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The Intelligent Life Blog

Helping millions of Americans become educated
in making intelligent decisions around their life needs

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Spring Cleaning - End Financial Clutter

Apr 21, 2017 1:21:00 PM

If your idea of keeping track of your finances is throwing unopened bills into a cardboard box, you're probably not alone. While organizing is never fun, neither is finding out that you're overdrawn on your bank account or facing an audit because you failed to keep to a financial obligation. Spring is here, so after you've cleaned out the garage and prepped your gardens, here are seven tips to help you end the financial clutter in your life.

1. Establish Some Goals

Decide at the start what you'd like to achieve by getting organized. Pull out a piece of paper and write down some goals that reach out one, five, and even ten years. Some important goals might include debt repayment, college savings, a retirement plan, and a life insurance policy.

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April Showers Bring Flowers ... and Floods

Apr 17, 2017 4:03:00 PM

When the winter weather begins to fade, many of us welcome spring with open arms. While warm sunshine and the return of outdoor activities is refreshing, spring can also bring torrential rains with some tragic results. In fact, floods are the number one natural disaster in the United States, with total flood claims averaging $1.9 billion annually over the past decade. If you are in an area that is prone to flooding or even if there is the remote possibility of high water, here are several tips to prepare and keep your family safe.

What You Need to Know About Floods

If your area has flooded in the past or is expecting periods of heavy rain, know the signs of possible trouble. Flooding will often occur after heavy snow thaws, following a hurricane, or after several days of heavy rain. A flash flood can happen quickly when water rises in a low-lying area or along a body of water.

Stay tuned to your local news or the National Weather Service's flood warning system. If you hear that there is a "flash flood watch," that means that a flood is possible. If you learn that there is a "flash flood warning," that means that flooding is already happening or is imminent and you should take precautions. 

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Get Your Finances in Shape in 2017

Apr 13, 2017 9:04:00 PM

If you've ever had a surprise tax bill or a large unexpected expense in the past, you've probably learned the value to wise financial planning. Even if you haven't had one of these financial emergencies fall into your lap, you probably know someone who has and have witnessed their struggles. 

Not only is having your finances in order just the mature thing to do, but it will also teach you some important skills and put you in the best position to protect your family's financial future. Here are several ways that you can get your personal finances in order for 2017.

Set Some Financial Goals

A useful exercise when you have resolved to take a close look at your finances is to sit down and set some goals. If you've always had difficulty when tax time rolls around, perhaps better tax planning should go on that list. If high-interest debt is an issue for you, you might want to pay off debt to free up room in your budget. Write down some short-term and long-term financial goals.

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Eating Healthy on a Budget: That's a Game You Can Win

Apr 6, 2017 9:14:00 AM

Have you avoided a healthy diet because you think that it will cost you more to consume foods that are better for you? In some cases, a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables could break the bank. It is certainly possible to eat healthy and stay on a strict budget. Here are some tips to help you win that elusive prize.

1. Affordable Proteins

Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet. While fresh fish and filet mignon might not make it on your budget-conscious list, there are several tasty items that can. For meats, you'll find the best values in chicken and turkey products. Eggs, canned tuna, and various types of legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas) provide excellent nutrient values per unit. While there is just a hint of protein in rice, you might still consider adding this low-cost food to your diet for its fiber and nutrient value.

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Work & Life Both Need Your Time: Find a Balance

Apr 2, 2017 11:50:00 AM

Work can be demanding. Your company and co-workers rely on you to show up for work each day to complete your assigned duties and sometimes the expectation extends far beyond a regular 40-hour work week. The constant connectivity of smartphones, as well as the drive to get ahead, may compound the excessive dedication to work hours.  

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Focus on 'Why You' to Get that Job You Want

Mar 29, 2017 4:54:00 PM

Even in the most favorable of job markets, your resume is still going to go up against other job seekers for a coveted position. When economic times are tough, and competition is stiff, you'll need to up your game even more to land your next job.

The days of grabbing and holding a job for 30 years are largely gone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person holds 11.7 jobs from the age of 18 to 48. If you're in one of these transition phases in a competitive industry, here are six tips to increase your odds of success in today's job market.

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How to Improve Your Odds of Avoiding Colorectal Cancer

Mar 26, 2017 11:11:00 AM

Colorectal cancer, also sometimes referred to as colon cancer, is a cancer that begins in either the colon or the rectum. These are both parts of the large intestine, which belongs to your body's digestive system. Colorectal cancer often begins as a polyp on the inner wall of the rectum or colon and sometimes these polyps turn cancerous.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common form of cancer found in the United States. Here is what you need to know about risk factors for colorectal cancer, how to improve your odds of avoiding the disease, and some specific symptoms that are associated with this type of cancer.

The Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer

Your risk of getting colorectal cancer goes up as you get older. Patients who are aged 50 and older account for more than 90% of colorectal cancer cases. Other risk factors for this disease include:

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Set Your Competitive Nature Free

Mar 21, 2017 7:03:00 PM

Are you fiercely competitive? In ancient times, there wasn't much choice in the matter. If you didn't compete for food, shelter, or companionship, you would die. Fortunately, things aren't quite as intense today, but we still compete in various aspects of our lives.

We continue to live in a world in which competition is highly valued and where achievement is often tied to self-esteem or personal value. Here are a few reasons why your competitive spirit might be a good thing, when it could get you into trouble, and some ways to use your drive more productively.

The Positive Aspects of a Competitive Spirit

It's a fallacy to believe that we all live a world where everyone is going to get a participation trophy just for showing up. Success is valued in our society whether we like it or not and competition is one of the best ways to drive success.

When we have competition, it pushes us to grow and even advance as a civilization. It can be argued that man might never have stepped on the moon if we were not in a race to beat the Russians for the prize. If viewed in the correct light, we can actually learn from the setbacks that occur when we're competing with others. These are some of the most positive aspects of competition.

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