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Tips for a green lifestyle

There has been great talk in recent years about the ecological footprint and how to reduce it. But, what exactly is this concept, and how does it affect us? Basically, the ecological footprint measures Green Energythe extent to which human beings are using nature’s resources faster than the planet can regenerate them. When we consume these resources at a faster rate than they can be reproduced, we are depleting our natural wealth and negatively affecting the environment in the process. It’s obvious, then, that we need to find ways to reduce our impact on the environment to achieve sustainability. One way to do this is by looking into ecotourism, opting for ecotravel and green hotels when planning our vacation. But what can we do before we travel, and after our trip is over? Here are just some tips to maintain a green lifestyle.

• Reduce waste. Buy products that have less packaging and use rechargeable batteries. Try not to use plastic cups, or paper napkins and plates when hosting get-togethers or going out on picnics. When shopping, take your own bags to the shops to carry home what you’ve bought. When traveling, use refillable bottles. Use your own toiletries instead of the hotel’s mini bottles of shampoo and conditioner and take your own toothbrush and toothpaste.

• Save electricity. Turn off equipment like TVs and stereos when you’re not using them and unplug all appliances. Even when they’re not turned on, appliances continue to drain energy from your electrical outlets. Also try to buy energy-efficient household appliances. In terms of lighting, take advantage of natural lighting during the day, and replace your incandescent light bulbs with CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs). They may seem more expensive, but they actually last longer and use far less energy than ordinary bulbs.

• Save water. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. Take showers instead of baths. Collect the water used to wash vegetables and fruit and use it to water your houseplants. Try washing dishes by hand. This not only saves water, but energy as well.

• Recycle. Call your local government to find out about your collection service. Also, try using recycled paper.

• Go biodegradable. When buying cleaning products, choose those that contain the fewest amount of chemicals possible, thus reducing the negative impact on the soil and water system.

• Eat organic. Organic foods are not only fresher, they are also environmentally friendlier, implementing practices that entail water and soil conservation. Most farmers’ markets actually sell produce grown using organic methods, although they may not have an organic label.

• Get creative. Try to incorporate leftovers into your next meal, rather than throwing away food. Go to flea markets and estate or garage sales to buy anything from small crafts to furniture. Chances are the quality of the items sold is much higher than what you’ll find in most chain stores, and you’ll be reducing waste by reusing items that would otherwise be thrown away.

These are just a few ways to conserve resources, reducing household waste, and save energy to help promote a more sustainable planet. Besides incorporating these practices into daily life, it is important to inform others as to the benefits of a green lifestyle.

The Key Features Of A Cash Balance Pension Plan

Cash balance pension plans are one of the many different types of retirement plans offered by employers. While this type of plan is classified as a defined benefit plan, it offers many of the features as a defined contribution plan.

 

When you take out a cash balance pension plan, you’ll be granted the chance to view your plan each year and confirm the credits that have been posted to it. If, for example, your employer has agreed to contribute 2% of your yearly salary to your pension plan, this will be included in your yearly pension statement. Credit interest for the money in your account should also be displayed.

 

While these statements may be useful, it’s important to remember that these numbers are for show. The money that you’ve invested doesn’t simply sit in your account but is invested in a range of ways on your employer’s behalf. Your employer therefore takes on all of the risks associated with the investments and will pay you the agreed set amount upon your retirement, regardless of the way in which the investment funds perform.

 

When you reach retirement age, the benefits available to you will be referred to in terms of a cash balance. The longer you’ve worked, the more you’ll have earned. This means that you’ll benefit from a large pay out upon your retirement. If, for example, your cash balance pension plan statement reveals that you have accrued a total cash balance of $250,000, this is the amount that you’ll be guaranteed to receive upon your retirement.

 

Through a cash balance plan, you can choose to receive your money as an annuity, in which case you’ll receive a regular cash payment each month. However, you can also opt to take your money in the form of a lump sum payment should you wish to do so.

 

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