Contribution limits on a 401k

July 28, 2012 by  
Filed under General

Without contributing to retirement savings, most people will have a difficult time making ends meet later in life. That is why many 401k participants want to input as much of their income as possible. There are two different types of contribution limits put on 401k accounts. The first is the government imposed limit, which changes yearly. The second type of limit is the employer set limit.

Different companies allow varying 401k contribution limits. At no point is the amount a participant contributes to a 401k to exceed the IRS set limits for contributions. To assist employees in preparing for retirement, the government has increased the maximum limit for contribution to a 401k as well as the “catch-up” contribution allowed. To keep up with cost of living increases, the government continues to allow higher contribution limits on 401k accounts. The increases are linked to the living expenses for the year prior to contribution.

For participants who are 50 years old or over, catching up on lost 401k revenue, because of late starts is a great feature. The catch-up feature is most likely a result of the increasingly unstable status of Social Security. However, there is a government contribution limit on catch up contributions made to the 401k as well. The government set limit is 5,000 as of 2007.

In order for individual employees to get the most out of their contributions, or maximizing contributions, they should also take advantage of matching. Matching is part of the overall 401k plan, although not always available. Companies contribute up to 50% of every dollar that a participant saves. Those matched funds, up to six percent of the salary, are not counted towards total contribution limits.

Taking advantage of any maximization of contribution is very important. There are few, if any, pitfalls to doing so. Contribution limits on a 401k can be a deterrent to some wanting to save lots of money quickly. The sage advice about diversifying could be a solution to that concern. It is important to contribute the limit or as close as possible to the limit in order to see a good return.

401k Plan

July 28, 2012 by  
Filed under General

Most people don’t realize that their company’s individual 401k plan allows them to choose many details of their 401k. Most companies, for instance, allow participants to choose the individual funds in which their money is invested. The percentage amount participants want contributed and whether they would prefer a pre-tax or after tax-based 401k plan are also options.

Once the different options are chosen, the funds allocated from all employees are invested into the predetermined stocks. Most 401k plans allow the individual to change details year round as a convenience. To accommodate new employees, companies allow enrollment in 401k plans year round as well.

Investing wisely in a 401k plan is quite important to maximize savings. In addition to contributing the maximum and participating in a matching program, it’s important to look at the investments that the money is funding. If, for instance, it’s discovered that most or all of the contributions in the 401k plan are funding company stock, it might be better to diversify.

Funding different types of investments is important for a profitable portfolio. It’s also important to increase the contribution amount annually as the government set limits will inevitably increase.

All 401k plans vary in the amounts they will allow the participant to contribute. At no point are those amounts to be higher than IRS limits. The average contribution amount is usually no more than ten percent.

The standard 401k plan pays a lump sum when retirement age is reached. At that time, a defined contribution amount will be disbursed once. As the end of the 401k plan’s saving term ends, taxes will come due; that is if the contributions weren’t made after taxes. The amount that is disbursed from a 401k plan might sometimes be a disappointment, as fees for maintenance and other related costs have been debited. The funds are guaranteed by the government in the case that the company files bankruptcy. This is a huge improvement over pension plans that in recent years have come up short as many retirees were due to collect. They, in turn, had no recourse to collect the funds.

Experience Privacy and Intimacy with a Mountain Cabin Rental

July 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel

Each summer, a large number of individuals flock to the “hottest,” vacation destinations.  Popular summer vacation destinations often include costal beaches.  To many individuals, a beach vacation seem ideal, but it is the lack of privacy that does not.  Whether you are vacationing with your family, friends, or your romantic partner, you may want to consider cabin rentals in the mountains.

Mountain cabin rentals are similar to costal cottages. The only difference is their location and, sometimes, the name.  Mountain rentals are often referred to as cabins. Mountain cabin rentals are located in many portions of the United States.  One of the reasons why they are so popular is because they can create a safe, fun, private, and romantic environment.

While most mountain cabin rentals are private, most are located within a short driving distance or walking distance to a popular attraction. These attractions may include hiking rails, biking trails, ponds, streams, or lakes. The facilities, attractions, and activities found at each mountain cabin rental will all depend on their location.

When searching for mountain cabin rentals, you have a number of locations to choose from.  Most cabin rentals can be found in popular mountain ranges.  These ranges are located in New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado, North Carolina, Idaho, and Wyoming.  To find the perfect summer vacation destination, you are encouraged to examine each area and the cabin rentals that are available.

Once you have found a summer vacation destination that offers mountain cabin rentals, you will need to select a specific cabin to vacation at. Many cabin rentals are grouped together in a specific area.  You may find that all cabins in that area are similar.  Despite the similarities, you are still urged to examine each specific cabin.  Most examinations can be done online or through the mail.

When examining a mountain cabin, it is important that you thoroughly read through all descriptions and request pictures.  An extend rental could be fairly expensive.  To help determine the outcome of your vacation, you are urged to see pictures. In this case, a picture really does speak a million words. It is important to know how many bedrooms are in a particular cabin, if there is a working kitchen, and an in-house bathroom.

Since many individuals enjoy mountain vacations due to the lack of technology, you may find certain cabin rentals with bathroom facilities and kitchen facilities that are located outdoors.  If you enjoy outdoor grilling, this may not be a problem.  However, many find outdoor facilities to be inconvenient.

In addition to what each mountain cabin rental has to offer, you should see what is available in the surrounding area.  Important facilities that you should be on the lookout for include general stores, gas stations, or laundromats. Without these facilities it is likely that you would have to make extra preparations for your vacation.

As previously mentioned, mountain cabin rentals are often expensive.  If you are planning a vacation on a budget, you may want to examine destinations that are not as well-known or as popular.  Destinations you may want to avoid include Jacksonhole in Wyoming, the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Carolinas, and the Adirondacks in New York. If these locations were ones that you wished to visit, instead of avoiding the location altogether you can search for discount vacation packages.

Discount vacation packages may be available for mountain cabin rentals; however, they are sometimes difficult to come by.  For the most part, discount vacation packages are reserved for resorts.  If you are able to unable to find a valuable vacation package, you can try receiving last minute price reductions.  While last minute price reductions are convenient, you are advised against planning your vacation around the expectation of getting one.

No matter where to choose to rent a mountain cabin or how much that rental costs, you are sure to have a private, intimate, and memorable vacation.  Why vacation at an overcrowded beach when you can schedule your summer vacation in seclusion?

Alcohol And Exercise

July 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Health & Fitness

On Friday afternoon after you leave work, you probably think about going out and having a few drinks with friends to relax and wind down.  Even though you may think you deserve to go out and have a few drinks, there are some things that you should certainly keep in mind.

Like any other day, tomorrow is going to be a day for exercise, and since you are exercising on a regular basis, a few drinks of alcohol won’t really hurt anything, right?  Before you decide to rush out to the local bar, there are a few things below that you should think about before you make your choice about going out to drink some alcohol.

Research has proven that even small amounts of alcohol with increase muscular endurance and the output of strength, although these types of benefits are very short lived.  After 20 minutes or so, the problems will begin to surface.  All of the negative side effects associated with alcohol will easily outweigh any possible benefits that it can have.  No matter how you look at it, alcohol is a poison that can really harm your body if you aren’t careful.

The negative side of alcohol can reduce your strength, endurance, aerobic capability, recovery time, ability to metabolize fat, and even your muscle growth as well.  Alcohol will also have an effect on your nervous system and brain.  If you use it long term, you can cause severe deterioration of your central nervous system.   Even with short term use, nerve muscle interaction can be reduced which will result in a loss of strength.

Once alcohol reaches the blood cells, it can and probably will damage them.  With alcohol users, inflammation of the muscle cells is a very common thing.  Over periods of time, some of these cells that have been damaged can die which will result in less functional muscle contractions.  Drinking alcohol will also leave you with more soreness of your muscles after you exercise, which means that it will take you a lot longer to recuperate.

Alcohol will also have many different effects on your heart and circulatory system as well.  When you drink any type of alcohol, you may begin to see a reduction in your endurance capabilities. Anytime you drink, your heat loss will increase, due to the alcohol simulating your blood vessels to dilate.  The loss in heat can cause your muscles to become quite cold, therefore become slower and weaker during your muscle contractions.

Drinking alcohol can also lead to digestive and nutrition problems as well.  Alcohol cause a release of insulin that will increase the metabolism of glycogen, which spares fat and makes the loss of fat very hard.  Due to alcohol interfering with the absorption of several key nutrients, you can also become anemic and deficient with B type vitamins.

Because your liver is the organ that detoxifies alcohol, the more you drink, the harder your liver has to work.  The extra stress alcohol places on your liver can cause serious damage and even destroy some of your liver cells.

Since alcohol is diuretic, drinking large amounts can put a lot of stress on your kidneys as well. During diuretic action, the hormones are secreted. This can lead to heightened water retention and no one who exercises will want this to happen.

If you must drink alcohol, you should do it in moderation and never drink before you exercise, as this will impair your balance, coordination, and also your judgement.  Think about your health and how you exercise – and you may begin to look at
things from a whole new prospective.

Achieving Spiritual Abundance

July 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Body, Mind & Spirit

Spiritual abundance might sound like a phrase that’s hard to decipher. Is it talking about being a very spiritual person, more abundantly spiritual than others?  Actually, the ability to tap into your deepest inner self while allowing the universe to provide for your needs is a good definition.

We are all spiritual beings. Whether you’re religious or you do anything spiritual on a day to day basis or not, you have a spiritual side. Some people define their spirituality with a religion, while others believe that our connection to the world around us and nature defines that side of ourselves.

Regardless of how you define it, you can gain a better understanding of your spiritual self and your ability to achieve spiritual abundance by following a few basic steps.

Attracting abundance and attracting prosperity are basically the same thing. And the first step to achieving them is by believing that it’s possible. For some, this is the hardest thing to learn about spiritual abundance because they have been conditioned to believe that it’s so difficult to get anywhere in life.

Positive thinking and positive visualization follow the principle that if you picture something and believe that it’s possible, you can make it happen in your life. It’s necessary to learn to do this when it comes to success, your financial situation and any situation in your life you want to change with spiritual abundance.

If you cannot picture yourself with a large bank account, with bills that are paid, with no debt or less debt, you won’t attract those things to you. But abundance can be yours if you’ll learn to first decide what it is that you want and then decide that it can be yours.

Some people write checks to themselves. Some people use a fake million dollar bill. But they focus on these things, they look at them frequently—sometimes several times a day—and they learn to believe that they will have these things.

The law of abundance basically teaches you to tap into the power of your mind and your beliefs to achieve your dreams. It is positive thinking and positive visualization amplified and focused to an even sharper point. Instead of just feeling positive in general, you’ll use that positive feeling toward a specific thing.

If you want to get out of debt, pay off your car or your house, or afford a vacation, you will need a specific amount of money to do those things. And it may seem like too large an amount of money. You might think that there’s no way you can get that much money for those things any time soon.

Instead you see months, maybe years, of scraping and sacrificing other things in order to be able to afford it. Because you can picture that and you believe it, you ensure it will happen that way.

Shift your thinking instead to see yourself effortlessly coming into the money to enable these things in your life, and you will attract spiritual abundance.

3 Easy to Cook Chicken Recipes for a Lovely Treat

July 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Cooking & Recipes

We all love spicy chicken; except if you are allergic or you just can’t love spicy food. Being a chicken lover myself, I have collected 3 hot n’ spicy recipes for you to try out in your chicken today or anytime you would like to treat yourself for a delicious meal; they make good family specials as well! Although they have similar names, they are very different. Perhaps their origins differ.

Hot N’ Spicy Chicken Recipe #1. Spicy Chicken Wings

– 1 lg. can Parmesan cheese
– 2 tbsp. oregano
– 4 tbsp. parsley
– 1 tsp. salt
– 1 tsp. pepper
– 1 stick margarine
– 4-5 lbs. chicken wings

Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Melt margarine in small pan. Cut up chicken wings. Discard tips. Mix all dry ingredients in bowl. Dunk chicken wings in margarine and roll in cheese mixture. Place on cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour. Serve warm.

#2. Hot Chicken Wings

Chicken wings
1/2 stick margarine
1 bottle Durkee hot sauce
2 tbsp. honey
10 shakes Tabasco
2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

Deep fry wings for 20 minutes. Drain and dip and let set in sauce. Take out to dry and then serve.

#3. Hot-N-Spicy Chicken Wings

5 lbs. bag chicken wings (drumettes)
12 fl. oz. Louisiana Pre Crystal Hot Sauce
1-2 sticks butter

Fry chicken wings until golden brown and drain on paper towel. Mix hot sauce and melted butter and pour into deep pan or crock pot. Add chicken wings to sauce and heat thoroughly.

10 Questions an Interviewer May Ask

July 24, 2012 by  
Filed under General

Once upon a time job interviews were comprised of a conversation between interviewer and interviewee and based on this conversation, the job seeker was either hired or sent on their way. Within the context of this conversation, questions were asked, but today much of the conversation has disappeared as more and more interviewers are using custom made interview forms. Some of the questions you may encounter include:

  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What did you like most about your last job?
  • What did you like least about your last job?
  • How did you solve a problem regarding an angry or dissatisfied customer?
  • How do you handle stress?
  • What would your previous co-workers say about you?
  • Give an example of your ability to make decisions under pressure.
  • Why do you want to work for this company?

There are many variations on the above questions but most of these are pretty standard. Of course, work experience is a given and some employers want to know if you smoke. Often, employers ask questions they are not supposed to ask but it is usually career suicide if you bring up that fact.

The best thing you can do to prepare yourself for any interview is to find out everything you can about the company you are applying for. In addition, make sure you have all the dates clear as to where you worked and how long you worked there. Even if you have already sent a resume take one to the interview with you so that you can glance at it if you need to. Above all, be on time and be prepared!

Acid Reflux: Alternative and Complementary medications.

July 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Health & Fitness

While some leading medications work for everyone, they actually make the Acid Reflux worse after you stop taking them. In particular, when a patient takes the medications classed as Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI), they inhibit the production of acid. When these medications are discontinued, it is observed that the body responds and bounces back with more acid secretion. This is called “rebound hypersecretion,” It is, thus, often advisable for people taking PPI’s to avoid sudden stoppage of medication

Several herbs are used as heartburn remedies. A post-meal tea of caraway seeds, coriander, chamomile, anise, fennel, angelica, offers great relief. Peppermint and spearmint teas, contraindicated in allopathy, also work a capsule containing peppermint and caraway seed oils taken for four weeks, also helps.

Some specialists rely on roots and herbs. Ginger root is a very versatile herb used in Ayurveda, and regular intake of unto 500 mgs a day actually reduces your episodes of acid reflux.

Adequate fiber consumption reduces symptoms of acid reflux. Fiber easily digests the acid from the foods. Fiber also keeps you unconstipated . Fiber pills or water-soluble powders are available for those who do not enjoy raw foods.

Stop smoking. Nicotine causes a relaxation of the esophageal sphincter, allowing fluids to swish around freely. Sometimes smoking and stress are related, and both need to be reduced, as both affect your digestion.

You need to stay away from citrus fruits, potatoes, ground beef, Buffalo wings, chicken nuggets, raw onions, ice cream, cheese, spaghetti, liquor or wine, coffee, tea, and certain salad dressings. There is a life beyond all these eatables.
Licorice, (sold in health food stores), Meadowsweet, (an excellent anti-inflammatory and antacid. That works to protect membranes in the digestive tract), certain .digestive enzymes, such as Papain (helps to digest food better and faster, and keeps it from sitting around in the stomach for long periods), Chamomile (works for all digestive problems), and even .marshmallow (works as anti-inflammatory , together with chamomile), all have had success as alternative medications over a period of time.

At the end of the day, lifestyle changes, good diet, weight control, and healthy stress relieving habits are all what acid reflux treatment is all about.

A Venerable Tradition The History of Marriage

July 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Family & Relationships

The history of marriage has its origins as least as far back as antiquity and evidence of marriage traditions and ceremonies have existed among people of almost all cultures. While today when we think of marriage our thoughts turn to notions of love and romance, this has not always been the case.

The marriage in the earliest times had little to do with notions of romantic love and more to do with survival. It is believed that the earliest weddings were group events, designed to join together different tribes into a larger family to support and protect each other. The practice of paying a dowry to the family of the bride or the groom, which could include land as well as other types of property, has served throughout the history of marriage to ensure property rights among kinship groups.

Rules governing whom one could marry have existed throughout the history of marriage, and religious and civil law have contained restrictions that have limited marriage options, and intermarriage within a kinship group has often been forbidden. Many countries today continue to enforce laws that prohibit marriage between certain relatives.

Throughout the history of marriage, the majority of unions have been arranged, where the parents have selected whom their children will marry. While the tradition continues in some cultures today, most modern marriages are based on romantic love, with couples deciding freely to marry.

Many of the traditions surrounding contemporary weddings can be traced throughout the history of marriage. Wedding rings date as far back as Egyptian society, where the circle symbolized eternity. The Egyptians’ belief that the fourth finger of the left hand was connected to the heart established the tradition of wedding rings being worn on that finger.

The multi-layered, highly decorated cakes that are common today are a recent addition to the wedding ceremony, first becoming popular around the late nineteenth century. They replaced the loaves of bread that were historically broken during the wedding ceremony.

The tradition of bridegrooms in the wedding party is said to have its roots in the era of very early history when a man would rely on his friends to abduct a woman from her family for his bride. The practice of bridegrooms and bridesmaids dressing alike is a long-standing one in the history of marriage, based on the superstition, which holds that evil spirits might wish harm on the couple and the similarity in dress would confuse them.

While we think that white wedding dresses have always been popular, the tradition is a recent one in the history of marriage, with its origins in 1840, when Queen Victoria wore a white gown at her wedding to Prince Albert of Saxe. By the turn of the twentieth century, most brides in western cultures embraced the white wedding dress.

Many people of many cultures have embraced ceremonial symbols practiced in ancient wedding ceremonies today. The marriage ceremony in Bali includes the couple eating a dish of yellow rice, a symbol of fertility, and in the West rice is thrown at weddings to wish the couple fertility, prosperity and luck.

Common law marriages, defined as when a couple lives together without obtaining a marriage certificate, have been recognized throughout the history of marriage. Some governments continue to recognize common law marriages after the couple has lived together for a certain amount of time. Most governments today, however, require that couples register their union and obtain some type of marriage certificate as legal proof of their relationship.

So while we can see, while much has changed throughout the history of marriage since ancient times, many of our contemporary traditions have deep historical roots.