JWoww Treats Herself to New Jewelry After Zack Clayton Carpinello Breakup

JWoww Treats Herself to New Jewelry After Zack Clayton Carpinello Breakup

Jennifer Farley, Jwoww, Clayton CarpinelloJenni “JWoww” Farley has got something shiny and new to concentrate on after her breakup from Zack Clayton Carpinello.
The 33-year-old Jersey Shore: Family Vacation star and…

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5 Types of Car Insurance Coverage That May Be a Waste of Money

The cost of owning a car goes well beyond the sticker price at the dealership. There are fuel costs, routine maintenance and, of course, car insurance. 

The seemingly endless options for car insurance can be overwhelming, so many drivers end up opting for coverage they don’t actually need.

Liability coverage is the most basic form of car insurance and is absolutely necessary. Should you be deemed at fault for an accident, liability coverage will take care of the medical costs for other people injured and costs of repairs for other vehicles — but not yours. Some states require additional types of coverage beyond liability. 

However, there are certain types of coverage that you can and potentially should opt out of, depending on the value of your car, your current finances, your health insurance policy and more.

So what types of car insurance can you skip? 

1. Do I Need Collision Insurance and Comprehensive Coverage? When to Skip

Collision insurance covers damage to your car in the event of an accident, whether you were at fault or not. 

Comprehensive instead covers damage to your car outside of an accident, like flood damage due to a hurricane, vandalism, theft or fire. 

If your car is worth a lot of money, you should absolutely carry these coverages, and if your car is financed, your lender may require you to. But you may be wondering: Do I need collision insurance, especially if my car is old?

If your car is old or you paid a small amount of cash for a used car that may only last for a few months, you’d be wasting your money to get collision and comprehensive.

“Your reward is diminished greatly once your vehicle has depreciated over the course of time,” said Melanie Musson, insurance writer for CarInsuranceComparison.com. “So, if you’re paying monthly for coverage that’s going to provide you with minimal payment should you total your vehicle, and then you’ll face higher rates after making a claim, it’s just not worth it.”

One caveat: Be prepared to pay out of pocket to fix the car or, more likely, to purchase a replacement vehicle. But if your vehicle is only valued at $1,000, it may be better to put money each month into savings for a replacement vehicle than to shell out money for coverage on that low-value vehicle.

Chris Tepedino, also of CarInsuranceComparison.com, warns that bundling uninsured motorist and collision is often a mistake. 

“Uninsured motorist protects your car if it’s hit by someone who doesn’t have insurance,” he said. “Collision, well, protects your car. Don’t be suckered into thinking you have to buy both. Overlapping generally doesn’t help.”

2. GAP Insurance: It Depends on Your Down Payment

Vehicle depreciation can be a major detriment to your finances, especially if you wreck your vehicle shortly after financing it. 

Because a car loses about 20% of its value when you drive it off the lot, insurance will only cover 80% of the initial sticker price should you get in an accident on your way home. That means you will be responsible for the other 20%. With the average new vehicle costing $37,401, that could mean you lose out on nearly $7,500.

That’s where gap insurance (guaranteed asset protection) comes in, covering the difference between what you paid for a new car and how much your regular insurance is willing to pay for the totaled vehicle.

But depending on how much you put down for the car versus how much you financed and how much that car is worth, you might not need gap insurance.

“Gap coverage isn’t necessary if you’re able to financially handle the risk of paying the difference between what you owe and what your vehicle is worth when you’re upside down on a vehicle loan,” Musson said. “If you make a 20% or greater down payment, your risk for needing the coverage is greatly lowered, and you may be able to forgo that coverage.”

Similarly, you don’t need gap coverage if you’ve paid off your vehicle or if you purchase an old vehicle that won’t depreciate as quickly, Tepedino said.

3. Rental Car Reimbursement: Probably Not Worth It

A luxury option you can add to your policy is rental car reimbursement. If your vehicle is damaged and must be repaired, this coverage gets you a rental car to use while your vehicle is out of commission.

However, the cost of paying for this each month would likely exceed the cost of a rental vehicle, unless you crash frequently or need a rental for multiple weeks. 

Even then, you may be better off relying on friends and family for temporary transportation, if possible. If you live in a two-vehicle household, consider getting by on one vehicle temporarily instead of opting for this coverage.

4. Roadside Assistance: Check Your Warranty First

Similarly, you can opt for roadside assistance for help with jump-starts, flat tires and more serious problems that leave you stranded. However, many new cars come with roadside assistance, often throughout the length of the warranty.

“You can skip roadside assistance, as long as you realize you’ll have to pay for a tow out of pocket,” Musson said. “You may even be able to find it cheaper from AAA or a similar service.”

If you live paycheck to paycheck, this additional insurance expense is one to avoid.

5. MedPay: Depends on Your Health Insurance

Medical payments coverage, also known as MedPay, is an optional coverage that assists with medical expenses after an accident. However, if you have decent health insurance, you can likely skip this coverage.

Want to Save Money on Car Insurance? Proceed With Caution

The cost of your insurance is proportional to the deductible and coverage limits you choose. The lower your deductible and higher your coverage limits, the more you’ll pay in insurance premiums.

This is a little dangerous, but if someone is wanting to save money, going with lower coverage limits may help,” Tepedino said. 

But Tepedino warns that this is a risky way to save money. “The average cost of an accident with property damage alone is $7,500,” he said. “That number obviously jumps with a death or severe injury, so go at your own peril.”

Brent Weiss, a certified financial planner and co-founder of Facet Wealth, believes there are some types of coverage you can consider avoiding, but he urges caution when you’re shopping for car insurance.

“I am not a fan of simply meeting state minimums,” Weiss said. “It puts too many families at risk of a financial loss they cannot cover. In general, I recommend having liability coverage for bodily injury and personal property, underinsured and uninsured motorists, and collision and comprehensive coverage for most cars. There are some personal injury coverages that may be required, but limits are typically low. The bottom line is that you want to get the right coverage with the right limits and not simply shop for the lowest premium. You often get what you pay for.”

Timothy Moore leads a team of editors and graphic designers at a market research company as his full-time gig. As a freelance writer, he writes about personal finance, careers, education, pet care, travel and the automotive industry. His work has been featured on Debt.com, The Ladders, Glassdoor and The News Wheel.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Why it’s so hard to find a great mentor or coach

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When I was a kid, my dad taught me how to shoot photography on a manual camera. I even learned how to develop my own film in a darkroom. But it’s been years since I practiced my photography skills.

I really noticed it on my honeymoon last year. My iPhone was fine for most of our trip, but once we got to Kenya, I regretted not having a better camera. Fortunately, one of the lodges we stayed at offered camera rentals, so one day, I went out on safari and took hundreds of photos.

Unfortunately…they sucked. So that night, I went back to our lodge, where they had a “photographer in residence,” and I asked if I could hire him to come out with me the next day on safari and re-teach me how to shoot.

Ramit learning to shoot photos

My photos turned out WAY better. There was nothing like having a coach right there on the spot, giving me instant feedback, to help me get better. More importantly, I fell back in love with photography.

Ramit's mediocre photo Ramit's great cheetah photo

Before & after. All with the help of a coach.

So last Friday, I went to a photography class in NYC. It was a total “101” class, just the basics. I already knew a lot of the basics, but I love the process of starting from the ground up. There are times to care about efficiency…and there are times to slow down and enjoy the process.

That’s the mindset of a student who’s ready to learn.

Every time I post something like this, I get tons of emails asking, “Which class was it???”

Which reveals the real insight about becoming great: A lot of us debate whether this is a good book, or that’s the right program…

…but very few of us ask a more important question:

I’ve had the opportunity to create 25+ programs and work with tens of thousands of students. I’ve also been a student of MANY programs. Here’s what I can tell you.

A good student can get great results with a mediocre program.

But even a great program cannot save a student who’s not ready to do the work.

Some of the signs of a great student:

  • You can afford it: You have the time and (if applicable) money. This is why I prohibit people with credit card debt from joining my flagship courses like Zero To Launch, Earn1K, 6-Figure Consulting, and Dream Job. If you’re stressed about money, you need to resolve that first (use my book) before you take on challenging classes that will test you. It’s also why I only accept students who can put in 5 hours/week, minimum.
  • You’re mentally ready to learn. In my photography class, I’m ready to put myself in the hands of the instructor. If he wants to go slow, that’s fine — he’s the teacher. I’m not critiquing or offering “feedback.” He’s here to teach and I’m here to learn.
  • You welcome the struggle. I have students who go through our business program, and in one of the early sections, we show them how to do customer research by talking to real people. Many people freak out — they’re not used to unstructured, ambiguous conversations like this, and they quit. We’ve seen it a thousand times. Great students welcome the struggle, knowing that like anything else, you’ll improve your skills with time and intentional practice.

Years ago, when I moved to NYC, I decided I wanted to get a personal trainer. Still, it took me 4 months to get the courage to walk across the street and ask for a trainer. I think because doing so would mean I was really taking this seriously.

So, I walked into the gym and said, “I want a trainer.” The manager asked me what my goals were. (I said, “I want to gain 10lbs of muscle.” Where the hell did I get that goal from? I didn’t even understand what that meant.) But he nodded and said, “OK, you’re probably going to have to stop running so much. And it will take more than a year.”

My reply: “I don’t care how long it takes.”

THAT is a student who’s ready to learn.

Can you imagine saying that?

What would it mean if you did? I think it means you’d be abundant to know that you could spend all the time necessary to do it right. You wouldn’t be in a rush — you’d want to become great.

Interestingly, this makes some people feel uncomfortable. The other day, someone on my Instagram account told me that I spent “too much” on fitness, and that I could “80/20” my results. But sometimes in life, you don’t want to 80/20 it — you want to get 100%, and you happily spend to get it.

I’ll 80/20 the bananas I eat because I don’t give a shit. But for my relationships, my business, and a few things I truly care about…I’ll spend anything.

With fitness, I could afford to be a great student. I had the time and money to take advantage of training.

I was also mentally ready to be a student. I put myself in my trainer’s hands and did everything he said. As a result, I changed my body and my mind. It was one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

And I welcomed the struggle. The first month was brutal. Even simple balance exercises made me feel awkward and weak. But over time, I’ve come to love the art and craftsmanship of fitness.

I was ready to be a student. And it paid off.

But I’ve also had “bad” learning experiences

On the other hand, last year when I was in Bangkok, we had a food tour around 8 pm. I was tired, we’d been out all day, and I didn’t have time to rest before our tour.

Our tour guide was perfectly nice, but I didn’t enjoy the tour. I didn’t talk much, I didn’t laugh at her jokes, and I was ready to call it a night before it even officially ended.

Maybe I would have connected better with another tour guide, but truthfully, I had to take responsibility for my poor experience — I wasn’t a good student. I was tired and I wasn’t mentally ready to experience my food tour.

No big deal. It happens. It was a good reminder that I own the responsibility for my own experiences.

The opposite of a “good” student is not a “bad” student
Now, let’s look at another example because I think it’s helpful to see that the opposite of a “good” student isn’t a “bad” person — it’s often just incorrect mindsets or behaviors.

Here’s an email I get multiple times every day:

“Hey Ramit, I read your book where you mention that you use XYZ account. But what do you think about ABC account??”

It seems like a simple question, but the psychology is fascinating.

The average person who writes me this question doesn’t know much about money, and after years of ignoring it, they’ve finally decided to buy a book and take control. RESPECT!

But then the minute they see something new, they start to doubt it. “Well…what about this? What about that? I know you said don’t try to time the market, but… [sentence that is exactly the same thing as timing the market].”

The key insights here are:

  1. People would rather stick with their narrative than change their beliefs — even when their narrative is harmful.
  2. There is a fine line between asking for advice (legit) and asking for advice so you can simply stay stuck (not legit). Winners do their research, ask when appropriate, and make a decision. Everyone else just stays stuck.

Here’s my response to this question:

“Why deviate from my system?”

In other words, you bought my book because you want help and you presumably trust me. Why not actually follow through on what my book says?

Recently I had an especially interesting response to this question. This guy is $53,000 in debt after a series of rash decisions. He wrote to ask me about some alternative investment I don’t recommend in my book.

After a little back and forth, to understand his scenario, here’s what I told him.

Ramit email conversation

Boom. I love his candor. He admits he’s looking for a “magic bullet” (which, in his mind, is something that’s not in the book). In reality, he’s not ready to be a student yet.

Now, I think it’s perfectly fine to dabble in lots of different things — nobody can go “all in” on everything. And hey, sometimes, you’ll find that you connect with something and you want to go deeper. But there’s a cost to dabbling: You’ll never get the results of someone who decide to be a great student/client and commit. I’ve met thousands of people who’ve taken the “dabbling” approach for years and years…and have atrophied at the skill of choosing something they love and going after it.

My suggestion: If you decide you want to get serious about something, find a great teacher you respect and trust, and put yourself in their hands. You’ll get more from committing than you ever thought possible. I’ve seen it in my business and my fitness and — I hope — a couple years from now, my photos.

You can look for the perfect program. But until YOU’RE the right student, it won’t work.

Photo of RamitP.S. To learn how to put yourself in the mindset of a great student, you don’t need hacks or random tactics. Instead, learn how successful people think about Mental Mastery — and apply it to your life.

Why it’s so hard to find a great mentor or coach is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

Smartphone Apps For The Visually Impaired

auto credit v1Smartphones have opened the door to a world-wide of possibilities, further than we could have ever imagined. While they are commonly used to communicate with others, keep abreast with social media, and play simple chores, smartphones have innovations that allow accessibility and functionality to the blind and visually impaired. With the aid of a smartphone, smartwatch, or tablet, the “blind” or visually impaired can virtually “see” and become more independent.

The critical built-in apps–meaning the apps that come pre-installed on your device–that make a smartphone a smartphone are the phone, contacts, docket, and verse messaging apps. There is also a web browser–Safari for iOS and Chrome for Android and an app you can use to access the storage where you can buy and download more apps. The storage is called ” App Store ,” on the iPhone and “Play Store” on Android manoeuvres. Because built-in apps are all quite accessible, utilizing these apps is a great way to perfect your knowledge with your device’s built-in touch-screen reader, which is called VoiceOver for iPhones and TalkBack for Android.

Believe it or not, your smartphone can help you accomplish tasks you may think you can’t do without vision. Listed below are smartphone apps that basically run like an extra pair of eyes.

LookTel: The Money Identifier Mobile App

LookTel Money Reader instantaneously recognizes currency and speaks the denomination, enabling people experiencing visual disorder or blindness to quickly and easily identify and count invoices. [ Learn More ]

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TapTapSee: Identify Objects Through Photos

TapTapSee is designed to help the blind and visually impaired identify objects they encounter in their everyday lives. Simply double sound the screen and take a photo of anything, at any angle. You’ll hear the app speak the identification back to you( Note: Expects VoiceOver to be turned on ). [ Learn More ]

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KNFB Reader App: Predicts Practically Any Text Aloud

The KNFB Reader converts published textbook into high-quality speech to provide accurate, fast, and efficient access to both single and multiple page documents with the tap of a button on the iPhone. [ Learn More ]

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Color ID Free: Discovers the Names of the Colors Around You

Color ID Free uses the camera on your iPhone to speak the names of colours in real-time. [ Learn More ]

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Blindsquare: Blind navigation- Changes lives

BlindSquare is the World’s Most Popular accessible GPS-app developed for the blind and visually impaired. It describes the environment, announces times of interest and street intersections as you walk. [ Learn More ]

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Seeing AI: Talking camera for the blind

Seeing AI is a free app that chronicles the world around you. Designed for blind people and low seeing community, this ongoing research project reins the superpower of AI to open up the visual nature and describe nearby parties, text and objectives. Optimized for abuse with VoiceOver, the app enables you to recognize: Short-lived Text- Speaks text as soon as it appears in front of the camera. [ Learn More ]

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Talking Calculator: Predicts answers, entered counts and formulae aloud.

Talking Calculator is designed for a broad range of users, this calculator has huge colorful buttons, optional high differ, full VoiceOver support, and unique to this calculator; the option to use speech for answers, button appoints and formulas! [ Learn More ]

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Be My Eyes: The One Everyone’s Been Talking About- People Helping People in Real-Time

Be My Eyes– Be the eyes for a blind party in need of help remotely through a live video tie “if you il” sighted or be assisted by the network of sighted useds if you are blind. [ Learn More ]

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We’ve scheduled a few cases of what we consider the must-have critical apps for your smartphone although we’ve barely scratched the surface.

Your phone can include any number of screens filled with apps. Although, you will spend most of your time on your Home screen–the firstly screen to appear when you power on your smartphone. Pick and try your favourites from the apps we’ve discussed here, and you’ll be astonished by just how handy that smartphone can be.

The post Smartphone Apps For The Visually Impaired materialized first on Discovery Eye Foundation.

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15 Signs You Are A Total Christmas Freak

I am a self-proclaimed Christmas freak. Starting on Labor Day, I’m previously halfway into Christmas-mode. This feeling structures stronger every day until mid-October touches. By then, I feel like I am going to burst.

I know, I know–it’s too early for most people, but I am not most people. For me the holiday season is too short if you am looking forward to after Thanksgiving( whose plan was this anyway ?). I like to wring more out of it. I’m not the only one, either. There are lots of other Christmas maniacs out there, and you know who you are because you do the following address 😛 TAGEND 1. You deck your auditoriums whenever the hell you demand. auto credit v1GIPHY.COM

When the attitude affects, you pull out the bins and tubs and working on this. No apartment is left out either. The bathroom get pinecone garlands and a little village display on the back of the toilet, ended with imitation snowfall. The bedrooms have stockings hanging on the headboards. The kitchen closets have glistening lumps hanging from the handles.

2. You have a wreath on your auto.

It realizes you smile every time you look at the front of your vehicle, yes, but hanging a crown on your gondola is a badge permit everyone know you are just as into Christmas as Buddy The Elf is.( Bonus items for those reindeer antlers and the red nose on your car more .)

3.Your electrical statute doubles. cookiesGIPHY.COM

Lights are magical. You kept some up, look around and feel you are required to more. There are electric candles in every window, the tree blinds all persons who marches in your door, and if the front porch doesn’t cause the neighbors to attract their shadows each night, is it even Christmas?

4. You tour Christmas supermarkets when it’s sweltering red-hot outside.

It stimulates no inconsistency if you merely had a pool party with the neighbours and time has just started. If you drive by a Christmas shop one random Saturday while on a street excursion to the lake with your family, you are stopping.

5. You make a job out of coming up with new ideas for Elf on The Shelf.

Yes, you want to impress your kids by filling the settle full of marshmallows, and making a small towel to wrap on your Elf’s head, but you also want to impress yourself. And all the persons who follows you on social media, because of course you are going to post what that little bugger is up to.

6. You have more than one Christmas tree. everyGIPHY.COM

You have the primary tree which must make everyone swoon when they walk in, but that’s not enough. There’s one perched on your kitchen island, a mini-tree in all the bedrooms, and a show-stopper on the front porch, or in the figurehead yard.

7. The trademark canal is on 24/7 even if no one is watching.

You can’t wait for those movies to start, and you are so appreciative they are on all the damn time. The background noise of the lovers performing carbohydrate cookies and frost effigies makes you absolutely delighted . If anyone dares to change the channel, you peril them with coal and reindeer turds.

8. Christmas music starts whenever the blaze you are willing to.

When someone is in the car with you, that shit is on whether they like it or not. You download all the latest holiday themes in your phone so you can DJ at any moment.

9.You want Halloween to get over with because then it’s socially acceptable to start celebrating. Free Traffic GeneratorGIPHY.COM

Well, maybe not all beings agree with this sentiment, but after Halloween extends you have no longer have any guilt about your festiveness. As soon as the kids strip off the costumes and you check their candy, you take down the tumble adornments and to make room for what’s about to happen in your home.

10. You have Christmas cookies in your freezer until May of the subsequent year.

You want to make all the bark, your kids’ favorite cookies, your partner’s favourite cookies, the cookies your mommy reached while you were growing up, then you stand back and wonder if you’ve stimulated enough. Merely to be safe, “youre starting” another batch of peanut butter blossoms.

11. You give the finger to people who say, “Can’t we wait until after Thanksgiving? ”

No. No, we cannot wait until after Thanksgiving. We Buddy the Elves celebrating Christmas early don’t affect you at all, so leave us alone. We don’t need your judgment, it doesn’t take away from the amount of goose you can eat, and what the hell is wrong with you anyway?

12.You start proposing Christmas dinner In July. How To Make Money Online DailyGIPHY.COM

I’m not talking exclusively main course and feature dishes. You plan a topic. You pick out coordinating sheets, napkins, and cutlery. You download templates for epithet labels and deplete four hours choosing a font.

13. There’s a Christmas-scented candle in every chamber.

And they are lit every second. You have balsam fir vanishing near the tree. You have cinnamon in the kitchen. Orange- spice is perfect for the showers. As soon as you get home, it takes you 10 instants exactly to light-colored them all.

14. You have a closet dedicated exclusively to your trinkets.

Maybe it’s your child’s closet and you told them they have to live with it until they move out. Perhaps you’ve taken over the boiler room, or your partner’s line-up of the wardrobe. The important thing is all your Christmas wares have a safe place to be until you dive in to decorate.

15. You waste a lot of time coordinating wrapping, ribbons, and submits for offerings. How To Make Money Online Fast And FreeGIPHY.COM

This cannot be done in five minutes standing in the middle of the aisle at Target. No. It takes time and felt. You stand up several ribbons to several articles. You don’t pick out one, either. You need variety, you need coordination, you are required to selects. You devote more money than you should, but smile when “youre thinking about” what people will say when they determine their wrap endow and it’s all worth it.

I know many have feelings about Christmas freaks, but I wear my inner-elf proudly. After all, it makes me happy, it selects other people who feel the same way about this vacation a little bit closer to me, and life is just better when it’s covered in twinkle ignites and sugar.

The post 15 Signs You Are A Total Christmas Freak loomed first on Scary Mommy.

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Julian Charrière. The world without us

One of the most visually seducing exhibitions i visited this year was All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, Julian Charrière‘s solo at MAMbo, Bologna’s Modern Art Museum.

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Julian Charrière, Where Waters Meet [3.77 atmospheres], 2019 | © the artist; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany

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Julian Charrière. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

Charrière is known for the way he unpeels the various layers of the Anthropocene, revealing the visible, the invisible, the (in)human and the toxic beauty of our world.

“Through a series of videos, photos and installations that cover the story of science, the development of our media culture and the current ecological emergency,” the press material says, “Charrière tries to understand history through his work, looking at the past to imagine what the future holds. Like an archaeologist, the artist gazes into history to understand the future while reflecting on the present.”

Several of the works in the show are set in a microcosm where few human beings venture, a place remote from the rest of the world but which played an important role in human history: the Bikini Atoll. Situated in a far-flung region of the Pacific Ocean, the ‘paradisiac’ coral reef was subjected to some of the most powerful explosions in history—during Operation Crossroads, the U.S. nuclear testing program of the mid-20th century. Since then, the fate of the islands has been largely ignored by everyone. Except by the descendants of atoll’s inhabitants who were forcibly sent into exile.

The artist embarked on an archaeological and geological examination of a landscape that oscillates between our recent past and our distant future. It might be highly toxic to us but it remains magnificent and resilient. And it needs us less than we need it.

Quick walk through some of the artworks on show at the MAMbo:

J.W Ballard’s ‘Terminal Beach’ is a short story set on an island that used to be a nuclear testing site. The island is covered with concrete bunkers and other decaying monuments to the nuclear age. That’s pretty much the scenery that Julian Charrière encountered in the Bikini Atoll (Marshall Islands).

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Julian Charrière, Iroojrilik (film still), 2016 © Julian Charrière; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany. Courtesy of the artist

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Julian Charrière, Iroojrilik (film still), 2016 © Julian Charrière; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany. Courtesy of the artist

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Julian Charrière, Iroojrilik (film still), 2016 © Julian Charrière; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany. Courtesy of the artist

The video Iroojrilik follows the diving excursions Charrière made there together with Nadim Samman.

Charrière’s submarine shootings are interrupted by twilight-dawn images of surface. While these sequences are showing a seemingly untouched paradise, the submarine images are inhabited by shipwrecks corroding on the seabed. They were brought in the area in the 1940s and 1950s when the US-military decided to observe the kind of damages nuclear tests would make on old ships.

The film presents a landscape of friction where dreamy subaquatic views and white sandy beaches cohabit with rotting a submerged Ghost Fleet and radioactive plants.

Iroojrilik shows the aftermath of destruction and the recovery of ecosystems devoid of any human presence. Nature seems to brazenly regain control over the scene. Under the water seaweed is covering the shipwrecks. On the shore, abandoned bunkers are colonized by vegetation. Yet, radioactivity is everywhere, invisible and contaminating the environment for millions of years to come.

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Julian Charrière, As We Used To Float, 2018

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Julian Charrière, As We Used To Float, 2018

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Julian Charrière, As We Used To Float, 2018. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

The video installation As We Used to Float, projected on a huge vertical screen, similarly explores Bikini as a space of fantasy and trauma.

Both Iroojrilik and As We Used to Float are sea-stories for the Anthropocene, portraits of a postcolonial geography we engineered at our own peril.

“The atoll became a place that seems a speculative apparition of the future,” the artist told BerlinArtLink. “You can look at something that no one is looking at anymore because it doesn’t exist, but is still being discussed. In 70 years, nobody has been there, it’s very luxurious. We have the oppressive feeling of the radioactivity and history, which is dark and heavy on our shoulders. Then, we have the magnificent pristine coral reefs or the coconut groves that are re-growing. You always have the sensation of looking into a speculative future. It’s a place that is bound with the past, bound with the future and actually very present in an encapsulated reality. So, while you are there, you can describe yourself as a future speculative archaeologist.”

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Julian Charrière. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

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Julian Charrière. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

The main exhibition room was set to make visitors feels as if they were submerged under the water too. Somewhere in the Bikini Atoll. A huge diving bell is hanging in the middle of the room, counterbalanced by plastic bags filled with seawater from the Pacific.

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Julian Charrière, Pacific Fiction, 2016. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

Around the diving bell are 146 coconuts from the Bikini Atoll. Encased in lead, they form the Pacific Fiction installation. The metal suggests both a protection from further radiation and the possibility of using them as bomb in echo of the colonial violence that scarred the region. Coconuts are a food staple and a symbol of life in the region. They’ve now become a radioactive hazard.

Other work in the exhibition continued the Anthropocene narrative but moved to other shores…

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Julian Charrière, 
Polygon X, 2014

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Julian Charrière, Polygon XII, 2014

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Julian Charrière, Polygon XXIX, 2014

Also known as the Polygon, Semipalatinsk in the steppes of eastern Kazakhstan was the Soviet Union’s main nuclear test site from 1949 until 1989. During these 40 years, they operated 456 nuclear tests, including 340 underground and 116 atmospheric explosions. The extent of the radioactive contamination on the environment and on local population was not fully known for many years.

Charrière travelled to Kazakhstan and used analogue photography to capture the sites. He then exposed the negatives to radiation. The printed images evoke Bernd and Hilla Becker’s documentation of abandoned industrial structures. Only the white spotting caused by the radiation indicate that the subjects of the images have a far more sinister story to tell.

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Julian Charrière, Savannah Shed. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

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Julian Charrière, Savannah Shed. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

Alligators, like other animals living near the Savannah River nuclear weapons site, bear the physical traces of half a century of nuclear weapons production and the occasional dumping of contaminated waste in unmarked pits that were not secure enough to keep highly toxic material from spreading into soil and groundwater. Every year, scientists capture and test thousands of animals to assess the progress in the cleanup of the area.

Charrière reconstructed the set-up of scientific testing which, according to the artist, took place after an accident in the area in 1964. The researchers released an alligator into the wild, captured it again and then they measured its level of contamination.

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Julian Charrière, Somehow, They Never Stop Doing What They Always Did, 2019. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

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Julian Charrière, Somehow, They Never Stop Doing What They Always Did, 2019. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

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Julian Charrière, Somehow, They Never Stop Doing What They Always Did, 2019. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

Inside each vitrine of the installation Somehow, They Never Stop Doing What They Always Did are pyramids that recall ancient monuments. They are made from plaster mixed with fructose and lactose, plus water that comes (or so the description says) from major rivers such as the Nile, Euphrates and Yangtze. Over time, bacteria grow on them and slowly erode the structures. Just as the ancient civilisations that rose along these rivers declined, the sculptures will eventually collapse.

From the Tower of Babel all the way to the decaying landmarks of the nuclear age, Charrière traces an unbroken line of ingenuity mixed with hubris, destined to fall apart and to follow the rules inherent to the matter that constitutes them.

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Julian Charrière
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Julian Charrière
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Julian Charrière, Where Waters Meet, 2019 | © the artist; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany

Where Waters Meet is a series of eerie photos of naked bodies diving deep into cenotes in Yucatan, Mexico. Rather than descending into the water filled caves, their bodies seem to float onto a delicate, underwater cloud called chemocline.

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Julian Charrière. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere, installation view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. Photo: Giorgio Bianchi, Comune di Bologna

Julian Charrière. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere was curated by Lorenzo Balbi and exhibited at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna over the Summer.

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Do What Makes You Happy? Or Do What Makes You Better?

A few days ago, I saw this tweet from Jocko Willink, an author and former Navy SEAL who has written a few books I’ve enjoyed. The tweet is actually just a short video where he’s monologuing at the camera, and so I’ll simply transcribe that monologue for you:

So, a lot of people will say that you need to do what makes you happy. Do what makes you happy. And, look, I get it, from a long-term life perspective, yeah, fine, find a job or find a vocation that you enjoy, something that makes you happy over the long term. I get it. But that is not the plan to follow for your daily life. At all. Because if you do what makes you happy right now, well, a piece of cake will make you happy right now. Or, laying in bed for an extra forty eight minutes will make you happy right now. So, there’s lots of things that will make you happy right now, but in the long run, they don’t do anything for you. They make you soft. They make you weak. And in the long run, they will not make you happy in life. So, sure, find a job that’s going to make you happy in the long term. But for today? Don’t do what makes you happy. Do what challenges you. Do what pushes you. Do what makes you better.

I strongly agree with the core idea here.

If you want a better life, the key to that life is to do things today that makes you better in the areas in which you want that better life.

What about happiness, though? Here’s the thing: happiness is the flower that grows from a well-cultivated garden of life. It’s just like a garden, in fact. If you spend the spring turning over the soil, raking it, and planting the seeds, and you spend many days watering the seeds and pulling the weeds and adding some fertilizer, in the late summer you’ll have an amazing harvest. The effort you put into the cultivation of your life results in happiness blooming up naturally.

Let’s dig into this idea a little bit.

The Two Roads to Happiness

My belief is that happiness is not a constant state. Rather, it’s always going to be something fleeting, something counterbalanced by ordinary life and by moments of sadness as well. If you attempt to stuff your life with things that make you happy, all that will happen is that many of the things that used to make you happy become ordinary and dull, and can even sometimes result in unhappiness (like buying books over and over until you have so many that they’re unmanageable and you have a big pile of credit card debt).

In my experience, there are two paths to finding those moments of happiness in life.

One of them is what I call short term happiness. It’s when you do something right now that brings you pleasure, like eating a piece of cake or sleeping in an extra hour (in Jocko’s example) or buying something you don’t need on impulse or getting a sweet coffee or playing a silly game on your phone. Those things feel pretty good in the moment. They’ll lift your mood for a little bit. The thing is, these kinds of momentary joys fade really quickly. They’re gone within minutes, and you’re right back to where you started, and often it’s a worse situation because you just gobbled up some time and money and energy on that pleasure.

The other is what I call cultivated happiness. Just like the first kind of happiness, it’s relatively brief and doesn’t last for a particularly long time, but it comes around naturally in your life without you having to expend extra energy or time or money on it. Getting into a “flow state” where you’re doing something that deeply engages you is one kind of cultivated happiness. Feeling really healthy is another kind. Feeling a strong social connection or relationship is another kind.

You can’t really buy that second kind of happiness. Rather, it has to come out of a life where you’ve committed to being better. You’ve committed to challenges and overcome them. You’ve invested time and energy without having that immediate burst of pleasure. Instead, what you have are sources in your life that naturally produce happiness. You have your skills, which can help you achieve a flow state. You have a body of knowledge and understanding that can aid in appreciation of things and can help you in deep conversations. You have your health. You have great relationships. You have a deep appreciation for simpler things. You have a calm inner life. You have things you’ve made over the years.

All of those things have to be built over time. They can’t just be purchased. They can’t be created instantaneously. They require a lot of effort. However, when you have those sources of happiness, they bubble up naturally throughout the course of your day.

That first kind of happiness is like buying a flower at the florist shop. It’s beautiful, but it wilts quickly. The second kind of happiness is like seeing a blooming flower in your garden. You cultivated the ground, but it kind of happens on its own and will last a little longer, and most of the time it blooms and blooms and blooms again, over and over.

The point is simple: the second kind of happiness is much better than the first, but it requires you to spend much of your days in cultivation, not in chasing momentary pleasures.

The Big Picture

In the long term scale of your life, what you want are pieces of your life that are cultivated such that they naturally produce happiness on their own. The list of things won’t be the same for everyone, but here are some things that people commonly cultivate that bring about regular happiness:
+ Financial stability
+ A meaningful career that challenges you without overworking you and compensates you reasonably well
+ Good relationships
+ Skills you draw upon regularly to solve interesting problems
+ Good health
+ Good fitness
+ A wide body of knowledge and practical skills
+ A spiritual understanding and philosophy of life
+ An abundance mindset
+ The ability to separate internal feelings from external action

Each and every one of those big, long term goals is a regular source of happiness in one’s life.
+ Financial stability means feeling good about your future; it also means little financial stress.
+ A meaningful, challenging career with adequate compensation lets you regularly enter flow state without excessive stress.
+ Good relationships bring a deep happiness every time you connect.
+ A wide variety of skills and knowledge enables you to frequently feel useful and valuable and also helps you understand what’s happening around you.
+ Good health means you feel energetic and healthy most of the time.
+ Good fitness means you feel energetic most of the time and able to handle some exertion with ease.
+ A spiritual understanding and philosophy of life helps you deal with life’s setbacks and challenges and gives everything a sense of purpose.
+ An abundance mindset leads you feeling content with what you have and quells the constant unhappy desire for “more.”
+ The ability to separate internal feelings from external action means you’re less likely to undo the things you’ve built out of an emotional response.

In other words, achieving (or at least making good progress on) big goals brings you to a state where that achievement brings you regular blips of happiness in your life. It’s a part of the garden of life that you’ve cultivated well, and thus it flowers often.

All of those big, long term goals are readily achieved by daily action. If you want to achieve these things, there are some of things you need to do daily (or very close to it):
+ Spend less than you earn
+ Work hard and work smart at your job
+ Invest time and energy into meaningful relationships
+ Take on challenging tasks and interesting problems
+ Eat a healthy diet
+ Get some exercise
+ Read deeply from challenging books and well-researched articles
+ Reflect on the good things in your life
+ Practice spiritual reflection, like journaling or meditation or prayer
+ Do all of these things with intention, focus, seriousness, and hard work

If you do those daily actions, then those long term goals will happen naturally.

However, those daily things are hard – or at least harder than being idle or chasing pleasure. It feels better right now to buy some fun thing you want than it does to make dinner at home and caulk a window. It feels better right now to eat a piece of cake than to eat kale. It feels better right now to take a nap than to exercise for an hour. It feels better right now to play a smartphone game than to study something new. It feels better right now to browse social media than to bring dinner to and listen carefully to a friend who is in trouble.

Yet, the harder choice is almost always the one that cultivates your garden of life a little and makes it more fertile for happiness to grow up on its own. You get more value out of the long term from planting a flower bulb than from buying a flower at the florist.

The Momentary Pleasures in Getting Better

Quite often, when presented with this, people will immediately start lamenting the perceived lack of pleasures in daily life. “This sounds miserable!” “Why would I want a life that’s day-in-day-out work and misery?”

Well, aside from the fact that it builds to a life with a ton of happiness and joy and pleasure in it, there’s a tremendous amount of happiness and joy and pleasure in simply executing well each day. I find lots of joy and happiness in my daily routines if I do them well. Here are a bunch of examples.

I feel great when I leave the grocery store with a lot of groceries and a small bill. I’m feeding my family. I didn’t waste money on a bunch of unneeded stuff and instead I’m keeping it for bigger and more important things. I nailed that grocery store stop, and it feels good.

I feel great at the end of a hard workout. I worked my body hard. A lot of sweat. A lot of panting. A lot of exertion. I’m tired. But those endorphins are rushing, and I can look back at what I accomplished with pride.

I feel great when I’ve really connected with someone or spent quality time with them. The experience itself is a wonderful thing. I feel a deep human connection that I don’t always feel, and that feels good in my core.

I feel great when I’ve learned something useful and meaningful that I didn’t understand or know before. My understanding of the world has improved. I’ve also probably spent some time in a “flow state,” which always feels good.

I feel great when I’ve lost track of time doing a challenging task. That’s flow state, and I find that I almost always feel great when I snap out of this. It’s not just because of what I’ve learned or accomplished, but because the simple act of being so engaged that you lose track of time feels great.

I feel great when I’ve written a really good article. I’ve nailed what I wanted to say. I feel like it’s going to help people. It draws upon what I’ve learned and my own life experiences. It’s a good thing going out there into the world.

I feel great after a day of getting a lot of things done. Whenever I go to bed after completing a bunch of things, I feel really good about myself. The other day, I had an amazingly productive day where I wrote a couple of articles, did a bunch of cleaning, rebuilt a computer, made several meals, helped my children with some things, read multiple chapters of a really challenging book that made me think, got some killer exercise, and had a really good conversation with my wife and another one with an old friend. It was a great day, and I felt really great going to bed at the end of it.

The Letdown

On the flip side of this is what I call “the letdown.”

Sometimes – not all the time, but often enough to be noteworthy – if you go for the quick burst of pleasure and happiness in life, there’s something of a “letdown” afterwards, something that much less rarely occurs with happiness that you’ve cultivated.

Here’s what I mean.

Let’s say I impulsively decide to buy something expensive that I don’t really need, like an Apple Watch, for example. It’s fun to buy it, and I have a lot of fun playing with it for a while, but in the end, my life isn’t really changed by it. It’s a watch. A few weeks later, an emergency hits with a $500 bill and I’m not prepared for it, so I have to tap some funds I really don’t want to tap. It feels bad. It feels like negative financial progress. It’s a letdown.

Let’s say I’ve been eating really well for a while and I’m feeling good. For some reason – lack of forethought or bad impulse or whatever – I indulge in a big fast food meal. It’s quite tasty – fast food usually is. However, after I gobble it down, I sit there feeling kind of bloated. I don’t physically feel all that great. Furthermore, I eventually come to the realization that I’ve actually undone some of my healthy eating progress. I’ve walked back that feeling of “healthy” in my life a little. It’s a letdown.

Let’s say I’ve started to slack off on my daily routine of exercising. I skip my taekwondo class or I don’t do my usual exercising at home (stuff like planks and push-ups). I might enjoy whatever else I do instead, but a few days later, I genuinely feel a little sluggish, enough that I notice it. I just don’t feel as good, and I know I’m going to have to work hard to get back just to where I was. It’s a letdown.

In each of those cases, if I made the harder choice to make myself and my situation better, my life is better because of it. I don’t have to panic and stress out about that unexpected bill. I don’t feel bloated and unhealthy; rather, I keep feeling good. I don’t feel sluggish and out of shape; rather, I feel great.

This doesn’t mean you should deny yourself things that are enjoyable in the moment. That’s not the point. The point is that choosing to put in the work to make yourself better makes life better; choosing to undo that for momentary pleasure usually makes life worse over the longer run.

This doesn’t mean all “fun” should be avoided. However, there’s a genuine difference between true leisure and wasting time. There’s a genuine difference between spending a little money on something you’re sure you’ll enjoy and spending a lot of money with little forethought. There’s a genuine difference between enjoying a meal and completely overeating. There’s a genuine difference between spending quality time with people you care about and who care about you and burning time with people you don’t really like and who don’t really like you.

If you want to have fun right now, just do something simple that you like that isn’t going to cost you in the future, like drinking a tall glass of citrus water (water with a splash of lemon or lime juice in it) or stretching or meditating for ten minutes or reading a chapter of a powerful book. Then, get back to making yourself better.

Final Thoughts

A lot of people take this message the wrong way and assume that it’s all about consigning yourself to a life of daily work when they just want to “enjoy life.” In other words, they want to just go to the florist and get a cut flower that will wilt in a few days and call it good.

I’ve done that in my life, more times than I care to admit, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that you’re far better off investing your days in cultivating your garden for an array of perennial flowers than going to the flower shop to buy a cut flower.

Spend the heart of your day doing what makes you better. Do that day in and day out, and life becomes better.

Good luck.

The post Do What Makes You Happy? Or Do What Makes You Better? appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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How Much Money Should I Be Saving Each Month?

One question that often pops up on The Simple Dollar is the seemingly simple question of how much a person should be saving each month. People often want to hear a specific percentage or a specific dollar amount so that they have a benchmark or recipe to follow.

The easy answer to this question is as much as possible. The more you save for the future, the easier whatever it is that the future holds for you will be.

Tying that down to specific numbers is hard, but let’s give it a shot, shall we?

An Emergency Fund

The number one most essential thing I would encourage most people to do in terms of saving for the future is to have an emergency fund. An emergency fund is simply a wad of cash sitting in a savings account (which is about the most secure place for it, plus it earns a little bit of interest) that you can draw upon in case of personal emergency. If your car breaks down, you hit the emergency fund. If you have an identity theft issue, hit the emergency fund. If you have to fly halfway across the country to visit a dying relative, you hit the emergency fund. You get the idea.

Some people use credit cards as their “emergency fund.” I advise against that, for a few reasons. One, a credit card will fail you in some emergencies. It won’t help if you’re the victim of fraud or identity theft. It won’t help you if your wallet is stolen. It won’t help you if you hit your credit limit. It won’t help you if there’s a disaster.

Many people recommend having a specific amount in their emergency fund – say, a month’s worth of living expenses. I don’t suggest that, at least not any more. I think that simply sets the destination, and what’s more important here is the journey. What are you saving out of each paycheck?

Rather, I encourage people to set up an automatic transfer for their emergency fund savings and never turn it off. Most banks can set up a regular automatic transfer from a checking account to a savings account; many can do it right from their online banking service.

Simply set up an automatic transfer that happens about two or three days after your paycheck is normally received, and have it transfer 3% of your normal paycheck to a savings account for emergencies.

If you get paid $1,000 every two weeks, set up a $30 transfer to savings every two weeks, or a $15 transfer to savings every week if that works better for you. If you get paid $600 every week, set up a $18 transfer to savings every week.

And never turn it off.

Instead, just leave that savings account completely alone and tap it only for emergencies. Tap it when your car doesn’t start. Tap it when you need to fly home. Tap it when you lose your job and need to find a new one (turn off that automatic transfer until you have a fresh new paycheck coming in, of course, then turn it back on).

High Interest Debt Repayment

The next thing I would encourage people to address with their savings is their high interest debts. By this, I’m not talking about student loans, home mortgages, or car loans (most of the time). Rather, I’m talking about things like credit cards and (I really hope you don’t have any of these) payday loans. If you have a debt that’s charging you 10% interest or more, your top priority should be to eliminate that debt as fast as you can. That should trump other savings goals for the moment beyond an emergency fund.

If you need a specific number to aim for, I would aim for making a double payment on your highest interest loan. Whichever debt you have that has the highest interest rate, make a double payment on that each month. Whatever you owe, pay twice that, while also making minimum payments on your other debts.

At the same time, you should try to find other ways to reduce the interest rate on high interest debts you have. You can look for low or 0% interest balance transfers for your credit card. You can seek out personal loans from a credit union, particularly if you have collateral you can use. You can directly call the lender and see if you can get the rate reduced.

This should be your next goal after starting your emergency fund savings. This should trump other savings goals.

Retirement Savings

If you have no high interest debt, the next most important goal is retirement savings. You absolutely need to be saving for retirement unless you want to be in old age and scraping by on a meager Social Security check. Even if you have children who might be going to college, this should still be a higher savings priority for you so that you don’t run the risk of becoming a financial burden on them in your old age.

You should be aiming to save 15% of your annual salary toward retirement. That seems like a high number – and it is. For many Americans, saving for retirement will gobble up most of the money they’re wanting to save for the future.

The first place you should look for saving that money is your workplace 401(k), 403(b), TSP, or similar plan. If you’re unsure, ask your boss or the human resources office. What they’ll do is set things up so that money is deducted directly from your paycheck before you even receive it and put straight into your plan. If you’re confused by the investment options, just choose a Target Retirement Fund with a year close to when you’re between 65 and 70 years old.

Ideally, you’re going to choose to put in 15% of your pay. If your employer offers matching, you can subtract the amount they match from that 15%. If you can’t quite make it to that threshold, that’s okay, but you should come back later and try to bump it up to that level. It’s worth noting that 401(k) contributions are pre-tax, which means that the money is taken out before taxes are calculated. This means that you’ll pay less taxes now and thus if you contribute 15%, your paycheck won’t go down by 15% (it’ll go down a little less than that). However, you will have to pay taxes on that money in your 401(k) when you retire and start withdrawing it to live on.

If you don’t have access to a 401(k) or similar plan at work, you can still save for retirement with tax advantages by opening a Roth IRA for yourself. A Roth IRA is kind of like a 401(k) but it’s independent of your employer, you put in money out of your checking account instead of directly from your paycheck (but you can automate this), and when you take money out when you’re retired, all of it is tax free.

The key is to try to save 15% of your paycheck in a retirement account of some kind. Aim for 15%. If you can’t do that right now, contribute as much as you possibly think you can, then revisit that decision in a few months and see if you can bump it up a little.

Define Your Own Goal

If you are saving 3% of your income for emergencies, have no high interest debt, and are saving 15% of your income for retirement, you’re in really good shape. Right there, you’re ahead of at least 80% of American households, and if you’re looking to save more, you have a lot of options that depend heavily on what your personal goals are.

Some people aim to pay off all debt. This minimizes their monthly bills and makes it easier to save more or to make lifestyle choices like changing jobs or careers. Usually, this is done by making the largest payment possible each month on whatever debt has the highest interest rate.

Others might start saving for a specific goal, like replacing a car or buying a house. In those cases, you’re essentially preparing in advance to avoid debt, with the interest from your savings helping a little. Having a good down payment on any debt will significantly reduce the interest rate on the debt and the size of the debt, which means much smaller payments and/or a smaller length of debt. Ideally, you can reach a point where you’re always saving for a car and just withdraw money when it’s time to replace a car without using loans at all.

Some people might choose to save for their child’s college expenses using a 529 college savings account. Such an account lets you invest money so that it grows rapidly and, if you use that money for educational expenses, you don’t have to pay taxes on all of those earnings. While this is nice, it should be a lower priority for parents than an emergency fund, eliminating high interest debt, and saving for retirement.

Final Thoughts

The key thing to note here is that “how much should I be saving this month” is very much dependent on how much you’re earning each month and your current financial situation. There is no ready-made dollar amount that works for everyone – or even works for any two people. However, the amounts above are good starting guidelines that will help most people tremendously, no matter what their life looks like specifically. An emergency fund helps virtually everyone. Eliminating high interest debt helps virtually everyone. Saving for retirement helps virtually everyone. If you have those things checked off, you’re in good shape and ahead of most Americans and you have some leeway as to what to do next.

Good luck!

The post How Much Money Should I Be Saving Each Month? appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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Dear Penny: I’ve Paid Down $22K of Debt. Why Doesn’t My Credit Score Show It?

Dear T.,

You’ve improved your credit score by 72 points. You’ve paid off $22,000 worth of debt. You asked me what you’re doing wrong. I’d counter that you’re obviously doing something right.

Your credit score isn’t the GPA of your finances. It’s not a measure of your overall fiscal health. It’s simply a number that helps lenders gauge your likelihood of becoming delinquent or defaulting on debt. 

Sometimes what’s good for your finances has a minimal effect on your credit score. Paying off debt, in some cases, is one of those moves: Sure, it’s smart, but it won’t always cause your score to skyrocket.

With credit scores, not all debt is treated equally. Racking up — and subsequently paying off — debt on a credit card or line of credit — will have the most effect. The amount of credit you’re using is a key factor too. Known as your credit utilization ratio, it accounts for 30% of your FICO score, which is the scoring model most lenders use. 

Keeping this number below 30% will help your credit score, though 0% is the ideal number.

So yeah, if you told me you’d paid off $22,000 worth of credit card debt, I’d be somewhat surprised that you haven’t gotten more of a boost, provided that your limits haven’t changed.

But loans don’t factor into your credit utilization ratio. So if you’ve reduced your car loan, mortgage or student loan by $22,000, you could expect less of an impact to your score.

In fact, paying off loans can even hurt your score in the short term by lowering your average length of credit and changing your credit mix when you close your accounts. (Ignore your score for a few months in this scenario. It will bounce back.)

But the factor that matters most of all to FICO is your payment history, which determines 35% of your score. There are no quick fixes if you’ve made late payments or missed them altogether, because the negative information stays on your credit reports for seven years. 

Harsh? Yes. But the good news is the effect on your credit score is most acute in the first two years. Assuming that you’re now making on-time payments, your score will gradually improve as you build positive history and the damage fades.

In the meantime, here are a few suggestions for jumpstarting your score.

Apply for new credit — either through a new credit card or raising the limit on an existing one — and pay off the balance in full each month. Increasing your overall credit while chipping away at your balances will lower your credit utilization ratio. 

You may be denied for a traditional credit card since your score is still in the 500s. If that happens, apply for a secured credit card. You’ll have to put down a refundable deposit and use that as your credit limit. If you make on-time payments for a year or so, your bank will probably let you switch to an unsecured card.

If you’re paying off both credit cards and loans, you might want to prioritize the credit cards. Just keep the accounts open after you finish paying off the balance.

Also, make sure you’ve checked your credit reports and not just your score. About 1 in 5 credit reports contain errors, and getting inaccurate information removed is one of the fastest fixes for your score.

A final piece of advice: For now, try not to focus too much on your credit score. Focus instead on your overall financial health, which is no doubt improving as you pay off debt. A healthier credit score will develop over time.

Robin Hartill is a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder and the voice behind Dear Penny. Send your questions about credit scores to AskPenny@thepennyhoarder.com.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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How Insatiable Overcame All That Bad Press to Return for a Second Helping

Debby Ryan, InsatiableWhether you were craving it or not, Insatiable is back for more.
Over a year after Netflix’s pitch black beauty pageant dramedy debuted to much consternation over just what sort of…

Fashion Brand Presented Mass Shooting-Themed Hoodies With Bullet Holes In It, Face Massive Backlash

One of the most horrible things that anyone can do is capitalize on tragedies and the bear of others. New-York based style label Bstroy prompted curves of cruelty after it showed that profit and courtesy are far more important for it than common decency.

The brand Bstroy recently introduced its 2020 spring attire accumulation at a manner indicate. Among the clothes presented there are still hoodies featuring the names of institutions of abominable shootings, as well as bullet loopholes. This move, which has been described as’ tasteless’ and’ disgusting, ’ established a backlash among internet users, as well as school shooting survivors.

Scroll down for Bored Panda’s strong in-depth interview with 19 -year-old Angelina Lazo, a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, about her foresees on the manner brand’s controversial hoodies. Angelina likewise shared what happened to her and her friends during the shooting that took place in 2018.

A dres brand presented academy filming hoodies at a fad demonstrate and started massive cruelty


Image recognitions: Bstroy.us

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Image credits: Bstroy.us

The hoodies had the calls’ Sandy Hook, ’’ Columbine, ’’ Virginia Tech, ’ and’ Marjory Stoneman Douglas, ’ seamed on their fronts. 26 beings were killed at Sandy Hook, 13 parties at Columbine High School, 32 at Virginia Tech, and 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Most internet users thought that what the pattern label did was’ unethical’ and’ erroneous, ’ however, some individuals rushed to the brand’s defense by stating that it _meant_ to create outrage and generate advertisement for the firearm question in the United States.

Bstroy co-founder and designer Brick Owens announced the following statement about the clothing line on Instagram: “Sometimes life can be painfully sarcastic. Like the irony of dying violently in a plaza you regarded as an safe, limited medium, like clas. We are prompted all the time of life’s fragility, shortness, and unpredictability more we are also reminded of its infinite potential.”

The label was criticized for being insensitive about the subject of school shootings

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Mass shootings happen regularly in the United Mood, and so far little has been done to curb them. Harmonizing to CNN, the deadliest shooting happened In Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, when a crap-shooter killed 58 people after shelling from the 32 nd storey of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

The second deadliest incident happened in Orlando on June 12, 2016, when an attacker killed 49 beings at a lesbian nightclub. While the third deadliest US shooting happened on April 16, 2007, when a student killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. ABC News writes “that theres” 19 mass filming in the US since the start of 2019.


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Bored Panda spoke to Angelina from Parkland, Florida, who survived a shooting, to hear her judgments about the clothing brand’s indifferent hoodies. “My firstly thoughts when I determine these hoodies was: “This must be a sick joke.” I firstly visualized a little article on Facebook with a hoodie that said Columbine on it and my stomach sank.”

“I probed this firebrand on Instagram, and sure as shooting I recognized my school’s name. It’s particularly indifferent. I was pathetic but time enraged at the fact that they are perhaps making a profit from these. From a tragedy that thousands of us now have lifelong trauma, whether it’s a mass photographing or everyday grease-gun cruelty that happens in communities we don’t hear about. It obliged me so sad that whatever this’ brand’ is have had an opportunity to the nerve to do something like this without thinking about the victims and survivors. My friend did die in a hoodie and it hurts my heart.”

Angelina stated that what the fad firebrand did “eraged” her whole community in South Florida to the point that the comment she posted was in the news.

“I think that they should give them down, ” she am talking about the hoodie photos. “If they already formed benefit, send the money back to the communities who were adversely affected. Donate the money to the families of the victims. They need to immediately apologize to the communities.”

“There are so many ways to portray the top they’re trying to form, and they represented it in the most insensitive behavior probable. It’s disgusting and no one should defend their lack of judgment. I’ve had friends who reported their posts because it’s not something we as survivors, need to be seeing. It’s hard enough to see school shooting memes all over the internet, but for some’ brand’ to immediately situate the names of the schools on hoodies with what is supposed to be bullet punctures, is beyond disgusting and needs to be reported and taken down on the internet.’

Furthermore, Angelina shared her sentiment about what could be done to stop gun violence in the United Regime. “The first step to stopping these mass shootings is restricting aggression artilleries for citizens to use. The artillery used in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting was an AR-1 5. These shoots are made to kill.”

“Our law enforcement and military are trained, keyword improved, to use these killing machines. Some say it’s for hunting. If used in hunting, it breaks the meat and conceal of the animal, forming it worthless. Some say it’s for shield. From which is what? What possibly can an average citizen come across in their everyday life that you are required to a semi-automatic assault rifle? In 1994, the Federal Assault Weapons Ban was put into place. In the ten years that the ban was active, 12 happens took place with 89 demises. From 2004 to 2014, ten years after the ban expired, deaths rose up to 302. We need background checks and longer waiting periods.”

“There’s no reason you need a handgun right then and there when you buy it as if you were buying groceries. All territories need the red flag law, which is a gun control law that tolerates police or family members to petition a state field to succession the temporary removal of pistols from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves, ” Angelina carried her feelings. “In what I experienced, the crap-shooter was reported to the school and law enforcement many times. Yet no one did anything.”

“If we had the red flag law, the shooter’s shoots would have been taken away from many reports of them being a threat way before the shooting ever existed. This is something that assistances everyday artillery savagery. So numerous people fucking gun who shouldn’t. Who are either a threat to parties around them or to themselves. I’m not the type of person to say, take out all shoots. No. We have a 2nd amendment for a rationale. I just think you everyday citizen doesn’t need a military-grade weapon that was designed to kill in the fastest nature possible.”

Angelina also told Digested Panda about a shooting that took place in her academy on February 14, 2018: “I did not want to go to school. It was Valentine’s Day and I knew I wouldn’t be coming anything from anyone. I woke up late and went into school sometime during my lunchtime. After that, I went to my AP government class where we were preparing for our measure about Interest Groups. Specifically, likewise learning about the NRA.”

“I was told that the school had a fire drill early that morning. I expected my teacher to use the bathroom but it was getting close to the end of the school day and they usually don’t allow it 10 minutes before the buzzer doughnuts. Now that I look back, I would have intersected footpaths with the crap-shooter as they were running. The fire alarm went off and I grabbed my containers, then we all expelled as we normally do for a fuel drill. I was on the other side of campus, so we didn’t know or examine “whats going on”. As we expelled, I participated kids running towards the americans and educators telling us to run.”

“I didn’t know what was going on until my mommy called me crying saying that there’s an active shooter. I was taken by surprise because I thoughts, how does my mummy who’s in the car line know that and not me? After we got off the telephone, I seemed around and recognized other kids on their phones with loved ones telling them the same thing. I felt the crowd tense up and get frenzied all at once.”

“We heard helicopters and heard SWAT everywhere. We were ranging towards the Walmart down wall street and we had to hold onto a chain-link fence, going one by one, so we wouldn’t fall into the canal next to us, ” Angelina continued the painful narrative. “I got a call from my papa who find on the report who the crap-shooter was so I can tell my friends since the shooter wasn’t caught yet and could possibly be running with us in the crowd and may or may not still be armed. Regulation imposition was told the shooter was in the area and didn’t want any shift, so my friends and I, along with hundreds of others had to sit on the grass in front of the Walmart where wall street was.”

“Almost two hours later, the crap-shooter was caught and we were able to go home after establishing our information to law enforcement. I was in shock and didn’t know that this could be real. It wasn’t until I got home and turned on the news that I started feeling sentiments other than being in shock. My brother came home from secondary school and was looking for me to make sure I was there. I’ll never forget the look of succor on his face when he saw me at home.”

“That night, my friend was still missing, it wasn’t until the next morning that he was confirmed one of child victims. I retain ceasing the remote and really crying. I remember the working day back to academy after the shooting about two weeks later and ensure his empty desk. I retain the feeling of adrenaline and collapse when we evacuated and not knowing what’s going on. I retain the hurt in my chest when I went to my friend’s funeral. I remember the numbness I felt when I hear all 17 victims faces on the information. The exasperation I felt towards people who thought it was a conspiracy or forge. No one understands until a loved one dies in a grim path. Gun violence happens every day and it needs to come to an end.”

What do you think about what the brand did? What do “youre thinking about” the gun question in the US? Let us know in the comments below.

School shooting survivors and family members who lost loved ones were livid


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Some beings thought that the style symbol returned attention to the problem of gun violence in the US

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