Articles and ideas to help you live a fulfilled life!
In this month’s Retirement Roundup, we’ve curated our favorite articles from around the web to help you plan for and live successfully in retirement! Most of the articles are focused on your money and retirement, but we also like to sprinkle in additional articles aimed at helping you live a fulfilled life!
We start off with a new survey on the recent tax cuts, with 71% of small business owners and entrepreneurs saying that they believe tax reform will save them money…and how they plan to use those tax savings.
We follow that up with two articles on securing your info online – smart, common sense password protection advice, and how you can strengthen your security if you’re a Gmail user.
Then, we switch gears to some practical advice on how to cut out cable from your life, a popular choice for many these days!
Lastly, we send you off into your weekend with a little positivity – a memorable TED talk where psychologist Steven Pinker analyzes recent data on homicide, war, poverty, pollution and more, and shows that we’re doing better now in every one of these metrics compared to 30 years ago.
Enjoy this first installment of the Retirement Roundup!
A new survey out from Bank of America shows 63 percent of small-business owners are now saying the new tax cuts made them more optimistic about their own business. 71% of business owners say that they believe the recent tax reform will save them money.
Many small business owners say they will use their newfound tax savings to invest back in their business. Here’s what they plan to do:
- 37 percent – invest in their business
- 21 percent – give workers raises and bonuses
- 14 percent – expand their operations
- 12 percent – make capital improvements
Despite this optimism over tax rates, business owners are still worried about other issues, namely rising interest rates, increased gasoline prices and healthcare costs.
“The number of security breaches that exposed people’s sensitive information surpassed 1,300 in 2017, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, a San Diego-based nonprofit, up from only 200 in 2005.” This massive growth in breaches combined with our general lack of carefulness with passwords is a problem. “Some 31% of people surveyed by password manager Dashlane had used a pet’s name, 23% have used number sequences, 22% a family member’s name and 21% a birth date.”
But with so many passwords to remember, what are we to do? There are a few common sense actions you can take to protect yourself, and new tools available to help you keep your passwords and other sensitive information secure online:
- Stop writing passwords down and never use the same password twice. Use a password manager instead, so you don’t have to remember all those passwords! “After breaches of some password managers, consumers have been skeptical of using the services, but it is better than any alternative. “Even a bad password manager is probably better than no password manager.”
- Is Sparky1962 your password for everything? Once you have a password manager set up, you should change passwords that are duplicates and update any weak passwords, so if there is a breach at one website, hackers won’t be able to log in to your other sites with the same password.
- Use two-factor authentication whenever available. Two-factor authentication is that annoying thing that requires you to enter a code or take some other extra step in addition to your password when you log in to certain accounts. Although a minor inconvenience, this reduces the risk that a hacker will gain access, so it’s a good idea to use this whenever available.
Recently, “Google rolled out two-factor authentication prompts to its updated Gmail app, all in the hopes that more people using Google will use two-factor authentication to protect their accounts, and that users will choose prompt-based authentication over less secure methods, like SMS codes.” Google aims to make the authentication more user-friendly (and more likely to be used by consumers) with this prompt-based authentication, where instead of entering a code that’s texted to you, you just have to push a button to verify that it’s you.
“Why turn on two-step verification (also known as two-factor authentication, or 2FA)? Because a password, even a strong one (which you aren’t using anywhere else, are you?), isn’t enough to keep your account secure.”
Gmail users are shown (step-by-step with visuals) how to set up 2FA on their accounts, and how to enable notifications that can add an additional layer of security, so the next time you (or anyone else!) tries to sign in to your Google account on a new device, you’ll be pinged to open the app and verify that it’s you.
If I wouldn’t be in the doghouse with my husband (forever!) I would have cut out cable years ago, way before it became the cool thing to do. I prefer quiet and a good book, and I never seem to find anything good on TV. But I digress. The national average for cable is $101. That’s over $36,000 that you’ll pay for cable over the next 30 years (assuming cable rates stay the same….hahaha, yeah right!).
The must-haves when cutting cable: strong internet connection, streaming hardware, and a streaming service.
Step 1 – Maximize your internet speed. “Pro tip: Depending on the location of your router, if you’re looking to maximize your existing bandwidth, you could purchase a signal booster or Wi-Fi extender, which can often be found for less than $40.”
Step 2 – Choose your streaming hardware. Writing for Popular Science, David Nield points out, “Perhaps the most important choice you need to make is your preferred software: Just like phones and laptops, streaming devices have their own operating systems. So you should choose a platform that fits two criteria: It must play your favorite content and work well with the devices you already own.”
Step 3 – Choose your streaming service. Lots of options here too! Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube TV, HBO Now, and many others. “If you frequently enjoy content from a variety of premium cable networks, you’ll probably have to sign up for more than one streaming service to regain access after cutting the cord.” It may be useful to take inventory of your TV must-haves, so you’re not left with buyer’s remorse when the sports programming is skimpy or you can no longer watch your favorite cooking show on your new streaming service provider.
So, how much money will you save by cutting out cable? The article analyzes a couple scenarios and explains some unexpected expenses associated with cutting the cord, to help you make an informed decision.
Was 2017 really the “worst year ever”? Steven Pinker, a professor of cognitive science, explains that the data shows the opposite – that the world is actually getting better! He looks at several different metrics of well-being and illustrates how we are making progress in almost all areas of life. Wars, homicide, poverty, and pollution are all dramatically lower than they were 30 years ago.
He concedes that the problems facing the world today are “gargantuan”, but that “we must see them as problems to be solved, not apocalypses in waiting.”
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