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If you purchased your life insurance policy some time ago, it’s likely you haven’t thought about it much since then. Maybe your life has changed in significant ways and you’re wondering whether it’s time to adjust your coverage. Here’s when it may be time to reevaluate your life insurance portfolio.
Your Family Has Grown
If you’ve gotten married, you should make sure both you and your spouse are adequately covered. Also, if you have children, it’s important to evaluate how much more coverage you’ll need to protect your entire family should the unexpected occur.
Also, if you’ve started caring for an older parent, you want to make sure your life insurance policy will cover all dependents that rely on your income if you’re no longer able to provide for them.
Your Career and Income Have Changed
Maybe you’ve changed jobs or made a total career transition into a new field. Perhaps you’ve moved up the ranks in your company, earning a promotion that resulted in a salary increase.
Experts recommend a coverage amount equal to seven years of your salary. If your salary has grown since you purchased your life insurance policy, it may be time to increase your coverage to be sure it protects your loved ones in their time of need.
You Have New Financial Obligations
Have you bought a house, started a business or taken on some other major, long-term financial obligation? The more financial responsibilities you accept, the more life insurance coverage you may want to consider. It is also important to consider a policy that may cover all of your financial commitments, so your loved ones don’t inherit unexpected costs they may not be able to cover on their own.
This is especially important if you’ve co-signed on debt, have joint debt, have business partners with whom you share financial obligations or have employees who count on your business for their livelihood.
You may want to discuss with business partners whether your firm has the right types of life insurance in sufficient amounts to protect each other and the business if one of you passes away. Having life insurance in place can protect your family from business creditors, too.
Your life insurance coverage should be adjusted as the circumstances of your life change. Significant changes in income, expenses and family size are all important variables. It is important to take some time to evaluate whether you should adjust any existing life insurance policies you have, or if you should purchase additional coverage to help meet your financial needs.
The common saying that “everything’s easier with a second child” is true — to a point. Sure, you’re confident about your diaper changing skills, you understand how to set up feeding and sleep schedules and you know when a fever just calls for fluids and rest versus a visit to the ER.
But when it comes to money, life can get more complicated as your family grows. If you’re planning for more children, here’s what you should know.
Reduce Your Debt
Eliminating debt is important at any stage of life, but when you’re expecting more children, it becomes even more critical. After all, kids are expensive.
Sit down with your partner to talk about what you owe, and how you’re going to pay down existing debt, as well as avoid future debt. Look at your household budget to see if there are places where you can trim expenses, redirecting some of that money to debt repayments.
Have a Chat with HR
Both you and your partner will want to know what benefits are available to you as you welcome your new child into the world. Checking in with your HR department is especially important if you’ve changed jobs, as your benefits might not be the same as they were at your previous workplace. You’ll probably want to ask how the new additions to your family will affect your health insurance. Be sure, too, to confirm both the paid and unpaid family leave benefits offered by your employer so you can get ready to spend quality time with your growing family.
Get Your House in Order
Go digging through the attic to look for those essential items you need to get your home ready for your new addition. You might already have a crib, car seat and stroller, all items that translate into big-time savings when you hand them down from your first child to his or her new siblings. You might also have infant clothes, a breast pump and bottles. Make a list of any items you need to update or replace so you can budget for them accordingly.
You might also want to research special discounts and programs that reduce the costs of regular needs like formula and diapers.
Evaluate Your Life Insurance Coverage
It’s not just your health coverage you need to check when you’re expecting new children. Take a look at your current life insurance plan. You want to be sure all of your loved ones will be covered if you are unable to care for them, and any time your family grows, you should evaluate your life insurance coverage and determine if it meets your expanding family’s needs.
Consider Long-term Costs
Right now, your home or your car may work just fine for your family, but with more children entering the picture soon, it might be time to think about upgrades. Your children (and you) will need more space to live and thrive, so even if you think you’ll be okay in the short-term, plan out any long-term costs such as a new home or new car. That way, when the time comes, you’ll be able to manage the costs of additional monthly payments.
Other “upgrades” might include child care. Can your current child care situation expand to cover all of your kids, and what will that cost? Would moving closer to family help reduce expenses? It’s important to evaluate your options, and think about what’s best for you and your family.
Expand Your Family’s College Savings Plan
Consider asking family members to contribute for holidays and birthdays so your child will have a leg up on savings when it comes time for college.
Make a Time Budget
Your time is valuable. Doctor’s appointments, social and educational commitments increase with each child, so plan ahead to help avoid unnecessary stress between you and your spouse. Will either of you need to ask for more flexibility at work? Will one of you need to change your work situation, or stop working altogether? These are big questions that may be hard to answer, but talking openly with your spouse can help you plan ahead and ease into a transition.
Planning for a new baby can be thrilling, but it’s also a challenge. Anticipate and ward off some of the potential stress by planning ahead and getting your finances in order before your new little one arrives.
Financial security is a key component of a happy retirement, but how you choose to spend your daily life throughout retirement is critical as well. Retirement can mean different things to different people. Some look forward to pursuing new interests, while others want time to relax. Whatever your future holds, one thing is certain – a secure retirement requires thought and careful planning, and it’s never too early to start.
As you begin to think about retirement, take the time to consider some important questions.
Retirement can be a time to discover new and creative outlets and passions, and do the things you never had time to do while you were working. On the other hand, you may choose to work full-time, part- time, as a consultant, or on a volunteer basis. Many people work in retirement to keep their benefits, maintain a stream of income, or simply because they enjoy working. Retirement planning is a time to consider all options that will bring you fulfillment.
Many newly retired also embrace the opportunity to return to the classroom, to find new skills or discover new talents. After a time of learning and exploration, some experience a renewed desire to work and pursue new opportunities and challenges. Some start their own business, and others take on an “encore career” – one that makes good use of your well-developed skills and talents, and provides you with the opportunity to apply them in a new setting that has a social impact, or makes a difference. If, for example, you worked in the corporate world, you may want to use your skills in the non-profit world.
When you leave the working world and turn your attention toward family, friends and hobbies, the desire to contribute in a meaningful way becomes a priority. Volunteering is a great way for you to stay involved and make a contribution. The right volunteer experience can provide you with an opportunity to make new friends, gain recognition for your contributions and add more structure to your days.
This new phase of life should be seen as an adventure and a time to reinvent yourself. Planning and transitioning can take time, and involves testing out different pastimes, jobs and projects. Getting support from peers and loved ones in your life will take on a special significance as you begin to sort out all of your choices. The shift to retirement can be a welcome change of pace and yet it can be challenging to create enough structure to find a sense of satisfaction. Take a realistic look ahead and plan carefully to help achieve your retirement goals.
Life insurance may not seem like a priority when you’re young and don’t have the responsibilities of a family. You might wonder why you need coverage, who it would benefit and how it might save you money later.
Here’s why getting life insurance coverage now is a smart financial decision.
1. Life insurance premiums are based on your age and health.
Getting life insurance coverage can be easier while you’re young and healthy. Insurance carriers offer and price life insurance policies based on your age and health at the time you apply. Life insurers know the younger you are, the more likely it is you’ll be around for many years. This makes insuring you less risky for them and cheaper for you — probably less expensive than you imagine.
Getting life insurance before unexpected health changes occur can be beneficial. Insurers also base pricing on answers you give to questions about your health. These answers help insurers determine the probability that you’ll stay well.
2. Life (and insurance) gets more expensive with age.
Your expenses will inevitably grow as you get older and move forward in your career. Your budget will have to change based on where you decide to live, if you buy a home and especially if you decide to get married and start a family.
Your life insurance coverage should also grow to reflect these changes, and if you buy life insurance early — before these different life stages — it will likely cost less to adjust your policy as time goes on than it would to buy a new policy later in life. By taking advantage of lower premiums when you’re younger, you’ll be saving money on insurance costs later.
3. You may be able to obtain more money in term insurance now.
Since it’s usually more affordable to buy a policy when you’re younger, you may be able to obtain more in term life insurance. Term insurance, as the name suggests, is life insurance that provides coverage for a specified period of time (the “term”) at a fixed rate that will remain the same across the life of the policy. Generally speaking, term policies tend to be more affordable than other forms of ife insurance policies, delivering more coverage for smaller premiums.
The primary purpose of life insurance is to protect your income and those who depend on it. As your life grows and changes, it’s important to make sure you’re covered every step of the way. Having life insurance in place early on can set you up for greater savings and better financial protection down the road.
Disability insurance prevents injury or illness from becoming a major financial catastrophe.
After Salma, an elementary school teacher in Beirut, dislocated her shoulder on a weekend mountain bike ride last April, she assumed she’d be back to work the following Monday. But a visit with her doctor confirmed otherwise.
Salma’s shoulder injury required surgery, and the preparation and recovery would keep her out of the classroom through the end of the school year.
Thankfully, the mother of two had signed up for short-term disability insurance. “I thought it would be a good idea a couple years ago – then I just kept renewing it,” she says. That coverage ended up helping to pay for several thousand dollars in medicine bills while she was out of work.
Disability insurance can help replace your income if you’re unable to work due to an injury or illness. For various reasons, it’s often overlooked – young people especially don’t expect health problems will prevent them from working. Yet, regardless of your age, disability insurance can prevent an accident or ailment from becoming a financial catastrophe.
In today’s digital age, we are constantly surrounded by technology. Beyond staring at computer screens throughout our work day, exposure to social media and email communication has become increasingly mobile through our smartphones, tablets and even watches. We are connected to our digital lives more and more, which ultimately affects our attention spans, our person-to-person interactions and even our sleep patterns and overall health.
Here are some tips to help you carve out dedicated time throughout your day to disconnect from your tech and refocus your energy on mindfulness and meaningful interactions.
1. Use Mornings to Focus on Yourself
Try scheduling in relaxing activities each morning, so you can start your day refreshed and energized. You might exercise or do yoga for 15-30 minutes, read a book or newspaper while you drink your morning coffee, or write in a journal before tackling any to-do’s or checking your email and social media updates.
2. Re-boot: Take Saturdays Off
When Saturday arrives, try shutting down your computer and leaving it off for the entire day, or better yet, the entire weekend. Leave your cell phone at home if you go out to run errands. If you’re meeting up with friends and family, switch your phone to airplane mode and wait until you return home to check if you missed any important calls, messages or emails.
3. Create Boundaries in Your Daily Life
Constantly checking emails, texts and social media is a habit that can be changed. To do so means separating yourself from your digital devices whenever possible. Try waking up to a regular, old-fashioned alarm clock instead of using your smartphone’s alarm feature. You can keep your phone away from your bedside, and be less tempted to check it right before bed or as soon as you wake up in the morning.
Instead of eating meals in front of your computer at work, use lunch or dinner as an opportunity to sit down face to face with family, friends or coworkers and catch up.
4. Spend More Time Outside
Give your mind and body a break from digital screens and get outside as much as you can for some fresh air – a brisk walk can re-connect you with your surroundings, clear your mind and even improve your cardiovascular health.
A digital detox is a great way to reprioritize your time and focus on what’s really important to you, including your personal interactions, leisure time and your overall health and wellness.
The line that used to separate work and home is blurrier than ever. Technology makes it possible to answer emails at the gym or wrap up a project after the kids go to bed. As your work and home life blend together more and more, here are some simple ways to keep stress levels low and productivity high.
Take advantage of tools that help you focus and clear your head:
Find time for low-key activities, keep your living space calm and make sleep a priority:
Creating harmony throughout your day can take some extra effort. The good news is that devoting a little bit of time to self-care can go a long way toward relieving stress, so you can feel your best at work and home.
Could your sleep habits be affecting your performance at work? A good night’s sleep may seem like a lower priority than catching up on emails (or binge-watching the latest Netflix show), but it’s essential for focus and critical thinking. Sleep deprivation can affect your decision-making skills, hand-eye coordination and even your memory. And when you’re not at your best physically and mentally, you can’t bring your ‘A’ game to your job.
Follow these tips to start improving your sleep habits:
Don’t Expect to Catch Up on Weekends
Yes, you may be able to recharge when the weekend comes by getting a few more hours of sleep. But while sleeping in may help with some of the effects of sleep deprivation like stress and tiredness, research indicates it doesn’t help your ability to focus and retain information — skills essential for peak work performance.
Taking a nap doesn’t mean you’re lazy. Naps are a great way to reenergize and make up for that lost hour. The ideal time to nap is between 1–3pm, for no more than 30 minutes. Opt for a nap over sleeping in late, so your natural sleep cycle isn’t disturbed.
Skip the Alarm
Make an effort to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, without an alarm — even on the weekends. If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally. If you aren’t able to wake up without an alarm, it’s time to set an earlier bedtime.
Keep your Melatonin Levels Balanced
Melatonin is a hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Increase your light exposure during the day by spending time outside and letting light into your home and workspace. In the evening, limit your reading on backlit devices and try turning off computers, TVs and mobile devices at least an hour before bed.
Choose the Right Foods
Try to limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol, foods that may be hard to digest, or anything that may cause a full bladder at night. Choose healthy food options throughout the day, especially more almonds, bananas, hummus, cherries and nut butters — all containing vitamins like magnesium, potassium, B6 and amino acids that promote and regulate good sleep patterns.
It's that time of year again when we are looking forward to new beginnings. We look inward and identify things about ourselves that could be changed or made better. This year, you might be asking yourself – how can I create meaningful New Year resolutions that will actually stick?A good place to start is by asking – what causes us to fail at our resolutions? Most often, resolutions fail as they are decided without planning for the nuts and bolts, that is, the finer aspects. For example, to quit smoking is a common resolution but often it fails as people ignore planning for side effects, such as cravings, weight gain and concentration lapses, which naturally occur when one stops smoking. So how can you make realistic and achievable resolutions this New Year?
1. Be specific: Making a New Year resolution is simply setting a goal. Be very specific about what you want to do to increase your chances for success. “I'll reduce 10 kilograms in three months between January and March” is a better, more specific resolution, as opposed to just “I'll reduce weight”. Being precise also implies that you have thought about your goal and preconditioned your mind about what you want to achieve.
2.Think big, plan small: Although our goals should be reachable and achievable, one should always dream big. Our hidden source of potential is boundless and infinite, and our capacity is such that we can accomplish whatever we set our pointer at. The art is to follow it step by step, by following our heart and inner guidance, and making our dream our passion. So, break down your resolutions into smaller steps. For example, find out what you would need to do to reduce weight and create a series of steps, like cutting down on sugar, going for a walk twice a week, joining a dance class or making time for exercise four days a week.
3. Think about what’s doable: Instead of just going with the flow, think about what you can realistically achieve in each step. Stretch yourself a little at a time. If you are averse to exercising and are already 20 kilos overweight, reducing 10 kilos in a month may be too much. Start with a modest target that you know you can reach – say, one kilo a week, or exercising for 15 minutes a day.
4. Resolve to do something that you really want to do: Don't make a resolution because “everyone else is doing it”. What really matters to you? Are you truly bothered about your weight or your well-being? Will a meditation class be more meaningful to you than strength training? Will you be happier doing voluntary work for an NGO more than anything else? Resolve to do just that.
5.Spread your tasks out over the year: Plan precisely and spread out small, attainable tasks in detail over your next year’s calendar. Write to-do items for specific days and weeks. Making realistic resolutions with proper mental preparation and planning enhances chances of success. You’re more likely to succeed if your resolution looks like this:
Resolution 1: I'll reduce 10 kilograms in three months between January and March.
Jan 1 to Jan 5: Learn more about living healthy and weight reduction. Make an appointment with a dietitian to discuss nutrition and diet.
Jan 4 & 5: Make a list of food items that the dietician recommends. Visit the grocery store to purchase items needed.
Jan 6: Begin new eating and fitness regimen.
Jan 3 to Jan 10: Identify a good place to train/work out and enroll. Try it out for a month and decide to drop or continue at month’s end.
Last week of Jan: Happy with current training and fitness situation? If not, start looking for alternatives.
and so on...
6.Remind yourself to stay the course: Write your resolution on A4 size papers in bold and hang them in your rooms where you can see them often. Remember it, think about it, and feel the motivation to work towards it. Make up your mind to not give up. If you can't work on your resolution one day, don't let it through you off track. On the next day, pick it up again. Usually it takes 21 days of sticking to a resolution or a new habit to bring about change.
7.Reward yourself on your successes, but don't punish yourself if you fail: If you oversleep one day and miss a workout, be happy about your extra snooze hours and work extra hard the next morning to make it happen. If you succeed in sticking to your training schedule for an entire week, reward yourself with a hot chocolate (or whatever treat will please you).
8.Involve your friends and family: Involving significant others or family members, friends, or work colleagues, depending on the resolution, enhances chances of success. Sharing with friends and family and receiving accolades and appreciation from them is always very inspiring. What better way to stay on track than with the support of your loved ones.
9.Read for inspiration: Self-help books are great. Reading biographies of successful leaders, attending workshops and forums can helpyou keep your resolutions.
10. Finally, have faith in yourself: Everything can be conquered with faith. You have to allow yourself to trust the process. Any change needs time and as we know, patience is a virtue. So, we have to follow it through by taking one small step at a time after making a big leap of faith. We have to reinforce the desire to work on our targets often, rebuild our faith as often as it shakes and revaluate, reassess and restructure the process from time to time.
Disciplined saving and investment arekey to a cushy retirement. But savers can easily be wooed by the short-term gratification of spending.Experts have weighed in how you can master the psychology of temptation and keep your finances intact, as you set goals and stick to your financial plan.“Delaying the decision to commit to a financial plan is the major obstacle to making your money work for you," said RabihKhalek, VP-Head of Accident and Health & Unit-Linked - Fund Management at MetLife EMEA. “This is the opportunity to improve your finances. It is not easy, one might argue, but it is also not impossible."
Planning well and committing to achieving a goal – however small it may be at the start – is essential to gradually growing your cash cushion. By building an intimate connection between your financial goals and the things that matter to you most (for example, saving enough and investing wisely so as to have a financially secure future that will allow you to enjoy your retirement years with your family), you will be able to create a savings plan that works for you.
Regular contributions into a saving and protection life insurance policy, for example, are not only an additional means of financial protection, but a good way of diversifying investments as well. Many people may have the misconception that life insurance is only good for providing your family cash when you pass away, but this product can actually do wonders in your asset diversification strategy.
Certain life insurance products offer investment options with different methods of growing your cash stash. In addition, it builds cash value over time, allowing you the option to withdraw part of your investment during or at the end of your plan, helping you to eventually streamline your cash flow.
“This provides the full flexibility that will help an individual start easily and build the desired schemes that are more suitable and sustainable based on his or her financial aspirations. This comes along with the protection required to maintain the standard of living a person aspires for while accumulating wealth," adds Rabih.
Committing to a financial plan
Not setting a clear financial plan is like getting on a plane without knowing your destination. The best way around it is to attach an emotional goal, such as children's education or retirement independence.Once you do that, the temptation to spend money in other areas may be reduced. If you know that a particular savings amount is dedicated to your child's future or your comfortable retirement, for example, you are less likely to spend the money elsewhere.
There are often policies available for specific types of savings goals, too, like saving for college.This can help even further.Another way to stay on track is to hire a financial coach or an independent financial adviser, who can work with you and help you achieve your goals, he said.Staying committed to a financial plan also boils down to having the right state of mind and building the right habits. Again, it’s about asking yourself what is best for you and what you can do to maximize your savings. For many people, it may be a two-step process, comprising of how much one can save, and how much one must save. The second may look sketchy at the outset but think again. It's the one that can make your money grow faster.
Executing the plan
Once you have crunched the numbers and know how much you want to save, the next step is to determine what you must do in order to save that amount. Here are some options that might help you:
Regular saving:Bank deposits and similar short and medium-term accounts are good examples.
Regular savings and protection schemes: Mutual funds and life insurance programs give you the opportunity to see your money grow, while protecting your standard of living.
Life insurance: Protects you and your family, and with additional optionalbenefits, such as critical illness coverage for example, it can also safeguard your income and wealth.
Diversified instruments: These help in making funds more accessible and controlling an investor's risk exposure.
Automated savings: Instructing your bank to immediately take out the amount and lodge it in your preferred savings or investment instruments is a convenient way of saving regularly.
Have a monthly budget: Only keep enough cash to meet your living expenses for the rest of the month so as to resist the temptation to spend impulsively.
For personalized advice, you can contact us and one of our consultants will call you at your convenience to help you find the right savings plan based on your needs.
Read the label of a multi-vitamin pack and you’ll see a compelling case for taking supplements every day. Benefit claims range from boosting energy to bolstering immunity. But are supplements the best way to go, or does nature offer you and your family better alternatives?
The best way to ensure maximum intake of all the nutrients required for a healthy body is to eat a varied diet. Eat rainbow color fruits and vegetables daily and avoid fast and refined food. Keep sugar consumption to a minimum and avoid carbonated drinks. But many people aren’t necessarily willing to eat their greens – or their yellows or reds either. Here are some ways beyond diet for everyone to get the vitamins they need.
Children:Poor appetite, highly selective diet and simple fussiness in children are all factors that can easily lead to deficiency in fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K and water-soluble vitamins like B and C. Iron, while not strictly a vitamin is also commonly lacking in children’s diets and can lead to iron-deficiency anemia. Low presence of B12 can lead to impaired cell division, especially if your child is a vegetarian. In both cases, supplements can fill the gap.
Pregnant Women: Expecting moms are particularly subject to heightened nutritional needs, including more B9 and folic acid. Supplements can be the answer for pregnant women with 400mcg of folic acid daily.
Older Adults: For all adults, getting quality protein and multi-colored vegetables should always be the first line of attack. But when the diet is compromised or restricted, a daily multi-vitamin should be considered. For those over 50, the production of gastric acids begins to decline, which reduces the absorption of vitamin B12, affecting about 30% of older adults. Other vitamins like vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B9 (folic acid), and vitamin E tend to be lacking in the majority of elderly people.
Certain ethnicities:Some ethnic groups, including many in the Middle East, are genetically prone to vitamin D deficiency. That why at least 10 minutes of sunlight a day are highly recommended. When heat is intolerable, eating plenty of oily fish, like fresh tuna or salmon, and dairy products, like milk and butter, can have the same effect as the sun. And if you're looking for a supplement, cod liver oil is a good way to go, as well as under-the-tongue vitamin D3 melts.
Getting through the day in the healthiest way depends on a full dose of nutrients. But when getting there through natural means proves challenging, adding supplements to the mix can be the best fuel of all.
Traveling anytime soon? Whether with family or for business, it’s always best toprepare for emergency situations any time youfly overseas. Your security is of the utmost importance, especially in the event of a travel alert, which can cause unforeseen challenges and inconveniences for passengers. Knowledge and compliance can help get you through the situation.
What is a travel alert?
Travel alerts or security alerts are issued by a country to alert people in the event of unrest and threats foreseen in a particular country or across countries, for a short period. This might include an election season that is bound to have many strikes and demonstrations; a health alert like an outbreak of H1N1; or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks.
What should you do during security alerts?
When a travel alert is issued, you can find yourself in any of these situations, or more:
1. If you’re travelling through an airport and suddenly the airport is closed because of an alert. Don’t panic. The airport will have to follow a well-defined emergency protocol and they will guide passengers accordingly.
2. If you’re in transit and the country of destination is considered unsafe by authorities, it’ll be up to you to decide if you must travel there. It’s always best to check with your local embassy or consulate for the latest information. If you still choose to go, doublecheck that your travel insurance is still valid. For a worldwide all-inclusive business travel accident insurance, you can contact us and we’ll be happy to assist.
3. If an aircraft is diverted because of a security alert at its destination. Again, do not panic. There will be a procedure that will be detailed by the airline staff.
It is very important for both passengers and airport staff to obey all procedures to the letter.
What to do if you are stranded due to a security alert?
In case of travel alerts in the airport or in the airliner, you should try to understand and accept that you are in an unfamiliar situation and that your usual support systems are completely absent. Given these additional challenges, it is not the time to fight, argue, or revolt. Cooperate with the authorities and know that they too are trying to help. Be calm and use your common sense.
Be as Prepared as You Can Be
Keep these five key things in mind to maximize your safety and the safety of your family when traveling:
1. Monitor the news about your destination or regions you pass through.
2. In case of a travel alert that affects your travel plans, reach out to your dear ones and inform them.
3. Don't share personal information and don't accept food or drinks from strangers.
4. Take care of your belongings and keep track of all your luggage items.
5. Always obey procedures and specific instructions from the authorities.
Do’s and Don’ts Before you Travel
Even in the absence of a travel alert, there are things you must always do before every trip to ensure a smoother journey.
Behind any successful organization is an engaged workforce, and behind any engaged workforce is a great manager. Here are some tips to help youmotivate your team.
1. Effective Communication
Great managers need to be able to inspire, inform and mediate. The cornerstone of productivity is clear communication of goals to your team members. Employees need a clear picture of the direction of their company, so any ramp-up of effort or shift in deadlines can be understood rather than resented. But communication is a two-way street. A good manager must also be an active listener. By addressing questions and concerns quickly, you give your team members a voice and an opportunity to help the team grow together.
2. Positivity and Warmth
Employees don’t want to work for a robot. You can acknowledge your team members as human beings by remembering to be one yourself. You must, of course, temper your output, finding a middle ground between clown and autocrat. The work comes first, but social events after hours are a time-honored method of getting to know the people for whom you are responsible, so that you can understand them as individuals.
3.Looking out for your employees
Your employees dedicate their precious time for the survival of your business. It’s only fair to do the same for them in return. Let your employees feel appreciated by offering them a substantial healthcare and life cover plan that protects them and their family. Plus, employee benefits are increasingly becoming the criteria employees value the most.
Depending on your industry, organizational skills can take many different forms. You may find that as a manager, all you need to do is maintain quotas and hold weekly meetings — or you may find that you need to learn additional skills in project or people management. Look for management training courses, which might be offered by your HR team, or available outside of work.
Conflict resolution can be tough to navigate at work. As a manager, it will be your responsibility to manage different relationships on your team, solve problems that come up and still maintain productivity. As these issues pop up, you’ll need to be able to take a step back from any personal connections you’ve come to share with your team members. This allows you to take an objective, balanced approach that serves the organization and the team, rather than individuals.
6. Constructive Criticism
Sharing feedback as a manager can be essential to enhancing the performance of your team. But you should only deliver criticism in a constructive way that inspires your team members. This can be tricky, but your approach should focus on helping each individual learn something new and put better habits and skills into practice.
Good management skills can take time to develop. Make sure your team understands your values as a leader, and nurture key competencies that will help you and your team grow and succeed together.
Children start to understand money by age three and begin to develop lifelong financial habits at around age seven. So just as we’re teaching them to read and write and be kind, they’re likely ready to learn about finances too. And it may be one of their most important life lessons. Here are a few tips on how and when to encourage financial awareness in kids.
1. Start Young
Children as young as 3 years old can have fun playing simple games such as tracing the outline of coins and coloring them, pairing up similar coins or guessing the name of the coin. Of course, you, or another adult, should be there as they play.
2. Make Finances a Family Affair
When it comes to adult discussions about money, kids can be supportive and helpful. For example, if you're planning to go on a vacation, ask the kids where they'd like to go. They’ll see how the choice and length of vacations are driven by budget. And they’ll understand the kind of money-related decisions their parents make.
3. Create a Savings Plan for Something They Want
A 7-year-old child can handle an allowance. Encourage them to use it to make a purchase instead of you. If they want something more than their funds permit, explain why that’s not possible.If your child is desperate for a costlier video game or a gadget, agree on a long-term saving goal and start a fund in a clear jar labeled ‘Savings’. Children can contribute from their allowance and you can choose to chip in, too.
4. Make it a Game
Good old board games such as Monopoly and Life can highlight the basics of savings, earnings, ownership of items and losses. Online games, such as Fat Cat and Money & Stuff, can be engaging and fun for younger kids.
5. Keep Conversations Age Appropriate
Adults should be forthcoming about money, but without oversharing. Burdening a young child with details of a mortgage may be a little too much. Keep it age appropriate. And even if you and your spouse feel differently about money matters, when it comes to discussions with the kids, it may be better to present a united front.
Sure, you can keep telling your kids that “money doesn’t grow on trees.” But to make it real for them, try to make finances part of your family interactions. A solid grounding in the basics early on can help ensure that they grow up to be financially healthy and responsible adults.
An alternative source of income can mean extra money in your pockets — but it’s also a great way to nurture your hobbies and meet new people. If you’re looking for a creative outlet that can help supplement your work income, try one of these ideas:
1. Give private tutoring lessons
One of the great things about being Lebanese is that we speak more than one language – so why not teach one? If languages are not your strong suit, you can always teach other subjects such as physics or math. This can be a great source of flexible extra income. You can give lessons in one or two-hour increments and according to your own schedule.You can even teach online via Skype as well.
2. Start a side business
Whether you love painting or baking, let your friends, neighbors and coworkers know. You can make a name for yourself by showcasing what you do at birthday parties, bridal or baby showers and office parties and events. Create a business name and some business cards, along with a website and social media pages to share images of what you do and the type of work you’re available for. Ask others to help spread the word and accept paid orders based on your availability.
3. Share Your Expertise Online
Are you a trained singer or dancer, a passionate artist or fitness expert? Try showcasing your talents on YouTube. To build a following on YouTube, you’ll need a personal or business channel, where you can upload videos, respond to comments and create playlists. If videos are not your thing, try creating eBooks or online courses and sell them through your website or third-party platforms like Amazon and the Apple iTunes store.
4. Become a freelance writer or designer
There are many freelancing opportunities available for writers and designers if you’re willing to take some time to look for them. Try creating a free profile on websites that connect clients to freelance work around the globe. With a little creativity and enterprise, you can earn a decent side income, apart from your day job.
Now that you have the extra cash, what will you do with it?
Got a specific goal in mind? Maybe a dream house to build one day?Or an education for your children abroad? Whatever your aspirations are, you can invest in them with the right savings plan. And if your dreams can’t wait, you can always be one step ahead with loans and credits insurance. To know more, contact us and one of our experts will get in touch with you to tailor a plan adapted to your needs.
The end of the year is packed with multicultural celebrations. It's a time for festivals, friendship, family gatherings – and plenty of food.A bulging waistline is something you might come to expect once January arrives, but a classic study of holiday weight gain showed that most people put on less weight than they imagine over the holiday season. The study found that the average person puts on 0.5kg (though this increases to 2kg for the overweight and obese). At a time of celebration, this holiday spread might seem okay when offset with all the fun you'll have, but the study also showed that this weight tends to stay, contributing significantly to creeping weight gain over the years.
Beat the Bulge Before it Begins
How can you avoid the bulge that's so common at this time of year? Small changes to holiday eating habits can make all the difference. Overeating has become a tradition at this time of year that leads to weight gain. But those extra pounds can be fended off by following some simple strategies.
1. Plan ahead
If you're going to a party in the evening, make sure your meals during the day are light and nutritious.
2. Sip wisely
Both alcoholic and soft drinks are loaded with calories. Have one serving of a celebratory drink and stick with water for the rest of the party to avoid drinking too many calories.
3. Set priorities
Instead of eating everything on the buffet, pick the foods you like the best, you don't usually eat, or the host's specialties. For example, pretzels are readily available throughout the year, while the dish from your secret family recipe is available only at this time of the year.
4. Bake healthier
Substitute calorie-laden foods for healthier versions.For instance, use unsweetened applesauce or mashed ripe bananas instead of butter for your recipes. Try cutting the amount of sugar listed in recipes in half, and use spices such as cinnamon, allspice, or nutmeg instead of salt to add flavor. You can also look for low-fat dairy versions to cut down on calories.
5. Distract yourself
If you're prone to nibbling, avoid standing close to the buffet.Socialize with friends at the other side of the room instead.
6. Make being active part of your holiday tradition
Have fun walking and talking with family and friends after a holiday meal and give gifts that encourage others to practice healthy habits such as workout DVDs, running shoes and reusable water bottles.
Get Back on Track after the Holidays
If your healthy eating plans do go awry and your clothes are fitting a bit tighter come January, try eating smaller portions every few hours to help balance out your macronutrients. It’s best to eat around 40% complex carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% good fats. Eat whole grains, but pair with a large portion of vegetables or salad. The trick is to avoid 'empty calorie' foods, such as crackers, biscuits, crisps, sweets, chocolate and white grains (bread, pasta and rice). These foods will not satiate you and will lead to you overeating. Instead, opt for nutrient-dense foods such as raw nuts/seeds, oats, avocados, lean meat, fish, eggs, brown rice, quinoa and green leafy vegetables.
We all know that healthy eating isn't the only way to curb a creeping waistline – exercise helps, too. But if you think you're safe to tuck into sugary, high fat foods because you run every day, think again. You cannot out-train a poor diet. Diet will amount to 80% of any results achieved. Here are some effective exercise suggestions that will work magic along a moderate and varied diet.
Try High Intensity Interval Training. If done correctly, it will help you burn the most fat in the least amount of time. For example, instead of going for a 60-minute incline walk on a treadmill, it would be of more benefit to do 6 to 10 30-second sprints. You'll be burning more calories and torching more of the stubborn body fat.
Another great way to help you torch fat. If you've ever tried to do a deadlift or a clean and press you'll understand the effort required to complete the movement. To then repeat this for 10 sets of 10 (or similar), you will find that weight-bearing exercises can be as good as cardio-based exercises to help shed extra weight.
Why are muscles good for weight loss?
Because they increase your metabolic rate. Muscle tissue requires more energy from the body, even at rest, which means you'll be burning calories even while you're sleeping – and what could be better than that?
Overall, start by adopting some new simple habits and remember that a consistent fitness routine can help you stay healthy and feel great.
If you ask everyone you know “What is cancer?” you’ll probably get a different answer from everyone. Cancer is actually a collection of diseases, so there’s no single disease called “cancer.”  Which is one reason that there are so many different impressions of the disease. Fear is another reason—a lot of people simply don’t like to talk about cancer.
But awareness is one of your strongest defenses.
Let’s start with a fairly basic definition of cancer. Most cancers share this characteristic: cancer starts as normal cells that begin to act in abnormal ways.
One of these abnormalities is that cancer cells don’t die like normal cells do.1 Either they don’t get (or they ignore) the message that tells them to die.1 (Cell death is a natural process by which the body gets rid of unneeded cells).1 Instead, cancer cells continue replicating themselves—one cell divides and becomes two.1 Those two cells divide again and divide again.1
And so the cancer grows. Here are some other things to know about how cancer behaves:1
Not all changes in the body’s tissue are cancer. Not all cancers are characterized by hard masses or tumors. And not all tumors are malignant. We’re focusing on three cancers which can be detected early with health education, awareness, and/or screening. The three cancers are: breast, skin, and colon cancer.
Researchers have learned an incredible amount about how cancer behaves. But there’s still so much that the medical community doesn’t know: causes we don’t understand; cures we don’t yet have. But what we do know can save your life.
This information is intended to provide general guidance on health and wellness matters and is not medical advice. MetLife is not responsible for the accuracy of this information, which may not apply to your particular circumstances, so you rely on it at your own risk. You should always consult a licensed health care professional for the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and before starting or changing your health regimen, including seeking advice regarding what drugs, diet, exercise routines, physical activities or procedures are appropriate for your particular condition and circumstances.
Like many other cancers, you may have risk factors that are beyond the control of lifestyle changes. For example, if you have a family history of breast cancer or there is a strong indication that you may have inherited mutated BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, you may be at high risk for getting breast cancer.
The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are actually good genes in your body that produce proteins that help stabilize your cell’s genetic material.1 If either of these genes mutate, however, you may actually be at greater risk for breast cancer.1 These mutations are relatively rare, so discuss this risk factor with your healthcare provider before requesting mutation testing.1
The following are recommendations on lifestyle changes that can lower your risk of breast cancer:
Let’s talk a little more about the role of exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. Women need the hormone known as estrogen. Our bodies produce it naturally, but estrogen can stimulate cell overgrowth and result in a type of breast cancer associated with estrogen production.3
Before menopause, your ovaries produce most of your estrogen.3 After menopause, most of your estrogen comes from fat tissue.3 So keeping your body fat content down (with a combination of healthy eating and exercise) reduces the production of estrogen.3
When you exercise, you also improve the radio of “good” estrogen to “bad” estrogen by about 25%.3
The American Cancer Society recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly—or 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. If this sounds familiar, it’s because this consistency and intensity is also recommended for preventing or managing other diseases, like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Your own vigilance is the best defense against cancer. This entails three things:
We’ve discussed lifestyle changes in other materials. Here we’ll discuss what to look for in the cancers we’ve been discussing. In particular, we want to talk frankly about mammograms for breast cancer screening.
Breast cancer symptoms and screening
Some people don’t have any signs or symptoms of breast cancer. There are breast changes that can indicate cancer, but they may not be cancer related. If you have any of the symptoms below, don’t guess — make an appointment with your healthcare provider.
Let’s talk about mammograms. You can’t prevent cancer with screening, but you may catch breast cancer early, when it’s easier to treat. Regular mammograms are the best tests doctors have to find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before you can feel a lump.
Find out what your healthcare provider recommends. Each woman’s situation is different, and your doctor may want you to have a mammogram earlier.
Another variance when it comes to breast cancer screening concerns genetic predisposition due to mutations of the BRCA genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genes normally function to suppress tumors. However, in relatively rare cases when these genes mutations are present, a woman’s risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer is greatly increased. The mutation is inherited —if a parent has the mutation, there is a 50% chance of a child inheriting the mutation.
A mammogram is like an x-ray machine. In order to get a good picture of breast tissue, the technician will use plates to flatten out the breast. The technician will take multiple pictures of each breast. You’ll only feel this pressure for a few seconds. The compression can certainly be uncomfortable, even painful. Try to remind yourself — for those few seconds — that any one of these images may detect cancer at the early stage of development.
You may also be shy about having a technician positioning your breasts. You should share this with the technician. Ask to cover up with a hospital gown when the technician is reviewing images. You only need to undress from the waist up, so wear slacks or a skirt if you would feel more comfortable.
One other suggestion: Try not to schedule your mammogram the week before or during your period. Your breasts may be more tender, which may make the mammogram more uncomfortable.
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