The Dark Side of Health Care – Paying Extra Because of Our Health

There’s no doubt that obesity is an epidemic in the United States. 

Our children may be the first generation to live shorter lives than their parents thanks to obesity and the many related conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and heart disease.

Among adults, according to the CDC, 35.9% of U.S. citizens ages 20 and older are obese.  Another 33.3% are overweight, but not obese.  That leaves slightly less than 31% of United States citizens who are at a healthy weight.

It doesn’t take a scientist to understand that those who are chronically obese or overweight will likely cost a company more in health care.

In addition, those workers are absent from the work place more often.  “A 2011 Gallup survey estimated obese or overweight full-time U.S. workers miss an additional 450 million days of work each year, compared to healthy workers, resulting in more than $153 billion in lost productivity” (Wall Street Journal).

While we may consider obesity a personal issue, each person’s obesity and related health issues affect not only themselves, but their employers and their families.

Should You Have to Pay Extra for Health Insurance If You’re Overweight?

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Can We Break This Spending Cycle? Do We Want To?

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Amy Dacyczyn, author of the wildly popular 1990s The Tightwad Gazette, wrote a post one time about the television show Roseanne.

She noted that Dan and Roseanne are always struggling financially.

One time, they get an unexpected bonus of $50, and each Dan and Roseanne spend the money on things for themselves without discussing their purchases with one another.  Now, instead of having an extra $50, they are $50 in the hole.

Dacyczyn noted that every time Dan or Roseanne got extra money or worked overtime, they developed a “Yipee!-We-can-spend” attitude.  Yet, when money is tight, they scrimp and save and “feel poor” because they can’t spend.

Is America a Nation of Dan and Roseanne Connors?

The last several years have been rough ones financially for American citizens.

Many people lost their houses, and even if they were able to keep up with payments, they may have found themselves underwater.  People lost their jobs, and even if they were able to stay employed, they may not have seen a raise for years while health care and other costs escalated.

Yet, there are signs that the economy is improving.
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The 4 Most Common Tax Return Scams and How to Protect Yourself

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It’s tax season which typically means hours gathering your data and slogging through the year’s records

Most don’t look forward to tax season, but the usual tax time headache can get even worse if you’re the unfortunate victim of a tax scam.

Every year, there seems to be more ways scammers find to rob you of your tax refund.  According to CNNMoney, nearly 2/3rds of Americans get a tax refund, and the average refund in 2011 was more than $3,000.

With that kind of money at stake, it’s no wonder scammers continue to find creative ways to get their hands on your cash.

As you prepare to file your taxes this year, be aware of these four common tax return scams:

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Is Telecommuting Bad for a Company: A Look at Yahoo!’s Decision to Ban It

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Several weeks ago, Marissa Mayer’s decision to send a memo to all Yahoo! employees letting them know that effective June, 2013, there would be no more telecommuting allowed set off an Internet fire storm.

A barrage of articles hit the web arguing everything from the fact that this memo would not be an issue if Mayer was a man instead of a woman with a young child to the fact that this decision could spell the beginning of the end for Mayer’s career and Yahoo!.

Now that the dust has settled, so to speak, and emotions have cooled, it’s time to take an objective look at the decision.

Is Telecommuting Beneficial to a Company?

On the surface, it appears that telecommuting isn’t really beneficial to a business.

Having everyone working in the same building where they can be watched and where they can interact with one another seems best, which is Mayer’s argument.  But is it best?

There are three distinct advantages for companies that allow their employees to work from home at least part of the time:

Performance

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Is an Associate’s Degree the Best Path to a Lucrative Career?

The romantic ideal of going to college to study what you love and to learn how to be a learner, so to speak, is rapidly falling by the wayside. 

As college costs soar and new graduates struggle to find a job as well as pay off student loans that average $25,000 per student, many people are arguing whether going to a four year university is even worthwhile.

Another option that many don’t think about is pursuing a two year associate’s degree. 

A community college is often seen as a lesser quality, less expensive option to a four year college.  Many see it as a stepping stone for a mediocre high school student to improve his academic record to transfer into a four year college.

However, this thinking denies the student another important, cheaper, option–attending a community college to earn a practical degree and begin working right away.

How An Associate’s Degree Can Be Better Than a Four-Year Degree

All the Benefits without the Debt

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7 Ways to Find More Time and Increase Your Productivity

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Women juggle multiple responsibilities, especially if they are moms. 

There are work responsibilities, household responsibilities, and family and children responsibilities.  Don’t forget to set aside some time to care for yourself by preparing healthy food and finding time to exercise.

The work at home mom must become an expert at juggling because she’ll constantly have to switch between childcare tasks and completing her work.  I should know because I’ve been a work at home mom now for two years.

In the beginning, juggling my childcare responsibilities with work responsibilities was fairly easy.  My two younger children took fairly long afternoon naps, and my workload was not that heavy as I was just starting my business.  I could get all my work done during nap time and in the evenings after the kids were asleep, and I still had time to relax.

Fast forward two years, and most days my kids don’t nap.  If they do, it isn’t longer than 40 minutes.  Meanwhile, my workload has increased.  My schedule had to change so I could find more time.

If this sounds familiar, let me share some of the ways I’ve found more time in my day and increased productivity:

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Real Life Bartering with Mavis of One Hundred Dollars a Month

Bartering used to be a common occurrence when people had more of an item or skill than they did money. 

Maybe you would see the doctor and pay him with some of your harvest.  Maybe you would help a neighbor build a fence, and the neighbor would then share a portion of his meat with you.

As we came to have more money than time, bartering fell out of use.  However, bartering has recently experienced a resurgence thanks to the economy.

I have bartered for a few things since I quit my full-time job and became a freelance writer.  I bartered with my son’s dance teacher–my son got free tap dance lessons, and in return, we cleaned the studio for 2 hours once a month.  Considering his lessons were $50 a month, we “made” $25 an hour.  Not a bad exchange.

While I like to barter, I don’t do it often enough.  My guess is that you probably don’t either.  We can all learn from Mavis Butterfield, a blogger at One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Who Is Mavis?

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