An invitation to dump your obligations

If you’re feeling overbooked, this simple anti-time management tool can set you free

By Achim Nowak for Next Avenue


Credit: Getty Images

It seems like the impossible dream: To carve out unobligated time.

We often complain that we don’t have enough time to do all the things we wish to do. For many of us, it’s a true statement. We truly don’t have enough time. We ardently desire a “time out” from our obligations.

Some call this time out “me time.” A faintly derogatory term. It smacks of self-indulgence and narcissism. I feel queasy when I hear these descriptors because I don’t wish to be thought of having either of those traits.

The moment we claim a slice of “me time,” we instantly obligate this time. We get the spa treatment we have postponed for months. The facial that is overdue. We finally play squash with our buddy Raul. Go to see the French movie with our friend Lori that she has raved about. All cool things, I know. Still obligated time.

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Why smart people fall for investment scams

The authors of ‘Financial Serial Killers’ explain how not to get duped

By Tom Ajamie and Bruce Kelly for Next Avenue


(This article is adapted from the book, Financial Serial Killers: Inside the World of Wall Street Money Hustlers, Swindlers, and Con Men by Tom Ajamie and Bruce Kelly.)

There are many reasons why we fall for investment scams. As we understand and realize these factors, we are less likely to fall prey to investment scamsters — who we call “financial serial killers.”

Robert Cialdini, formerly Regents’ Professor of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, says the root cause of people falling victim to a financial fraud is their uncertainty about the details of the financial environment. When people feel uncertain about financial decisions, he notes, they look outside themselves, and this sets them up for the fraud.

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Did you know arts can lower your blood pressure?

The arts offer real health benefits as people age

By Heidi Raschke for Next Avenue


I don’t know whether New York Times columnist Jane Brody is a soprano, a mezzo or an alto. But I do know that I’m glad to add her voice to the chorus of those noticing the connection between arts and vitality.

In her March 7, 2016 column for the Times’ Well section, Using the Arts to Promote Healthy Aging, the respected health writer mentioned several studies and programs familiar to those who’ve been following Next Avenue’s Artful Aging special report to demonstrate how “the arts in their myriad forms are enhancing the lives and health of older people.”

Among her examples of the health benefits of the arts, Brody touted the work of the Music and Memory project, which promotes the power of music to bring someone with  dementia back to life.

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Why working longer is good for your health

Here’s how recent studies upend conventional wisdom

By Chris Farrell for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

Retirement didn’t sit with Lee Humphrey when she tried it about a decade ago, at 62. About a year after leaving her St. Paul, Minn. job at the Department of Employment and Economic Development, she unretired and began creating indexes for books after taking an online course on this. She wanted to work longer. “As pleasant as that first year of retirement was — reading, gardening, walking, some volunteering but generally relaxing — I came to realize that, for me, it was very important to add something in my life that was more mentally taxing,” says Humphrey. “I found myself feeling a bit sluggish, mostly mentally sluggish, and that was way out of keeping with my entire life.”

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The surprising secrets of successful retirees

What ‘The Retiree Next Door’ author learned by surveying them

By Richard Eisenberg for Next Avenue


If you’re in your 40s, 50s or early 60s, odds are you’d like to know what it takes to have a happy and successful retirement. To find out, a few authors — such as Wes Moss (You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think) and Bob Lowry (Living a Satisfying Retirement) — have surveyed retirees.

And now Marc Diana, the Los-Angeles-based CEO of the new personal-finance site site, has surveyed 510 retirees to learn the magic elixir. He published the findings in the free e-book, The Retiree Next Door: Successful Seniors’ Surprising Secrets (you can download it at the MoneyTips site).

I spoke with Diana, a serial entrepreneur who also founded, to find out what those surprising secrets were and what pre-retirees should do now if they want to join the club. I confess that the results did, indeed, surprise me.

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