Important Information to Protect Your Accumulated Wealth

Today many people are losing their savings to higher food and fuel costs, not to mention the effect of rising utility, cable and internet bills. People who have saved for the future are seeing their savings erode at an average of 8% a year.

What can you do to help yourself?

Catherine Austin Fitts, a former consultant to Presidents on economic matters, discusses with former CNN newsman Greg Hunter what is creating the current economic environment and what you can do. I call the video below MUST SEE TV.

Two tips that come from the video:

1. Invest in things for your home that cut your overhead (translate: electric bill, water bill, etc.) An example would be adding a wood burning stove if you have a traditional fireplace. Another example would be sealing your air leaks around doors and windows with new gasketing, insulation or caulking material. Or turn off lights when you leave a room.

2. Find ways to make yourself useful to your neighbors and to others.

Enjoy the video. Watch it all. The gold nuggets are scattered throughout.

In case the video disappears, here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-xjFkW2NuE

Designer Decor for $1

If you ever feel that difficult financial times are putting a crimp in your sense of style, watch this video. It’s to remind you that with imagination, you can be stylish on a budget of pennies.

STARVE THE BEAST

from Daisy Luther:

Disassociate yourself completely with “the system” that is making Western civilization broke, overweight and unhealthy.  Starve the Beast by taking as many of these steps as possible…

  1. Grow your own food (this starves Big Agri and Big Pharma both)
  2. Shop at local businesses with no corporate ties
  3. Use natural remedies instead of pharmaceuticals whenever possible
  4. Homeschool your children
  5. Walk or bike instead of driving when possible
  6. Get care from naturopaths and healers instead of doctors
  7. Make paper logs from scraps for free heat if you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove
  8. Boycott all processed foods
  9. Shop at local farmers markets
  10. Boycott corporate stores: Wal-Mart, Costco, Best Buy, Home Depot
  11. Give vouchers as gifts for an evening of babysitting, a homemade meal, walking the dog, doing a repair, or cleaning
  12. Join a CSA or farm co-op
  13. Ditch television (and all the propaganda and commercials)
  14. Participate in the barter system
  15. Buy secondhand from yard sales, Craigslist and thrift stores
  16. Sell your unwanted goods by having a yard sale or by putting an ad on Craigslist
  17. Repair things instead of replacing them
  18. Avoid fast food restaurants and chain restaurants
  19. Dine at locally owned establishments if you eat out
  20. Brew your own beer and wine
  21. Read a book, purchased second-hand or borrowed
  22. Grow or gather medicinal herbs
  23. Give homemade gifts
  24. Attend free local activities: lectures, concerts, play days at the park, library events
  25. Dumpster dive
  26. Play outside: hike, bike, picnic
  27. Mend clothing
  28. Invite someone over for dinner instead of meeting at a restaurant
  29. Throw creative birthday parties at home for your kids instead of renting a venue
  30. Camp instead of staying at a hotel
  31. Bring your coffee with you in a travel mug
  32. Do all of your Christmas shopping with small local businesses and artisans
  33. Reduce your electricity usage with candles, solar power and non-tech entertainment
  34. Drop the thermostat and put on a sweater
  35. Bring your snacks and drinks in a cooler when you go on a road trip
  36. Stay home – it’s way easier to avoid temptation that way
  37. Pack lunches for work and school
  38. Make delicious homemade treats as a hostess gift
  39. Close your bank account; or, at the very least, strictly limit your balance
  40. Visit u-pick berry patches and orchards, then preserve your harvest for the winter
  41. Use precious metals stored at home as your savings account
  42. Raise backyard chickens for your own eggs
  43. If you are a smoker, roll your own cigarettes – if possible go one step further and grow tobacco
  44. Live in a smaller, more efficient home
  45. Use solar power for lighting or cooking
  46. Collect rainwater for use in the garden
  47. Learn to forage
  48. Buy heavy, solid, handmade furniture instead of the flimsy imported stuff
  49. At the holidays, focus on activities and traditions instead of gifts. Go for a walk or drive through the neighborhood to look at lights, get into your PJs and watch a special movie together on Christmas Eve and make certain treats that can always be expected
  50. Make your own bath and body products using pure ingredients like coconut oil, essential oils, and herbal extracts

Decorating a Tiny Living Room

The older I get, the more in love I become with the idea of living in a small house. Maybe it is a subconscious dress rehearsal for retirement, but I think it has more to do with simplifying my life. I want less domestic responsibility and more freedom to play, to travel, to dream.

With that concept in mind, I came across an adorable photo from Country Living of a tiny living room with a big dose of pizazz. Hope you like it, too. It’s a girly-girl thing.
country living mag small living room

Couple Has Lived Under a Rock for Thirty Years

from Yahoo, by Rusty Weston:

For many people the idea of living under a rock might seem like the punchline of a joke. But for one Mexican couple, a hut wedged below a 130-foot boulder in Coahulla, Mexico has been home for the past 30 years.

A reporter recently visited the couple, Benito Hernandez and Santa Martha de la Cruz Villarreal, in their primitive desert home 50 miles south of Texas. Hernandez is a farmer who plants and collects the Candelilla plant used in making Candelilla wax.

He first saw this boulder 55 years ago, when he was eight, and decided to make it a home one day. Twenty years later he was able to secure rights to the land.

For photos of the family home built from sun-dried bricks and cement, click here:

http://homes.yahoo.com/blogs/spaces/couple-living-under-rock-quite-literally-230218154.html

Financial Checkup for Pre-Retirees

In 2004, Fidelity Management and Research asserted a retiree’s financial plan should yield an income stream of between 80 to 100 percent of the pre-retirement income in order to live comfortably.

In my opinion, that assertion assumes the retiree continues to live the same lifestyle as in pre-retirement. One can make choices that cut a budget, such as leaving a high-priced urban area like New York City and moving to a less expensive community or a smaller home. Doing so lowers the cost of taxes, housing, and utilities. If the retiree moves to a mild climate, such as exists in southern Florida, then he or she will save money on clothing, too, since heavy winter clothes aren’t needed. In areas, such as Florida, that grow much of the nation’s produce, fresh foods cost less. And the long growing season means a retiree can grow a kitchen garden, even in flower pots on the patio, to reduce food costs.

What a pre-retiree needs is a tool to help decide whether he or she has saved enough money or acquired assets to cover retirement costs. The following five questions, from How to Love Your Retirement by Hundreds of Heads, are a good starting point.

  1. Determine your post-retirement lifestyle and expenses. Will you travel? What will it cost? Will you eat out or cook at home? What will your recreational costs be? How much do you spend on hobbies or books?

  2. Determine your specific retirement benefits. These include social security, IRA’s, 401K plans, pensions, investments, annuities, etc. Know what health care benefits you are entitled to and can depend on.

  3. Create a plan for health care and long-term care coverage. Determine the costs at facilities of your choosing. Calculate your prescription drug costs. Anticipate the medical conditions your genetics may throw at you.

  4. Plan for contingencies. Have an emergency fund to cover the costs.

  5. Look at your family. Will you be required to help someone else financially during your retirement years?