Monday, May 27, 2013

How To Live Healthy and Look Good

Summer is here which means less clothing and more skin.  Eating healthy and more exercise can save you money over the long run and add years to your life.  As we age we increase our odds of getting sick or needing a medical procedure.  Health insurance premiums and out of pocket expenses can really make a hole in your wallet.  The way the system is built it's as if we are all one medical procedure/treatment away from financial ruin.  What better way to lower our odds of needing medical attention than by taking care of our bodies.

To boost your metabolism (how fast you burn calories) start exercising both weight training and doing cardio.   Muscle mass burns more calories than fat you want to spend at least 30 minutes a day 3-5 days a week weight training.  Women do not need to lift heavy weights they need to use dumbbells/barbells that they can do several repetitions (10-15) with to burn fat and tone up.  A lot of women are concerned that they will become very muscular if they weight train, that is a myth feminine women do lift light weights.  Men on the other hand tend to lift heavy weights 3-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions.  Pick one or two body parts to focus on when you train, biceps on Mondays and chest on Wednesdays.  Even if you have good eating habits and weight train this will not give you the body you want without the cardio.  Running is a major component of your exercise regime.  It is hard to burn fat and keep it off without strenuous jogging or bike riding.  Shoot for a 5 mile jog to start 3-5 days a week then increase it to 10 miles your heart will thank you for it.

There are numerous diets that people follow low calorie, vegetarian, vegan, low fat as well as others.  I follow a low carbohydrate and low sugar lifestyle.  Carbs make the body's glucose rise the excess glucose is stored as body fat. It may be hard to cut out the carbs entirely it is ok to stop consuming them for 2 week intervals to allow your body to get used to the changes.  I would suggest cutting all sugary drinks and replacing them with water and an occasional sugar free drink.  You want to consume complex carbs not the simple kind.  Add fiber to your diet fiber is not broken down in your body, it has less calories per volume compared to other foods and it can help lower blood cholesterol levels.  Men should consume about 38 grams of fiber a day and women about 25 grams according to the Institute of Medicine.  Some athletes eat 6 small meals a day instead of 3 to boost their metabolism.

Start with an exercise routine and eating habits that you can handle.  Get active even if it is only 30 minutes a day if it seems too hard at first get a workout buddy to help.  Exercise will improve your mood, boost your confidence, help you prevent stroke, depression and certain kinds of cancer.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What If You Were Homeless?

A few months ago while riding the train I noticed a homeless man sleeping at the Bowery Subway Station. What made him stand out was the fact that he managed to set up a small fortress including a mattress and other amenities.  As the passengers on the train stared I started to think to myself "If I were him how would I come out of that situation?"  How would I reinvent myself and make my way back into society?  I tried to see the advantages the Bowery stranger had in his favor.  After all he was clever enough to choose one of the least used stations on the transit system.  Since he was living in the subway platform he was not paying any rent or utilities which is a major advantage. 

If I were homeless the first thing I would need would be a portable inexpensive device (laptop,tablet) and Wi-Fi connection to do online research. I would need access to credit, I would need to go to a bank to deposit any money I may have.  Then I would have to get someone to let me use their address so I may receive the credit card via mail once received and activated my account would immediately be paperless via online banking.  With my new credit card at 0% APR for the first year and a half I am prepared to transform myself. 

I would open an online account with a currency trading company such as ForexClub which I could open with as little as $250 with a credit card.  I would take the profits and defer the payment a year and a half from now when my credit card balance will begin to accrue interest.   Let's assume the worst case scenario I end up losing money as a currency trader, the money won't need to be paid back right away. But with the amount of skills and information picked up as a Forex Trader I could easily apply for a job at a bank and would ace the interview with my knowledge of world currencies and interest rates that most applicants would not even know about.

While I am building up my network and trying different endeavours I would have to make use of some sort of barter system where I offer to do chores and minimal jobs in exchange for a mailing address, a place to take a bath and access to clothing.  I would take advantage of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to network, get leads for jobs and even make some friends.  The beauty of the digital era is that most of what I need would be in digital form (movies, music, banking, network and information) I would not need more than a flash drive and a laptop to reinvent myself.  The only items I would need to store would be essentials such as clothes and personal hygiene products which I could put in a small storage. 

The possibilities are endless I could do freelance work as well until I find a full time job that would allow me to move into my own place.  Being a man of research and frugality would put me in a good position to create wealth once I find permanent employment.  Some people file for bankruptcy or have their home foreclosed and yet they are able to come back.  With determination anything is possible, in this digital era the way back can be much easier and if done right it can be accomplished much faster for those willing to put in the effort.

How would you do it?


(238k, 1044x703)<br><b>Country:</b> United States<br><b>City:</b> New York<br><b>System:</b> New York City Transit<br><b>Line:</b> BMT Nassau Street/Jamaica Line<br><b>Location:</b> Bowery <br><b>Photo by:</b> John Barnes<br><b>Date:</b> 6/15/2009<br><b>Notes:</b> Station view.<br><b>Viewed (this week/total):</b> 3 / 812
Copyright 2009 John Barnes

(165k, 620x820)<br><b>Country:</b> United States<br><b>City:</b> New York<br><b>System:</b> New York City Transit<br><b>Line:</b> BMT Nassau Street/Jamaica Line<br><b>Location:</b> Bowery <br><b>Photo by:</b> Bill E.<br><b>Date:</b> 5/30/2008<br><b>Notes:</b> Station entrance.<br><b>Viewed (this week/total):</b> 4 / 1752

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Investing Tips For 2013

With all three major Indexes in the green Dow, Nasdaq, S&P 500 and unemployment dropping to 7.5% it appears the U.S. economy is finally showing signs of recovery.  The rally that began last November has not had a major pullback.  Commodities have been pulling back telling a different story possibly one of deflation.  Yes, falling commodity prices are good for stocks but is this a good enough reason to put a large percent of your money in stocks? With a 6 month rally with very little interruption and with summer just around the corner some strategic measures are necessary.

The U.S. inflation rate is at 1.5% the trend seems to signal low inflation and possibly deflation.  Europe also seems to be in a deflationary state.  The answer is simple when inflation is at 1.5% in the U.S. and 1.2% in the Euro Area, not much risk is needed to protect your money. An investor with $50,000 only needs $750 in profit to protect his money with our current inflation rate.  Only take on more risk if you believe it is necessary and possible to make large profits this year in securities.

The U.S. stock market is telling us that people are willing to take on more risk and tired of measly returns.  Investors are taking more risk simply because there aren't too many alternatives especially with interest rates at 0.25%.  The 10-year Treasury yield is currently at 1.75% at some point the Fed will start increasing interest rates making bonds undesirable.  As an investor you find yourself in a peculiar situation our inflation rates have remained pretty low possibly flirting with deflation if so  cash is your best bet then comes gold.  If inflation begins to rise be prepared to move into stocks or real estate.  Home prices have started to improve and in some states are making new peaks.  Low mortgage rates (30yr fixed at 3.48% and 15 yr fixed at 2.69%) make real estate as an investment or a hedge for inflation rather attractive.  In our present economic environment it is preferable to have some stock investments and a good amount of assets in liquid form to be able to move it once we begin to see signs of deflation or increased inflation. It is best to have a manageable amount of debt you don't want to be stuck with massive debt during deflation.