Category Archives: Living!

All the reasons for me to live in Thailand


Retirement (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

Why Retire Abroad?

By Brittany Stepniak | Thursday, July 18th, 2013

In June, we revealed some of the best locations across the globe for retirement.

Today we want to talk more in depth about why you may want to consider this option, even if you’ve lived in the United States all your life…

In explaining the pros (and don’t worry, I’ll touch on the cons, too!) of overseas residency, let’s focus on four reasons you might want to at least visit another one of these countries before you settle in for the long run.

1. Cheaper Cost of Living. Before you really delve into the details of retiring abroad, allow me to state the obvious: At the outset, it can feel like a daunting endeavor.

Even more concerning, it sounds expensive. Think of all your international travels over the years. I’m sure they cost a pretty penny.

The reality is that there are at least six exotic locations you can retire overseas for $1,250 a month or less…

Due to extreme economic turmoil this past decade, baby boomers on the brink of retirement are feeling the added pressure of earning extra retirement income to compensate for dwindling savings.

Add to that the fact that many retirees have health conditions that prevent them from feasibly working full or even part time beyond a certain age, and the market’s volatility can easily leave investors and their nest eggs in a worse place than they started.

That’s why we want to shed light on the alternative options (and locations) that may allow you to retire at ease, regardless of your ability to continue working or pick up a hot stock and buy and sell at the perfect time.

In 2012 a ranking system indicated that Americans could find the best values for retirement in Latin America. For less than $2,000 a month, you could enjoy all the finer things life has to offer — cuisine, wine, having a maid and a gardener — while maintaining excellent health care and spending time doing the activities and hobbies you’ve grown to love over the years.

Looking for cheaper real estate and an overall cheaper cost of living while having abundant opportunities for entertainment in a temperate climate? You may want to consider retiring abroad.

Ecuador was recently voted best place in the world to retire. Here a couple can live comfortably for less than $1,500 per month, including rent! Dining out won’t put you over your budget either: A nice meal out costs about $25 max, but is usually much less expensive.

Although there is strife within the government in Ecuador, and wages are low for residents (as is the case in many nations, including our own), retirees may be willing to look past these flaws, knowing they can live so lavishly on their retirement savings alone.

2. Reduced stress.

Let’s be honest, financial woes are one of the biggest stressors facing Americans, especially in the aftermath of the Great Recession in light of the jobless crisis, housing bubble, and now a student loan bubble. And it seems the older we get, the more expensive it is to take care of our families, our livelihood, and ourselves.

But you could cut that stress — and your bills — in half simply by retiring somewhere where everything from rent to dental care is often unbelievably more affordable.

Take Gail Humbert, for example. She needed major dental work, and consultants quoted her a net cost of $35,000-$40,000. Instead of settling for that offer, Gail decided to explore an alternative option…

She remembered hearing a story on National Public Radio about an uninsured building contractor who had gone abroad to receive medical care in order to pay a small fraction of what he’d been quoted in the U.S. Taking a page from his book, Gail traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica, to receive the dental implants she needed. She took two separate trips out there for treatment before the work was completed. And you’ll never believe how much she spent…

The total lump-sum cost for the dental work, two round-trip flights, and all necessary accommodations amounted to just $14,000 — not even close to half the cost the consultants quoted her for the dental work alone in the U.S.

Gail was impressed with her treatment, commenting on her confidence in the well-trained dental team, the high-quality care she received, and the fact that every procedure was explained to her in detail ahead of time.

According to Gail, the service part of the experience was even better than what she would have expected, had she chosen to pay $21,000 more for the same procedures back home.

3. Less hostility and anxiety.

I know this sounds crazy, the notion that leaving your homeland could actually land you in an environment with less hostility…

Sure, you’ll have to take into account that you would be the foreigner in a new territory, so you’ll have to be willing to learn the ropes a little.

But once you learn and respect the regulations, cultural mores and traditions, I’m willing to bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised by your new surroundings…

Because chances are you’ll be met with several other expatriates who share your life views and values if you end up moving somewhere overseas like Granada, where about 1,000 expats currently reside. This will be a welcomed fresh breath of air for Outsiders already frustrated with the way things are going in our country right now.

Instead of retiring in an overcrowded American city with so many groups of people, many hostile or fearful towards almost anybody these days, why not move somewhere where you can afford a big plot of land absent of rude neighbors to interrupt the peace and relaxation most you deserve in your retirement years?

Unless you’re going somewhere like France, I doubt you’ll feel overwhelmed with an arrogant, haughty, or otherwise surly population — but remember, you could come off this way if you complain or argue too often in your new community. Keep that in mind if you want to keep the peace with your new neighbors.


4. New experiences strengthen mental health and ward off onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Visiting or living in a foreign country can act as “intellectual candy” for the brain.

The new experiences will help improve your mental and emotional health — especially if you can save thousands of dollars in the process!

And removing yourself from a mundane routine can stimulate senses in a profound way. New sights (beautiful never-before-seen landscapes), sounds (ethnic music), smells (new flora and fauna and local foods), tastes (new foods you’ve never tried before) can all improve overall health and mood.

Additionally, Alzheimer’s researchers across the board have found that engaging in new experiences and maintaining an active physical and social life helps ward off the onset of dementia by strengthening neuron transmission and communication in the brain.

Moving abroad will inevitable provide plenty of stimulating new opportunities to check off your bucket list while you reconnect with a spouse or form new bonds with the locals and other expats.

*Bonus: Healthcare is relatively affordable in most of the countries on the list. So the notion of engaging in new adventures to stimulate brain activity while maintaining the luxury of lower costs of living combined with inexpensive health care is bound to leave you in a happier, healthier state of mind.

Test-Driving Your Overseas Retirement

If you’re still entertaining the idea of living overseas, but aren’t comfortable with the long-term commitment just yet, the best way to cure cold feet is to spend time living in a foreign country before officially becoming a resident.

Of course, we’d never want you to settle for anything less than what is truly best for your unique individual needs and desires…

That’s why we firmly recommend a visit to your location of interest and possibly renting there for a month or two before you commit to moving there.

In the meantime, I urge you to take another look at the most affordable, senior-friendly countries for your retirement consideration.

Farewell for now,

Brittany Stepniak

@AngelPubGirl on Twitter

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Posted by on 07/19/2013 in Living!


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Gonorrhea more deadly than AIDS found in Japan

Doctors are warning that a drug-resistant strain of gonorrhea could be more deadly than AIDS, and are urging members of US Congress to spend $54 million for the development of a drug that would fight it.

More deadly than AIDS

More deadly than AIDS

This might be a lot worse than AIDS in the short run because the bacteria is more aggressive and will affect more people quickly,” Alan Christianson, a doctor of naturopathic medicine, told CNBC.

The new strain of gonorrhea, H041, was first discovered in 2009 after a sex worker fell victim to the superbug in Japan. Medical officials reported that the medication-resilient ‘sex superbug’ was discovered in Hawaii in May 2011, and has since spread to California and Norway, the International Business Times reports.

Nearly 30 million people die from AIDS-related causes each year, and the H041 superbug could have similar consequences, according to Alan Christianson, a doctor of naturopathic medicine.

“Getting gonorrhea from this strain might put someone into septic shock and death in a matter of days,” Christianson said. “This is very dangerous.”

The gonorrhea strain has not yet claimed any lives, but the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have asked Congress for $54 million to find an antibiotic to treat the strain.

In a Capitol Hill briefing last week, health officials said an education and public awareness campaign is crucial in minimizing the effective of HO41. William Smith, executive director of the National Coalition for STD Directors, said that if the ‘sex superbug’ spreads, it could quickly kill many people before a treatment is discovered. And that risk becomes increasingly more likely if Congress does not provide the funds to find a cure, he said.

“It’s an emergency situation. As time moves on, it’s getting more hazardous,” he told members of Congress.

“We have to keep beating the drum on this,” he added. “The potential for disaster is great.”

In the United States, there are 20 million new STD infections each year, which results in about $16 billion in medical costs, the CDC reports. More than 800,000 of these cases gonorrhea infections, most of which occur in young people ages 15 to 24. Gonorrhea is sometimes difficult to detect, since it shows no symptoms in about half of all women. Those who fall ill to the deadly strain may not notice it until it’s too late.

“That’s what’s kind of scary about this,” Smith said.

Although health officials have widely reported that cases of H041 were discovered in California, Hawaii and Norway, the CDC has disputed those claims and told CNBC on Monday that the infection has not been confirmed anywhere outside of Japan. The CDC did, however, make an announcement in 2011 that it was noticing greater gonorrhea bacterial resistance to certain types of antibiotics in Hawaii and California. 

CDC officials said that the US and Norwegian cases were treated effectively with antibiotics not routinely recommended and that these cases were mistakenly identified as H041. But the agency continues to urge Congress for research funding, indicating that the risk of infection is high regardless of where the cases occurred.

Christianson is urging people to practice safe sex and get STD tests if they are in a new relationship, since a superbug infection could be around the corner.

“This is a disaster just waiting to happen,” he told CNBC. “It’s time to do something about it before it explodes. These superbugs, including the gonorrhea strain, are a health threat. We need to move now before it gets out of hand.”


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Posted by on 05/07/2013 in Health!, Living!


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Suicide the leading cause of death in USA

More Americans now die of suicide than from car accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a disturbing statistic that some experts say points to the true depths of the US economic crisis.

From 1999 to 2010, the suicide rate among US citizens between the ages of 35 to 64 soared by about 30 per cent, to 17.6 deaths per 100,000 people, a jump from 13.7. In 2010, there were 33,687 deaths from motor vehicle crashes and 38,364 suicides. Although suicide has been traditionally viewed as a problem among the youth and elderly, the recent study, published in Friday’s issue of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, shows a marked rise in the number of suicides among middle-aged men and women. The suicide rate for men aged 35–64 years jumped 27.3 per cent, from 21.5 to 27.3 per 100,000, while the rate for women increased 31.5 per cent, from 6.2 to 8.1. Among the male population, the greatest increases were among those aged 50–54 years and 55–59 years, (49.4 per cent, from 20.6 to 30.7, and 47.8 per cent, from 20.3 to 30.0 respectively). Among females, suicide rates tended to increase with age. The largest percentage increase in suicide rate was observed among women aged 60–64 years (59.7 per cent, from 4.4 to 7.0).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Photo credit: Nrbelex)

Men were more likely to take their own lives than women. The suicide rate for middle-aged men was 27.3 deaths per 100,000, while for women it was 8.1 deaths per 100,000.

Suicide rates from 1999 to 2010 “increased significantly” across all four geographic areas and in 39 states. The state of Wyoming recorded the highest increase in suicides with a 78.8 per cent jump (31.1 per 100,000), while even the sunny state of Hawaii witnessed a 61.2 per cent increase (21.9 per 100,000).

As shocking as the newly released data on US suicide rates are, many believe the numbers are too low since many deaths are not treated as actual suicides.

“It’s vastly under-reported,” Julie Phillips, an associate professor of sociology at Rutgers University, told The New York Times. “We know we’re not counting all suicides.”

Baby Boomer crisis

CDC officials emphasized that the Baby Boomer generation is witnessing the highest increase in suicides (A Baby Boomer is a person who was born post-World War II, between the years 1946 and 1964, when the annual birthrate increased dramatically in the US). “It is the Baby Boomer group where we see the highest rates of suicide,” CDC deputy director, Dr. Ileana Arias, told the New York Times. “There may be something about that group, and how they think about life issues and their life choices that may make a difference.” The rise in suicides among this group may be connected with the recent downturn in the global economy and the challenges the Baby Boomer generation must now confront. “The increase does coincide with a decrease in financial standing for a lot of families over the same time period,” Arias said. In 2010, the first year of economic comeback following the 2009-2010 recession, 93 per cent of all pre-tax income gains went to the top 1 per cent of the American population, which in that year meant any household earning more than $358,000.

Is financial crisis spurring suicide?

Is the rash of suicides across a broad spectrum of the American population a direct result of the wealth hoarding by the top income earners in the United States? In a letter to The Lancet medical journal, scientists from Britain, Hong Kong and United States said an analysis of data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that while suicide rates increased slowly between 1999 and 2007, the rate of increase more than quadrupled from 2008 to 2010, Reuters reported. “There is a clear need to implement policies to promote mental health resilience during the ongoing recession,” said Aaron Reeves of Britain’s University of Cambridge, who headed the research and submitted it in a letter to The Lancet.

Reeves even suggested the Democrats and Republicans are partially to blame for not throwing a spotlight on the issue during the latest presidential campaign.

“In the run-up to the US presidential election, President Obama and Mitt Romney are debating how best to spur economic recovery, [but] missing from this discussion is consideration of how to protect Americans’ health during these hard times,” Reeves warned.

Meanwhile, preliminary research suggests that the risk for suicide will unlikely subside for future generations.

“The boomers had great expectations for what their life might look like, but I think perhaps it hasn’t panned out that way,” Phillips said.

“All these conditions the boomers are facing, future cohorts are going to be facing many of these conditions as well.” The study pointed to the increased usage of prescription painkillers, like oxycodone, which can be particularly deadly in large doses.

There was a significant jump in poisoning deaths, which include intentional overdoses of prescription medication. During the 10-year period, poisoning deaths were up 24 per cent over all, while death by suffocation, (including hangings) was up 81 per cent.

Robert Bridge is the author of the book, Midnight in the American Empire, which discusses the dangerous consequences of excessive corporate power in the United States.

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Posted by on 05/04/2013 in Living!


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Can you defend yourself in an emergency situation?

English: SIG Sauer P226 with Hogue grips

English: SIG Sauer P226 with Hogue grips (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SIG-Sauer P220, description for parts of handgun.

SIG-Sauer P220, description for parts of handgun. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Know how to protect yourself. This almost certainly means owning a firearm and knowing how to use it to protect yourself or others.

Many TV survival documentaries show people who feel they can defend themselves with knives or clubs, but in reality, they are going to lose 98% of the time against someone else with a firearm. Someone that has been specifically trained on how to use firearms in a defensive manner will almost always win the day in a gun battle.

You can’t just own a gun; you have to know how to use it at a very high level. You also need to know how to clean your weapons and take care of them. Access to a gunsmith may or may not be available to you during an emergency situation…

Some people think they cannot use a firearm against another person, but this feeling changes abruptly when they see one of their family members at risk. Some people still cannot use a firearm in any circumstance, and these people should consider some form of self-defense such as the non-lethal devices (stun batons, pepper sprays, TASERS, even baseball bats).

People can feel that everyone will come together and rebuild society, and many good people will — but there are plenty of bad people in this world. And it may come down to you or them.

Everyone needs to practice over and over with any self-defense armament they have so there is no hesitation when it comes to saving one’s life from someone that is willing to take yours or your loved ones’.

For a handgun, I recommend a 45-caliber for men and a 9MM for women. Most women find the kick of a 45-caliber handgun too much to handle when shooting and are more comfortable with a 9 MM. Colt, Smith and Wesson, H&K, Sig Sauer are some of the best name brands in handguns to consider if you don’t already own a handgun and need to purchase one.

A 45-caliber handgun has more stopping power than a 9 MM, but any well-placed shot with any type of gun can mean game over for an intruder or attacker with mal-intent.

Some other types of guns to consider are a good defensive shotgun (12 gauge) with large-size buckshot and along-range rifle with a quality scope.

If you are not familiar with guns, it is best to find a friend who is who can help you through the process of buying handguns, shotguns, or rifles.

Once you have the guns you want, it then becomes necessary to know how to safely use those guns without hesitation if needed. If you are not familiar with the handling of guns I highly recommend you find someone that can properly train you in a safe environment.

 I consider the best gun training that exists on planet earth for civilians. The name of the place is called Front Sight and is located an hour outside of Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Posted by on 04/12/2013 in Civil Unrest, Living!, Self-defence


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Hiv or hepatitis 7000 possibly infected in Oklahoma

A dental clinic in Tulsa, Oklahoma ,  reported 7000 patients may be at risk of having been infected in their facilities with HIV or hepatitis in the past six years.

Are you one of the 7000

Are you one of the 7000

Health authorities in Oklahoma State reported that the affected persons should be tested, after checking that the instruments used in the clinic had not been sterilized properly for years.

They also asserted that the doctor responsible for the dental clinic is cooperating in the investigation.

According to CBS, the alert is triggered when one of the patients tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and hepatitis, despite not having been exposed to risks. The investigation led to the source of infection clinic of Dr. Scott Harrington.

The state health department said the investigation found that the clinic there were “numerous and serious violations of sanitary laws and safety standards” in dental practice.

Thousands of patients could have been infected with HIV or hepatitis B and C since 2007 and have asked authorities notified to undergo tests to dispel doubts, since those infected may not experience symptoms for years.

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Posted by on 03/29/2013 in Crime!, Health!


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bee venom can kill the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have demonstrated that a toxin called melittin found in bee venom can destroy HIV by poking holes in the envelope surrounding the virus, according to a news release sent out by Washington University.

Visit Washington University’s website to read more about the study.

Is a bee the cure for HIV?

Is a bee the cure for HIV?

Bee venomNanoparticles smaller than HIV were infused with the bee venom toxin, explains U.S. News & World Report. A “protective bumper” was added to the nanoparticle’s surface, allowing it to bounce off normal cells and leave them intact. Normal cells are larger than HIV, so the nanoparticles target HIV, which is so small it fits between the bumpers.

Melittin on the nanoparticles fuses with the viral envelope,” said research instructor Joshua L. Hood, MD, PhD, via the news release. “The melittin forms little pore-like attack complexes and ruptures the envelope, stripping it off the virus.” Adding, “We are attacking an inherent physical property of HIV. Theoretically, there isn’t any way for the virus to adapt to that. The virus has to have a protective coat, a double-layered membrane that covers the virus.”

This revelation can lead to the development of a vaginal gel to prevent the spread of HIV and, it seems, an intravenous treatment to help those already infected. “Our hope is that in places where HIV is running rampant, people could use this gel as a preventive measure to stop the initial infection,” said Hood.

The bee venom HIV study was published on Thursday in the journal Antiviral Therapy, according to U.S. News & World Report.

This study comes on the heels of news that a Mississippi baby with HIV has apparently been cured. The mother was diagnosed with HIV during labor and the baby received a three-drug treatment just 30 hours after birth, before tests confirmed the infant was infected. The child, now 2 years old, has been off medication for about a year and shows no sign of infection.

More than 34 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, according to amFAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. Of these, 3.3 million are under the age of 15 years old. Each day, almost 7,000 people contract HIV around the globe.

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Posted by on 03/10/2013 in Health!, Living!


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the USA is the most unhealthy country

While the US spends more on healthcare than any other developed nation, it also has one of the lowest life expectancies: People living in the US die sooner, get sicker and sustain more injuries than those in other high-income countries.

health care in USA out of control

health care in USA out of control

Compared to 16 other affluent nations, the US has the highest mortality rate, according to a new report titled “US Health in International Perspectives: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health.” The US death rate is more than 500 people per 100,000, which includes deaths from noncommunicable diseases, deaths from injuries and deaths from communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions.

“The health of Americans is far worse than those of people in other countries, despite the fact that we spend more [on health care],” Dr. Steven Woolf, a professor of family medicine and chair of the panel that wrote the report, said at a news conference Wednesday.

Each year, the US spends an average $8,233 on healthcare per person, which is more than twice as much spent by other developed countries such as France, Sweden and the United Kingdom. About 17.6 percent of the US GDP is spent on healthcare, even though there are fewer physicians and hospital beds per person than in most other developed countries.

US life expectancy has been decreasing since 2010, and Americans are now only expected to live an average of 79.8 years. Even the wealthiest of Americans who can afford good insurance don’t fare as well as those in other countries.

“Even Americans who are white, insured, have college education or high income or [are] engaged in healthy behaviors seem to be in poorer health than people with similar characteristics in other nations,” Woolf said.

Gun violence is one of the main contributing factors of the lower life expectancy. Six out of every 100,000 US residents die in a violent encounter.

“The fact that our risk of death from homicide is seven times higher and from shootings 20 times higher is pretty dramatic,” Woolf added.

Researchers who worked on the report believe healthcare isn’t the only factor to blame: American culture also plays a significant role in the falling life expectancy and rising mortality rates. The common practice of keeping firearms in American homes – often unlocked – contributes to gun violence, while unhealthy eating habits, high rates of drug use and inadequate physical activity are sure to trigger health complications that may not be easily treatable.

“We have a culture in our country that, among many Americans, cherishes personal autonomy and wants to limit intrusion of government and other entities on our personal lives and also wants to encourage free enterprise and the success of business and industry,” Woolf says. “Some of those forces may act against the ability to achieve optimal health outcomes.”

The National Academy of Science also estimates that 30 percent of US health expenditures are wasted, often on expensive and unwarranted procedures. Fraud, excessive administration expenses and wasteful procedures increase the amount of money Americans spend on their health, while not reaping any benefits to the patients. With an overpriced and inefficient healthcare system, as well as cultural habits that are damaging to health, US life expectancy continues to decline and lag father behind other high-income countries.

“If we fail to act, life spans will continue to shorten and children will face shorter lives and greater rates of illness than those in other nations,” Woolf says.

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Posted by on 01/12/2013 in Health!, Living!


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