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    Behind on Your Retirement Savings? These Experts Explain How to Catch Up

    Behind on Your Retirement Savings? These Experts Explain How to Catch Up

    Life comes at you fast.

    One day, you’re 20 years old with a bright future ahead of you.

    Next thing you know, you’re 50 and realize you’re not saving enough for retirement.

    Hey, don’t be embarrassed — tt happens to a lot of us. Only about 60% of Americans are confident they’re saving enough to retire comfortably, according to a recent Capital One survey. And that figure has gone down 10% in just two years.

    It’s never too late to boost your retirement savings. But you shouldn’t put it off any longer.

    “Fifty is a pivotal age,” says Ryan McPherson, founder of Intelligent Worth, a financial planning firm in Atlanta. “You’re 10 to 15 years away from retirement and still have enough time to make major changes if needed.”

    So what should you do if you’re in your 50s and your 401(k) account isn’t up to par? We asked a bunch of professional financial planners.

    Here’s what they told us:

    1. Sock Away More, Get Free Money

    For starters, you absolutely, definitely need to take full advantage of your employer’s matching contribution to your 401(k) plan.

    “Take advantage of your full company match,” says Jeff Dixson, a financial adviser in Vancouver, Washington, who hosts a radio show called the Retirement Coach. “If they match 3%, contribute 3%. If they match 6%, try to get to 6%. That’s free money. There’s nowhere else you’re going to get free money.

    2. Catch Up After 50

    Individuals who are age 50 or over at the end of the calendar year can make annual catch-up contributions,” says David McCormick-Goodhart, a financial adviser with Savant Capital Management in McLean, Virginia.

    In 2018, the federal government will raise the personal 401(k) contribution max from $18,000 to $18,500 annually. People in their 50s and 60s can contribute an extra $6,000 per year — if they’re able to.

    3. Make a Plan, Man

    Sit down with someone who specializes in retirement income planning, suggests Dixson, the financial adviser in Vancouver, Washington.

    “The whole point of saving for retirement in the first place is to build a nest egg that you can eventually turn into consistent monthly income,” he says. “Wouldn’t it make sense to figure out how much you actually need to save rather than winging it?”

    4. Reevaluate Your Spending

    Write down everything you spend money on — and how much you spend.

    “Circle the discretionary items that bring you the most joy,” says McPherson, the Atlanta financial planner. “Next, circle the ones you could do without. Holding your income constant, something must be cut for you to save more.”

    5. Don’t Be Too Conservative

    People tend to get more conservative with their 401(k) as they age, putting more of their savings in bonds instead of stocks. And that makes sense. Stocks will generally give you a higher return than bonds, but they’re also more volatile and can suddenly drop in value.

    Don’t get too conservative, though.

    Robert Johnson, president of the American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, recommends embracing the risk of the stock market well into your 50s.

    Since 1926, the average annual return is 10% for stocks, 6% for bonds and 3% for cash, he says.

    “Investors in their 50s may not feel that their time horizon is long enough to invest in stocks, and that is a mistake,” Johnson says. “Having a significant allocation to stocks is advisable for most individuals in their 50s.”

    6. Don’t Get Too Risky, Either

    Don’t go crazy, though. Don’t get overly aggressive with stocks.

    “One of the biggest mistakes I see people in their 50s who are behind on their retirement savings making is trying to play catch-up by taking on additional risk to make up for lost time,” says Desmond Henry, founder of Afflora Financial Life Planning in Topeka, Kansas. “Sure, the potential for higher returns is there, but so is the potential for loss.”

    7. Get a Side Gig

    “You’ll want to consider developing a second stream of income,” says Nathan Garcia, a financial planner with Strategic Wealth Partners in Fulton, Maryland.

    “This income could be as little as $1,000 per month. However, that surplus could be beneficial for replacing income that is now being diverted into your 401(k). There are also significant tax advantages available to business owners, allowing them to write off ordinary expenses such as a cell phone, internet, transportation, etc.”

    Need some ideas? Here are Penny Hoarder articles on “14 Leisurely Ways for Retirees to Make Extra Money in Their Spare Time” and “Awesome Ways Retirees Can Work From Home and Make Extra Cash.”

    8. Watch Out For Hidden 401(k) Fees

    Sadly, very few investors ever understand how much hidden fees are eroding their retirement nest egg,” says Chris Costello, CEO and Co-Founder of Blooom. The app will sniff out your hidden fees for you.

    “An easy way to combat this is to use as many of the index fund offerings that might be available within your 401(k) plan,” Costello says. “These tend to have hidden fees that are a fraction of what actively managed funds are charging.”

    Blooom will optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you. It’s a great way to find out if you’re overpaying on fees and have the appropriate amount invested in stocks versus bonds.

    9. Be Prepared for Hard Choices

    “Most people don’t start seriously saving until their kids are out college. Until then, retirement doesn’t seem real,” says Garcia, the Maryland financial planner.

    “If your kids are still in college, consider allowing them to pay for their education with student loans so you can divert savings to your retirement. There are loans for college. There are none for retirement.”

    Frightened yet?

    It’s OK. It’ll be OK.

    You still have time to turn things around if you set your mind to it.

    Remember the bottom line:

    “If you’re not willing to save more or decrease your desired standard of living in retirement,” says Dixson, “you’ll be forced to work longer.”

    Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He does not have enough saved for retirement.

    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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    New Work at Home Job Available Right Now With Great Pay

    New Work at Home Job Available Right Now With Great Pay

     

    In this video, you will learn more about a new work at home job available right now with great pay.

    This job is with American Express and compensation starts around $15.73 per hour.

    Enjoy the video and let me know what you think in the comments below!

     

     

    People, resources, and examples mentioned:

     

     

    Related content you might also enjoy

     

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    5 Cheap Trader Joe’s Snacks Any Kid Will Adore (and So Will Busy Parents)

    5 Cheap Trader Joe’s Snacks Any Kid Will Adore (and So Will Busy Parents)

    Erin O’Neill is the people and culture manager at The Penny Hoarder. It’s a full-time gig that means she takes care of the employees here as our HR go-to woman. First and foremost though, she’s a wife and a mother, which means this lady is busy.

    Since she and her husband both work full time, there’s not much time to prepare dinner during the day. So once her family walks through the door, she and her husband are faced with the challenges of juggling dinner prep and concocting a snack for their two daughters, 6-year-old Emerson and 10-year-old Lily.

    And according to O’Neill, there’s nothing worse than hungry children –– except ones who are hungry and picky. And like any kids, hers can be both!

    Thankfully, though, O’Neill has her go-to before-dinner snacks that are low maintenance, delicious and come from one of her favorite cost-effective grocery stores: Trader Joe’s.  

    Check out five of her favorite ways to tame her kids’ appetites without breaking a sweat –– or her budget.

    Keep in mind: Prices may vary by store!

    1. Apples With Caramel Sauce

    A sliced apple is dipped into a caramel sauce. A 2-pound bag costs $2.99 and the caramel sauce costs $3 at Trader Joe’s. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

    O’Neill says the organic apples at Trader Joe’s are the perfect size, and a 2-pound bag costs $2.99 — much less than the ones at her regional grocer, Publix.

    She loves to pair slices of apples with a scoop of a little something extra: “I don’t know if you’ve ever had [Trader Joe’s’] caramel sauce,” she says. “But it’s amazing.”

    The caramel sauce runs about $3. I’m not a parent, but I’m pretty sure from a kid’s perspective, this is more of a treat than a snack. But hey, when it comes to taming pre-dinner hunger, who says it can’t be fun?

    2. Pretzel Dip

    Pretzels dipped into a bowl of seasoned sour cream is an inexpensive, kid-friendly treat you can get at Trader Joe’s. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

    You’ve likely heard of Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend. If you haven’t, you’re about to –– and for less than $2, it’ll change your life.

    Need a quick alternative to chips and dip? O’Neill dumps this killer seasoning into a bowl of sour cream and serves it with pumpernickel pretzel sticks, which are only $1.69.

    O’Neill calls this one the “perfect insta-dip,” and her kids love it.

    Does the idea of feeding your kids pumpernickel pretzels sound like an impossible feat? Try serving it with sliced veggies, like cucumbers or baby carrots.

    Delicious and (somewhat) healthy!

    3. Veggie Birds Nests

    Try these $3 Trader Joe’s vegetable bird’s nests for a cheap, kid-friendly snack. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

    For whatever reason, O’Neill’s daughters will turn their noses up at a homemade recipe, but they will wolf down the same exact one if it comes out of box.

    What exactly is a bird nest, you ask? Shredded veggies piled together to form a crispy, perfectly seasoned bundle of joy.

    She loves grabbing Trader Joe’s version from the frozen section. After you pop them in the oven, they come out perfectly crispy and delicious, she says.

    “If I tried to make that, everyone would laugh at me,” says O’Neill. “They would literally hold their noses and not eat it.”

    The best part? Her daughters scarf them down. Oh, and a box of these only costs $3.

    4. Cereal

    A bowl of Trader Joe’s Gorilla Munch cereal only costs $2.99. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

    O’Neill loves using Trader Joe’s cereal as a quick snack that even her girls can put together. It has a long shelf life, and you get more than just a few servings out of it, making this arguably the easiest snack on our list.

    She also says that TJ’s is the only place she and her husband will buy cereal for their family since it’s free of genetically modified organisms. One of their favorites? Gorilla Munch –– and it costs $2.99.

    Is there anything easier to make in the kitchen than a bowl of cereal? Seriously, even I can make that –– and I’m the person who still burns toast at twentysomething years old.

    Cereal: It’s quick, easy and it won’t kill your children while they’re making or eating it.

    5. Wildcard! Hit Up the Sample Section

    Lily O’Neill, 10, and Emerson O’Neill, 6, try to throw pieces of Trader Joe’s Gorilla Munch cereal into each other’s mouths. The snack costs $2.99. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

    One of the best tricks O’Neill keeps up her sleeve is letting her daughters try items in the sample section.

    This not only gives them a quick bite of food while they pick out that night’s ingredients for dinner, but if the girls like what they try, she purchases the full-size version for tomorrow’s snack.

    During one trip to the Joe, her daughter Lily tried a Gorgonzola flatbread and fell in love. O’Neill did, too –– it cost less than $4 for her to buy it for the next night and was as effortless as preheating the oven and throwing it in.

    OK, maybe I lied when I said cereal was the easiest snack on this list.

    Kelly Anne Smith is a junior writer and engagement specialist at The Penny Hoarder. Catch her on Twitter at @keywordkelly.

    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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    These Super Helpful Money Tools Will Never Judge You By Your Finances

    These Super Helpful Money Tools Will Never Judge You By Your Finances

    No one likes being judged. Especially when it comes to personal finance.

    I’m keenly aware of my budgetary state, so having someone totally judge me for it — and not offer constructive advice — is the worst.

    Yes, I understand I need to stash more into my emergency savings. And I know I shouldn’t have spent $5 on that latte. And investing… that makes me nervous.

    But just help me; don’t chastise me.

    That’s why I’ve rounded up some personal finance advisers — and some money management apps  — that’ll help you get your money in order.

    And they’ll do it without a single shred of judgement.

    And, perhaps even better, without an ounce of conversation.

    1. Take a Deep Breath, and Check Your Credit Score

    One of the judgiest parts of personal finance comes with that three-digit numeral.

    It’s called a credit score, and the mere mention of it might send you spiraling back to high school when your worth was measured on a 4.0 scale. But with a credit score, it’s different. You can actually make large strides to improve it — without having to become the teacher’s pet.

    Credit Sesame can help you get there. It will provide you a free credit report card — including your credit score. It breaks your score down and grades different aspects of your credit profile.

    But don’t worry. If you see a big fat “D” or “F,” Credit Sesame gives you personalized reasoning and recommendations on how to improve your grade.

    The whole platform is intuitive (and easier to read than your teacher’s handwritten comments). Kenneth Bain followed Credit Sesame’s recommendations and increased his score by more than 200 points.

    No extra credit required.

    2. Start Investing While This App Holds Your Hand

    Sometimes, when something is really intimidating, you just need someone — or something? — to hold your hand.

    Then, once you get started, you’re fine, you’re great, you’re confident. It’s just like homework in grade school.

    This is where Stash comes into the picture. The micro-investing app will help you start investing with as little as $5.

    All you’ll have to do is fill out some basic information, then choose your investing style: conservative, moderate or aggressive.

    Don’t worry: The Stash app explains what these mean, but as a rule of thumb, the younger you are, the more aggressive you should be.

    You’ll go on to answer questions about your employment status and citizenship. Heads up: It’s also going to ask for your Social Security number. It won’t check your credit; it just needs to know you’re a real person. Any other SEC-registered investment advisor will ask for it, too.

    In “Auto-Stash” mode, the app automatically withdraws a certain amount of cash from your bank account as often as you’d like — from once a week to once a month. Pick whatever you feel like you can handle — even just $5.

    Your first month of Stash is free, and you’ll bank a $5 bonus when you sign up here.

    Each month after, your fee is $1 until your account hits $5,000. After that, Stash charges 0.25% of your account balance per year.

    3. Balance Your 401(k) Without Sass

    If you have a 401(k), you’re already on the right financial track — so go, you! If you haven’t looked at it — or even know what to do with it — that’s OK, too.

    The world of 401(k)s is a tricky one, but there are robo-advisors out there that’ll help you and prevent you from having to read a textbook-worth of investing definitions.

    Try Blooom. I use it to make sure my money is working hard for me. Blooom gives you a free 401(k) health report.

    Warning: This part might make you feel a little judged. Blooom uses a flower to represent your 401(k).

    For example, it told me I had the wrong mix of stocks and bonds, and that I could have better diversification. So my account flower was wilted.

    But the best part about flowers is they, well, “Blooom.” I opted in for the $10-per-month service, and now Blooom lets me know when it’s optimized my retirement savings.

    I feel good about my future — and not so judged.

    4. Get a Little Personal… Loan

    If you have debt, you definitely aren’t in the mood for criticism.

    But you’ll need to open up, just a little bit, if you want to consider some options — like refinancing or consolidating — to help you pay that sum down faster.

    Don’t worry. You can hit up Even Financial, a consumer financial technology platform. It’ll help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs.

    Complete three simple steps, then Even searches the top online lenders to match you with a personalized loan offer. Even’s platform can help you borrow up to $100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.

    5. Set (Gentle) Spending Notifications

    Not being judged is great and all, but sometimes when spending gets out of hand, you need a little slap of the wrist. A gentle one. A tap, really.

    That’s where my buddy Trim can help you. Trim is a personal-finance bot that automates a number of tasks for you — including personalized account alerts.

    Set Trim to notify you when you’re charged an overdraft or late fee. You can also set it up to let you know when you’ve just completed a large transaction or when it’s payday! Yay!

    Set other reminders about upcoming bills including, rent, cable or water.

    Then, Trim sends you a text or Facebook Message with reminders.

    Bonus: It scavenges your subscriptions for you, so that gym membership you haven’t used in years? Trim’s not judging you. In fact, it’ll just cancel it for you.

    Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s a big fan of gentle reminders.

    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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    Mortgage Rates Friday: Steady, as Housing Starts Warm Up

    Mortgage Rates Friday: Steady, as Housing Starts Warm Up

    The average rate on the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was unchanged, the 15-year fixed bumped one basis point higher and the 5/1 ARM dropped one basis point, according to a NerdWallet survey of daily mortgage rates published by national lenders Friday. The 30-year fixed is four basis points higher than eight days ago (Friday was a national holiday) and six basis points…


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    8 YouTube SEO Tips and Tricks for 2018

    8 YouTube SEO Tips and Tricks for 2018

     

     

    In this video, you will learn about 8 YouTube SEO tips and tricks for 2018.

    These strategies will help your videos keep getting views and making money longer into the future through search result rankings.

    Enjoy the video and let me know what you think in the comments below!

     

     

    People, resources, and examples mentioned:

     

     

    Related content you might also enjoy

     

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    Forget Turkey: Here’s How to Get Half-Priced Sonic Cheeseburgers on Nov. 21

    Forget Turkey: Here’s How to Get Half-Priced Sonic Cheeseburgers on Nov. 21

    You know turkey day is coming up next week.

    And while many of us look forward to the giant meal that is the cornerstone of Thanksgiving, not all of us love turkey. Let’s face it, that bird can get pretty dry, pretty quick.

    Sometimes what you want isn’t a glorious bird with all of the trimmings while surrounded by family.

    Sometimes what you want is a cheeseburger. Alone. In the peace and comfort of your car.

    Sonic feels your pain and is stepping to the plate to help you out.

    Half-Priced Sonic Cheeseburgers for National Un-Turkey Day

    Sonic is declaring Tuesday, Nov. 21 National Un-Turkey Day. And what’s the most un-turkey thing you can think of?

    A  cheeseburger, of course.

    So, for those of you craving that delicious concoction that Jimmy Buffett sang about so passionately, Tuesday is your day.

    On Nov. 21, all Sonic locations will offer half-priced single-patty cheeseburgers all day, while supplies last.

    The best part is It’s not a buy one, get one half off; it’s just half-priced burgers all day. Limit? Nope. There’s no catch here. Just head to Sonic and grab as many as you like at half price.

    You may want to mention the deal when you order, though, just so there’s no mix-up. Otherwise, go ahead and load up like this guy (remember him?).

    Before you settle in for Thanksgiving, give your body the beef frenzy it really craves with some half-priced burgers from Sonic on National Un-Turkey Day. All the joy, half the coin.

    Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. He’d take a cheeseburger over roasted turkey any day. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.

    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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    Millions of Americans Are at Risk for Diabetes. Here’s How to Get Screened

    Millions of Americans Are at Risk for Diabetes. Here’s How to Get Screened

    November is National Diabetes Month.

    In the U.S., approximately 29.1 million people are living with diabetes (either type 1 or type 2). Medical expenditures for those people are as much as 2.3 times higher than for a person living without diabetes.

    Diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational

    Type 1 diabetes, previously known as juvenile diabetes, is most often diagnosed in children, teens and young adults.

    Type 2 diabetes is more common. It makes up about 90-95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes, yet it’s estimated that in 2015, as many as 7.2 million adults were undiagnosed. That same year, 84.1 million Americans aged 18 and older had prediabetes, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

    Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy but often goes away soon after delivery. However, if you’ve ever been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you and your baby are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

    Fortunately, there are simple and fairly inexpensive (and sometimes even free!) tests that can let you know if you have diabetes or if you’re at risk of developing it later in life.

    Who Should Get Screened for Diabetes

    The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults over the age of 45 be screened for type 2 diabetes. However, if you or a family member are experiencing what may be symptoms of type 2 diabetes, you should talk to a medical professional about your concerns, regardless of age.  

    (Type 1 diabetes is unlike type 2 in that type 1 is too often diagnosed only when it reaches a critical point, meaning most symptoms may go undetected until a physical crisis occurs. Still, there are symptoms to watch for that may be indicative of type 1 diabetes.)

    You should consider being screened for type 2 diabetes if you:

    • Are over 45 years of age
    • Have a history of gestational diabetes
    • Are overweight
    • Have high blood pressure
    • Have a close relative who has been diagnosed with diabetes

    Inexpensive and Free Screening for Type 2 Diabetes

    Many health care providers and facilities offer inexpensive and free type 2 diabetes screenings and tests.

    It’s important to note that because your blood glucose levels fluctuate, a single test may be inconclusive. Most health care professionals will request more than one type of test.

    • This free online calculator can help you assess your risk of developing type 2 diabetes at some point in your life. This is not a diagnosis by any means, but knowing the chances of someday developing type 2 diabetes may help some people change their habits and head off a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
    • Medicare Part B may cover up to two diabetes screenings each year. Part B covers the cost of lab tests if you have high blood pressure, a history of abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels, a history of high blood sugar or are considered obese. Part B will also cover the cost of a screening if you are any combination of: over 65 years of age, overweight, have a family history of diabetes or have a personal history of gestational diabetes.
    • Hospitals, medical centers and places like CVS, Walgreens, Costco and Sam’s Club usually offer inexpensive diabetes screening options. However, they also often offer entirely free type 2 diabetes screening days. You’ll have to keep an eye on the event calendars in your area and at your local stores, or feel free to call ahead and ask about any upcoming screening days.
    • If at any point you’re diagnosed with prediabetes, the precursor to a more severe type 2 diabetes diagnosis, you can actually reverse or put off a type 2 diabetes diagnosis through diet and lifestyle changes. Research shows that you can actually reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes after a prediabetes diagnosis by 58% by losing body fat and exercising moderately.
    • If you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes, you can go here to find a community of people who are living with the same diagnosis. The ADA has free community message boards and “town hall” style educational opportunities that you can participate in.

    Cheap and Free Diabetes Supplies and Care Resources

    Getting screened for diabetes is only the first step in managing this costly disease. For people living with diabetes (in any form), medical costs for regular testing, management and necessary supplies add up quickly.

    • Nearly every blood glucose meter manufacturer will send you a voucher for a free meter if you fill out a short form on their website. You can go here for a brief overview of some companies that will send you a voucher, a list of which supplies work with that meter and how to check if those supplies are covered by your insurance. Some manufacturers will also send out coupons and vouchers for test strips periodically.
      Be aware, however, that companies give out free meters so that you will purchase test strips through them, and for many, that’s where diabetes care begins to get costly. You can go here for a list of test strip brands, retailers and prices so you can comparison shop.
    • If you have insurance, Medicare or Medicaid, you can often get test strips for cheap or free with a prescription from a doctor.
    • You can search online for “short-dated” test strips. These are test strips that are nearing their expiration date and are often sold at a fraction of the retail price. Many online retailers offer test strips at deeply discounted prices.
    • The Partnership for Prescription Assistance has a wealth of resources to contact if you need financial assistance when dealing with a variety of diabetes-related issues, from vision help to low-cost insulin syringes. (Also included here: service animals, test strips, amputation prevention and more diagnosis services.)
    • Medicare and Medicaid cover a significant portion of diabetes testing and supplies. Benefits vary by state, but both programs will at least partially cover the cost of things like meters, test strips and syringes. In some situations, other things like therapeutic shoes or insoles, eye exams and self-management education programs may be available at no cost to you.
    • CHIP, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, is a federally and state-funded program that provides uninsured children with health coverage. Benefits vary by state, but most include coverage for screening, diagnosis and treatment services. If a state does impose fees and copayments, they’re usually limited to no more than 5% of a family’s income.

    Millions of Americans are living with type 2 diabetes and don’t even know it. Stay on top of your health by getting screened and by addressing and managing your symptoms.

    Grace Schweizer is a junior writer at 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.

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    These 8 Excuses to Skip Work are Pretty Weak — Try These Instead

    These 8 Excuses to Skip Work are Pretty Weak — Try These Instead

    We already know Americans really stink at taking vacations.

    But when it comes to faking a sick day to get some rest and relaxation — or even run a few errands — we’re pretty bold.

    Forty percent of U.S. workers faked a sick day this year, which is up from 35% in 2016, according to a survey of more than 5,900 people commissioned by CareerBuilder. That’s two-fifths of the working population.

    Of those taking a (wink, wink) sick day, 30% had a doctor’s appointment, 15% said they needed to catch up on sleep and 23% said they just didn’t feel like going to work. Is that you, Peter Gibbons?

    But even for employees at companies that have a bona fide paid time-off program, 60% surveyed said they STILL need to come up with an excuse to take the day off. And, the excuses they used are, uh, not good.

    Human resources managers shared the most, let’s say, interesting excuses with CareerBuilder.

    These 8 ‘Sick Day’ Excuses Will Totally Make You Cringe

    First off, if your company has a PTO program, you don’t need to dream up an excuse to take a day for yourself. And second, you can do better than some of the ones survey respondents shared.

    Here are the eight most unbelievable day-off excuses and why they’re awful:

    1. A bear is in my yard and I’m afraid to come out.

    OK, this one is my personal favorite. It’s not a terrible excuse on its face, but it’s not specific enough. What type of bear? Is it eating from the trash? Have you tried offering it a pic-a-nic basket or pot of honey?

    1. My phone exploded and it hurt my hand.

    With all the news about the exploding Galaxy Note 7s, I can see where you’re coming from. Still, it didn’t hurt you anywhere else? It just happened to explode while it was in your hand but didn’t singe your eyebrows?

    1. I ate a toothpick that was in a dish at a restaurant.

    This one is weak because it’s not clear enough that it wasn’t your fault. Be specific: “The little frilly thing fell off the toothpick in my club sandwich so I couldn’t see it!”

    1. I broke my arm wrestling a female bodybuilder.

    Just because someone’s a bodybuilder doesn’t inherently make them a good fighter capable of breaking an arm. Next.

    1. I’m calling in “fat” because my uniform doesn’t fit.

    Did it fit yesterday? Did you eat an entire Thanksgiving turkey last night?

    1. My dog swallowed my car keys and I’m waiting for them to pass.

    Ah, an absolute classic. While this is a tried and true excuse for lazy middle school students everywhere, it doesn’t translate well to the work world. Also, if you’re not fibbing, you should probably throw away the bacon keychain.

    1. I left my clothes at the Laundromat.

    As much as I like to imagine someone absentmindedly leaving the Laundromat in their birthday suit, I’m assuming he meant his work clothes. This one isn’t quite outrageous enough for me. Boo.

    1. I’m not sure how the solar eclipse will affect me, so it would be safer to stay at home.

    The only thing bad about this excuse is that you can’t use it every day.

    Here Are 8 Sick-Day Excuses You Should Use Instead

    While the eight excuses above aren’t terrible, they do have their flaws.

    Here are eight flawless fibs you can use to take a day off tomorrow:

    1. A vampire is living in my basement, and I’m scared if I leave for work he’ll turn Sparky into Dogula.

    This one has everything: fear, mythical creatures and puppies.

    1. I put my suit on backwards and now I can’t get it off!

    The key to making this one work is to shout it with a lot of emotion — you’re really frustrated. You want to come into work so bad, but this dang suit! Bonus points if you send a picture of yourself in a backward suit.

    1. It’s too windy outside, and I’m afraid if I leave I’ll lose my lucky Mets hat.

    Like I said before, specificity is the key. Also, they’ll probably feel too bad to question you because you’re a Mets fan.  ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    1. My evil twin has escaped from an underwater prison, and he might attack me on my way to work.

    They say everyone has an evil twin. Use yours to stretch the truth for a day off. (But, seriously, be on the lookout for your evil twin.)

    1. I need to spend the day coming up with schemes to get out of jury duty.

    Jury duty is a drag, so surely your boss can relate. Right? If your boss asks what excuses you have so far, say you’re workshopping this one: “I can’t serve on the jury because it was actually me who committed the crime. It would not be fair.”

    1. I need to go back in time and stop the assassination of Lincoln!

    This is another one that will require acting chops, as your voice should quiver with imperativeness. And your boss should be prepared, since you took off last Thursday to finish building your time machine.

    1. My large adult son has trapped me in in my bedroom for forgetting to buy milk for his Lucky Charms.

    Your boss should understand the predicament. What would you do if you had to eat dry cereal?

    1. I saw Bigfoot walk across my lawn yesterday, and I need to stay home to snap a picture and document his existence.

    Again, mythical creatures are always a solid play. But this one works because you can say you’ll donate your reward to the company’s fantasy football pot.

    So there you have it, eight foolproof excuses for you to take a day off of work. Who feels like adulting today anyway?

    Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist at The Penny Hoarder. He was going to turn this article in earlier, but a giant bird stole his pants and he had to run home to change.

    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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    Need a Day Off? Here Are the 8 Worst and the 8 Best Fake Excuses

    Need a Day Off? Here Are the 8 Worst and the 8 Best Fake Excuses

    We already know Americans really stink at taking vacations.

    But when it comes to faking a sick day to get some rest and relaxation — or even run a few errands — we’re pretty bold.

    Forty percent of U.S. workers faked a sick day this year, which is up from 35% in 2016, according to a survey of more than 5,900 people commissioned by CareerBuilder. That’s two-fifths of the working population.

    Of those taking a (wink, wink) sick day, 30% had a doctor’s appointment, 15% said they needed to catch up on sleep and 23% said they just didn’t feel like going to work. Is that you, Peter Gibbons?

    But even for employees at companies that have a bona fide paid time-off program, 60% surveyed said they STILL need to come up with an excuse to take the day off. And, the excuses they used are, uh, not good.

    Human resources managers shared the most, let’s say, interesting excuses with CareerBuilder.

    These 8 ‘Sick Day’ Excuses Will Totally Make You Cringe

    First off, if your company has a PTO program, you don’t need to dream up an excuse to take a day for yourself. And second, you can do better than some of the ones survey respondents shared.

    Here are the eight most unbelievable day-off excuses and why they’re awful:

    1. A bear is in my yard and I’m afraid to come out.

    OK, this one is my personal favorite. It’s not a terrible excuse on its face, but it’s not specific enough. What type of bear? Is it eating from the trash? Have you tried offering it a pic-a-nic basket or pot of honey?

    2. My phone exploded and it hurt my hand.

    With all the news about the exploding Galaxy Note 7s, I can see where you’re coming from. Still, it didn’t hurt you anywhere else? It just happened to explode while it was in your hand but didn’t singe your eyebrows?

    3. I ate a toothpick that was in a dish at a restaurant.

    This one is weak because it’s not clear enough that it wasn’t your fault. Be specific: “The little frilly thing fell off the toothpick in my club sandwich so I couldn’t see it!”

    4. I broke my arm wrestling a female bodybuilder.

    Just because someone’s a bodybuilder doesn’t inherently make them a good fighter capable of breaking an arm. Next.

    5. I’m calling in “fat” because my uniform doesn’t fit.

    Did it fit yesterday? Did you eat an entire Thanksgiving turkey last night?

    6. My dog swallowed my car keys and I’m waiting for them to pass.

    Ah, an absolute classic. While this is a tried and true excuse for lazy middle school students everywhere, it doesn’t translate well to the work world. Also, if you’re not fibbing, you should probably throw away the bacon keychain.

    7. I left my clothes at the Laundromat.

    As much as I like to imagine someone absentmindedly leaving the Laundromat in their birthday suit, I’m assuming he meant his work clothes. This one isn’t quite outrageous enough for me. Boo.

    8. I’m not sure how the solar eclipse will affect me, so it would be safer to stay at home.

    The only thing bad about this excuse is that you can’t use it every day.

    Here Are 8 Sick-Day Excuses You Should Use Instead

    While the eight excuses above aren’t terrible, they do have their flaws.

    Here are eight flawless fibs you can use to take a day off tomorrow:

    1. A vampire is living in my basement, and I’m scared if I leave for work he’ll turn Sparky into Dogula.

    This one has everything: fear, mythical creatures and puppies.

    2. I put my suit on backwards and now I can’t get it off!

    The key to making this one work is to shout it with a lot of emotion — you’re really frustrated. You want to come into work so bad, but this dang suit! Bonus points if you send a picture of yourself in a backward suit.

    3. It’s too windy outside, and I’m afraid if I leave I’ll lose my lucky Mets hat.

    Like I said before, specificity is the key. Also, they’ll probably feel too bad to question you because you’re a Mets fan.  ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    4. My evil twin has escaped from an underwater prison, and he might attack me on my way to work.

    They say everyone has an evil twin. Use yours to stretch the truth for a day off. (But, seriously, be on the lookout for your evil twin.)

    5. I need to spend the day coming up with schemes to get out of jury duty.

    Jury duty is a drag, so surely your boss can relate. Right? If your boss asks what excuses you have so far, say you’re workshopping this one: “I can’t serve on the jury because it was actually me who committed the crime. It would not be fair.”

    6. I need to go back in time and stop the assassination of Lincoln!

    This is another one that will require acting chops, as your voice should quiver with imperativeness. And your boss should be prepared, since you took off last Thursday to finish building your time machine.

    7. My large adult son has trapped me in in my bedroom for forgetting to buy milk for his Lucky Charms.

    Your boss should understand the predicament. What would you do if you had to eat dry cereal?

    8. I saw Bigfoot walk across my lawn yesterday, and I need to stay home to snap a picture and document his existence.

    Again, mythical creatures are always a solid play. But this one works because you can say you’ll donate your reward to the company’s fantasy football pot.

    So there you have it, eight foolproof excuses for you to take a day off of work. Who feels like adulting today anyway?

    Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist at The Penny Hoarder. He was going to turn this article in earlier, but a giant bird stole his pants and he had to run home to change.

    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.

    Read More

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