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A Very Refreshing Read
Every year, I look forward to the release of Bill Gates’ summer reading list. I’m always looking for interesting books, and I figure that his recommendations are as good, if not better, than anyone’s. After reading his picks for 2018, I grabbed a copy of “Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think” by Hans Rosling. I’ve found it to be a breath of fresh air, especially given that everywhere you turn these days you find bad news and doomsayers.
The basic premise of the book is that people are predisposed to negative thinking, even when the facts dictate otherwise. “Think about the world,” Rosling writes. “War, violence, natural disasters, man-made disasters, corruption. Things are bad, and it feels like they are getting worse, right?” In a sense, he is encouraging you to adopt the worldview that he goes on to disprove in the rest of the book. There’s even a quiz in the introduction that tests people’s knowledge about poverty, disease, violence, and other statistics. Unfailingly, people choose answers that make the world out to be worse than it is. The word he uses to describe this outlook is “overdramatic.” Rosling goes on to encourage people to make sure their opinions are backed by facts and that those facts are properly researched and accurate. He encourages smart, thorough, independent thinking. His approach to the world is something I think a whole lot more people should adopt. I don’t want you to think I’m advocating blind optimism. Rosling isn’t, either. When the numbers and facts demonstrate that something is wrong, he won’t pretend otherwise. He notes, for example, that an overwhelming number of climate experts believe the world is getting hotter. What
he doesn’t do is turn this one serious issue into a blanket condemnation of our current condition. The message of “Factfulness” is particularly relevant to federal employees, because they’re a group of people who are constantly being told their world is crumbling down. Some of that anxiety is the result of having so many factors out of your control. Funding can change, departments can get downsized, and jobs are often lost. The vast majority of public sector employees, however, have more stability than they realize. Yet one negative thought or passed-around “fact” can cause widespread panic. The next time you’re presented with a story about how bad your job or the world is, I encourage you to ask two important questions. One, do the facts support this story? Two, what does it mean for me? Without this important perspective, it’s easy to become overdramatic and pessimistic. When you cut through all the noise, though, you’ll find things are a lot more harmonious than they first appeared.
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Dr. Jane Rooney
VETERINARIAN AND FRIEND OF THE ENVIRONMENT
Jane skiing in Colorado
Dr. Jane Rooney is a veterinarian working out of the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (USDA-APHIS) One Health office in Fort Collins. “Being a vet is one of the best jobs you could ask for, especially working for the USDA,” Dr. Rooney says. “A lot of people assume that every vet spends their days at a small animal practice full of dogs and cats, but the possibilities in our profession are limitless.” In her work for the USDA, Dr. Rooney sees her role as part of a connected nexus of health professionals. “We work at the intersection of human, animal, and environmental wellness,” she notes. “A lot of my job involves working in the livestock sector, but you never know what call will come next.”
they understood that food was precious. ‘No, I won’t eat that’ was not a phrase that was uttered in our house growing up. It was okay not to like something, but we had to try it first.” Reducing food waste requires diligence during all parts of the food consumption process. Dr. Rooney begins this process with thorough planning, ensuring that she buys only the amount of food she can use. “I use an app called Paprika to help plan what I’m going to eat for the week,” she says. “I don’t go shopping until my meals are scheduled. That way, I know the end use for every product I purchase.” Of course, everyone buys a little too much from time to time. When that happens, Dr. Rooney will freeze leftovers, but she also recommends pickling or other methods of preservation. She also advises using your scraps productively. “I compost everything I can and recycle the rest. Over the years, I’ve watched my weekly trash pile dwindle down to almost nothing. It’s very gratifying to see progress.” Dr. Rooney has shared her passion for minimizing food waste with Ann, which has made our entire team think about what they throw out. In turn, Ann has helped Dr. Rooney plan to be financially secure when the time comes for her to retire. “When I saw Ann deliver a seminar, I was blown away by her knowledge of retirement concerns for federal workers,” Dr. Rooney says. “I’m in no hurry to retire, but Ann has made it so that when the time comes, I’ll be ready.” We are honored to serve wonderful federal employees like Dr. Rooney. If you want to learn more about the issue of food waste, we encourage you to check out the documentary “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste | SUPER LTD.”
Outside of work, Dr. Rooney is passionate about curbing food waste. It’s become something of a pet project for her, and she knows that personal responsibility can go a long way in reducing the amount of food we throw out. “In developed countries, up to 40 percent of food goes to waste,” she states. “I firmly believe that we can get that number a lot closer to zero. My goal is that none of the food I buy ends up in the landfill.” Dr. Rooney’s interest in not being wasteful comes in part from her parents, who grew up in Ireland and had to ration their food at certain points in their lives. “My parents lived through the war, so
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3 Steps to Retirement
THE ROAD MAP EVERY 55-YEAR-OLD SHOULD FOLLOW
If you’re 55 or older, it’s time to get serious about planning for your retirement. In fact, most industry experts recommend far longer lead times of 20 years or more! But don’t be discouraged! Even if you’re a late planner, there are steps you can take to ensure you get the most out of your retirement. Here are the three most important steps you need to take to secure your future.
If your financial readiness falls short of the income you expect to live off of in your retirement, it’s time to make some adjustments. Cutting back on day-to- day expenses, working a second job, and increasing your contributions to salary deferral programs are all great ways of boosting your readiness ahead of retirement. gamble for those looking to jump-start their nest egg. However, investments with the highest returns also come with significant risk. The last thing anyone wants is to end up losing their principal right before retirement. That’s why most financial planners recommend investment strategies that grow more conservative as you age. If you are thinking about investing — or have been doing so for some time — it’s a good KNOW YOUR PORTFOLIO The stock market is a tempting
idea to check in regularly with your portfolio and ensure that you are comfortable with the amount of risk you are incurring. SETTLE YOUR DEBTS Debts, especially ones with high interest rates, can chew through your retirement savings. If you can’t get it all paid off before retirement, consider moving your credit card debt and other loan balances to accounts with a lower rate to ensure you are paying as little in interest as possible. These tips provide a general road map to a more stable retirement. Your own goals and financial situation may provide unique challenges and opportunities on the path to your post-work life. To understand your best options, reach out to a trusted financial advisor. DEBT
GET YOUR FINANCES IN ORDER The first place to start when preparing for retirement is your own checkbook. By gauging your overall financial readiness, you can identify whether
your spending and lifestyle habits are in need of a course correction. You’ll need to consider all of your finances as well as your income tax rate, the rate of return on your savings, and any benefit plans you may have from your employer.
Inspired by Food Network
• 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced • 1 cucumber, sliced into rounds • 20 basil leaves, chopped
• 1 small loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups) • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil • 2 large tomatoes, cubed • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cubed
• Salt, to taste • Vinaigrette
1. In a large sauté pan, set to medium-low heat and add olive oil. Add bread and 1 teaspoon salt, and toss often for 10 minutes or until toasted. 2. In a large bowl, mix vegetables and herbs. Toss in bread and your favorite vinaigrette and mix again. 3. Serve immediately or let sit 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
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issue INSIDE THIS My Summer Reading Find PAGE 1 Spotlight on Dr. Jane Rooney PAGE 2
Jump-Start Your Path to Retirement PAGE 3
Late-Summer Panzanella PAGE 3
Have You Heard About Mauritius? PAGE 4
MARVELOUS MAURITIUS A Secret Island of Adventure
WALK THROUGH HISTORY More than a tropical escape, Mauritius is an island full of history and culture, so there are plenty of opportunities to learn about the island’s layered past. You can visit one of the historical rummeries or explore Mauritius’ two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can also check out Aapravasi Ghat, the Immigration Depot, and Le Mourne Brabant. TASTE THE MEMORIES A day spent playing on an island is always better with great food. Influenced by its French, Creole, Indian, and Chinese heritage, Mauritius offers a vast menu of delicious dishes to try, from curry to dim sum. And the rich soil and bountiful ocean provide more than enough fresh fruit and seafood to go around. Despite its amazing vacation potential, Mauritius is all but unheard of to people in the United States. This means travelers can find amazing five-star resorts at unbeatable prices! With this in mind, isn’t it time you got to know the island of Mauritius?
Just over 1,000 miles off the southeastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean lies the small island of Mauritius. The island is often overlooked by the rest of the world. Most people are more likely to have heard of the island’s most famous extinct occupant, the dodo bird, than the island itself. This is shocking when you discover how much fun there is to be had in this tropical wonderland. ADVENTURE AWAITS Looking for fun in the sun? Start your trip to Mauritius with a hike up the lush Lion Mountain, or take time to snap a photo of the Seven Coloured Earths, where volcanic soil has created sand dunes of seven distinct colors. And what’s a trip to an island without the beach? Beautiful coral reefs surround Mauritius, keeping sharks away from the pristine beaches. Island guests and locals can fearlessly scuba dive around the brilliant reefs, swim with dolphins, kite surf, and find lots of other ways to enjoy the warm ocean waters.
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