The start of a new year gives us all a chance to hit the reset button and start new goals. 2020 was a year of many challenges for all, but the good news is we survived! 2021 will continue to present us with challenges, some carried over from 2020 and as always, there will be some new ones for sure.
That’s okay, because if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we are all survivors! So let’s take 2021 by the horns and set a goal to be proactive with our financial security! It’s not as hard as you might think! We all get caught in the daily grind of going to work, making money, and paying our bills on a weekly basis and there is nothing wrong with that. It keeps us moving forward. The problem is we often forget to think about the “what if’s,” of life.
All legitimate concerns, but ones we don’t like to think about. It’s not “fun.” It doesn’t make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The problem is people get injured every day. People die unexpectedly every day. People want to retire every day, but they don’t have enough money to live on. The reality is tomorrow is never promised to ANYONE. We like to think, “Oh that’s not going to happen to me.” But what if it does? We all need to be responsible and be prepared. The US Marines have a saying: “A failure to plan is a plan to fail.” So how do we get there? How do we make it so we can sleep at night and not worry so much about all the, “what if’s?”
Just like anything else in life, the best laid plans are the ones well thought out, written down, and put into place. Let’s start with financial protection. That’s the most important plan to have in place. How do we protect our loved ones from financial ruin if something happens to us? How do we ensure that if something happens to us they will be financially okay? The answer is we insure ourselves. That’s how.
Let me ask you this…. If you had an ATM machine in the basement that spit out $50,000 a year, how much would you insure it for? We HAVE to insure our home and our cars, right? Who is the ATM in your life? IT’s YOU! You go to work and bring home a paycheck. Whether you make 30k a year or 200k a year, YOU”RE the ATM machine! Why wouldn’t you insure that?
So that’s step one. Start with the insurance. Make absolutely certain that if something happens to you your loved ones will be protected. Once you have that in place you can move on to retirement and other things.
Now, you might say, “I’m covered at work, I don’t need any more insurance.” Well that’s great! It’s great that some employers, including our government, care enough about their employees to provide that benefit!
The answer is almost always NO, not even close! And what happens to that insurance if you separate from the company or military? That includes retirement when you’re older and maybe not as healthy as you are now? The answer is, IT’S GONE. Life insurance is all about age and health. The younger and healthier you are, the more affordable it is. You might be surprised to know that to insure a healthy 20 something for half a million dollars can be as little as $15 a month. That’s $180 a year to ensure the financial well-being of your family.
WELL WORTH the investment, right?
SOLID FINANCIAL PLAN
A solid financial plan includes other things as well. Insuring against disability, protecting your family and your assets as you get older, saving for retirement, and other important details. A good financial planner will guide you through it all and help you formulate a good plan. When seeking out someone who is right for you make sure they’re a good “fit.” This person is someone who should be involved with you periodically throughout the years because life isn’t static. Things change. Jobs change. People get married. People have kids. People’s goals change.
You want someone that you can work with easily and whom it doesn’t pain you to speak with. (That includes draining your bank account with fees). You should also do your homework. Make sure they are connected with a reputable company with good ratings and a long history of financial strength and security. Mutual companies, (as opposed to publicly traded companies), don’t answer to stockholders, so when they turn a profit, that money gets distributed to their client’s in the form of a dividend, not to a stockholder’s wallet. Life insurance companies can insure your investments so that you don’t lose your initial investment if the stock market goes south for a period of time like it did in 08. (Ask the people that wanted to retire in that year if they wished they had some assurances like that).
The point is, be prepared for anything! It’s not hard when you find the right person to help. Set the goal and make 2021 your most proactive year yet! It’s as easy as a phone call! The peace of mind it will bring you is priceless.
In this article we will discuss the importance of vitamin D intake through proper nutrition and the beneficial effects on mental health. Vitamin D is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in the United States. Affecting “more than one billion children and adults worldwide” as a result of inadequate sun exposure, dietary intake and in some cases poor vitamin D absorption. (Holick, 2017).
Where Can I find Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is found in various food sources such as fortified foods, or foods that have nutrients added to enhance overall nutritional quality. Some examples include:
One of the most common ways of obtaining vitamin D is though sunlight exposure, accounting for roughly 90% of ones vitamin D requirements! Contrary to popular belief, individuals of all skin pigmentation still need to wear sunscreen to protect themselves from the harmful Ultraviolet lights that come from the sun.
What may be making me deficient?
Some inhibiting factors include:
These same lifestyle factors have shown to have negative effects on mental health. In the brain, the neurotransmitters Dopamine and Serotonin (the feel good and happiness hormones) work with vitamin D to regulate mood and brain function.
Low levels have shown associations with Depression, Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, Fibromyalgia, Secondary-hyperparathyroidism, and SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder or “SAD” for example, is a common mood disorder, related to decreased sunlight exposure, in the fall and winter months. This is especially common in people living in colder regions of the United States. (Greenblatt, 2011.)
What can YOU do?
Vitamin D has not only proven to have a beneficial role in regards to our mental health, but our physical health too. Vitamin D aids in the formation and maintenance of bone, teeth and muscular function.
Remember, before taking any supplements always check with your Doctor for adequate dosage and usage!
November 9, 2020. By Jackie Mistretta, Nutritional Coach.
We all have unique experiences:
As a civilian, I do not know first hand what veterans or those in active duty experience, but as a professional social worker and as a human, I do know the impact that depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, addiction, grief, loss and pain can have on one’s psyche.
Personally, I have not always had a handle on these things but I have learned how to handle them over time in my life. The process or “the journey” is not always easy, but the destination is well worth the work. Many of us think that happiness is “out there” or down the road somewhere in the future. It’s not. It is inside of us, right here, right now, but is simply masked or overshadowed by darkness. For many, that darkness is always lurking.
Ways to get out from it is as simple as one decision. I want to be better or I will be better.
The question is, how? The answer is, to seek light.
Light comes from that place inside where a spark lights a smile across your face.
It can come from:
It is joy in it’s simplest form. Remember to seek these things. Remember the feeling that comes over you and create these moments for yourself. To help yourself, avoid isolation. Even in these trying times of COVID, seek connection. People need people and we all need help. HicksStrong is one way to get help and make connections. Make that call and start your journey. We are in this together.
Tina Pantuso, LCSW
Thank you to the Caserta family for standing in the gap and fighting for change.
Many of our nation’s military feel this way. We are here to help and you are not alone.
“I have been fortunate enough to have been attending therapy sessions via FaceTime with Dr. Tucci for about 6 months now. The reason I first contacted Dr. Tucci was due to my high levels of anxiety, alcohol dependency, and stress control. During the last 6 months with the help of weekly and bi weekly sessions I have drastically improved my stress and anxiety levels as well as significantly decreased my alcohol consumption. The greatest thing about this has been a change that is not immediate but is gradual. If you were to tell me I would have to abstain from alcohol for a week I would have laughed at you, now I am fortunate enough to say I would have no problem not drinking for any amount of time. Therapy has benefited me both physically and mentally and continues to do so with every session.”
This is why we do what we do. He will become an exceptional member of our armed services because he had the courage to seek help. Please let this testimony be reminder that no matter how tough you may be it is ok to speak to a qualified, confidential counselor to help you through difficult situations.
We would like to thank you Staff Sgt. for being vulnerable to seek help, for putting in the work and growing in the amazing soldier you are and will become, and lastly for being here each day. We salute you!
“(NEWSER) – A sailor from the USS Columbia submarine killed two civilian workers at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and injured another Wednesday before taking his own life, authorities say. “
READ MORE HERE
To call this a tragedy, is an understatement. The internal struggle many of us face on a daily basis, is no short of calamity status. We don’t know this person’s reasons for what they did. we can only hope to learn from it.
Please, if you are fighting a battle, don’t go at it alone. We are here. And we will do everything in our power to help.
We need to stop this epidemic. We are here to help those military members work through their PTSD, depression, anxieties, etc. Show your support for our cause by stopping by www.hicksstrong.org for more information or share it with your military friends that may need the help. The number of Airmen taking their own lives, has already exceeded last year’s total. 78 Air Force members in the first 7 months of 2019. 78. Read that again. SEVENTY-EIGHT. 78 families torn apart. 78 futures that won’t continue. This is what 78 people looks like, on a small scale.
Chief Master Sergeant Kaleth O. Wright told Military.com during a visit to a base in New Jersey that he wanted kites to stop and handle all the unresolved emotional problems that they buried deep within themselves.
Wright said he wanted to help the pilots regain a sense of purpose for the job, even if they carry personal problems…………Feedback from pilots, said Wright, who felt worse during the broadcasts, was that they had no contact with members of their unit and the friends and family they left behind at home. ” ( https://whatsnew2day.com/ )
Making meaningful connections at home or abroad, helps. A phone call asking, hey, how are ya.. Can I do anything… it could be that simple.