The 5 Best Home Upgrades for Retirees

mature couple dancing in kitchen

mature couple dancing in kitchen
Africa Studio /

More than three-quarters of Americans age 50 or older want to retire in their current community, preferably in their current home, according to a recent AARP survey.

Staying could require homeowners to make some changes to maintain their quality of life, but many already are planning for that, too.

“Most adults age 18 and older (63 percent) own their own homes, but about one-third expect their homes to need major modifications to accommodate aging needs,” AARP finds.

Following are some practical upgrades to consider if you’re planning on aging in place.

9 Book Recommendations From Billionaires Like Warren Buffett


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Summer’s the season we dream of all year — surely, this impending time of year will allow us to somehow wring out more time to read.

Whether it’s a frothy paperback smudged with Coppertone and savored on a sandy beach or an electronic thriller that soothes your nerves through turbulence at 33,000 feet, summertime is reading time.

Not sure how to begin compiling your summer reading list? Following is a list of book recommendations from some famous faces of financial success.

Warren Buffett

If you’re interested in books that help explain how billionaires become billionaires, you might look to Warren Buffett. The billionaire investor extraordinaire and Berkshire Hathaway chairman spends about 80 percent of his day reading, according to Inc.

Three titles that influenced Buffett:

  1. “One Thousand Ways to Make $1,000”: Buffett came under the spell of books early. An HBO documentary about his life reveals that 7-year-old Warren came across this 1936 book edited by F.C. Minaker and began putting the author’s ideas into practice selling things like gum, newspapers and Coca-Cola.
  2. “The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing”: At 19, Buffett came across this Benjamin Graham book, which he says kick-started him on the road to the life of investing that’s paid off so richly. Buffett has called it “by far the best book about investing ever written.”
  3. “Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street”: In the early 1990s, fellow billionaire Bill Gates asked Buffett for his favorite business book, and the Oracle of Omaha sent the Microsoft co-founder his personal copy of this collection of articles by John Brooks. Gates, too, has called it the best business book he’s ever read.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey
Krista Kennell /

Talk-show-host legend Oprah Winfrey’s on-show book club made many a book a best-seller, and many a lucky author rich. After the show ended, Winfrey couldn’t stay away from reading recommendations, launching Oprah’s Book Club 2.0.

Three titles that have made Oprah’s list:

  1. “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail”: Cheryl Strayed’s memoir helped kick off a resurgence of interest in hiking America’s Pacific Crest Trail (and a film starring Reese Witherspoon). Strayed’s divorce, the death of her mother and her own drug issues had thrown her life off track, but the challenging and dangerous hike brought her back in tune with herself.
  2. “The Underground Railroad: A Novel”: Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning novel turns America’s famed network of secret escape routes for slaves into a real, physical railroad, with conductors and stations.
  3. “Behold the Dreamers: A Novel”: Imbolo Mbue’s debut novel tells the story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the recession hits. “It’s got everything that’s grabbing the headlines in America right now,” Winfrey said of the book in 2017. “It’s about race and class, the economy, culture, immigration and the danger of the us-versus-them mentality.”

Bill Gates

JStone /

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has been publishing summer book lists — and other book lists — for years. But don’t worry, Gates’ lists aren’t full of clunky textbooks required for a computer-science degree. He’s chosen some mainstream and thought-provoking reads.

Here are three memoirs Gates has recommended:

  1. “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood”: Are you a fan of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”? Gates loved this memoir by the show’s host, Trevor Noah. He was born in apartheid-era South Africa, where his existence was a crime, because his white father and black mother weren’t legally allowed to have a mixed-race relationship.
  2. “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis”: Gates’ privileged childhood was light years away from the world of author J.D. Vance, whose best-seller takes a provocative look at the struggles of America’s white working class.
  3. “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety”: This Jimmy Carter memoir offers a richly detailed sweep through the former president’s full and happy life. “The book will help you understand how growing up in rural Georgia in a house without running water, electricity or insulation shaped — for better and for worse — his time in the White House,” Gates writes.

What inspirational — or fun — books do you have on your reading list this year? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

9 Types of Insurance That Might Be a Waste of Money


At its best, insurance helps protect against events that could send your finances into a death spiral. Crucial products include insurance against serious car crashes, the loss of or damage to a home, and the loss of income due to death or disability.

Other products? Many offer little value, or they’re filled with exclusions and caveats. Following are some potentially dumb insurance buys:

1. Identity theft insurance

Federal law limits your liability from credit card fraud. So, even if a thief uses your credit card, you’re off the hook if you report the theft promptly. According to the Federal Trade Commission:

Under federal law, the amount you have to pay for unauthorized use of your credit card is limited to $50. If you report the loss to the credit card company before your credit card is used by a thief, you aren’t responsible for any unauthorized charges.

Most card companies go a step further and offer $0 fraud liability.

Report a debit card missing within two business days after you realize it’s gone, and you are liable for no more than $50 in stolen money. Wait longer to report, and you could be responsible for up to $500 — or might even face unlimited liability, the FTC says.

Repairing your credit and damage to your identity can be time-consuming and costly. But the National Association of Insurance Commissioners says identity theft insurance only offers so much protection:

Identity theft insurance cannot protect you from becoming a victim of identity theft and does not cover direct monetary losses incurred as result of identity theft. Rather, this coverage pays for expenses related to reclaiming your financial identity, such as lost wages, attorney fees and documentation reporting.

Alternative: Protect yourself before you’re hit. Monitor your bank and credit accounts regularly. Get three free annual credit reports. If you think your identity has been compromised, place a 90-day fraud alert on your credit file. Finally, weigh the pros and cons of freezing your credit.

2. Travel insurance

Woman with arm in cast at airport

Woman with arm in cast at airport
Anothai Thiansawang /

Travel insurance can be confusing. There’s protection against canceled trips, interrupted trips, medical expenses and many other risks. Policies vary in quality and in coverage. Some cover many eventualities. Others insure against a single risk, like a medical evacuation.

Travel insurance can be a waste of money when if your policy is riddled with exclusions, or you choose a policy that doesn’t cover the risks you are likely to encounter.

However, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson notes that there are situations where travel insurance makes sense. To find out more, check out Ask Stacy: Should I Buy Travel Insurance?

Alternatives: You may already be covered for some of these situations through your homeowners, life, auto or health insurance. Credit cards also may offer some forms of travel insurance, such as for lost luggage, theft and life coverage.

3. Dental insurance /

If you have dental insurance through work, you’re golden. If you have to buy your own policy, however, don’t buy it thinking you’ll collect thousands of dollars’ worth of implants or other complex treatments. Your policy might just pay 50% for oral surgery and restorative care. It may not cover cosmetic dentistry at all.

Alternatives: A discount dental plan can get you discounts ranging from 10% to 60% on all of your dental visits and procedures. Other options for cheaper dental care include charitable clinics and dental schools.

4. Children’s life insurance

Child holding adult hand.

Child holding adult hand.
KonstantinChristian /

Adults buy life insurance coverage for themselves to provide for their families in case they die. Arguments in favor of taking out life insurance on children include locking in insurance for them at a young age in case it becomes impossible or too expensive to insure them later because of illness or playing high-risk sports. Some advocate coverage for possible funeral expenses.

But unless the family depends on the child’s income, there’s no need to insure his or her life.

Alternatives: Save for the child’s education or open an investment account for him or her. If necessary, you could use those funds to pay for death expenses without giving a penny to insurers.

5 Tricks to Get Discounts on Everything You Buy in Stores

online coupons save money

There is rarely any reason to pay full retail price for anything you buy in a store. With the rise of online shopping — which allows for instant price comparison — brick-and-mortar establishments must go the extra mile to earn your business.

To score bargains, you simply need the tools to pay less for what you want. Read on to fill your tool kit:

1. Learn to negotiate

Negotiating over the cost of eye glasses.

Negotiating over the cost of eye glasses.
Kzenon /

Most people are uncomfortable haggling. Instead, we’re used to opening our wallets and saying, “Here you go.”

But it is often worth trying to bargain. The savings can be substantial.

In “10 Tips for Negotiating a Better Price on Anything,” Money Talks News offers 10 tips for haggling, including:

  • Do your homework to know what the price should be.
  • Make sure you are asking the right person for the discount.
  • Pay with cash instead of plastic.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk away.

Just remember, the first price isn’t always the final price, and there is no harm in asking for a better deal.

2. Use online tools to get brick-and-mortar discounts

Hands holding a cellphone with a digital coupon showing.

Hands holding a cellphone with a digital coupon showing.
wavebreakmedia /

Look for websites that offer coupons or coupon codes. Popular sites include, RetailMeNot and Coupon Craze. For deals on eating out and entertainment, check out, Groupon or (in most parts of the country) LivingSocial.

Follow companies you like on Twitter and like them on Facebook. Many offer special discounts and advance notice on upcoming deals at their stores through social media. Another way to get coupons and discount codes is by signing up for company email lists.

You can also let an online price-tracker do your legwork. These tools allow you to enter products that you may want to purchase, and they alert you — by email or other means — when the price drops at any of the stores they track.

3. Use a discounted gift card you bought online

Woman at store, holding a card.

Woman at store, holding a card.
Elena Kharichkina /

Discounted gift cards come from people who have a card from a retailer and sell it for less than its face value in order to get cash. So, for example, you may be able to buy someone’s unwanted $50 Eddie Bauer gift card for $40.

If you go this route, beware of scams. Only buy from reputable websites. Raise is one of the more popular and well-respected sites for buying gift cards.

4. To save on groceries, shop on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday

Woman and child in grocery store.

Woman and child in grocery store.
wavebreakmedia /

On Wednesdays, many grocers begin store sales that last for a week. On Sundays, big supermarkets often release coupon pamphlets.

So, a grocery shopper’s “sweet spot” is Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, when shoppers can take advantage of both kinds of discounts.

5. Buy in bulk when an item is on sale

Person walking past stacks of toilet paper.

Person walking past stacks of toilet paper.
Paolo Bona /

Whether it’s toothbrushes or nonperishable food items, consider buying in bulk. Keep a price list of groceries and sundries that your family buys on a regular basis to help you decide when something is a great deal.

Make sure that you have enough space to store your purchases and that the items are not perishable.

Have more ideas for saving at stores? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Meditation: An opioid alternative


In light of the opioid crisis, doctors are searching for alternatives to help patients in chronic pain. Physical therapy, numbing creams, different drugs – these are all common alternatives.

But here’s a new one: meditation.

There’s science to meditation. Pain creates a stress response in the body that can cause anxiety, causing a bigger stress response and more anxiety.

“It’s this vicious circle which can be slowed down by narcotics or by other mindfulness techniques,” Marco said.

And while opioids flood the brain with dopamine, studies show that meditation can increase dopamine naturally.

Marco recommends a couple apps to his patients: Back Doctor and Stop, Breathe and Think. You can find both of those for free in the App Store. The exercises trigger the body to make endorphins.

Read entire article here.

Optimal Way to Structure Your Day

best work schedule

The eight-hour workday is outdated and ineffective. To be more productive, you have to find a new way of working.

A recent study tracked employees’ work habits. They found that the length of the workday didn’t matter as much as how people structured their day. People who regularly took short breaks were much more productive than those who worked longer hours.

The best ratio was 52 minutes of work followed by a 17 minute break. This schedule is more in sync with our body and brain. Our brain naturally works in bursts of high energy (about an hour) followed by times of low energy (15–20 minutes).

Once you align your schedule with your natural flow, expect your productivity and attitude to improve.

Here are 4 tips that should help:

  • Break up your day into hourly intervals.
  • Stop after an hour.
  • Don’t skip a real break.
  • Don’t wait until you’re tired to take a break.

See the original article here.

Girl fakes chickenpox to miss test – backfires after she uses permanent marker – Fox News

A 6-year-old’s attempt at faking sick to miss school has left her “red-in-the-face” after the marker she used to cover herself in phony chickenpox turned out to be permanent. Lily Schooley, who was allegedly dreading an upcoming spelling test, had reportedly seen a similar stunt pulled on YouTube.

The Cornwall student reportedly asked to borrow a marker to do her homework before appearing 10 minutes later with what she described as an “itchy rash,” according to the

When Lily’s mom, Charlotte, said she’d have to go to the doctor, she reportedly headed back upstairs to rub the rash off — and that’s where she ran into trouble.

Charlotte Schooley told the news outlet that Lily had come down with chicken pox before, and had several classmates out with the illness so she figured she had a believable plan.

“She was deadly serious about it until we said ‘Oh gosh, it’s come on so quickly in 10 minutes. We’re going to have to see the doctor,” she told the “She quickly disappeared and we went upstairs to find her trying to rub them off with a flannel.”

Her parents say she got the idea from a YouTube clip, and figured since several of her classmates were out sick her case would be believable.
(Kennedy News and Media)

Her parents’ attempts to remove the fake pox were also futile, and Lily quickly went from feeling “ill” to feeling embarrassed.

“She said ‘I can’t go to school mummy because everyone will laugh,’” Charlotte Schooley told the news outlet.

But they sent her to school the next day with a letter explaining that Lily wasn’t contagious. Lily’s “chicken pox” were finally resolved four days later with the help of hairspray, the outlet reported.

“The house is always full of laughter with Lily,” Charlotte said. “She is very witty.”

Disturbing scans reveal brain damage from alcohol lasts up to SIX WEEKS – Daily Mail

Disturbing scans reveal how brain damage caused by alcohol carries on for up to SIX WEEKS after you stop drinking

  • Experts in Germany and Spain scanned the brains of alcoholics and non-drinkers
  • They found there was less activity in the drinkers’ brains even weeks later
  • Areas of the brain controlling emotions, behaviour and memory were affected 

The headaches, feeling sick and tiredness caused by a hangover usually go away the next day.

But your brain may still be feeling the effects of boozing for six weeks after, a study has found.

Scientists used brain scans of alcoholics to find the white matter – parts of the brain containing nerves – continues changing after more than a month of being sober.

Scans done by the researchers in Spain and Germany revealed there is significantly less electrical activity (shown by the blue lines) in the brain of an alcoholic after two weeks of sobriety (left) than in the brain of a teetotaller (right)

Scans done by the researchers in Spain and Germany revealed there is significantly less electrical activity (shown by the blue lines) in the brain of an alcoholic after two weeks of sobriety (left) than in the brain of a teetotaller (right)

Researchers at the Spanish Institute of Neuroscience and the Central Institute of Mental Health in Germany scanned the brains of 90 alcoholic men.

The patients had ended up in hospital because of their drinking problems, and the scans were compared with 36 men who didn’t have addictions.

And while it was known that drinking alcohol changes how nerves communicate in the brain, the experts realised the changes continue when drinking stops.

Although drinking can make people feel happier and more sociable, overuse can cause damage parts of the brain controlling thoughts and movement.

Scans showed there is significantly less electrical activity in the brains of drinkers than of teetotallers – even after two weeks of sobriety.

The changes were still present in the brain after six weeks of no alcohol, according to the research published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. 

The researchers said their findings go against the conventional idea that damage from alcohol stops when the drinking ends.

Dr Santiago Canals, one of the study authors, said: ‘Until now, nobody could believe that in the absence of alcohol the damage in the brain would progress.’

The two areas worst affected, the scans showed, were the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex.

Memories, emotions, decision-making and behaviour are controlled by these parts of the organ, suggesting these characteristics could be particularly altered.  

‘We found that at two and six weeks of abstinence, the microstructural changes progressed,’ the scientists wrote in their report.

They said the travel of the nerve signals continued to be restricted in the brain.

And they added: ‘These results challenge the conventional idea that the microstructural alterations start to revert to [normal] immediately after discontinuing alcohol consumption.’


Alcohol damages the brain more than cannabis, research suggested in February 2017.

Unlike booze, marijuana does not affect the size or integrity of white or grey matter in the brain, even after years of exposure, a study found.

Grey matter enables the brain to function, while white controls communication between nerve clusters.

Study author Professor Kent Hutchison, from the University of Colorado Boulder, said: ‘While marijuana may also have some negative consequences, it definitely is nowhere near the negative consequences of alcohol.’

The scientists add, however, research into cannabis’ mental effects are still very limited.

Lead author Rachel Thayer said: ‘Particularly with marijuana use, there is still so much that we don’t know about how it impacts the brain.’

In the US, 44 percent of those aged 12 or over have used cannabis at some point in their lives.

Although their findings appear positive, the researchers also add there is a long way to go before cannabis will likely be broadly legalised.

Many are still concerned as to how the class-C drug affects people of different ages, manages pain and causes addiction.

9 Tips For Acing That Job Interview

job interview

So you’ve passed the initial application stage and have secured an interview for a role you really want. Congratulations! But the hard part isn’t over yet. You still need to ace the interview. And there’s a lot to consider when it comes to job interviews, from wondering what questions will be asked to figuring out what to wear. Plus, it’s as much about using it as an opportunity to find out if they’re a good fit for you, as well as you being a good fit for them.

It’s easy to feel nervous or overwhelmed, but an interview doesn’t have to be a big, scary obstacle between you and your dream job. If you’re prepared, motivated, and confident, you’re already several steps closer to success. Here are some simple tips that will help alleviate your nerves, empower you as a professional, and make your interview a triumph.

  1. Do your research. Learn as much as you can about the company you’ll be working for, what your role will entail, and who will be interviewing you. You’ll feel much more confident after building a strong foundation of knowledge and won’t be thrown off if you’re questioned on your understanding of the company.
  2. Look back over your application. That’s what helped secure you an interview after all. The interviewer might draw questions from or refer back to your application, so refresh your memory and identify ways you could elaborate on what you had initially submitted.
  3. Practice questions and answers. There are a range of ways you might do this: you might want to comb through common questions or you might prefer role-playing the interview process with a trusted friend or family member. Either way, anticipate what you might be asked and have strong answers prepared.
  4. Practice the route. It’s not just important to plan what you’re going to say at your interview, you need to know how you’re going to get there! Whether you’re driving, cycling, or traveling by public transport, going on a dummy run will help you plan the logistics of your journey and ensure you won’t get lost. On the day itself, you can concentrate only on the task at hand and not worry about the route.
  5. Prepare your outfit. Yes, you want to wear something appropriate, but it’s not just about what the clothes look like, it’s how they make you feel. Choose an outfit that shows your personality in an appropriate way and makes you feel confident.
  6. Think positively. Practical preparations are important, but you also need to adopt a positive mindset. Meditation, positive playlists, and even visualization exercises can help you envision success. According to a study by The Journal of Consulting Psychology, visualization exercises make a big difference to a candidate’s success, as 66 percent of the subjects who adopted these techniques were employed within two months. Choose a method that will aid your positive thinking and turn your hopes of success into a reality.
  7. Check your body language. From a smile to good posture, open body language communicates that you’re approachable, confident, and capable of doing the job at hand. Make sure you practice techniques before your interview so that any positive habits you adopt feel natural in your body.
  8. Make healthy lifestyle choices. If you want to perform well at your interview, it’s important that you take care of yourself. Eat healthy and nutritious foods and get some rest. That way, on the day of your interview, you’ll feel fresh and energized instead of slow and sluggish.
  9. Warm up. On the day of the interview, make sure that you aren’t going in cold. Stretch, go for a run, meditate — just channel your nerves physically. Even practice speaking aloud to warm up your voice so that when you greet the interviewer, you’ll already sound calm and confident.