For many people, the coronavirus pandemic has led to considerable financial strain. And while you might be focused on balancing your current income and expenses, it’s still crucial that you plan for the future. So whether your retirement is a long way off or right around the corner, here’s what you should do to ensure financial security in your golden years.
Reflect on your objectives
There are several questions you need to ask yourself as you plan for your retirement. Do you want to downsize early or continue to live in your home? Do you want to travel often or take up particular hobbies? Do you have a plan to deal with potential health concerns or a loss of mobility? These are all factors that can help you determine how much you need to save for retirement.
Take concrete action
While it’s important to reflect on your retirement goals, you should also meet with a financial adviser to put these ideas on paper. A professional can help you evaluate your current financial situation and create a realistic savings and investment strategy to ensure you meet your retirement goals. Taking this step will allow you to enjoy your golden years free of financial strain.
It might seem stressful at first, but taking action to prepare for your retirement will give you peace of mind in the years to come.
Did you know?
You need an average of 60 to 80 percent of your pre-retirement annual income to continue to enjoy the same lifestyle throughout your golden years.
The advantages of zero-till farming
Zero-till farming has become increasingly popular over the past few years. Here are some of its main advantages.
It can save you time and money
Not tilling every year saves money in labor and fuel. It also reduces the amount of wear and tear on your equipment.
It promotes healthier soil
Zero-till farming leaves soil organisms that are essential for growth undisturbed, which helps the soil retain vital nutrients.
It causes less soil compaction
Tilling requires heavy equipment to repeatedly drive over the soil, causing it to compact. This can increase flooding and prevent roots from getting nutrients, water, and air. With zero-till farming, this isn’t an issue.
It reduces soil erosion
Zero-till farming involves leaving unharvested crops on the field at the end of the season instead of working them into the soil, which helps reduce soil erosion.
Though it takes at least three years to see the results of zero-till farming, its benefits shouldn’t be ignored.
Zero-till farming and herbicides
Tilling is often used as weed control. Therefore, zero-till farmers typically have to increase their use of herbicides to eliminate them.
Fall in love with trail running
Trail running can be demanding, but many people enjoy it. Here are a few reasons this activity is becoming increasingly popular.
On top of the usual benefits of running, trail running challenges your balance, coordination, and agility. Running up and down hills, along winding trails, and over uneven ground, forces you to adjust your pace and stride to suit the terrain. Not only is it more challenging, but the movements are less repetitive, reducing the risk of injury. In addition, the ground is softer than asphalt, which limits the impact on your joints.
Running over uneven terrain requires intense concentration. This increased focus helps you stay present instead of thinking about your worries and concerns. Plus, the benefits of spending time in nature and breathing in the fresh air are well known. For these reasons, running outdoors can help relieve stress and keep your mind sharp.
What’s more, the beautiful scenery helps you focus less on your performance and more on enjoying yourself. In particular, it encourages you to slow down and admire your surroundings. There’s nothing like reaching your destination and being rewarded with a stunning view and a sense of accomplishment.
Lastly, trail running is simply fun. It can be freeing to let yourself trample through dust, mud, and puddles. If you don’t mind getting a little dirty, head out and explore the trails in your area this summer.
Kids’ Corner: 5 birds that can’t fly
Did you know that many species of birds can’t fly? Instead, their bodies are adapted to activities like running or swimming. Here are some examples.
These aquatic birds are excellent swimmers. Even their bones have evolved to help them stay underwater rather than in the air. While nearly all penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere, you can find them in several places besides Antarctica.
These are the tallest and heaviest birds on the planet. They’re also fantastic runners. Thanks to their long, muscular legs and two-toed feet, ostriches can reach speeds of up to 44 miles per hour.
3. Steamer ducks
All four species of this seabird live at the very tip of South America, mostly in Argentina and Chile. Their name refers to the way they use their wings to move through the water, which resembles the wheel paddles of a steamboat.
These nocturnal birds from New Zealand are about the size of a chicken, but their wings are so small you can barely see them. Kiwis also don’t have tail feathers, but they do have whiskers like a cat.
These running birds are native to the tropical forests of New Guinea and northeastern Australia. Their feathers are black, but the skin on their neck can be bright blue, yellow, or red. They also have a large bony crest on top of their head.
While you certainly won’t spot any of these birds in your neighborhood, see if you can identify some species in your area on your next walk or bike ride.
Fly the flag: How well do you know Old Glory?
Every year on June 14, people across the country commemorate the adoption of the United States flag. But how well do you know your Stars and Stripes? Test your knowledge with this quiz.
1. In what year was a design for the national flag approved by the Second Continental Congress?
2. Which president signed into law an Act of Congress designating June 14 as Flag Day?
a) Harry Truman
b) Abraham Lincoln
c) Woodrow Wilson
d) John Hancock
3. How many versions of the United States flag have featured Stars and Stripes?
4. Which of these statements is NOT a United States Flag Code guideline?
a) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes
b) The flag should never be used as clothing, bedding or drapery
c) The flag should never touch the ground
d) The flag should never be flown at night or in bad weather
5. When was the 50th star added to the flag of the United States?
6. Which state was the first to make Flag Day a legal holiday?
c) New Hampshire
7. How many red and white stripes are on the American flag?
a) 7 red, 6 white
b) 6 red, 6 white
c) 6 red, 7 white
d) 7 red, 7 white
8. What does the United States Flag Code recommend you do with a worn-out flag that’s no longer usable?
a) Cut it up
b) Burn it
c) Recycle it
d) Bury it
No cheating. How did you do?
Answers: 1-b, 2-a, 3-c, 4-d, 5-c, 6-d, 7-a, 8-b
4 ways to liven up your backyard
Do you want to upgrade your backyard this summer? If so, here are a few ideas that may inspire you to transform your outdoor space into a family-friendly oasis.
1. Install a play structure
Purchase and install a play structure for your kids to climb, swing, and slide on. If you’re a skilled DIYer, you can also build your own tire or rope swing. Just make sure everything’s safe.
2. Put in a swimming pool
Both in-ground and above-ground pools are great for the whole family. They provide hours of fun for the kids, and adults can enjoy a refreshing dip or workout.
3. Build a treehouse
It doesn’t need to be big or elaborate for your kids to enjoy having their own treehouse. Just make sure it’s safe, stable, and weatherproof.
4. Create an outdoor theater
All you need is a TV or a projector and a large sheet to have a movie night under the stars. If you have a large backyard, you can add a few speakers to improve the sound quality. You can also layout cushions and blankets to create a cozy atmosphere.
To find the materials you need for your backyard project, visit the stores in your area.
Why vertical farming is becoming more popular
Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops indoors in vertically stacked layers. Often, they’re housed in tall glass buildings where the temperature, humidity, and light conditions can be controlled. Here are a few reasons why vertical farming is gaining popularity.
• It uses less space. Vertical farms can fit inside virtually any size building, thus requiring 98 percent less land. Consequently, vertical farms can feed more people because they can grow more food per square foot than a traditional farm.
• It uses less water. Vertical farms use 95 percent less water than conventional, soil-based growing methods. This is because the water is recycled and can be easily controlled and regulated.
• It uses fewer chemicals. Since vertical farming crops are grown in controlled indoor environments, there are virtually no pests. This means that vertical farms can easily grow organic, pesticide, and herbicide-free crops.
• It produces higher yields. With vertical farming, seasons don’t matter. Since harvests are not climate-related, many crops can be harvested multiple times per year. In addition, being able to create the optimal growing environment leads to increased yields and crop quality.
Vertical farming maximizes the use of natural resources and has the potential to help address food insecurity, save resources and prevent deforestation.