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  • 7 toys for kids to keep them occupied for longer periods

    Most kids’ attention spans do not last long like they do for adults, which means kids can quickly get bored with toys. Sometimes, they lose interest within moments of opening a new one. In such situations, keeping them engaged for hours can get difficult. Many toys keep them entertained and immersed, fueling their imagination and creativity to help them learn new skills. Here are some popular toys for kids to keep them occupied for hours.

    Building blocks and construction sets
    Building blocks and construction sets have been among the most popular toys for children of various ages for many years. Kids can build everything under the sun that their imagination allows, from skyscrapers to spaceships, for hours at end. These are pretty helpful in sparking creativity and imagination. Another benefit of learning to play with building blocks is that it activates logical thinking and motor skills in young toddlers and kids.

    Art and craft open-ended toys
    Providing toys that include arts and crafts kits is another way to keep kids hooked. These toys help engage their sense of touch, sight, and sound. Moreover, these toys help develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. They keep kids busy for hours, helping them explore their creativity and self-expression.

    Board games
    Board games are a good source of entertainment that keeps kids busy. Some of the most popular and classic board games have been sources of valuable opportunities for social interaction and learning for the past many years. Moreover, many of these games help younger kids develop strategic thinking skills that can be useful as they grow older.

    Puzzles
    Puzzles are excellent for kids who enjoy playing alone or with others. Age-appropriate puzzles can provide the necessary challenge to keep them engaged for hours. Furthermore, jigsaw puzzles and 3D design-based puzzles can help children improve their problem-solving abilities and develop patience.

    Outdoor play equipment
    Outdoor play equipment and toys provide children with a more engaging and active play experience. When the weather is pleasant, kids can enjoy hours of fun while getting the necessary physical exercise. Bikes, scooters, and skateboards are popular and timeless choices for outdoor play equipment. Contemporary options like hoverboards, trampolines, swing sets, climbing structures, and rollerblades can also be great. However, it’s essential to ensure children wear the appropriate safety gear, such as helmets and elbow pads, while using such equipment. Additionally, it is crucial to keep a close eye on them at all times to prevent any accidents or harm.

    Dolls and action figures
    Most kids can spend hours indulging in imaginative play. One of the best ways to help them do so is through toys such as dolls and action figures. Providing them with the dolls of their favorite characters can encourage role-playing and storytelling. Also, toys such as dollhouses, playsets, and accessories can help to add excitement to their play experience as they create their narratives and stories during playtime.

    Educational toys
    Educational toys can be a fantastic option to keep kids occupied for extended periods. These toys allow children to play while learning essential skills. For example, STEM-focused toys, robotics, and science experiment kits can encourage kids to be interested in the world around them. Additionally, these toys provide a fun way to help kids develop their cognitive skills.

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  • 4 robot vacuums from top cleaning brands

    Investing in a good robot vacuum cleaner is a must for keeping your house clean and tidy with minimal human effort. A quality robot vacuum cleaner should be able to effectively clean all surfaces and accurately travel across the house. You will come across several robot vacuums options in the market, ranging from simple floor cleaners to technologically advanced smart devices. Here are four of the most effective robot vacuum cleaners for your consideration.

    eufy® BoostIQ™ RoboVac 11S
    The RoboVac 11S is an ultra-slip robot vacuum floor cleaner that features the eufy’s BoostIQ™ Technology. The suction power of this vacuum gets automatically increased when it detects a surface that needs extra cleaning. This device can consistently clean for approximately 100 minutes at a stretch on hardwood floors, and the noise is next to negligible. The eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S is currently priced at approximately $200. 

    ILIFE V3s Pro Robot Vacuum Cleaner
    This robot vacuum is ideal for those who have pets in their house. It features tangle-free suction passage technology that helps pick up pet hair and gets rid of dust and dirt from floors. The different cleaning modes available enable the ILIFE V3s Pro to efficiently clean hard-to-reach spots on the schedule that you set. It can run for 90 to 100 minutes and is self-charging. On the official website, this robot vacuum is available for around $160. 

    iRobot® Roomba® 614 Robot Vacuum
    The Roomba 614 from iRobot is one of the most popular robot vacuum cleaners in the market. It can spot clean wherever you want it to on the floor and can even be sent to the charging dock before its  designated time with the click of a button. The Dual Multi-Surface Brushes can efficiently clean dust, dirt, as well as pet hair from your floors and carpets. You can buy this vacuum cleaner for $250 on the official iRobot website. 

    Ecovacs DEEBOT 500
    If you don’t like the constant white noise of a robot vacuum cleaner in the background, the DEEBOT 500 is a great option for you to consider. It features multiple cleaning modes, automatic charging, and is even compatible with Alexa. You can buy this quiet robot vacuum cleaner for a price that ranges between $170 and $250.

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  • 10 anticipated Black Friday 2022 dog food deals

    Being a pet parent is not easy. You must pay close attention to what your dog eats and customize a menu depending on their breed, age, and other factors. Thankfully, various dog food brands have healthy and tasty options, making your job easier. But, loading up on pet food can be expensive, so make the most of the upcoming Black Friday sale. Here are five deals to expect in 2022.

    BLUE Wilderness Chicken with Grains for Puppies
    This recipe from Blue Buffalo has chicken, oats, and barley. It also has fruits and vegetables that supply energy to match a pup’s curiosity and playfulness. The meal helps build immunity and supplies the necessary nourishment for development. Expect to get it for up to 30% off during the Black Friday sale.

    IAMS Proactive Health Adult Small and Medium Breed Dry Dog Food
    It is ideal for small and medium dogs over a year old. The recipe has quality ingredients that support a healthy coat, digestion, and teeth growth. This IAMS dog food also helps build strong bones and muscles. A 1kg pack currently costs around $35, but you may get it for up to 20% off on Black Friday.

    Royal Canin Urban Life Adult
    A pet dog living in an urban city or busy setting is most likely exposed to pollution. This Royal Canin wet food has fish as the first ingredient and contains antioxidants that can reduce the stress they face from noise and crowds. Customers may get it for up to 30% off during the holiday sale.

    Purina Beyond Simply Farm-raised Chicken & Whole Barley Dry Dog Food
    Farm-raised chicken is the primary ingredient in this recipe. It is a limited-ingredient recipe that contains fiber-rich grains, vitamins, and nutrients. It is also high in protein and amino acids that help strengthen muscles and keep dogs energetic. Expect up to 20% off in the coming months!

    Instinct Raw Frozen Chicken Patties
    Instinct specializes in raw food with minimal processing to retain the freshness of the meat. Its chicken patties are burger-sized patties made with real chicken, fruits, and vegetables that build immunity, improve gut health, and maintain healthy skin and coat. You may get a whopping 61% off on this one.

    Nature’s Variety Selected Norwegian Salmon
    This recipe has deboned Norwegian salmon as its primary ingredient. The fish is fresh and has nutrients crucial for a dog’s muscle and bone growth. Its other ingredients include fruits, vegetables, and specific other superfoods. You may get it for up to 34% off.

    ORIJEN Amazing Grains Six Fish Recipe
    It uses fishes like mackerel, herring, monkfish, Acadian redfish, flounder, and hake as primary ingredients. Plus, there are grains like oats and quinoa, so your dog gets enough fiber. This dog food has prebiotics and probiotics to regulate gut health and prevent indigestion. Get this ORIJEN product for around 25% off this Black Friday.

    Taste of the Wild Ancient Mountain Canine Recipe with Roasted Lamb
    This recipe combines pasture-raised lamb and traditional grains like sorghum, millet, chia, and quinoa. It is rich in both protein and antioxidants. In addition, it has probiotics for healthy digestion and omega fatty acids for building immunity. Expect up to 35% off during the sale.

    Castor & Pollux PRISTINE Grass-Fed Beef & Oatmeal Recipe
    Grass-fed beef is the first ingredient in this recipe, combined with healthy grains. The product does not contain artificial preservatives, colors, or fillers like chickpeas or potatoes. Pet parents may see this recipe go on sale for up to 40% off its original price.

    Merrick Chicken Sweet Potato Recipe
    Merrick has several grain-free recipes with meats like chicken, lamb, duck, or buffalo as the first ingredient. This chicken and sweet potato recipe is enriched with omega-3 and omega-6 fats for your pet dog’s overall growth and immunity. You may get it for up to 35% off.

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  • 7 jewelry pieces every woman should invest in

    Jewelry is often a significant investment and often one that can last forever. Whether you define your personal style as timeless elegance or modern chic, there are certain jewelry pieces you must have in your wardrobe. These can help you dress up your clothes effortlessly and add layers of glam and oomph to your look. Check out these seven jewelry pieces every woman must invest in to elevate their outfits:

    Hoop earrings
    Hoop earrings are a versatile and timeless piece of jewelry that can quickly add a little glamor to any outfit. Whether you’re dressing up for an evening out or want to add some pizzazz to your work attire, a pair of mid-sized hoops is the perfect solution.
    Classic watch
    You may think that watches would go out of fashion with the rise of mobiles, but that’s just not true! As a luxurious finishing accessory, watches can go a long way in helping you upgrade your look and make a fashion statement. Based on your budget, invest in the best material and craftsmanship to make yourself truly stand out.
    Diamond bracelet
    Bracelets, especially tennis bracelets, are an elegant addition to any outfit. A traditional tennis bracelet is generally made with diamonds, and it encircles the wrist in an ‘eternity’ style. These bracelets are also often considered a marker of status, and their simplistic look makes them easy to pair with any ensemble.
    Cocktail ring
    If you’ve been paying attention to runway trends of late, you must have noticed that cocktail rings are back in fashion. Originally popularized in the 1920s, these oversized pieces are the perfect way to elevate any simple outfit. What’s more is that you do not need to invest in multiple pieces, or worry about stacking up, as you would with more traditional pieces. One single ring is enough to make a fashion statement!
    Gemstones
    There are several different colors of gemstones to choose from! Take some time to find out what colors suit you best – whether it’s topaz blue, emerald green, or ruby red. Get jewelry made with your preferred colored gemstones to pique interest in your outfit, and leave a bold, lasting, and confident impression.
    Diamond studs
    Diamond studs are the perfect everyday earrings. They are a chic investment and are generally the first purchase of any new jewelry collection. They are a perennial favorite whether you choose to dress down or up. Look through your options to find a quality pair of diamond studs and enjoy a timeless accessory forever!
    Chain necklace
    Chain necklaces have been one of the biggest trends in recent years. They are popular in various styles, such as the cable chain, belcher or rolo chain, box chain, ball chain, snake chain, byzantine chain, popcorn chain, curb chain, serpentine chain, infinite chain, and more. These work best when layered over casual outfits, chunky knits, or plain dresses to add an element of interest to your look. Find such jewelry pieces from top brands like Kay Jewelry that best fit your taste and aesthetics. The brand offers curated collections across various price points compatible with contemporary styles and trends.

    Investing in jewelry does not mean having to fork out hundreds of dollars for designer pieces. Look for pieces within your budget to help you add a little flair to your outfit and help give you a confidence boost!

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  • 6 aspects to consider before purchasing earphones

    When the tangible world gets overwhelming, there’s nothing more comforting than plugging in your earphones and tuning into your favorite podcast or listening to your curated playlist. Well-designed earphones ensure noise cancellation and superior bass and sound quality. However, with the wide variety of earphones available today, shortlisting one pair can pose a challenge. We have a definitive guide on things to consider to choose the perfect pair of earphones and ensure an immersive experience:

    The type of earphones
    The market abounds with different types of earphones – on-ear, in-ear, wireless, and open-back earphones, to name a few. Purchase your earphones, considering what device you will typically connect them to. For example, if you use your earphones only at your desk, you may not require wired earphones. However, if you use them while doing household chores, exercising, or traveling, you might want to consider purchasing wireless ones.

    Frequency response
    Frequency response refers to the range of frequencies a device can cover. A higher frequency range indicates better sound quality and vice versa. It is a good idea to check your earphone’s frequency response prior to purchase. Subtract the maximum and minimum frequency values of your earphones to determine the frequency range.

    Key features
    Your earphones must have key features like the ability to enable voice assistance, regulate music, good connectivity, and enhanced true wireless stereo (TWS) quality (wherever applicable). Additionally, you may opt for earphones with advanced features, as per your requirements. Check all the features of your earphones and compare them with your personal needs before making your purchase.

    Battery life
    If your earphones or AirPods are battery-operated, ensure to check their battery life before your purchase. In the case of earbuds, one must check the case capacity — the higher the case capacity, the longer your earphones’ battery life.

    Reviews and word-of-mouth
    The importance of reviews, feedback, and word-of-mouth should never be underestimated, even with regard to technology. It helps to read reviews online, watch unboxing videos, and consult people in your social circles about the durability and quality of the earphones you are planning to purchase. Such feedback can help you make an informed decision.

    Sound Isolation
    Another aspect to look for in your earphones is the level of sound isolation or noise cancellation. Typically, in-ear headphones and AirPods ensure better sound cancellation; however, choosing the right AirPods and earphones is essential to ensure comfort. Choose earphones with better sound isolation, particularly if you reside in a bustling neighborhood or plan to use your earphones while commuting.

    Selecting the perfect earphones is no rocket science – a thorough consideration of your needs vis-a-vis the features and prices of different earphone pairs can help you pick the right ones.

    Apple AirPods Pro
    Apple’s latest AirPods Pro release was announced on September 7, 2022, and launched on September 23. Currently priced at $249, these AirPods can be customized with Memoji, Animoji, or emoji engravings. These AirPods incorporate a sleek, esthetic design with direct touch control from the stem for media playback, longer battery life, a new charging case, and extra ear-tip size. It facilitates remarkable sound cancellation and a lightweight body, together with a low-distortion audio driver and a custom amplifier.

    Moreover, the new adaptive transparency feature eliminates loud environmental noises and ensures an elevated auditory experience for daily use. This pair of AirPods redefines “immersive” by incorporating the TrueDepth camera feature, which users can access through their iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple TVs. It allows one to create a personal profile for Spatial Audio, delivering highly customized listening of movies, music, and TV shows. Moreover, you can now charge your AirPods Pro with your Apple Watch charger, facilitating considerable convenience. Your brand-new AirPods Pro can be ordered online and is sure to redefine your listening experience.

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  • Top 10 Black Friday 2023 Deals to Expect on Cat Food

    Choosing the right cat food is important to ensure the health and happiness of one’s feline companion, and the best time for pet owners to save on pet supplies is just around the corner. Black Friday 2023 is set to offer a once-in-a-year opportunity to score fantastic deals on cat food. Drawing from past year’s trends, here are some Black Friday discounts on the top 10 cat food categories one can expect to see this year.

    1. Dry cat food (kibble)
    Dry cat food, often called kibble, is a popular choice among pet owners for its convenience and longer shelf life. Popular brands like Whiskas, Royal Canin, Purina ONE, and Blue Buffalo offer a variety of dry cat food options. Retailers such as Petco, PetSmart, Chewy, and Amazon stock these brands. During Black Friday 2023, shoppers can look for major discounts on dry cat food, along with bundle deals and coupons to maximize savings. Last year, Inaba, Greenies, and Temptations offered up to 50% off on cat treats. Similarly, Chewy offered about 46% off on 20-pack lickable and creamy cat treats, including chicken, tuna, and scallop flavors.

    2. Canned cat food
    Canned or wet cat food is known for its high moisture content and different flavors. Cat food from brands like Wellness, Fancy Feast, Tiki Cat, and NUTRO may be discounted on their brand websites as well as in stores like Walmart, Target, Kroger, and specialty pet stores. Last year’s Black Friday trends include discounts up to 40% on wet cat food as well as some Buy One Get One (BOGO) deals and limited-time promotions.

    3. Semi-moist cat food
    Semi-moist cat food offers a middle ground between dry kibble and wet canned food, and it usually resembles small meaty chunks or bits. One can find these products at well-stocked pet supply stores, online retailers, and brands like Meow Mix and 9Lives. Last year, Chewy, for example, offered Black Friday deals of up to 50% off on select cat food and treats, including semi-moist food. While discounts on this type of cat food may be limited compared to other types, it is worth keeping an eye out for any special offers or bundle deals during Black Friday 2023.

    4. Raw cat food
    Raw cat food is made from uncooked, raw ingredients such as meat, organs, fish, and sometimes vegetables. It is often considered a more natural and biologically appropriate food for cats, resembling what they might eat in the wild. Raw cat food is available in frozen and refrigerated options, and needs to be thawed before serving. Apart from direct discounts of up to 50%, Chewy gave an additional $30 e-gift cards on purchases above $100 and free delivery during Black Friday last year, making it an excellent opportunity for cat owners to stock up on this nourishing cat food option.

    5. Freeze-dried cat food
    Freeze-dried cat food is a type of raw food that undergoes a freeze-drying process to remove moisture while preserving the nutritional content. This can be stored at room temperature for extended periods. Raw cat food is typically refrigerated or frozen, while freeze-dried cat food is dry and shelf-stable. Both these types are minimally processed and are preferred by pet owners seeking premium nutrition. Brands such as Primal, Whiskas, Stella & Chewy’s, and Instinct are popular in this category. Freeze-dried cat foods can be found at specialty pet stores like PetSmart and Petco and online retailers like Chewy and Amazon. Going by past year’s trends, shoppers may expect to save up to 25% or even more on raw and freeze-dried cat food during Black Friday sales.

    6. Grain-free cat food
    Grain-free cat food is sought after by pet owners looking to avoid common allergens. Brands like Wellness CORE, Merrick, and Natural Balance offer grain-free options. Last year, during shopping season, Blue Buffalo gave nearly 40% off on its crunchy grain-free cat treats. Pet owners can look for similar discounts and possibly more offers on bulk purchases from pet supply stores as well as online retailers during Black Friday 2023.

    7. Limited ingredient cat food
    Limited ingredient cat food is formulated for cats with food sensitivities or allergies, offering a simplified ingredient list. Brands like Natural Balance and Merrick excel in this category. During Black Friday last year, pet owners enjoyed discounts up to 30% on limited ingredient cat food from these brands.

    8. Organic cat food
    Organic cat food is made from certified organic ingredients and is popular among pet owners seeking the highest quality nutrition for their feline companions. Brands like Castor & Pollux and Newman’s Own offer organic cat food options. One can find these products at specialty pet stores, health food stores, and online retailers. One may get Black Friday discounts of up to 20% on organic cat food. Open Farm Pet, for example, enticed pet owners with a 20% off on any orders as well as 25% off on auto-orders, up to $150 last year.

    9. Health-specific cat food
    While discounts for health-specific cat food are less common, pet supply stores and online retailers may offer limited-time promotions during Black Friday. This may range from hairball control, sensitive stomach, and senior cat food to veterinarian-advised foods specific for kidney disease and food allergies. Brands like IAMS, Blue Buffalo, Royal Canin, NUTRO, and Natural Balance may give site-wide discounts. For instance, last year, PetHonesty, Zesty Paws, and Purina Pro Plan offered 40% off on vitamin supplies specific for cats. Moreover, Feline Greenies offered 9% off on its dental treats for cats.

    10. Kitten food
    Specifically formulated for the needs of growing kittens, brands like IAMS, Royal Canin, and Purina Pro Plan offer specialized kitten food. During Black Friday last year, various brans and retailers offered discounts of up to 35% on premium kitten dry and wet food, often with convenient same-day or free delivery options.

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  • 6 ways to support people with disabilities

    There are many ways to support people with a disability, and it is imperative to be vocal about it to advocate for the community. However, there is also a lot of false information and misunderstanding about people with disabilities, which is why it’s crucial to dispel myths and taboos. Additionally, specific days are dedicated to raising awareness and support for disability rights and voices. So, here are some ways to show kindness and support.

    Offer help with consent
    Assuming that a person with a disability will require assistance may be an unpleasant idea to some. Therefore, one must always get permission before offering help, as this allows them to communicate effectively. Since they know their needs better, it is always best to follow what they suggest for their assistance.

    Provide a comfort zone
    It can make people with disabilities uncomfortable when they are being stared at, or their disability is being pointed out. Creating a safe environment where they can be themselves is essential to support them. One must pay attention to small gestures like maintaining eye contact while conversing and not focusing on the disability to make a difference. During conversations, it’s best to talk about constructive topics like family, work, music, or any fond memory of theirs. This gives them a sense of belongingness and uplifts their mood and mental health.

    Communicate respectfully
    When conversing, treating the other person with respect and kindness is important. One should avoid using a condescending or patronizing tone and always maintain a normal tone. It is crucial to address the person directly and not their caregiver if they are present. Additionally, some people may have service animals, so seeking permission before petting them is crucial.

    Educate children about being compassionate
    Children are naturally curious and always eager to learn about the world around them. When they come across someone with a disability, they may get curious and start asking questions. Instead of shutting them down or pulling them away, this can be an excellent opportunity to teach them about disabilities respectfully. For instance, if they ask why someone is in a wheelchair, one can explain that some people use wheelchairs to move around. Depending on every parent’s teaching approach, the answer can be tailored to their age. The main idea is to help children understand that everyone is unique and should be treated by everyone with respect and kindness, regardless of their differences.

    Always park legally
    It is important to remember that there are designated parking spaces for individuals with disabilities, and it is crucial to respect their needs by respecting their space in public. Choosing to park in a parking spot that is specifically marked for disabled people is equivalent to taking away their right to free and safe access in public.

    Respect personal space
    It is essential to be aware of the wheelchair, cane, or any other device a person with a disability may be using. Treat them with the same respect for personal space that one would give to any other person. Also, one must obtain permission before pushing their wheelchair or cane.

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  • 4 tips for scoring a good auto lease

    Buying a vehicle can burn a big fat hole in your wallet. This is why it makes sense to lease a vehicle rather than spend a whole lot of cash buying one. But is that all there is to leasing? Are you sure that leasing a car for long periods won’t turn out to be expensive? Are you aware of all the clauses in your lease? Are you getting a good car leasing deal? If you want these questions answered, this article will be of help.

    Leasing a car is basically like renting an apartment. The car is not yours but you get to use it for a stipulated period of time in exchange for a sum of money. This sum is based on the value of depreciation of the car, fees, interest, and taxes.

    Leasing a car is no joke. The entire process can even leave veteran car buyers dumbfounded. But is it worth the money? Yes, but if you meet the following criteria:

    • You do not have the cash to buy a car
    • Lifestyle demands a car that’s outside your purchasing budget
    • You like to replace the car with a new one after a year
    • You will not exceed the miles mentioned on the contract

    Tips to Find Great Car Leasing Deals
    Here are four handy tips that will help you get the right car on lease:

    • Choose the Right Car
      Before we even get to the part of understanding the intricacies of car leasing, you need to ensure you know what kind of car you want. You can choose from a variety of four-wheelers based on your budget and need. Once you’ve chosen the type of car you want, narrow it down to the model and make and then take it out for a test drive.
    • Verify Value and Price
      You need to know the residual value and the invoice value of the car. The residual value is the price of the car after the lease period and the invoice price is the price at which the dealer purchased the car. The lesser is the difference between the residual value and the selling price, the lesser will be the lease amount on the car.
    • Get Quotes from Different Dealerships
      One of the most important aspects of shopping, in general, is to cross-check deals at multiple places. This will help you see where you’re getting the best price, best rates, best anything. Also, verifying the costs might be confusing but you need to cross-check this with the invoice amount.
    • Check the Lease Payments
      Check all the parameters of the lease contract. There are a lot of words that you may not understand, so get the price and ask for the breakdown. Study what each means and look for any underlying clause that could cost you. Do not sign off anything without double-checking the vehicle and the contract.
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  • Pros and cons of some of the best retirement investments

    Investment of any nature and for any goal is always a good idea, apart from saving for your retirement. The rising rate of inflation coupled with reduced pension plans demonstrate the need for retirement-focused investments, which will not just deliver value over an extended period of time.

    That being said, not all assets are capable of delivering high returns at low risk and have their own set of importance to investor portfolios. To help you make an informed investment decision, here are some best retirement investments and their pros and cons.

    • Cash-balance plans

    Similar to pensions, a cash-balance plan offers a fixed amount of return at the time of retirement. However, unlike pensions, every employee has a cash-balance account where the lump sum amount is mentioned. Employers credit this account with a set percentage of the employee’s yearly compensation plus interest charges.

    Pros: A defined-benefit is a major attraction of cash-balance plans. Additionally, you don’t have to pay a single penny for it and yet it offers a tremendous certainty of retirement funds. In case of a job switch, these accounts can be transferred to your new job.

    Cons: Should you choose to retire early, the plan wouldn’t benefit much. Moreover, older employees stand to lose if the employer switches from pensions to cash-balance plans.

    • Retirement annuities

    Retirement annuities are contractual insurance-like agreements between you and the insurance company. Similar to various types of insurance, you pay a specified premium monthly or a lump-sum amount to the insurer for a specified period of time. In return, you get monthly, semi-annual, or annual income from the insurance company after retirement.

    Pros: The biggest advantage of annuities is the promise of a guaranteed stream of income until you live. Annuities are also tax-deferred, which gives you control over when you pay your taxes. Fixed retirement annuity, meanwhile, even promises a certain rate of return.

    Cons: Annuities demand hefty fees, which are mostly paid to agents. A way to get around it is to buy it directly from the insurer. Lack of liquidity, higher tax rates, and its complexity are some of the other drawbacks of this asset.

    • Balanced funds

    Balanced funds are a good choice for investors nearing retirement. Here, your money is invested across a range of stocks and bonds. Primarily, 60% of your money is invested in stocks, and the remaining 40% in bonds. These funds are different from target-date funds, which are designed for individuals looking to retire at a specific time.

    Pros: The biggest advantage of balanced funds is its diversification. Money is allocated in both stocks and bonds simultaneously, unlike investing individually in both which can prove challenging. Also, a mutual fund management team provides continued assistance and guidance, which is highly important for maximizing returns.

    Cons: Fees can sometimes be higher in balanced funds and investors themselves have little say in the allocation of funds in different assets.

    Roth gold IRA
    Another option worth considering is Roth gold IRAs, which can be used to invest in tangible assets such as art, antiques, collectibles, and real estate. Contributions to this account are made post-tax and are considered non-deductible. For those up to the age of 49, the contribution limit is capped at $6,000 per year. Those who are 50 and older can contribute up to $7,000 to this account. 

    Pros: These contributions can provide a safety net against inflation, as they retain their value well. They are also a great option for those who are looking to diversify their investments. 

    Cons: Roth gold IRAs are associated with high maintenance fees, volatility, and lack of liquidity. Additionally, physical assets may be associated with a risk of loss or theft.

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  • 5 things first-time cruisers should avoid doing
    Those who have traveled on a cruise before are probably already familiar with cruise dos and don'ts. But for cruise rookies out there, this is a brand new experience. If you're one of them, you probably do not know what to expect, especially since there will be a ton of other passengers. Good thing we're here to help. Read on to know about five things you should not do on your first cruise trip. Don't forget to turn off your data First-time passengers are often surprised and dumbfounded by their expensive cellular bills after a cruise. These high bills are only a result of the international data and roaming charges applied to cell services. If you do want to avoid these pricy bills, you can opt to turn off cellular data for the whole duration of your trip or while nearing a coast or port. You can also switch off your cell phone or put it on airplane mode to avoid unnecessary costs. However, this does not mean that you cannot contact your loved ones on land. You can simply use the internet cafes onboard or pay to access Wi-Fi services throughout the trip. Don't shop too much One of the biggest mistakes first-time travelers make is shopping way too much at ports. Sure, shopping on vacation is normal, but going overboard will leave you with more luggage and increase your vacation budget. Many cruise travelers have also observed that they rarely use the things they buy while on vacation. Instead, shop for souvenirs and mementos for yourself and family and friends. These are excellent reminders of a great trip and can fit into your luggage with ease. Don't skip out on travel insurance Travel insurance is a must-have if you're thinking about traversing the globe and vacationing on a cruise. This is to avoid any major losses. We rely on many things that we have no control over when traveling. Your flight could be delayed due to bad weather, or there could be a cancellation on your ticket, or traffic could cause you to miss your flight. In such situations, travel insurance will allow you to get your money back without a hassle. Travel insurance also protects you from cancellation fees and covers the costs of loss of luggage. Don't misjudge your cruise fare Another common mistake first-time cruise travelers make is not paying attention to their cruise fares. The price of a cruise is typically not all-inclusive. This means: the fare of your cruise does not usually include meals, drinks, Wi-Fi, and other services. Fares are also not inclusive of other classes, spa treatments, and even onboard activities. As a result, you may end up spending a lot more than the cost of the cruise ticket. To limit your costs and prevent additional expenses, you can instead purchase a beverage and meal plan and your cruise ticket. Some cruises even offer discounts for onboard activities and classes. Don't forget to pack your sunscreen While onboard, you probably will spend a lot of time on the deck or by the pool. This calls for sunscreen, as you will be spending hours under the sun. And no one wants to spend their vacation with sunburns. Book the right package to ensure you have the best cruise experience. You can check out packages offered by popular cruise lines like Viking Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, and Oceania Cruises. Further, Norwegian Cruise Line, American Cruise Lines, and Hurtigruten Expeditions also offer exciting deals.
  • 10 Best Black Friday Mattress Deals to Expect in 2023
    Black Friday, the ultimate shopping phenomenon, is rapidly approaching, and one category that consistently sees a wave of incredible discounts and deals across a wide array of products is mattresses. From memory foam to hybrids, Black Friday is an ideal time to invest in quality mattresses and big brands for a fraction of the cost. Going by past year trends, here are the best expectant deals that may hit the market on Black Friday 2023. Anticipated mattress deals on Black Friday 2023 As one prepares to hunt for the best Black Friday mattress deals, understanding the various types of mattresses available can empower one to make the right choice. Here are the most common and popular types and what to expect in terms of discounts and offers: Foam mattresses Foam mattresses have become a crowd favorite due to their contouring comfort and pressure-relief properties. The average range of a queen-size foam bed is approximately $900 to $1,800, but the price can vary depending on the material source, quality, size, and other special features, like a cooling layer. On Black Friday last year, some of the popular brands like Tempur-Pedic, Puffy, Casper, Saatva, Purple Plus, Nectar, and many more offered insane discounts on them. 1. For instance, Puffy offered their five-layer foam mattress for a whopping discount of $800 and gave away a $600 bedding set for free, including pillows, sheets, and a protector.  Spring mattresses Spring mattresses are known for their bounce and support and come in different spring types, like pocketed and innerspring, the latter being the more common one. Many brands roll out attractive deals on these during Black Friday. 1. Last year, for example, the Black Friday deal on Saatva's eco-friendly innerspring featured a $400 discount and included complimentary white glove delivery. One should keep an eye out for hybrid varieties that combine innerspring coils with memory foam layers for the best of both worlds. Latex mattresses Known for their breathability and support, latex mattresses typically fall within the price range of $1,600 to $2,000. Black Friday brings a sea of discounts for these as well. 1. For instance, Avocado Green, known for its eco-luxury products, gave away a sitewide discount of 10% with an additional up to 10% off on eligible products last year, enabling customers to save up to $880. 2. Similarly, Nolah gave up to $700 off plus an extra $50 off during checkout with their special code. 3. During Black Friday, PlushBeds offered significant discounts of over $1,000 on their products, making it an excellent opportunity for customers to purchase high-quality bedding at a more affordable price. 4. Birch, in addition to providing discounted prices, also gave away freebies to their customers last year. So, one can expect many brands to offer substantial savings and bundles that include latex pillows or mattress toppers, making it an ideal time to invest in this long-term purchase. Hybrid mattresses Hybrid mattresses fuse memory foam, latex, or gel layers with innerspring coils for a balanced sleep experience. 1. Last year's Black Friday deals on Nectar included $100 off mattresses along with $399 worth of gifts. 2. During the sale last year, Sealy, Tuft & Needle, Purple, and DreamCloud offered discounts of up to 55% off their products. Organic mattresses Organic mattresses are made from natural materials like organic cotton, wool, or latex, free from synthetic chemicals, offering an eco-friendly sleep option. These mattresses for adults, babies, and kids are expected to gain more traction during Black Friday. 1. Last year, for instance, the brand Awara discounted one of its queen-sized organic mattress by almost $799, the price dropping from $1,898 to $1,099. Airbed Airbeds come with an air chamber support core that can be filled with a pump, allowing one to customize the firmness level. 1. Although not as widely used as other types of beds, brands like Sleep Number offered a discount of $1,000 on their i8 Smart Bed during last year's Black Friday sale. Mattress bases and foundations Many mattress brands also provide bases, and Black Friday witnesses steep discounts on them. These bases support a mattress and are usually made from solid wood, metal, or upholstered materials. Last year, for instance, many brands like Purple, Sealy, DreamCloud, Casper, and others knocked off 35% of these foundations for Black Friday. Apart from these, some less common mattress types like waterbeds, futon and sofa beds, temporary air mattresses, and even pet beds are discounted on popular retail sites. There's a high possibility that brands and retailers like Amazon will run discounts on individual bedding accessories as well, like weighted blankets, mattress toppers, bedsheets, pillowcases, duvets, comforters, quilts, frames, and more, making them an ideal time to snag multiple items for low prices. Where to find the best Black Friday mattress deals? One can explore popular retailers like Mattress Firm, Amazon, Walmart, Target, and specialty mattress brands' official websites for the best Black Friday mattress deals. Traditionally, Black Friday deals extend beyond the day itself. One can anticipate deals kicking off a few days before Thanksgiving. Some retailers may begin to roll out early bird deals as early as mid-October and continue through to the actual day on November 24th. This extended period allows one to thoroughly research options and make an informed decision. Considerations before buying mattresses on Black Friday 2023 Review return policies One should carefully read a brand's return policies, especially for online purchases, since there's a chance one may find the mattress unsuitable upon actual use. It's ideal to look for free returns with at least a 100-night trial period. Look for coupon codes Most brands offer special coupon codes through emails or social media announcements, which can bring additional savings apart from the standard Black Friday discounts. So, one can search for a desired brand's promo code online to ensure one is not missing out on additional perks.
  • 8 things one should never clean with paper towels
    Wiping surfaces and other items with paper towels is an easy way to clean them quickly. Once the towel has served its purpose, the individual can throw it away and use another. However, some surfaces and products should never be cleaned with paper towels. While one might get that region dry and sparkly clean, it could damage it in the long run. On that note, one should avoid cleaning these eight things with a paper towel. Electronics Several people use paper towels to clean electronics like televisions, laptops, and smartphones, especially the screens. But while it might not look like it, paper towels are abrasive in nature. So when an individual uses the towel, it could scratch the body of the device and even the screen. Instead, one should use a microfiber cloth dedicated to cleaning these surfaces. Cutting boards It's easy to want to wipe a cutting board with a paper towel to soak meat juices because it's convenient and quick. But one should know that the towel might not absorb the liquid as well as it should, causing one to use more, which results in a lot of wastage. A clean, damp cloth that is washable and reusable is better suited to clean cutting boards with such residue. Dusty moldings Cleaning the molding of a ceiling or top of the walls with a paper towel is not the best idea. Such disposable towels are usually brittle and may wither away when it brushes across the surface. One should use a wet microfiber cloth to clean moldings as these are sturdier and suitable for scrubbing tough dirt. Textured surfaces Textured surfaces like brick and grout are often difficult to clean because of their deeper grooves. So, if one cleans the surface with a paper towel, they are likely to get pieces of the disposable towel lodged in the textured region. An ideal alternative would be to use an old toothbrush to brush out stains. Rugs Trying to clean household rugs with a paper towel is a mistake that many people regret immediately. Residue from the paper towel might get lodged in the fibers of the rugs and make it much more tedious to remove. The ideal cleaning option is to use a dedicated cleaning solution, brush, or vacuum cleaner based on the mess that needs cleaning. Glass windows People sometimes use disposable towels to clean their glass windows at home. While this might look like it's working, there are often specks of lint that get left behind, which is a little more difficult to clean. One of the best cleaning essentials for windows are microfiber cloths, coffee filters, or an old t-shirt. Eyewear Eyewear, like reading glasses, usually have a protective film to keep them safe and offer clearer vision. Since paper towels are abrasive, using them to lean such eyewear may result in scratches, consequently deteriorating clarity. One should stick to a dedicated liquid solution or microfiber cloth to clean eyewear. Dishes Paper towels are usually made with chlorine and formaldehyde, which are chemical byproducts that get left behind when rubbed on dishes and silverware. Using it to dry washed dishes like glasses and plates could leave residue on them that could be harmful to the body if ingested with food. Air-drying dishes are a much safer alternative to paper towels.
  • 7 mistakes to avoid when purchasing an RV
    Buying a recreational vehicle and getting on the road is one of the most exciting moves for several individuals. The fully-equipped automobile can allow you to drive freely on open roads. The vehicle also allows you to explore a range of heritage sites across the country. But buying an RV involves a great deal of research. Moreover, there are multiple mistakes you should avoid during a purchase to ensure you get value for your money. Investing in the wrong size People believe getting a bigger RV is a better choice. But this is different. Determining the ideal size of the recreational vehicle is essential to ensure it suits your needs. A larger space may require more towing power and upkeep. It is also more challenging to maneuver a larger vehicle. So speak to friends and family members who own RVs about their experiences, or consult with an authorized dealer to avoid buying the wrong size. Not considering used options Individuals often rule out buying used RVs and go straight to purchasing a new one. However, this might be a mistake because the new vehicle will instantly lose its value when driven off the lot. On the contrary, purchasing a previously owned RV may save significant money. On the other hand, many owners selling pre-owned options also take good care of the vehicle, so you may get one requiring minimal repairs. Skimping on research Several RV types are available in the market, including fifth wheels, travel trailers, and motor homes. These options are further categorized based on their model, year of manufacturer, features, and brand. So before you select a recreational vehicle, please list all the things you want in it. Doing so may help you find the ideal option with most requirements. Rushing the purchase Since buying an RV is an exciting experience, people tend to rush into buying the first option they find. However, rushing a purchase might lead to buying one you are uncomfortable with in the long run. So ensure that you check many different RV options before settling on one. Accounting for the towing vehicle If you go for RV choices like fifth wheels and travel trailers, you will require a tow vehicle to move them around. And here's where individuals need to realize that the tow vehicle they already have may not be compatible with the RV they recently bought. Therefore, you must account for the towing vehicle and ensure it can handle the trailer's weight when loaded with your belongings. Overlooking height When one drives an RV, they are required to follow the rules imposed by the authorities. For example, one of the road safety regulations that most people overlook is height maximums, so before purchasing, consider if the RV can be driven on the respective road. Being underprepared for storage An individual can buy an RV and enjoy traveling outdoors. However, they may need help storing recreational vehicles, as parking space could be expensive. So ensure you always have a safe and reliable place to park the RV.