll on your work, attitude, and relationships. There is a fine line between admiration and jealousy, so before you become too envious of a friend’s job, keep the following in mind.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. You’ve heard this expression a time or two, and it couldn’t be more true in this scenario. A job that might have the perks of travel, flashy dinners, or high profile parties could also correlate into long hours at the office, very few weekends off, and hardly any time for friends and family. People often look at other jobs and think about how much better they sound than their own jobs, but the truth is every job has its pros and cons.

Find the good in your job. Instead of thinking about all the negative aspects of your job, focus on what drew you to your job in the first place. Think about your relationships with co-workers, paid vacation time, or the time you’re able to spend away from work to be with your friends or family. Sometimes, the perks of a so-called glamorous job don’t outweigh the benefits of a traditional job.

So many of us focus on the things that we don’t have that we forget to be thankful for the things we do have. So, the next time you start feeling jealous of your friends’ jobs, stop comparing their careers with your own because they probably have things they dislike about their job as well.

Job Loss & Income Level Top Recession Career Impacts, Readers Say

According to our latest poll, job loss is the leading impact the recession has had on the careers of our readers, with 31% selecting this factor, followed by 22% selecting lower income level. In addition, 12% of readers said that fewer job prospects have been a factor in their career during this recession. 

Interestingly, 11% of our readers responded that their career had not been affected by the recession, the next most popular selection in the poll.

The non-scientific poll, which ran during the month of August, received 506 responses and asked “How has the recession impacted your career?” Respondents were asked to select one of 10 factors for which has had the biggest affect on their whole career story.

Other career impact factors ranked as follows: fewer advancement opportunities (6%), working more hours (5%), career change (3%), less work/life balance, (2%), more career opportunities (1%), and postponed education (1%).

Have you been impacted by job loss, lowered income, or fewer job opportunities? Share your stories and comments with us by clicking on the “comments” link below.

For  more information about overcoming career challenges during this recession, check out the following resources:

It’s Time for Time Off, Workers Say

Despite economic conditions and expert predictions that people may be wary of taking time off work this summer, our latest poll found that this year, workers are indeed planning time away from the job.

In fact, 77% of over 1,100 respondents said that they planned to take some time off from work this year.

When asked “What are your thoughts on taking a vacation this year?” 42% of respondents said they plan to take time off work to travel, 35% said they plan to take time off work because they need time away from the office, 18% said they are not planning to take time off work because they can’t afford it, and only 5% said they are not planning to take time off work because of concerns over job security.

Are you planning time off work this year? If so, what are your plans? Share your fun vacation and relaxation tips in the comments section.

And, if you know you need a break but are looking for some inspiration, check out our post on inexpensive vacation ideas.

What Would You Do for a 4-Day Work Week?

With high gas prices, employees are struggling to meet the increasing cost of simply getting to and from work. And businesses are paying attention. There are stories of some employers getting creative, using incentives to help employees pay for gas. It’s all over the news how employers in some fields are meeting worker demands by offering a 4-day work week. The idea is to fit a 40-hour week into four 10-hour days so employees have one less day a week to travel to work.

But when it comes to business, a 4-day work week isn’t quite as simple as that. In fact, most places that have gone to a 4-day work week are government or non-profit entities. Some businesses face complications like losing profits and customer service by operating just 4 days a week.

The truth is, every benefit they add costs employers cash they have to make up for somewhere else. When you think about it in those terms, how important is saving money on gas to you in the big picture? Just how valuable is that extra day off each week?