Broke at 49, Retired at 50

Most people have at least one goal, that would make their life better and allow them to make a difference in the world. At first, the goal is exciting and you’re going full-speed ahead, but you’re not progressing as fast as you would like, so you give up.

You may be closer to your goal than you think. That was certainly the case when I decided I wanted to retire at age 50.

I lost my husband to liver cancer in 2002. My company offered me a few free sessions with a financial planner. Financial planners usually give advice to celebrities like Brad and Angelina, not a single woman who was paying half of her paycheck in rent. But hey, it was free, so I signed up.

The nicest man called me from Texas. The financial questions were answered quickly. No I didn’t have stocks and bonds, no 401(K), or gold stashed in a safety deposit box. I did have a minimum balance in my checking and savings accounts.

There was a long pause on the other end of the line, and I thought he was probably trying frantically to make something out of nothing, but bless his heart, he was willing to jump in there and give it the old college try.

He gave me a pep talk about saving so much of my paycheck, taking advantage of a company 401(K) plan, and cutting my expenses. Then he asked me at what age I wanted to retire. My dream was to retire at age 50. Ok, how old was I now? I would be 49 in three months.

Well of course,  that seemed ridiculous with my finances, as he was quick to point out. I had to agree. The only way I could retire at age 50 would be to hit the lottery or marry someone who could support me. Both options seemed like longshots.

Let me put this in perspective for you. I lived in a town of 170,000 people and I didn’t know one eligible man. Oh well, I appreciated the sessions, and maybe I should plan to work until I was at least 70.

I did in fact retire at age 50. I tried online dating, and after kissing many toads, I met the prince. So if you have a dream goal, go after it, even if it seems impossible.

5 Tips to Prevent Germs On Your Toothbrush

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Menopause is a time to develop and maintain some healthy habits, so good oral hygiene is essential. Gum disease can lead to more serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

As you go through your day, you’re in contact with people, and touching different surfaces. It’s easy to transmit those germs to your toothbrush. Here are 5 tips to prevent germs on your toothbrush:

Wash Your Hands

When you’re ready to brush your teeth, wash your hands with soap and water. This not only keeps your toothbrush clean, it also keeps germs from entering your mouth.

Rinse Your Toothbrush

I know it is easy to skip a step when you’re busy, but take the time to rinse off your toothbrush. It’s easy for food particles to lodge in the bristles, and there may also be leftover toothpaste.

Don’t Share

You may think that since you’re all in the same family, that it is ok to use someone else’s toothbrush. Sharing increases your risk of developing an infection or diseases because you are exchanging microorganisms and body fluids.

Toothbrush Holder

Bacteria is more likely to grow in dark, warm, and moist places. Invest in a toothbrush holder that allows your toothbrush to stand upright without touching the bristles or coming in contact with other toothbrushes. This will allow the brush to air-dry.

Replace as Needed

The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months. This is just a guideline, so you need to examine your bristles for damage or fraying. If this is the case, replace immediately.

4 Tips For Reducing Embarassing Gas

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I realize that this is probably not a topic you’ll discuss at your next cocktail party, but excess gas and bloating is very uncomfortable and embarrassing. Gas is eliminated by burping or passing through the rectum. The average person produces about 1-3 pints of gas daily, and passes gas about 14 times.

High fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes that you eat to stay healthy, are notorious for causing gas.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to reduce gas, without sacrificing good health. Here are 4 tips for reducing gas in menopause:

Reduce Swallowed Air

Each time you eat or drink, you are swallowing air and some of that air ends up in the lower digestive tract. When you eat too fast, sip through a straw, chew gum, or suck on hard candies, you are swallowing even more air. Eliminate or cut down on carbonated beverages.

Take Peppermint

Indulge in refreshing  peppermint tea. It not only improves digestion, but also relaxes your mind and body. If you are not a tea drinker, try adding a drop of peppermint oil to a glass of water.

Digestive Enzymes

As you age, your gut is not as efficient and you produce fewer digestive enzymes. You want to buy a quality supplement that break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Ask for assistance at a health food store.

Pre-Soak Beans and Lentils

Who doesn’t love a nice hot bowl of beans or lentils? There’s no need to give up these nutritious and delicious foods. The day before you want to cook, soak in water with one tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar for every cup of beans.

What have you tried to reduce embarrassing gas?

4 Ways to Kickstart Your Morning Routine

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Mornings seem to be the most hectic time of the day. It’s easy to oversleep, and the hungry people in your house need to be fed. You need to shower, change into clean work clothes, and take the kids to school. By the time you arrive at work, you’re tired out and in a bad mood.

That’s why it’s important to have a morning routine. You may have to get out of bed earlier to get everything done, but you’ll discover that you actually save more time, and feel better in the process.

Drink Water

You’ve been asleep all night without hydration, so drink a tall glass of water so you’re more energetic during the day.  Water flushes out toxins and impurities. As an added bonus, water can raise your metabolic rate, which can help you lose weight. Add a wedge of lemon to detoxify the liver and maximize your enzyme production.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Eat slower digesting carbs to keep your blood sugars level. Nuts and seeds taste good, are easy to grab,  and also provide needed protein. Try some new combinations. Spread peanut butter on whole wheat bread, or toast cheese on a corn tortilla. Oatmeal can be dressed up with fruit, and fills you up until lunchtime.

Quiet Time

Sit down in a quiet place and take some deep breaths. Just focus on your breathing. Thoughts will pop up, but just let them go. After you get into a routine, you’ll get better at clearing your mind and improving your focus.

If you prefer, read something inspirational, pray, or listen to music.

Exercise

Depending on your schedule, you can hit the gym for a workout, or if you’re crunched for time, simple stretches get your blood flowing, and kick your body into gear.

What is your morning routine?

 

4 Lifestyle Tips to Cope with RLS

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Have you ever sat down to relax and felt a throbbing pain, or a feeling like something is crawling up your leg? Do you feel an overwhelming urge to keep moving your legs? You may be suffering from Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).

RLS usually begins in middle age and is more common in women. Symptoms are usually worse at night, which keeps you from getting a good night’s sleep.  Medical conditions that may play a role in the development of RLS include diabetes, iron deficiency anemia, Parkinson’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and kidney disease.

Medications are available, but there are many lifestyle changes that will also make a difference. Here are 4 lifestyle tips to cope with RLS:

Massage

Massage is a nice treat anytime, and improves the circulation in your restless leg. Boosting circulation helps move the blood through congested areas.

Warm Bath

Who doesn’t like to soak in a warm bath after a hard day? Add two cups of Epsom Salts to the bathwater. Epsom salts contains magnesium which is soothing to the muscles.

Elevation

Order a leg-raising pillow to keep your legs more relaxed while you sleep.  These pillows can usually be purchased at an orthopedist’s office or through an orthopedic catalog. Pillows are about a foot tall with very rigid foam.

Moderate Exercise

This isn’t the time to train for a half marathon, but moderate exercise such as walking or biking can help relieve RLS symptoms. Exercise earlier in the day so it doesn’t interfere with your sleep.

3 Reasons People Don’t Change Careers

Menopause is a time when your body changes, and it may be the perfect time for you to change careers. It doesn’t get much better than working your dream job. However, making the transition is not always easy, and many people would rather put up with a stressful job than try something new.

Here are 3 reasons people don’t change careers:

Too Expensive

Your dream job may require working your way up the salary ladder, or you may need to pay for additional training.  These extra costs may mean postponing the family vacation, eating fewer meals away from home. or putting home improvements on hold.

Takes Too Long

Changing careers is exciting, but learning the ropes of a new job takes time. After a stressful day, and commute, you may just want to pop a cold beer, play a few video games, and watch the next unlucky couple get booted off the dance floor on Dancing with the Stars.

Fear of Failure

What if this new career didn’t work out, and you ended up broke and on the street? You don’t want to look foolish in front of your friends and neighbors, and what if your old job wouldn’t take you back? Many people are not willing to take that chance.

4 Tips to Control Urinary Incontinence

When you enter menopause, you are producing less estrogen, which is responsible for keeping the bladder and urethra healthy.  As bladder muscles age, you lose the ability to store urine, which is called urinary incontinence.

You may notice that you leak urine when you sneeze, cough, or laugh. Trouble emptying your bladder can cause urine to leak since the bladder is always full.  Some women may have problems making it to the toilet in time.

Here are 4 tips to control urinary incontinence:

Reduce Caffeine Intake

Caffeine drinks such as soda, coffee, tea, and some energy drinks can overstimulate the bladder and increase the volume of urine. This doesn’t mean you’ll never get to enjoy your favorite beverage, just make it an occasional treat.

Lose Weight

Those extra pounds weaken the bladder and surrounding muscles, causing urine to leak out.

Topical Estrogen Cream

Doctors are usually cautious about prescribing estrogen in menopause, because of the risk of stroke, blood clots, and cancer.

However, topical estrogen cream contains less estrogen and can be applied directly to the target areas. Since less estrogen is circulating in the body, there are fewer side effects.

Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, and can prevent or control urinary incontinence.  You contract the pelvic muscles for a few seconds and then release and repeat.

Ask your doctor for a referral to a physical therapist, who can show you the correct way to perform the exercises.