Positive New Year’s R SMALL WAYS TO IMPROV Many people focus on all kinds of grand New Year’s resolutions and often neglect smaller aspects that can improve their overall well-being. Here are a few positive New Year’s resolutions to give yourself a healthy boost in 2020. Get Enough Sleep If you get less than seven hours of sleep, it’s time to consider your sleeping habits. Practice mindful breathing to clear your mind if stress keeps you up. If you need background noise to sleep, white noise apps can supply gentle, nondistracting noises, such as rainfall or waterfalls. If you need complete silence, invest in noise-canceling headphones. Get Organized Organizing is also a great way to set you up for success. A clear space is a clear mind. To start, break down your files into basic categories. From there, look at each document and either file it away or store it on the cloud. Following this method, I have everything at my fingertips and know exactly where things are. Simple Pancakes From Scratch
I f you’re in the appropriate age bracket, Social KNOW WHAT’S CHANGING Security may play a major role in your finances. So, it’s important to know how Social Security will be changing in 2020. Unless Congress takes some drastic actions in the coming months, the current excess trust fund revenue will be depleted by the year 2034. If that happens, Social Security will only be able to pay 79% of the promised benefits from ongoing payroll taxes. You may need to think about what your financial plan would be like with 21% less income. Retirement Age If you haven’t reached retirement yet, this one is important to consider. If you were born after 1959, the full retirement age is now 67 for you. You’ll still be able to start taking some benefits at age 62, but they’ll be at reduced monthly payments. Cost of Living Low inflation means that Social Security benefits will only see a minor cost of living increase. This year, it’s expected to be around 1.6%. It’s not major, but if you’re living off Social Security alone, every penny is important. Maximum Benefits Those near the top of the Social Security income scale in 2019 will see an increase in their maximum payout in 2020. The maximum payout for an individual will be capped at $2,861 per month. That translates to $34,332 per year, so consider how that may impact your finances. Taxes How much your benefits are taxed depends on your household income levels. For example, 50% of your benefits will be taxed if you make between $25,000– $34,000 individually or $32,000–$44,000 for married couples. If you’re above that income bracket, then 85% of your benefits will be taxable. Trust Fund
Everyone should be able to make pancakes without a boxed mix. This recipe is no-frills fantastic and can probably be made without so much as a trip to the grocery store.
• 2 cups all-purpose flour • 2 tsp baking powder • 1/4 tsp salt • 1 tbsp sugar, optional
• 2 eggs • 1 3/4 cups milk • Unsalted butter or canola oil, to grease skillet
1. Heat a griddle or skillet to medium-low. 2. In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (including sugar if you like a sweeter pancake). In a separate bowl, beat eggs into milk. Gently stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ones. Mix only until flour is moistened. Clumps are fine. 3. Add some butter or oil to the skillet. If the butter foams or oil shimmers, the temperature is correct. Pour in a pancake of any size, cooking until bubbles form, about 2–4 minutes. 4. Flip and cook other side for 2–4 minutes. Serve warm.
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