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It often seems as if summer lasts from Easter to Halloween. But we typically see the hottest of the hot days (the “dog days” of summer) in late July and August. And this raises some concern for keeping safe and cool. Seniors may be at higher risk of heat-related maladies as they are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. Additionally, as we grow older, our bodies become less efficient at regulating body temperature. Certain health conditions and medications can also make it more difficult for the body to regulate its temperature or to perspire.

Fortunately, there are several things we can do to stay safe and cool, even in the midst of summer’s hottest days.

Stay Hydrated

For many our sensitivity to heat dulls as we age, so does our awareness of thirst. This, along with our body’s ability to conserve water as we grow older, put seniors at greater risk of dehydration.

Summer heat adds to the risk, because on hot days, the body loses water more quickly. Here are some tips to staying hydrated this summer.

If you are on a fluid-restricted diet, consult your physician about how to get the fluids you need during the hot summer months.

Other Tips to Beat the Heat

Here are some other ways to beat the heat this summer:

Enjoy your summer!

With a little diligence and preparation, we should be able to enjoy these dog days of summer safely.

As summer heats up, it pays to take a good look at how flexible you are. When you plan for the future, you need to be adaptable. No one knows what tomorrow holds.

This is certainly true in the world of work. To some, labor merely is about a job or the lack thereof. For others, the concept of labor transcends a job. It’s about a career, economic stability for self and family, satisfaction, fulfillment, success, and a sense of mission – a calling. Consider a young person attempting to think about a future of work that may span 50 to 60 years or more. How does one grasp a fast-changing world to formulate a job or career strategy, and an investment strategy to accumulate capital needed to fund their secure future?

Don’t Be Left Behind

Have you ever participated in one of those “future think” company planning sessions? You know, the one that asks where you want the company to be 5, 10 and 15 years hence?

Recent years have taught us that the marketplace in five years could be totally different from what we’re experiencing today. If businesses do not change the plan as they go along, they could be left behind, becoming obsolete and less profitable.

Flexibility counts. Anticipating change counts, with Plan B or even C at the ready. A plan, whether a career plan, a financial plan or a life transitions plan is a road map. Every road is subject to disruption, detours, potential dead ends and rabbit trails.

Yes, you want a concept of where you will be in one, five, 10 years and beyond. But any plan must be dynamic, fluid and adaptable. You cannot set it and forget it.

The Market Isn’t Static

Every money manager has a turnover ratio, on average selling a certain percentage of stocks every year. Stock buys may disappoint and underperform. Other stocks may reach a targeted sell point and be sold in favor of a better bargain.

Asset classes may underperform or outperform in the short run and then change direction. Assumptions may appear wrong near term and turn out to be sound in the long run. Diversification is important, as crystal balls are fallible.

Review Your “What If” Plan

Everyone, whether a breadwinner, a stay-at-home parent, a retiree or an investor, should have a contingency plan to deal with personal setbacks, career reverses and market disruptions because stuff happens. Change is the only constant. Well, death and taxes, also. Have you reviewed your “what if?” plans lately?

Have you reviewed next year’s tax strategy? Already we hear of end-of-year Christmas and holiday promotions. Have you started planning for next year?

May your summer be flexible.

Amid the draining heat of mid-summer, do you remember your New Year’s resolutions regarding your personal financial planning? How are you coming with your to-do list?

Time passes. Our children grow up and we get older. Sand keeps passing through the hourglass of our earthly sojourn. The year is over half gone. Soon children will start back to school and traffic will worsen. The summer break for most will be over. So, it’s high time to get done what you need to get done.

As a financial planner, it’s amazing to see the number of people with no wills or obsolete wills. Such a lapse in planning is especially critical in a marriage with minor children in the mix. An old will is better than no will, but it carries potential problems for minors, especially if both parents die at once, or a single parent passes on.

Often the bulk of a couple’s savings, or that of a single parent, resides in retirement plans. There too, money passing to a minor presents problems. Have you checked both the primary and contingent beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, and personal and group insurance policies?

For those with young children, have you funded a 529 college savings plan? Anyone, a parent or a grandparent, annually may gift to such a college plan. Gifts are made with after-tax dollars but the money grows tax-free and may be spent tax-free to meet qualified college and graduate school expenses.

How are you coming with plans to pay down debt and build savings outside of your retirement plans? Think about creating Your Personal Freedom Fund – a pool of liquid capital equal to at least one-year’s worth of living expenses. Living paycheck to paycheck is motivation-draining stress. Liquid and available capital creates peace of mind and freedom to roll with the punches or pursue opportunities.

If you are a key breadwinner in a family or household, are you adequately insured against the consequences of disability or death? The same question goes for key persons of an enterprise, including business owners. Is there a succession plan? Is it up to date?

August is almost upon us. In less than three short months, Christmas and holiday decorations will pop up in your local mall.

And if you haven’t made progress on your New Year’s Resolutions, don’t worry – you still have time.

You might love to travel because of the opportunities for new experiences and adventures. The following year-round travel tips may prove helpful to get more mileage out of your travel dollars when you’re ready to get away.

Check Out Travel Consolidators

A consolidator is the “bargain basement” of the travel industry. It is a company that buys unsold airline tickets at low prices and sells them to travelers at a lower cost than the airline, often up to 20-50% off standard fares. Some consolidators sell directly to travelers but most work through a network of sub-agents who garner business through classified ads in the travel section of newspapers or on the Internet.

Because a ticket purchased from a consolidator is usually nonrefundable—or subject to substantial penalties if you make a change—you need to use great care in using a consolidator. Before you do business with a consolidator, check it out with the local Better Business Bureau or American Society of Travel Agents.

Familiarize yourself with airline fares to your destination so you’ll know a good deal when you see one. Some tickets may not be much cheaper than what you might pay to an airline if you buy your tickets 21 days in advance and stay over on a Saturday night.

Compare the total cost against the airline’s cost. A consolidator’s price may not include charges for overnight delivery or taxes, and some may impose a fee if you use a credit card.

Pay attention to which airline the consolidator is offering. It may not be offering an airline that is well-known or one on which you feel comfortable traveling. Three final tips are: 1)charge it—if there’s trouble your credit card company may provide further assistance; 2) after you buy the ticket, confirm your seat with the airline itself—it should have your reservation on record; 3) the “safest” way to buy from a consolidator may be through your travel agent.

Choose Your Schedule Wisely

If you are able to travel between mid-September and December 15th, you may find some really good deals such as a cruise to almost anywhere and, if you’re flexible, you could save or even receive an upgrade. Traveling to gulf coast Florida in the off-season could also save you money—many people flock to Florida in the winter, but the fall season also offers sunshine, temperatures in the 70s, and cheaper hotel rates. Off-season (mid-April to mid-December) rates for the Caribbean, Mexico, and Florida are often significantly lower than in-season rates.

Be Flexible

By keeping an open mind on places to visit and checking with your travel agent, you may get a great deal. Also consider night flights, package tours, and bed-and-breakfasts as other possible cost-saving options.

Search For Savings

Travel on Tuesday or Wednesday and stay over Saturday night. When renting a car, rent by the week and get the cheapest daily rate (be sure you get unlimited mileage, particularly for long trips). For a good hotel price, call the hotel chain’s toll-free number (or go online) and ask about their discounts, then double check directly with the hotel itself.

As with any purchase you make, take time to do some comparison shopping and learn what money-saving options are available to you. Being an educated consumer means you may get more mileage out of your travel dollars.

Why do so many of us not use our vacation days?  Salespeople talk about “leaving money on the table.”  Well, employees often leave vacation on the table.

When we discuss investing, we talk about putting money aside in order to make a profit.  We discuss putting money into stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and so forth.  People also discuss investing in your career, like investing in an education or in a certification.  Maybe we should talk about another investment that could pay dividends in your career, which is, of course, the place where you make your money.  Is investing in vacation a good idea or just hokey, happy idea?

Reasons People Skip Vacations

Why do employees avoid vacation?  There are several reasons people give for missing out on vacation days:

These reasons are largely self-imposed.  Most managers understand the benefits of vacation to their employees, not only for employee morale but also for his or her performance on the job.  They recognize the benefits of taking time off from work because their employees will be more productive, have better workplace morale, and are more likely to stay. 

Benefits

What are the benefits of taking a vacation?  There are, of course, personal benefits to going on vacation or taking a “staycation,” where you stay at home during your time off.  You can enjoy your life more and become closer to your partner, your kids, and your friends.  You may become physically healthier, too.

However, taking time off can provide substantial benefits for you in your job or career.  To summarize, taking vacations can:

Of course, things that help you at work also help your company.  Many employers know this, from their experience with other workers and managers who take vacations and then perform better.  So, vacations are not only beneficial to you, but they also benefit your company.

Conclusion

Using your vacation time, and using it wisely, helps you to become a better employee, which can only help your company.  And most managers understand this.  Being a better employee will result, naturally, in a higher salary or a better job. 

Investing in vacation, therefore, is both an investment in your own well-being and in your career and salary.  Remember to invest in your vacation, just as you invest in your retirement, your education, or your house.

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Investment advice offered through Integrated Partners, doing business as Strong Valley Wealth & Pension, a registered investment advisor. The information on this website has not been approved or verified by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission or by any state securities authority. Registration as an Investment Adviser does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Strong Valley Wealth & Pension, LLC offers some securities through M.S. Howells & Co. Member FINRA/SIPC. M.S. Howells & Co. is not affiliated with Strong Valley Wealth & Pension.
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