The Benefits of Green Tea and Honey

Green tea has been used as a health tonic throughout Asia for centuries. Prepared as a beverage, it was adopted into Western culture from Asia once the many health benefits were realized. Additionally, honey contains potent health-aiding antioxidants and chemicals on it’s own accord; and provides a much healthier alternative to traditional sweeteners such as processed sugars. Combined together, the two provide a strong health elixir; promoting good health and vitality.

It tastes better with honey

Not everyone enjoys the taste of nature’s wonder plant. It can be a little bitter to some, especially if it is left to brew for too long (I’ve been guilty of this a few times). One way to make it more palatable, is to stir in a few drops of honey. Part from contributing to the overall health benefits of the tea, it will also make it easier to drink; effectively making you more likely to drink more. this is a good thing!!

Together, they provide one of the best combinations for fighting off the common cold.

Imagine breathing in the steam rising off a freshly brewed cup of green tea; experience the relaxing fragrance, and feel your nasal passages open up and your stuffy nose clear.

Your symptoms and worries literally float away.

Then, as the honey gently soothes your throat, the caffeine and sugar ease your symptoms and give you a boost of energy; reducing lethargy. Lastly, the antioxidants and catechins in this cold-killer prevent further colds with its immune boosting powers.

The advantages of this combination is not just fighting off colds. Both have significant health benefits further to this.

You and me, and tea and honey, so much ‘Better together’

Green tea and honey complement each other’s health benefits perfectly. When consumed separately, they have remarkable health benefits. But when their powers are combined, these health benefits are compounded.

Honey consumption alleviates allergies, boosts memory, suppresses coughs, and aids sleep. Some of green teas health benefits include improving memory and staving off degenerative brain disease; anti inflammatory and anti-cancer properties; protecting against cardiovascular disease; and promoting relaxation for those suffering from anxiousness.

Both improve brain function.

Green Tea can make you smarter; accordingly to at least one peer-reviewed study. Additionally, honey also has benefits to brain function. Caffeine, one of the prime ingredients of green tea is a neurological stimulant; provides mental stimulation and fights fatigue without the significant jittering and ‘buzzing’ side effects associated with coffee and energy drinks. It provides fatigue relief without being overly stimulative. Together, green tea and honey provide improved concentration and musters brain neurons in a more focussed, task-oriented way. Additionally, improves reaction time, problem solving skills, and is shown to increase performance on memory tasks compared to placebos.

Weight Loss

Another benefit of this drink is its ‘assistance’ in shifting fat. It does this by increasing fat oxidation when combined with exercise. In effect, it promotes the preferential use of fat stores for energy (over other alternative sources) when exercising after consumption. In fact, many of the commercially available weight loss supplements will contain green tea extract due to this known property, as well as its overall metabolism-boosting properties. Honey, is also credited with focusing the body on increasing fat oxidation, and is a much healthier sweetener than sugar. When the powers of green tea and honey combine, fat oxidation can increase by a remarkable 17%.

Anti-cancer Properties

One well-documented and praised benefit of green tea is its reduction in the incidence of certain types of cancer. The active catechin, EGCG is credited as the main reason for these remarkable benefits. Honey can actually improve these effects even further, releasing antioxidants that promote good health and vitality. Outcomes of some cancers, a disease characterised by uncontrolled multiplying of cells, can be improved with combined green tea and honey consumption. As well as decreasing the likelihood of developing certain types of cancer, drinking green tea with honey can actually aid in the treatment of some cancers.

Green Tea and Honey a Day, keeps the Dentist at bay

The final one we will mention today is its antibacterial properties. One major benefit of this is the combination can save you money at the dentist. Honestly, no one likes going to the dentist, and anything that reduces the number of visits is brilliant. The antibacterial effects of squeezing some honey into your green tea, can help fight plaque buildup caused by the streptococcus mutans bacteria. This provides better dental health, and can help prevent other dental issues.

This list, is by no means extensive. There are many other health benefits of drinking this delightful concoction. More can be found at the Green Tea Benefits Website, or alternatively this blog post.

Considering all of these benefits, I’m inclined to make a cuppa now, and take the Cat Empire’s advice, and put some ‘honey in my tea’.

Thanks for reading.

4 Tips to Double Your Income

You might have come across marketing gimmicks that portray that by investing in it, you can double your investment. Such gimmicks have become the trend these days but in no way does it mean that such things are genuine. 90% of such things are a scam that you should be well advised to avoid it. For those people who are aware of how the financial market functions, probably know that though doubling their money in a single stroke is farfetched, certain steps can be taken to maximize their investments.

Whether you are a businessman or a salaried employee, having a substantial saving is imperative. You can’t work your whole life. So, when you stop working, the money that you have saved throughout your lives will serve you well. For that to happen, you need to focus on the present. Proper planning is really important if you want to stay afloat and financially independent. Though the idea of doubling your money can set tongues wagging, you need to approach it cautiously.

Hold on to your investment

If you have a major investment, try to hold onto it. If you only think of the short term, you will not gain anything. If everyone had been hasty, the world wouldn’t have witnessed personalities like Warren Buffett. He turned a meager $105,000 to a gigantic $50 billion empire.

Be aware and invest in stock market

Though the stock market fluctuates greatly, if you are wise enough, you can make a lot of money out of it. Don’t think why share prices of a certain company are falling all of a sudden. If you think that the company has potential and gives you a return in the future, invest in it. But you do have to generalize yourself with all the varying aspects of the share market.

Real estate – a gold mine of sorts

One of the best ways to increase your return on investment is by investing it in real estate. Though the return is in the long term, it is substantial. Considering the soaring real estate prices these days, you can be guaranteed a return that’s at least double your investment.

Win a lottery

If you are one of those who do not have the patience to wait around years to get their money back, just keep on buying lottery tickets until you hit the jackpot. It’s not impossible as over the years people have made millions just by winning a lottery.

Why NOT Budgeting for Home Maintenance Can Ruin Your Retirement

How much should I budget for annual expense on the general maintenance of my house?

Where most people ‘take it for granted’ until they need to replace the windows at $300/pc or the roof at $10/sqft. And if you retired and most of your money is in your IRAs, now we have to add taxes in top of the cost.

While conducting one of our Retirement Planning classes here locally, one of our students had an interesting question regarding how much he should budget for the general maintenance of his house. This is a question that usually arises when we are putting an income plan together in order to bring a couple successfully through retirement. It also happens when we are putting together an estate plan and the trustees want to set aside money specifically for the upkeep of their home so their beneficiaries don’t have to sell home before they are ready. They understand that at any time you ‘have to’ sell anything, especially a large ticket item, the buyer wants a pretty good deal.

There is a general rule of either 1% of your purchase price (Current Market Value) or about $1 per square foot of living area. The living area should include your basement, attic and garage in this calculation. For example: 2 story Colonial with a two car attached garage and full basement. If your assessed size of your home is 2400 sq. ft. then it is safe to assume you have 1200 sqft on the top floor as well as the main floor and the basement. So realistically, you are looking at a potential 3,600 sq ft of living space. A two car garage is usually about 440 sq ft. So if you add it all up, you have a little over 4,000 sq ft that should go into this calculation and not simply the square footage you originally purchased your home.

So the range in which to implement your budget is anywhere from 1% of the purchase price to $1 of the entire square footage of the home. In our example, assuming homes are selling for $100 sqft, and you bought your home for $240,000. The bottom end of your budget for home maintenance should be $2,400 and the top end would be $1 of the total square feet or $4,000.

Now let’s talk about the $100 per sq ft. If we place this as a par value, we can simply investigate what homes are currently selling for in our neighborhood to see if we are above or below that factor. For instance if we find that a similar 2400 sq ft home just sold for $220,000 then we know immediately that is below par value (22/24 = $91.67 sq ft). We would then budget at either 91.67% (2400*.9167) which is $2,200 or (4000 sqft * 92 cents) which is $3,680. Of course our budget would work the opposite way if we find that our home is currently valued above par. For example a similar home sells for $300,000 or 125% above par so our bottom end of the range is $3,000 while the top end is now $5,000.

So why the difference? How does the market value per square feet have any effect on my maintenance cost? When considering a budget for your home there are Geographic Cost of Living, Quantity and Quality of products and services, and level of outside influences as main contributors in how current market fluctuations effect the day to day maintenance costs of your home. More affluent neighborhood stores sell products at a higher premium compared at lower income neighborhoods. Those same stores have more specialized products versus more generic brands to choose. More affluent stores have better opportunity to buy in bulk compared to lower income demographic stores where premium is placed on smaller packages that fetch a lower investment from the customer. Bigger homes usually have more amenities, landscaping and changes in construction materials that add a higher ongoing maintenance cost.

Other Considerations that will affect your long term budget when you purchased the home:

– Age of the house, roof, windows, additions etc

– Age of the appliances, hvac, plumbing, electrical

– Construction of home, vinyl siding, brick, stone etc

– Ongoing maintenance prior to purchase

– Proactive Maintenance, protective paints and seals, and waterproofing

– Warranties on appliances, maintenance

– Topography of home, high ground or valley, windy with no trees or surrounded by trees

– City Water or Well

– Weather extremes

It doesn’t seem that it should cost that much to maintain a home? You’re right it doesn’t seem to but let’s look at the list:

Age of Life for

– Roof – 20 years at about $9/sq ft that is $22,800 ($1140/yr)

– Furnace – 15 to 20 years and will cost about $2500 in today’s dollars ($125/yr)

– Hot Water Heater – 10 years at about $500 ($50/yr)

– Water Softener (if applicable) – 10 to 15 years at about $500 ($35/yr)

– Central Air – 20 years at about $4000 ($200/yr)

– Sprinkler System 30 years at about $2500 ($85/yr)

– Driveway 30 years at about $9000 ($300/yr)

That’s a total of about $1935 in today’s dollars and with the rate of inflation at 2.5%, most of these costs will be quite a bit higher. In 20 years, this monthly maintenance fee will be approximately $3100. While budgeting for the long term maintenance, the day to day maintenance now has a range of approximately $465 and then topped out at $2,065. It’s tuff to take ownership and stick to a budget, especially when there is a chance you may never need it. But as my mother always told me as I scoffed at the umbrella on the way out the door, it is better to have and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Should I Get a Reverse Mortgage or a HELOC Credit Line?

The number of financial products available to older homeowners is growing. Access to home loans, credit lines, and reverse mortgages appears to be improving. But which is the best option for you?

Rising Expenses & Uncertainty

Many older homeowners are on fixed incomes. The challenge many face is that expenses such as healthcare costs are not fixed. Healthcare costs certainly are not fixed.

At the same time more boomers and seniors are finding their kids aren’t financially supporting themselves. Fortune and The Pew Research Center reveal that even though unemployment for young adults has dropped to around 8% in mid-2015, even fewer are now living independently than in 2010 (just 67%). Yet, financial expert Dave Ramsey warns that “the biggest expense facing baby boomers today is not their children’s’ college bills, but parent’s elder care.”

Many retirees are finding they are far less flush than expected too. The stock market hasn’t been kind, and is still estimated to be around 60% overvalued. At the same time the Social Security Administration continues to warn that there isn’t going to be enough money to pay out what is due.

Thankfully trillions are being regained in home equity. Yet, many Americans are finding they are house rich, and cash poor again. Liquidity and cash is key to surviving and enjoying the next few years.

So what are the best ways to tap into underutilized home equity?

Conventional Mortgages, Second Mortgages & Credit Lines

The Mortgage Bankers Association and Mortgage Credit Availability Index shows that access to home mortgage credit has been rising since February 2012. Inman News credits this largely to the expansion of mortgage programs.

Conventional mortgages, second mortgages, and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) are all options. Yet, the traditional versions of these loan programs come with a number of challenges and disadvantages for older homeowners.

Most notably this includes:

1. Difficulty in qualifying for home mortgage loans

2. The need to consistently generate income to pay mortgage payments

3. High interest rates on 2nd mortgages

4. Potential for lenders to cap or close credit lines during housing downturns

5. Leaving large debts, and monthly financial obligations for heirs

How Do HECM Reverse Mortgages Work?

A HECM is the FHA reverse mortgage program. This is a federally guaranteed and sponsored Home Equity Conversion Mortgage. It allows homeowners aged 62 and older to convert illiquid home equity to liquid, usable cash and credit.

The real beauty of this financial tool is that is pays the homeowner, versus the reverse.

The payouts on reverse mortgages are flexible and can be customized to your personal needs.

Your funds can be taken as a lump sum, monthly payments over a specific amount of time, monthly payments over your lifetime, drawn from a credit line or a combination of these options

The most flexible option is the credit line.

Highlights of a Reverse Mortgage Credit Line include:

1. A built in growth feature which consistently adds access to more funds over time.

a. A reverse mortgage credit line grows at a compounding rate (interest rate +1.25%)

b. Any payments made to your principle balance will also cause your line of credit to rise by the same amount. The increase of your credit line will grow at the compounding rate, giving you more money for use in the future.

2. A reverse mortgage credit line is ‘open credit’, you can borrow from it, or put money back into it without penalty.

3. Once established, your credit line works independently from your home value and your loan balance.

4. Cannot be taken be taken away during market downturns (as long as you meet your contractual obligations such as paying your property taxes and homeowner’s insurance.)

5. Can be set up in early retirement years and be reserved for future increased liquidity, while maintaining just a minimum of a $100 balance.

6. Can be used to avoid taking out money from investment accounts during market downturns or used in lieu of taking Social Security income until your benefits are maximized.

Your reverse mortgage credit line cash can be used for any purpose from paying off credit card bills, to making home repairs, to helping kids and parents, gifts for the grandkids, investing, and covering medical bills. Or just keep it as a reserve fund. It’s your money – you choose.

Find Out More…

Having more liquidity is a pressing issue for millions of Americans today. Traditional mortgages and HELOCs can sometimes be more of a nuisance and threat than benefit for aging homeowners. In contrast; a reverse mortgage credit line can help property owners stay ahead of their financial needs without increasing their burden. It’s your money. Make sure you are making the most of it!

Check out the Reverse Mortgage Calculator to see what you are entitled to today.

Use Emotional Intelligence to Get Out of Debt

We all know what Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is, but have you been hearing the buzz lately about Emotional Quotient (EQ)? Well, if you haven’t, then I’ll start with a basic definition from Psychology Today:

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include 3 skills:

  1. Emotional awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others;
  2. The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problems solving;
  3. The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person

In achieving financial freedom from debt, we can apply the same skills in sustaining our long term goals, or even short cutting the time and effort involved by finding the best possible solution for our particular concerns.

So, what does getting a hold of our emotions have to do with getting out of debt? Great Question and one that I looked at from a money making standpoint. In a recent article by Inc. magazine entitled, 12 Habits That Set Ultra Successful People Apart. The highlight of this article was a discussion on how the ultra successful people use EQ to get stuff done and you can too.

Here are some key tools to help you get out of debt:

  • Keep your composer by monitoring your emotions and what it feels like to have this much debt that you cannot manage. Remember that no matter what, this too shall pass. Focus on the outcome rather than the present mess, to carry you through.
  • Get informed and be knowledgeable. When you are constantly working on yourself to increase your own self awareness about how you earn, manage, and grow financially because you’re passionate about it, then, you’re ready to get out of debt completely. Gather all the information you need to make a well-informed decision for yourself.
  • Take your time and be deliberate in your decisions. Impulsiveness may have gotten you into financial trouble, but financial freedom from debt requires you to slow down and logically think through the problem.
  • Get a small victory under your belt quickly. Whether it is to contact your professionals for consultations, like your CPA or accountant, if you need tax advice; or a bankruptcy lawyer to consult about bankruptcy options to get out of debt.
  • Be Fearless and Graceful. Fear is imagination run wild. Fear is also what keeps many in the position of indecision and never make a move. Grab fear by the horns and be graceful, which is to be both strong and gentle at the same time.
  • Be gentle and kind on yourself first, for getting into debt and be strong enough to face fear, head on and get out of debt by the cheaper, better and faster way, for you.

I believe that money is a matter of the heart. I believe that the way out of debt is through our emotions. I believe that anyone can move out from a mountain of debt quickly when they unite their head and their heart together, as a team. It’s a simple shift from guilt and shame, to freedom and joy.