Dear Penny: I Have $700K, but Spending Gives Me Panic Attacks

Dear Penny: I Have $700K, but Spending Gives Me Panic Attacks

Dear Penny,

I’m a 61-year-old woman with $700,000 saved for retirement. I own my own home (with a mortgage), and I have more than five months of daily expenses in a cash account. I have a few investment accounts in addition to the cash and I basically follow a 60/20/20 budget for my after-tax and after-retirement dollars.  

Why can’t I stop freaking out about money? I save for home repairs, and then freak out when I write the check. I save for a new car and then freak out when it’s time to buy it. I HAVE THE MONEY.

I’m not poor, but I have been cash poor in the past. I have always saved for retirement, but I can’t stop freaking out. And by freaking out, I mean literally days of heart-pounding panic attacks where Xanax is my only friend.  

How do other people handle this? 


Dear L.,

Fear is healthy to a degree. It’s what makes us wear our seatbelts and avoid dark alleys at night. Some level of money-related fear is also a good thing. If you didn’t worry there was a chance you’d run out of it, why wouldn’t you spend every dollar?

But there’s a big difference between healthy fear and the serious anxiety that you’re experiencing. An advice columnist is no substitute for mental health treatment. Whatever you do, it’s essential that you discuss your anxiety with a professional.

I wish I could tell you that $700,000 is more than enough for you. But that wouldn’t be an honest answer. There’s no way I can tell you with certainty that any level of savings is a guarantee you’ll never run out of money. Even billionaires wind up in bankruptcy court. But there’s plenty you can do to reduce the risk of whatever outcome you fear.

Financial health isn’t just about any one number. That $700,000 could be more than enough if you live in a low-cost area and plan to work for several more years. But if you live in Manhattan, you want to retire next year and people in your family frequently live past 100, it could leave you woefully short. Context is what matters here. The amount you have saved is meaningless without knowing your lifestyle, goals and concerns.

What I’m wondering is how much actual planning you’ve done beyond just saving. Do you have an age in mind for when you want to retire? Have you thought about when you’ll take Social Security? Do you plan to stay in your home and, if so, will you be mortgage-free by the time you retire?

All of this may seem overwhelming to think about when money already causes you so much stress. But worrying constantly plays a mind trick on you. You spend so much brain space and energy on worrying that it can feel like you’re actually taking action.

I want you to do what seems counterintuitive and think about the absolute worst-case scenarios. But I don’t want you doing this alone. I’d urge you to meet with a financial adviser, since you have the means to do so.

Write down your biggest fears so that you can discuss them together. Are you afraid of outliving your savings? Are you worried the market will crash right as you’re about to retire? Or that health care costs will eat up your retirement budget?

A financial adviser doesn’t have any special sourcery that can guarantee none of these things will happen. What they can do, though, is help you reduce the risk of those worst-case scenarios. If you’re worried about running out of money, they can help you plan how much you’ll safely be able to withdraw from retirement accounts and when you should take Social Security. Of course they can’t stop a stock market crash from happening, but they can make sure your investments are safely allocated based on your goals.

It sounds like you’re someone with a low risk tolerance, which means you probably want to invest conservatively. Perhaps a good investment for you would be to pay off that mortgage using a chunk of that savings. Will it be scary to fork over that much money at once? Of course, especially since the interest savings will probably pale compared to your investment returns. But if you can sleep more soundly knowing that what’s probably your biggest expense is taken care of, it could be worth it. I’m not saying that’s something you should absolutely do, but it’s worth discussing with your financial pro.

I suspect that when you think realistically about your worst-case scenarios, you’ll realize things aren’t as dire as you imagined. Suppose for some reason you had to quit working tomorrow. Your plans for retirement would probably change significantly. But at the same time, you wouldn’t be left without food or a home.

You say you’ve been cash poor in the past. Yet you overcame that and even managed to save for retirement when you didn’t have much money. You aren’t doomed to repeat your past.

I think if you do what’s scary and face your fears head-on — with the help of both a financial and a mental health professional — you can reduce the anxiety you feel about money. That’s not to say you’ll never worry about money again. But you can get to a place where fears about money aren’t dominating your life.

Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].

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.

COVID 2.0: Large-scale vaccination, not shutdown

It has been eight months since she spent a few nightmarish epoches in a hospital, but Purnasneha Sundaramahalingam, a 25 -yearold editor in Chennai, still cannot make three flights of stairs without feeling altogether depleted. The exercising times that deterred her going in the initial months of the lockdown are a no-go because she knows it will leave her tired for the rest of the day. Sundaramahalingam first were positive for Covid-1 9 in June 2020. Untitled Carousel 8172714 6“The four periods I spent in hospital, I could feel my nerve vanquish vigorously. My blood pressure was up and I was coughing … I would never bid it upon anyone, ” she says. The evidences did not leave even after she was accomplished from research hospitals. “It was very scary because I don’t have comorbidity controversies, I’m somewhat healthy, ” says Sundaramahalingam, a survivor of long Covid, who had debilitating fatigue for months afterwards.Move to Gurgaon. Aman Saha( call converted on request ), 40, lost her employment during flower lockdown when the HR head of the costume export firm, where he was working, asked him to resign, citing the company’s mounting losings. When unlocking began and flights resumed, the first thing he did was vacate his rented housing in a ritzy society of the millennium city and fly back to his hometown, Kolkata, where he has a house of his own. 8172673 8D uring the last six months, Saha has taken up a few consultancy assignings, even as he is furiously looking forward to a stable undertaking. It seems like a return of that harrowing duration from a year-ago for Sundaramahalingam and Saha, who are staring at India’s rising Covid amounts with uneasines. A time after India went into a national lockdown, dubbed one of the most restrictive in the world, the country is anxiously watching the rising curve of Covid counts, with new daily actions stroking the highs seen in 2020. On Friday, India reported 62,336 new Covid-1 9 contingencies in the past 24 hours, the highest daily rise since October. Such a striking flood of Covid events has set off alarm bells in Delhi’s corridors of power. This time, the government could change the dose of involvements from coarse to mild. After all, another round of national lockdown will derail the newcomer economic recovery. The nomad labourers are back at work, factories are whirring and the collect of goods and services( GST) duty, an indicator of intake, has been impressive in the last six months with the January figure, at Rs 1.2 lakh crore, rising to an all-time high. At this stage, the central government does not appear to be in favour of haphazard regional shutdowns or nighttime curfews even if they are positions such as Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have of late resorted to such quick sets. The Centre’s blueprint, according to policemen in the know, has five key components — methodical testing, containment and surveillance, clinical caution, Covid-appropriate behaviour and, above all, a big vaccination drive to combat the virus, thereby bypassing a rigid quantify like lockdown. Elaborating on each of these components, NITI Aayog member and chairman of the government’s entitled group on Covid management, Dr Vinod K Paul, tells ET Magazine that the solution lies in delivering a combination of all these implements. “If all the available tools are used effectively, there should be very little need for more stringent measures such as a lockdown, ” he says, adding that the government is banking on a possible uptick in the render of inoculations. “Once approbation is given, Sputnik V inoculation will be made in India, possibly by as many as five makes. That is one clear reason for increased equip, ” says Paul. Currently, two inoculations, Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, are being administered million dosages was a matter domestically, with another 60 million going exported to 77 commonwealths. The government’s decision this week to allow people above persons under the age of 45 years to get the jab was mostly driven by two factors. One, 88% of all Covid-related deaths in India were in the 45 years-plus list, and two, the government expects that more vaccine applicants will get approval soon in India. In addition to Russia’s Sputnik V, Bharat Biotech’s nasal vaccine and Cadila Zydus’ vaccine are at the threshold of going approved. Clearly, in terms of Covid management, large-scale vaccination , not lockdown, seems to be the new mantra. “When dangers are unknown, it is better to overreact and impose a lockdown. 8172674 2 A year ago that was precisely done. Now we know much more about the pandemic, panic is less and management strategies are much more clearer, ” says Shailesh Pathak, chief executive officer of L& T Infrastructure Development Projects, adding that both the Indian economy and his companionship have shown huge resilience, as the bounce-back is much better than what most people have expected. Dr Jayaprakash Muliyil, chairmen of the technical members of the advisory committee of the National Institute of Epidemiology, admonishes against the reimposition of lockdowns as a means to curb the spread of the virus. 8172675 6 “I think wearing a mask is sufficient. Lockdowns make it convenient for officials to throw their weight around. It’s a bad habit, it’s undemocratic and it’s not needed. There’s no reason anyone should go into lockdown.” Meanwhile, the Madhya Pradesh government has extended its Sunday lockdown to four more cities — Betul, Chhindwara, Ratlam and Khargone — taking the total cities under lockdown in the district to seven. Since early this month, Bhopal, Indore and Jabalpur have been under lockdown. “There seems to be a change in the behaviour of the virus — those who are staying at home are getting more polluted, compared with earlier. The young are also getting fouled but certainly fatality is not as high it was earlier, ” says Dr Salil Bhargava, professor of respiratory prescription at MGM Medical College, Indore, the first Covid hospital in Madhya Pradesh. But what is helpful this time around, he says, is that there is no shortage of healthcare staff. “The health care system is able to function without being over-burdened as numerous are vaccinated and well-trained. Also, only those who really need it are being hospitalised.” Maharashtra CM has announced a darknes curfew from March 28. Last month, a lockdown was announced in Amravati and Achalpur. However, all such restrictive-yet-porous interventions can’t help much in control the dissemination of the virus. These assess be brought to an end disrupting ply bonds and stalling the regular spring of businesses. These will likewise cause new troubles for enterprises that root raw materials from multiple centres and have business across various states and metropolis. Harsh Goenka, chairman of RPG Enterprises, recalls that during meridian lockdown last year, he had to look into various the sectors where things could go wrong due to cascading effect. “There were numerous’ what if’ questions that needed addressing. What if Covid controls feigned an part production line? What if require decreased 25%? What if our SME suppliers couldn’t supply the raw material? What if position borders were closed for goods bring? What if collects dropped by 50%? What if utilities were starved of fuel? The scenarios were endless, ” he says. While there is near-unanimity that stringent measures would jeopardise the livelihood of millions of Indians, experts and policymakers is further concerned about the galloping number of Covid lawsuits. “The pace at which cases are increasing is what is really agitating and I would have been happier if numbers had abode at about 10,000 daily new cases in India, which is where we seemed to have been put at for a few weeks, ” says Gautam Menon, professor at Ashoka University’s department of physics and biology, who has been closely tracking Covid numbers. Added to this, he says, is the fact that the increase is no longer confined to one or two states. “That we are seeing a big jump in Covid disputes in states and cities that have better surveillance on average even as states that neighbour them are not reporting significant increases is worrying.” Dr K Srinath Reddy, chairwoman, Public Health Foundation of India, ascribes this rise partly to the complacency that followed the steady dropped in the number of cases and demises during the last three months. “Public health prudences were being abandoned in terms of both personal action and administrative switches. The virus ever spreads much more in areas with more fiscal exploitation, greater urbanisation and a lot of mobility and hurtle — it has a great opportunity( to spread ), as we are seeing in Maharashtra.” Doctors from Mumbai, he says, are declared that the virus seems to be spreading faster but with less indications. “This is not surprising because when the virus has infected a large number of people who are suggestible and the others are taking prudences or have been inoculated, the virus adapts to spread faster but with less virulence, to sustain its genus without exhausting the host categories, ” he says. 8172676 9Dr Muliyil of the National Institute of Epidemiology points out that almost all the other countries has been facing this kind of double or triple top. For a country of India’s size, the seroprevalence, distributed according to inspections done by the Indian Council of Medical Research( ICMR ), was not that high. “We expected seroprevalence in urban areas to be 60% and in rural areas to be 40%, which would return us adequate immunity to prevent large-scale eruptions. We never reached that.”Lockdown: A FLASHBACKWe decided we would not lay off parties or cut payments: Stern Goenka, Chairman, RPG Enterprises, Age: 63 years l Location: Mumbai 8172814 7The pandemic descended all too sudden and no one was prepared for the immediate connections. The lockdown which followed soon after brought everything to a stoppage. We had to quickly reorient and focus on our priorities. The first and foremost priority was self-protection and the security of its those around us. After beings decided down in the safety of their homes and reorganised their everyday decorations, we altered focus to business continuity. This was a critical step that would decide the fate of our business over the next year and more. The third and equally important step was about our responsibilities to civilization in general and to the communities we dish. This three-pronged response has been the key to our navigating the pandemic. We had decided that we would not lay off people or cut payments. On the contrary, we sacrificed increments in the early part of this year. There was mayhem in the job market with job losses and salary strokes — and the media was full of fibs of distress. We had lived through countless crisis in the past and we trusted our inclinations that if our beings were comforted and reassuring, they would find a way through all this. For mental well-being, we started counselling discussions for our parties, and for physical fitness we had our manager fitness policeman supplying online daily workouts and gratuities. Numerous outreach programmes were started to engage with the families and these group periods proved to be excellent emotional support to many.We realised early on that we had to variabilise our costs to the best extent. Task forces were put into action and we placed ourselves ambitious targets on rate. Some costs, like movement and consumables, went shortened automatically while some others which were non-essential were cut. We delayered the organisation, brought in better distances of sovereignty and improved overall efficiencies. We went back to elementaries with zero locate budgeting and strict monitoring. What we didn’t trimmed were wastes on invention, sell, R& D and hiring talent. Over the past few years, we had already invested in augmenting our digital capabilities across the spectrum of the organization — from digital labs to showcasing remote project progress to buyers via tech implements, hot-desking in departments and plants and a task from anywhere( WFA) programme. Despite the pandemic there has been no drop in productivity or output and it reposes my sect in people. We announced India’s firstly permanent WFA policy, which will be effective even after the pandemic is withdraw. I am humbled to say that we bagged India’s most coveted invention give, the ET Innovation Award for 2020, during this most difficult period which is a testimony to our trust on invention during these times.We grouped scenarios into cynical, reasonable and idealistic. Supply chain and logistics were the main impediments which needed innovative solutions. Besides, there were several areas where things could go wrong due to the cascading effect. There were countless “what if” questions that needed addressing. What if Covid restrictions feigned an entire production line? What if necessitate decreased 25%? What if our SME suppliers couldn’t supply the raw material? What if state frontiers were closed for goods bring? What if collects has decreased by 50%? What if practicalities were starved of oil? The situations were limitless. I would say my biggest learning from the pandemic has been how pliable the human spirit is and how at a time like this our social conscience comes to the fore and we are intending to attain huge relinquishes in order to alleviate the suffering of others.————————————————————————————What moved me a good deal was the gratitude of my patients: Dr Bornali Datta, Director, respiratory prescription, Medanta Age: 48 liter Location: Delhi-NCR 8172816 8When the lockdown started in march, we doctors continued to go to the hospital every day but cases weren’t coming unless there was an emergency. I had never seen the hospital so deserted — it was almost like a phantom municipality. There was an overwhelming sense of dread about what turn things would take. Covid-1 9 patients started coming in around April and with bags surging in May, five-six floorings of the hospital were dedicated to Covid. At that time , no one knew what to expect, what worked. There was zero ground for any medication. Remdesivir, developed for Ebola, began to be used for Covid. Then in mid-June, both my husband and I get Covid. Thankfully, my indications were mild but after a week, my husband, too a doctor, began developing more manifestations and had to be admitted. These daylights I can confidently reassure my patients that they will get better because the vast majority do well but, back then, we didn’t know that. He came better after five days, but it was a harrowing experience. After I rejoined, it was the busiest time in my part busines. We were working seven days a week, our telephones were on all the time. It was an extremely difficult time because the patient was alone and isolated, the family was stressed out. But all the doctors and nurses in my team just wreaked and succeeded. I felt privileged to be able to give that service and be part of that fraternity. Now, after a slump of three months, occurrences are on the rise again. But now that we understand the virus better, our anxieties have reduced. Ultimately, we have to co-exist with the illnes, with suitable medicines and vaccines.In the last one year, we all went through a lot of psychological disruption. What moved me a great deal was the grateful of cases, even after I had told them I was just doing my job. One particular incident stands out: There was a young man who had got admitted with Covid just after cremating his father. You can imagine his psychological condition. Fortunately, he recovered fully. When he came for his final follow-up, he said he had been told physicians don’t like to touch patients. But the fact that I had kept my hand on his shoulder stimulated him feel he could cope. It was such a little thing but it symbolized so much to him. It emphasised the core of what drug is about — doctors taking care of patients.—————————————————————————————-As I contact home, my two-year-old coos out,’ Amma … Sanitiser: Dr Divya S Iyer, Kerala State Mission Director, MGNREGS Age: 36 liter Location: Thiruvananthapuram 8172817 0I recollect writing an essay on “The Importance of Hand Washing”, paying an ode to the practice exhorted by the Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis in the 19 th century. It was an essay-writing competition at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, where I was a medical student, course back in 2004. There is no denying that I was over the moon when I became a prize-winner then. But 15 years later, to witness the results of put it into practice in public health, has been more than heartening; it propels itself into being one of the most remarkable knowledge in my occupation. When the Covid-1 9 pandemic are in its nascent stagecoach, the district of Kerala sprang into action with a multipronged policy to rein in the monster, the most notable being the Break the Chain campaign that was set in motion much before the mandate on wearing masks and social distancing came into being. As the State Mission Director of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme( MGNREGS ), I recollect touring worksites, promoting suitable hand-washing procedures, and nudging the 20 lakh-strong workforce to be the messengers of hygiene in their home communities. That 90% of our beneficiaries are women unquestionably helped us in going families onboard to act as the fundamental unit of awareness initiation. I retain receiving phone calls from citizens in those early days of the pandemic, seeking advice on precautionary measures. I believe that it is this heightened regime of health-seeking behaviour among our citizens that enabled the mood of Kerala to withstand the onslaught of Covid-1 9 infections, owing to its large NRI population and high population density, which make it a highly vulnerable state. Yet, it was interesting to note that mortality and morbidity due to other communicable diseases have significantly come down during the pandemic time — the silver lining of which being the reinvention of self-hygiene for mankind. The epoches I acted as the commanding officer for Covid actions in the following areas witnessed my shielded presence in containment zones interspersing with a sanitised presence at home, which included my baby, who was one-year-old then, and aged parents. The climax of the year was a particularly challenging period when I experimented Covid-positive, and was under quarantine with my lad who soon adapted to the fact that his mother had to mask up and glove up in order to breastfeed him. Even today, as I get back home, my two-year-old foolishly gazes out for me with hungry seeings and coos out loud, “Amma … sanitiser.” We have indeed successfully fostered a generation that is more hygieneconscious than any of the previous generations, albeit with a ponderous cost to have paid for that.Writer is an IAS officer. Vistums are personal——————————————————————————————–Pandemic helped me shape my horrors& work on my strengths: Nitasha Nayak, Teacher, Global Public School l Age: 43 liter Location: Kochi 8172818520 20 was paradoxical in a manner that was — we faced a world pandemic and a recession, but it was also the year that uttered some of us time to reboot and relive “peoples lives”. When the lockdown began, it was hard to adjust to the very intuition of being cloistered in our dwellings even if they are the edict was expected. With zero social interaction, I felt anxious and restless. To cut down on the feeling and wearines, we started binge-eating and binge-watching! By May last year, the residence front was under control but there were apprehensions and unpredictability regarding wield. With Covid cases at its top, the probability of schools opening in June was remote. Online teaching was a completely new zone for all of us. The question — what if I am not capable of catering to the needs of my pupils — always poised above me. I am rightfully grateful to my clas for steering me and the rest of my tribe each step of the practice. Everything was meticulously planned by the core team and various online workshops were arranged for all the schoolteachers. To let go of the solaces of teaching in a classroom and tread on the online education stage was a battle that needed faith, resolution and perseverance.And thus began my brand-new live in 2020! It took me sometime to strike a balance between managing work at school and work at home. I can proudly said here today that the pandemic taught me to be more responsible and punishment. One of the most positive things was meeting our students. Their cherished and prosperity were a real morale booster. It was amazing to see children accommodated so quickly to the online mode. From being their favourite in school , now our roles had changed to being a part of their family. Reopening of academies in June is uncertain but now I are certain of taking on whatever comes my lane, thanks to the nearly year-long training and experience. This pandemic facilitated me overcome my suspicions, save aside my feelings and is currently working on my persuasiveness. It taught me to be grateful for all the little things in living, to have faith and worked very hard to than customary to achieve my goals.

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Questrade vs Virtual Brokers: 2021 Broker Showdown

This Questrade vs Virtual Brokers 2021 comparison is a battle between Canada’s two lowest cost full-service discount brokerages, and a look at two of my top recommendations for Canadian expats (the other one being Ci Direct, which is a robo advisor).  If you want to check the full range of DIY investing options, I recommend…

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Sequoia raises $195 million for second seed fund to back entrepreneurs in India and Southeast Asia

Seed funds are typically the first round of official fund that entrepreneurs invoke in exchange for equity.

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Do you know why you invest the way you do? Check out my WHYs

In his best-selling book Start with Why, Simon Sinek writes about how people won’t genuinely buy a product, service, gesture, or theme until they understand the WHY behind it. This got me thinking about investing, and if I truly understood and am in tune with the WHY behind it.Do all of us indeed think deeply about the specific objectives behind the financing decisions that we make at any time? I decided to test this out and tried to put down the WHYs behind my asset decisions and my clarity of asset classes.While writing this, some of these WHYs made me by surprise and some established me genuinely foresee before perfectly characterizing them. I hope it realizes you think, re-assess or become more aware of different aspects of investing and personal finance.Why time I go for Financial Planning? To achieve destinations like retirement, children’s education, buying a car, a trip and match other monetary aims with least sum of stress.Why equity? It’s a simple theory; owneds deserve more than employees.Why diversification? Not all owneds will succeed.Why mutual funds? Most investors do not have the time, knowledge, intensity, or liking towards many asset categories and for investing.Why active monies? Because mutual fund managers with its own experience, acquaintance and strong units have the potential to beat the market.Why passive monies? Because despite accusing costs in actively finagled mutual funds, there is no guarantee that mutual fund overseers will be able to beat the market.Why largecap capitals and monies? They are relatively stable firms, experienced conduct, can better manage economic downturns, have better access to capital and human resources.( Relative to midcaps& smallcaps) Why Midcaps& Smallcaps? They give better upside capacities, and a few of them is gonna be future largecaps.Why flexi-cap funds? This category has all three largecaps, midcaps, and smallcaps in one portfolio.Why international assets? Because, Indian stock market is less than 3 per cent of the entire world stock market.Why patience? Because from the flower of 1992 to 2003 the equity grocery caused no return for 11 years.Why long term? Maths. Because in the magic formula of deepening, go is exponential.Why fixed income? In 2008, when the equity sell chastised more than 50 per cent of cases, the fixed income resources behaved as shock absorber.Why a core fixed income portfolio of’ AAA’ securities? Because the credit risk is low and the portfolio is well diversified with high quality borrowers.Why money market funds? To control short-term needs.Why gold? When parties lose faith in fiat money, the yellowed metal does well.Why real estate? It pays inflation-beating returns on a long-term basis along with added benefit of safety and security.Why emergency fund? Because the world is uncertain.Why life insurance? Because death is certain, but the timing is uncertain.Why health insurance now? No insurance company will easily give you policy after you fall ill.Why SIP? Because we are lazy and don’t have the study to invest every month.Why retirement saving? Because life is long and children are not our retirement fund.Why resource rationing? Because it helps deal with all fiscal situations and can ensure peace of mind.Why spend? Because, it imparts pleasure and satisfaction.Why save? For ongoing joy and happiness in the future.Why go for a financial consultant? Very few people have the psychological intelligence to organize finances on their own.Why no cryptocurrency? Because it is highly volatile, and doesn’t have the backing of the government guarantee, doesn’t have a track record or biography like golden, there is an operational risk of holding it, and there is a risk of permanent capital erosion.Albert Einstein famously said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself”. And this can only happen if one starts with a WHY? I hope this exercise of predict my WHYs has given you some perspective about your own WHYs. The WHY can also help weed out ideas and investments that may not suit one’s risk appetite, values and goals and helps in having clarity and build conviction on a monetary decision.Financial stress is the biggest stress in most people’s lives. So next time you save, invest, or hope a foreign journey, start it with a WHY ?( Amit Grover is AVP, training at DSP Mutual Fund. Views are his own)

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Afriex raises $1.2M seed to scale its payments and remittances platform across Africa

Sending money from the U.S. to Nigeria can be a painstaking process. For remittance programmes like Western Union, it will cost a move fee and take between one to five business periods for money send from a U.S. debit card to enter a Nigerian bank account.

Crypto remittance programmes are rising to the challenge of fixing these cross-border payment questions by reducing time and costs. Precisely yesterday, we talked about Flux, a Nigerian fintech solving this problem in the present YC W2 021 quantity. Today, another YC-backed startup, Afriex — but from the Summer 2020 batch — is raising a $1.2 million grain round.

The company founded by Tope Alabi and John Obirije in 2019 provides instant, zero-fee commits to Africans at home and in the diaspora. It allows users to deposit cash on the app, send coin to a bank account or another user, and withdraw fund to a connected bank or debit card.

Like other crypto remittance pulpits, Afriex has built its business on stablecoins — cryptocurrency backed by the dollar. In essence, the company buys cryptocurrency in one country and sells it in another to offer better exchange rates. This is in contrast to better-known pulpits like Western Union and Wise that use traditional banking systems.

Last year while the startup graduated from YC, it claimed to be processing about $500,000 per month in busines fees and is used in over 30 countries. At the time, Afriex was only present in Nigeria and the U.S. But having started actions in Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda, Afriex claims to be processing millions of dollars each month. On its website, though, Afriex states that customers can only send money to and from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Canada, and the U.S.

With the brand-new speculation, the Lagos and San Francisco-based startup is looking to scale up by growing the team and expanding to other markets.

Pan-African VC firm Launch Africa headed the seed round. Other investors include Y Combinator, SoftBank Opportunity Fund, Future Africa, Brightstone VC, Processus Capital, Uncommon Ventures, A$ AP Capital, Precursor Ventures, and Ivernet Holdings. Angel investors like Russell Smith, Mandela Schumacher-Hodge Dixon, Furqan Rydhan, and Andrea Vaccari also took part.

The SoftBank Opportunity Fund, an owned subsidiary of the SoftBank Group, targets founders of color in the U.S. moving early-stage startups. Since launching in June 2020, it has invested in 22 startups and Afriex seems to be the only one catering to a deep-seated of users in the US and another continent.

SoftBank opens $100 M+ Opportunity Growth Fund to invest in benefactors of complexion

This is due to Alabi’s upbringing as an immigrant child who has had a mix of both macrocosms. It was difficult to send money to Nigeria and its own experience as a blockchain make at Consensys made him recognize he had been able to solve a problem.

“We would go back home every two years and even then, I would ever take note of what was missing and what could be enhanced. I would find myself having to pay for foreign expenditures with fund that was sitting in a US bank account, ” said Alabi. “Traditional remittance firms were so gradual and expensive that I knew I could do it better with crypto. Remittance is the best and most important use case for crypto. Our goal is to build the world’s largest remittance company, starting with emerging markets.”

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The Ugly Truth About COVID

Nick Hudson, an actuary and private equity investor, co-founded Pandemics~ Data& Analytics( PANDA) in response to the many threats to civil rights and freedoms that have occurred during the COVID-1 9 pandemic response. While media and public health universities have engaged in a campaign of smoke and mirrors — one that is perpetuating paralyzing horror, needlessly, to this day — data and facts don’t lie.

Hudson and his team at PANDA, which include a data commentator, economist, “doctors “, big-hearted data psychoanalyst and public health professionals, are using live data1 and open science to entitle the public to activity freedom of choice and prolong free civilizations. 2

Hudson spoke at the inaugural BizNews Investment Conference in March 2021, and his keynote address is above. He interprets the ugly truth about COVID-1 9, which is that the world is being crippled by fear due to a inaccurate narration. Anyone who challenges that narrative is being labeled as a lunatic, a danger or a danger to society, which is furthering the repression and unjustified fear.

Bringing COVID-1 9 Truth to Light

George Washington famously said, “Truth will ultimately prevail where there are plans taken to impart it to light.”3 With that in attention, Hudson experienced the “seeds of a great tragedy” being embed with the inaccurate COVID-1 9 narrative, and has started it a mission to get the truth out. So, what is the reality about the pandemic? Harmonizing to Hudson: 4

A virus that presents high risk to few and unimportant gamble to most hit some regions

Few are susceptible to severe disease

There are several accessible treatments

Asymptomatic beings are not major motorists of disease

Lockdowns and mask authorizations haven’t ran and instead effected immense harm

The prone were hurt instead of helped

The misinformation has been spewed from the beginning, including by World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. In a March 3, 2020, media briefing, he territory, “Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-1 9 contingencies have died. By comparison, seasonal influenza generally kills far fewer than 1% of those infected.”5

But according to Hudson, the 3.4% represents suit fatality rate( CFR ), which is the number of deaths from COVID-1 9 divided by the number of cases of COVID-1 9, while the 1% is infection fatality rate( IFR ), or the number of deaths divided by all infected individuals.

“By conflating these two separate points( CFR and IFR ), ” Hudson said, “Tedros was effectively lying.” Quantitative scientist John Ioannidis, prof of medication at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, calculated the IFR for COVID-1 9 in a review of 61 seroprevalence studies, which was a median of 0.23%, and 0.05% in beings younger than 70.6

Based on this, the IFR for COVID-1 9 is lower than that of the flu. And wouldn’t you know it, in a New England Journal of Medicine editorial published March 26, 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases( NIAID ), and colleagues expressed the view that “the overall clinical consequences of Covid-1 9 may ultimately has become still more akin to those of a serious seasonal influenza.”7

The media have stifled this point, Hudson observed, along with the fact that there’s a 1,000 goes gap in mortality among the persons younger than 19 and those older than 70 — something that should have been taken into account in the pandemic response.

Is COVID-1 9 Really a’ Novel Virus’?

Further inflaming widespread horror is the idea that COVID-1 9 is a “novel virus, ” which impels it sound like it’s something humans “ve never” encountered before. But is it certainly? Harmonizing to Hudson 😛 TAGEND

“The reality is that the coronavirus is a very close relative , not even a separate subspecies, a very close relative of the 2003 SARS virus. There are seven referred coronaviruses known to cause disease in humans, probably many others, and four members of them is generally circulation.

Annual, global circulation. So the mention of this ailment is terribly inconsistent. Now a had increased by any figure, SARS. A discrepancy of SARS. It’s not novel.”

One study even pointed out that 81% of parties not exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that cases COVID-1 9, were still able to mount an immune response against it, which “suggests at least some built-in immune protection from SARS-CoV-2 … ”8

Nonetheless, Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical leading for the COVID-1 9 pandemic, stated that “a majority of the world’s population is prone to illnes from this virus.”9 This is the firstly of two key component that, Hudson said, lead to “homosapienophobia” — the idea that everyone is dangerous until established healthy.

The idea of universal susceptibility to COVID-1 9 is nonsense, Hudson memo, as was demonstrated early on with the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Among the 3,711 fares and crew onboard the Diamond Princess, 712( 19.2%) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and of these 46.5% were asymptomatic at the time of testing. Of those depicting indications, merely 9.7% required intensive care and 1.3%( nine) died. 10

PANDA data likewise showed that, starting in February 2021, there was not universal susceptibility to the virus. Their data pictured cumulative COVID-1 9 deaths per million people. In Africa, Southeast Asia and Oceania, the population fatality rate was 112 per million compared to 710 per million in Europe and the Americas.

As for Africa, Southeast Asia and Oceania, Hudson said, “the population fatality rate there virtually isn’t an epidemic. In a conventional year, they’d have 10,000 deaths per million from all causes.”

Dread Mongering Over Asymptomatic Spread

The second element that enables the doctrine of “everyone being a danger” to continue is the idea of asymptomatic spread driving canker. “I was absolutely aghast to find out the poor quality of the science” behind it, Hudson said.

One of the seminal papers involved one lady who were allegedly fouled 16 colleagues while she was asymptomatic. 11 The study was widely used to suggest that asymptomatic spread was coming, but arguing later ensued over whether the woman was actually asymptomatic when the others were infected or if she was symptomatic and is dealt with for flu-like evidences at the time. 12

In June 2020, Kerkhove also made it very clear that people who have COVID-1 9 without any manifestations “rarely” move the disease to others. But in a striking about-face, WHO then backtracked on the statement just one day later. June 9, 2020, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s emergencies curriculum, promptly backpedaled Van Kerkhove’s statement, saying the statements were “misinterpreted or perhaps we didn’t use the most elegant names to explain that.”1 3

“It’s utter, emit stupidity, ” Hudson said, adding that Fauci likewise stated in January 2020, “asymptomatic transmission has never been the motorist of eruptions. The operator of eruptions is always a symptomatic person.”1 4

A JAMA Network Open study last-minute obtain, in December 2020, that asymptomatic transmission is not a primary driver of infection within households. 15 A study in Nature Communications also ascertained “there was no evidence of transmission from asymptomatic positive someone to retraced close contacts.”1 6

Lockdown Madness

The myth of widespread asymptomatic spread is what was used to justify worldwide lockdowns of healthy parties. “Bruce Aylward will go down in autobiography as criminal matters of gigantic prominence, ” Hudson said, referring to Aylward’s role as heads of state of a WHO team that called Wuhan, China, and concluded lockdowns were working to stop COVID-1 9 spread. 17

“He takes a delegation to China, spends a few days, then comes back and says everyone should follow China’s response, the doctrine of universal susceptibility, ” Hudson said. Yet, prior to the COVID-1 9 pandemic official the guiding principles for pandemic response programs recommend against large-scale quarantine of the healthy.

In fact, WHO wrote that during an flu pandemic, quarantine of exposed individuals, entry and exit screening and strip ending are “not recommended in any circumstance.”1 8P TAGEND

Likewise, in 2021 a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation encountered no significant benefits on COVID-1 9 occurrence proliferation in regions expending more restricted nonpharmaceutical involvements( NPIs) such as mandatory stay-at-home and business shutdown seeks( i.e ., lockdowns ). 19

Data compiled by PANDA likewise observed no relationship between lockdowns and COVID-1 9 deaths per million people. The ailment followed a trajectory of linear slump regardless of whether or not lockdowns were imposed.

What isn’t a lie, however, is that lockdowns campaign a great deal of distres. Child mortality, privation, starvation and joblessness is on the increase, as are stalls in medical treatment and diagnosis, mental disorder among boy, suicide and deaths of despair.

Education has been stopped for an estimated 1.6 billion children, Hudson said, and a questionnaire of 2,000 U.S. adults revealed that 1 in 6 Americans started regiman for the first time during 2020. Almost half( 45%) of the survey respondents reconfirmed that the COVID-1 9 pandemic was the driving reason that triggered them to seek a therapist’s help. 20 Harmonizing to Hudson 😛 TAGEND

“Perhaps the hardest thing for me to swallow about all of this is in undergraduate epidemiology, it is a well-known finding that when you are confronted with a disease with sharp-worded perimeter graduation, as you are with coronavirus , appropriate measures to generally muffles the spread of the disease have the effects, reliably, of transfer the disease burden onto the vulnerable, who we should be protecting. They deteriorate coronavirus mortality.”

Mask Rhetoric Is Misleading

It’s been touted that face masks are essential to stopping the spread of COVID-1 9 and trying to save 130,000 lives in the U.S. alone. 21 But in 2019, the The world health organisation analyzed 10 randomized inhibited ordeals and concluded, “there was no evidence that facemasks are effective in reducing transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.”2 2

Only one randomized inhibited tribulation has been conducted on mask usage and COVID-1 9 dissemination, and it located cover-ups did not statistically significantly reduce the incidence of infection. 23

You may remember that in the early days of the pandemic, face disguises were not recommended for the general public. In February 2020, Christine Francis, a consultant for infection avoidance and control at WHO installations, was featured in a video, holding up a expendable face mask.

She said, “Medical concealments like this one cannot protect against the brand-new coronavirus when exerted alone … WHO only recommends the purpose of applying masks in specific cases.”2 4 As of March 31, 2020, WHO was still advising against the use of face masks for parties without indications, stating that there is “no evidence” that such mask usage frustrates COVID-1 9 dissemination. 25

But by June 2020, the rhetoric had changed. Citing “evolving evidence, ” WHO overturned their recommendation and began advising governments to encourage the general public to wear masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult. 26 Yet that very same day, June 5, 2020, WHO published an announcement stating: 27

“At present, there is no direct sign( from studies on COVID-1 9 and in healthy beings in the community) on the effectiveness of universal masking of healthy parties in the community to prevent infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID-1 9. ”

The U.S. Middles for Disease Control and Prevention did a same about-face on mask utilization, citing a study of two hair dressers in Missouri, who were reportedly symptomatic with COVID-1 9 and styled 139 clients’ hair.

None of the clients tested positive for COVID-1 9, which the CDC proposed was because they and the stylists wore cover-ups. 28 Hudson belief, however, that the customers were probably young and not prone to the virus in the first place.

Another study published in the CDC’s journal Emerging Infectious Diseases territory, “We did not find evidence that surgical-type face concealments are effective in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza transmission, either when wear by polluted persons( informant limit) or by persons in the general community to reduce their susceptibility.”2 9

PANDA data likewise indicated no differences in transmission in positions with mask mandatories and those without. Still, health officials are now advising you are able to double or triple up on cover-ups to reach them work better.

Vaccine Being Sold as a Ticket to Freedom

People who stand to utter countless billions out of COVID-1 9 vaccines are now selling them as a ticket to freedom, Hudson moods 😛 TAGEND

“How convenient that we now have a logic that tells us that we need to inoculate 7.8 billion people for a disease that has a want survival rates of 99.95% for parties under the age of 70. The profiteering here is naked. It is transparent.”

It’s a sad situation when adolescents, who aren’t at increased risk, are rowing up for inoculations only to get their sovereignties back, he computes. When you include in all the other inconsistencies and lies — PCR research that are not capable of diagnosing infectiousness, inflated fatality amounts, restrictions on travel, media information and arbitrary conventions, like the CDC’s recent change in physical distancing in classrooms from 6 feet to 3 feet3 0 — it’s as though we’re living in an Orwellian reality.

With looming vaccine passports, the loss of personal immunities is at an unprecedented level, while people are generally “enslaved by fear” — fear of infection or reinfection, “long COVID, ” resurgence and mutant discrepancies. “The underpinnings of our civilization are under threat, ” Hudson indicated, and we have a choice. “We’ve been propagandized up against a cliff, will we be propagandized off or will we push back? ”

He advocates people to support the Great Barrington Declaration, which calls for “focused protection” and receiving a middle ground between fastening down an entire economy and exactly “letting it rip.” As of April 4, 2021, the written declaration has accumulated 41,890 signatures from medical practitioner and over 13,796 signatures from medical and public health scientists. 31

In addition, the declaration is open for public signatures and has obtained 764,089 from concerned citizens various regions of the world. The website allows you to read and sign the declaration, reacts numerous frequently asked questions, shares the science behind the proposals and was explained that the declaration was written.

PANDA also published a protocol for reopening civilization “to provide a road map out of the prejudicial round of lockdowns.”3 2 Hudson quoted Nelson Mandela, who stated courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. We all need to strive for courage and foundation awareness campaigns aimed at stopping the injurious narrative, alleviating fear and the protection future freedom.

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Uses for aluminum foil

Aluminum foil is a Penny Hoarder’s BFF when it comes to preserving leftovers. But if you’re just using that handy foil to wrap up day-old food, you’re totally missing out on so many other uses for this extraordinary kitchen standby.

The Many Uses of Aluminum Foil

You might be dating yourself if you are still calling the shiny workhorse “tin foil” though it’s not uncommon to hear that phrase used. Foil was made of tin until after World War II when the stronger and cheaper aluminum became widely used. Now you know. Read on for 10 clever money-saving ideas.

1. Sharpen Scissors

Don’t toss a pair of dull scissors or pay someone else to sharpen them. Sharpen scissors with aluminum foil, says Rachel Timmerman, a Virginia blogger with The Analytical Mommy. Fold a piece of 10-by-10-inch aluminum foil three times. Then, cut the foil about 20 times with the scissors to make them as sharp as the day you bought them.

2. Substitute for Dryer Sheets

Crumble a ball of foil and toss it into your dryer, says Gladys Connelly, technical writer for The HouseWire, a product review site. This works exactly the same as a dryer sheet would, Connelly says. “It eliminates static and fluffs up your clothing,” she says. Spray lavender oil or your favorite scent into the middle of the aluminum sheet before you crumple it to make the foil smell just as good as a dryer sheet, Connelly recommends.

3. Lower Your Heating Bill

If you have cast-iron radiators, you can DIY a heat reflector out of aluminum foil. Tape some heavy-duty aluminum foil to a piece of cardboard with the shiny side up. That’s literally it. Place the heat reflector behind your radiator or under the radiator’s top. The heat waves will naturally bounce from the foil into the room instead of going into the wall behind the radiator.

4. Cover Your Paint Tray

Don’t toss your plastic paint tray after each use. Keep the tray clean by wrapping it in aluminum foil. When you’re done, just pull off the foil and your paint tray will look as good as new, Connelly says.

A woman uses aluminum foil to get gel nail polish off her nails.

5. Remove Gel Nail Polish

You can’t use acetone and a cotton pad to remove gel nail polish. Instead, you’re supposed to soak your nails in acetone. But it would be wasteful to use a bowl of acetone just to remove the polish. So Malaika Desrameaux, a Miami content creator with Self Care Sunday Love, figured out an aluminum foil method. 1. File the tops of your gel nails to get rid of the glossy layer. 2. Soak a cotton ball with acetone and put the cotton ball over your nail. 3. Wrap your nail (with the cotton on top) with a 3-by-5-inch piece of aluminum foil. 4. Repeat on all fingers, and let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes. 5. Remove cotton and aluminum foil, and peel off the gel nail polish.

6. Polish Silver

No need for a special polish or even any elbow grease to make Nanny’s heirloom silverware gleam again. Place a sheet of aluminum foil into a pan, add cold water and 2 teaspoons of salt. Put silver into the pan, and leave it for two minutes. Rinse off with water and let it dry. The aluminum causes a molecular reaction, cleaning the silver for you.

7. Clean Jewelry

Similar to the process for polishing silver, you can use aluminum foil to clean jewelry by creating an ion exchange (a molecular reaction with the aluminum). Place aluminum foil in a bowl, and fill the bowl with hot water and 1 tablespoon of bleach-free powdered laundry detergent. Soak jewelry in the solution for one minute, rinse with water and air dry.

8. Battery Replacement

You’re desperate for a battery to fire up the flashlight. Try aluminum foil, says Melanie Musson, a home safety expert with US Insurance Agents. “If your flashlight requires two C batteries but you only have one, you can fill the empty space with compacted foil,” Musson says. It may not be at full strength, but you’ll have a little light to get you by.


9. Garden Buddy

Aluminum foil will miraculously improve your green thumb. Birds are afraid of the shiny foil because of the noise it makes. So tie foil strips around the branches of your fruit trees, you’ll keep the birds from nibbling at the bounty. Same goes for mice and rabbits. These creatures don’t like the feel of the aluminum foil, so placing bits of it on your shrubs serves as a natural deterrent. Bugs bugging you and eating your plants? Nestle foil with soil or stones at the base of plants. Or mix some strips of aluminum foil in with your mulch. In both cases, the foil will keep the moisture in your soil and prevent the weeds from growing while keeping the pests at bay.

10. Custom Cake Pan

Don’t run to the store every time your child wants a cake that looks like something other than a rectangle. Need a dog-shaped pan? A heart pan? Make the shape out of heavy-duty aluminum foil, and place your DIY foil creation into a baking pan big enough to accommodate the shape.

11. Grill Cleaner

Don’t bother purchasing pricey grill scrubbers when a rolled up ball of aluminum foil works perfectly well, Connelly says. The foil ball should be large enough – about 3 inches around – to hold comfortably with tongs (remember that the grill is hot). Grab the foil ball with the tongs and swipe back and forth across the grate before it has cooled. Food bits will be easier to remove when the grate is warm. If you already have stubborn burnt food on the grill, then put a piece of aluminum foil on the grate, and close the grill. Turn on the heat and let it run for a few minutes. Then, remove the foil, turn off the heat and try the original cleaning method. It should be easier now because the foil sheet trapped the heat to help loosen any stubborn debris.

12. Ironing

Aluminum foil is a natural heat reflector. So if you place a piece of it under the cover of your ironing board, the aluminum foil will speed up your ironing time.

Danielle Braff is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

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.

Viola Davis' Best Red Carpet Looks Deserve an Oscar of Their Own

Viola Davis, 2019 Emmy AwardsViola Davis is nominated for an Oscar for the fourth time at the 2021 ceremony.
At this year’s show, set to take place on Sunday, April 25, the 55-year-old actress competes for the…

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