Today is Earth Day –- the annual world-wide celebration of Mother Earth. How are you going to celebrate? There are countless ways you can Go Green/Be Green. The small things you do add up and over time make a difference. Start today. Think of one green habit you can start and stick with and don’t wait. Take action today as part of your Earth Day celebration.
Here are four areas for you to Go Green starting today.
#1: Use less electricity. When replacing old appliances and lights, buy energy efficient and LED lights. Look for the blue logo that says Energy Star. They usually consume 20-30% less energy. Unplug appliances when not in use.
#2: Choose green energy. Start with good temperature control in your house by lowering the thermostat in winter, lowering the water heater setting a notch, and putting notching the setting higher on your air conditioner. Use solar-powered outdoor equipment and lighting.
#3: Go green with water. Potable water needs to be produced from natural water sources and it takes energy to process and distribute potable water. Be conscious of leaks, don’t leave the water running when brushing your teeth and doing the dishes by hand, wait until you have a full load of dishes to run a dish washer and a full load of clothes to run the clothes washer.
#4: Reuse and recycle. See if you can substitute a reusable item for a disposable one. For example, use a sponge or cloth towel instead of a paper towel to clean up kitchen spills. Re-purpose socks for dusting. Do a Google search on “how to reuse household items” and get more suggestions. One article I found listed 36 household items that can be reused for other purposes.
Recycling is a cornerstone of most individual green efforts. See what you can to improve and enhance your personal recycling program. The major items to be recycled are:
- Electronic, electrical equipment and batteries (EEEs)
According to the latest report from the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI), 18% of workers are “very confident” about their financial future in retirement. (Question: How confident are you?) This is an improvement from the 2013 results when 13% of those surveyed reported that they were optimistic. It seems that the improvement in the balances of 401(k) plans, IRAs and other savings vehicles is buoying confidence.
While these results are better than last year’s, the optimism occurred only with those with a formal retirement plan (401(k) plan, IRA, etc.) and it still leaves 72% of workers in some state of mind less than “very confident”. The other warning signs of a coming retirement crisis have not abated. For example:
- 60% of workers have less than $25,000 in total savings and investments
- More than one in three workers have not save ANY money for retirement
- Only slightly more than half (57%) are actively saving for retirement (meaning 43% are not!)
How do today’s workers plan to cover retirement living expenses? They will keep on working beyond age 65 it seems. In 1991, 16% of workers planned to work beyond age 65; in 2014, that number soared to 50%. This is the biggest shift that EBRI has recorded in 24 years of this survey.
Every year when the annual EBRI Retirement Confidence survey results are published, I am disturbed by the lack of retirement savings among workers. One final statistic: only about 40% of workers have even tried to figure out how much they need to save for retirement. Please be among the 40% who know how much they need to save in order to retire comfortably. Use an on-line calculator from EBRI, T. Rowe Price or Fidelity. Or give us a call so we can do a full-fledged Retirement Readiness Check-up for you. Please do something so your only plan for retirement is to work as long as you can. That’s not a plan worth following.
Check out the full survey results and other information at the EBRI website.