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  • 5 Outdoor Features for a Luxurious Backyard Experience

    Here are five features that will provide an upscale feel to your outdoor space

    Covered Seating

    Be it a loggia, pergola or trellis, provide a comfortable place to gather outdoors.

    Infinity Pool

    In addition to providing a place to swim on a hot day, infinity pools have a certain wow factor.

    Entertaining Area

    An outdoor kitchen, barbecue, or wet bar ensure that all entertaining needs are accounted for.

    Fire it Up

    A fire in the evenings is one of the ultimate backyard luxuries. Its a focal point and natural place to gather around.

    Privacy & Plantings

    Thoughtful landscape design will make a backyard or terrace feel like your own private escape.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • How to Save for Retirement If You're Self-Employed

    Self-employment has a lot of perks, but one drawback is the lack of a company-sponsored retirement plan. If you work for yourself, you can explore these other options to prepare for retirement:

    Individual Retirement Account (IRA)
    With a traditional IRA, contributions are tax-deductible, but withdrawals are taxed in retirement. Contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax-deductible, but withdrawals arent taxed. A Roth is a better option if you dont make much money now and expect to be in a higher tax bracket when you retire. Both types of IRAs have contribution limits.

    Solo 401(k)
    A solo 401(k) is designed for a self-employed individual with no employees (except perhaps a spouse). The saver is considered both employer and employee, so the contribution limits are much higher than they are for an IRA. Limits depend on income and age. A solo 401(k) is a good option if you want to save a lot of money for retirement or if your annual income fluctuates. With a traditional solo 401(k), money is taxed when its withdrawn. With a solo Roth 401(k), contributions are taxed, but withdrawals are not.

    Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA
    Contribution limits for a SEP IRA depend on compensation or net self-employment income. Contributions are tax-deductible, and distributions are taxed in retirement.

    If you open a SEP IRA, youll be required to set up an account for each eligible employee and to contribute a percentage of each employees salary equal to the percentage of your own salary you contribute. That can be expensive if you have a lot of employees or if you want to contribute a large percentage of your own income. This option is best for someone with few or no employees.

    Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA
    A SIMPLE IRA is designed for companies with up to 100 employees. With this option, you can deduct your contributions and pay taxes on withdrawals later. Contributions to employee accounts can be deducted as a business expense. Employees can also contribute, and the company may be required to make matching contributions in some cases.

    Defined Benefit Plan
    A defined benefit plan is a pension plan for a self-employed individual with few or no employees. This is for someone with a high income who wants to save a lot for retirement each year. The contribution limit is based on the amount you want to withdraw when you retire, your current age and anticipated returns on investments. Contributions are tax-deductible, and withdrawals are taxed in retirement. If you have eligible employees, youll have to make contributions to their accounts, which can increase the plans already high administrative fees.

    Investigate Retirement Options
    Saving for retirement is particularly important for self-employed professionals. Several options are available to make it easy for people in a variety of circumstances to plan for the future. Discuss your current circumstances, goals and options with a financial advisor.

    This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional or legal advice.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • A Scratch-Free Method for Cleaning Your Glasses

    For those who wear glasses, especially at work, constantly having smudges and scratches on the lenses can quickly become distracting and even potentially harmful for your vision. In addition to the lenses, if glasses are not properly sanitized, bacteria can form and harm your eyes and skin. Keeping eyeglasses clean, sanitized and free of scratches may seem simple enough, but with this cleaning method, you can ensure clean, scratch-free and smudge-free results.

    Though most pairs of glasses come with a microfiber cloth for easy cleaning, much more is needed. The cloth may help to remove smudges and avoid scratches, but you still need to sanitize and remove any harmful bacteria that may form on the nose pads and ear clips.

    First, lightly rinse your lenses in lukewarm water to remove and dust or debris that can cause scratches when wiped dry. If you happen to have lenses with a coating, utilize eyeglass cleaner spray. If your lenses are a bit greasy, possibly from your fingers, you can use liquid dish soap, as long as it doesnt contain lotions or other moisturizing ingredients.

    Next, dry your glasses with a soft, microfiber towel or a cloth specifically made for your glasses. Once they are completely dry, wipe down the frame with a disinfecting wipe. Be sure to get all the nooks and crannies, like nose pads, ear clips and even the hinges, as they can collect hair, dust and sweat. Be sure to carry disinfecting wipes with you in case you find yourself in need of sanitizing when youre away from home.

    To ensure a scratch-free clean, avoid using acetone products. Also, avoid drying or wiping glasses with a paper towel, tissues or your t-shirt. Using the wrong products to clean your eyeglasses can result in damage.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • 4 Amazing Home Features for Outdoor Enthusiasts

    If you feel the most at home while outside, these four features are sure to cater to your lifestyle.

    Access Is Everything

    Whether its a ski chalet in the mountains or a waterfront property perfect for boating, your home should provide access to your favorite activities.

    Scenic Vistas

    Theres just something about a scenic view that delivers a sense of calm and relaxation.

    Trees and Plants

    From towering trees to secret gardens, adding some vegetation to your property can offer much more than just curb appeal.

    Plenty of Storage

    You may want a large garage that you can outfit with a few storage racks or a generously-sized mudroom where you can store your gear.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Why Drinking Plenty of Water is Important

    Consuming enough water can allow your body to function as it should and help you stay healthy. These are some of the many reasons why its important to stay hydrated.

    Oral Health, Digestion and Weight Loss
    Saliva helps to break down food and wash away food particles to prevent cavities. Water is one of the primary components of saliva. Age and some medications and medical treatments may reduce saliva production. Consuming more water may help.

    Drinking water before, during and after meals can aid in the digestive process by helping the body break down food and absorb nutrients. If you want to lose weight, consuming more water may help, along with eating a healthy diet and exercising. Drinking water shortly before meals can make you feel fuller so you consume fewer calories. It can also boost your metabolism and increase your energy level.

    Exercise and Body Temperature
    When you work out, you sweat to regulate your body temperature. Staying hydrated while exercising can help your strength and endurance. It can also lubricate and cushion joints, tissue and the spinal cord and help you avoid injury.

    Losing too much water during exercise can make it difficult for the body to regulate its temperature. Dehydration can also increase fatigue and make exercise seem more difficult, physically and mentally. Even losing a relatively small percentage of your bodys water weight can affect performance. Becoming dehydrated could cause your blood pressure to drop and could cause you to develop hyperthermia.

    Cognitive Performance
    Mild dehydration can affect mood, memory and brain performance. Dehydration can also cause fatigue and anxiety. Staying hydrated can improve focus, alertness and short-term memory.

    For some people, dehydration can cause headaches. Drinking water may prevent headaches or reduce their intensity and duration.

    Other Benefits
    Water transports oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and improves circulation. Drinking enough water can keep skin hydrated and may help the body produce collagen.

    Severe dehydration can cause life-threatening conditions, such as hypertension, kidney failure, swelling in the brain and seizures. Drinking enough water daily may prevent those problems.

    How Much Water Should You Drink?
    The amount of water you should drink each day depends on your gender and other factors. You should consume more water if the weather is hot, if you are exercising or working outdoors, or if you take a medication or have a medical condition that can cause you to become dehydrated. When you feel even slightly thirsty, that is a sign that your body needs more water.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

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