One of the biggest obstacles for families with young children is the rising cost of of child care.

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Middle-class economics is the key to restoring the link between hard work and being able to get ahead. It’s about giving everyone the same set of rules so everyone has a fair shot of getting ahead. But, right now, one of the biggest obstacles for families with young children is the rising cost of of child care.

Providing for child care is something we used to view as a national security. Read more about the lessons we need to learn from that time in our history here.

Today, after delivering his State of the Union address this week, President Obama stopped by the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS to lay out his plan to help alleviate this load for every middle-class family who is working and trying to boom young children.

Here’s what his plan will do for millions: 

1. Make a landmark investment in the Child Care and Development Fund that helps every eligible family with young children afford high-quality child care.

Here’s why:

2. Triple the maximum child care tax credit to $3,000 per young child.

Here’s why:

3. Create a new innovation fund to help states design programs that better serve families that face unique challenges in finding quality care, such as those in rural areas or working non-traditional hours. 

Here’s why:

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How can I prepare for breastfeeding before I give birth?

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How can I prepare for breastfeeding before I give birth?

baby-breastfeedingTo prepare for breastfeeding, the most important thing you can do is have confidence in yourself and to plan ahead. Committing to breastfeeding starts with the conviction that you can do it!

Other steps you can take to prepare for breastfeeding are:

  • Get good prenatal care, which can help you avoid early delivery. Babies born too early have more problems with breastfeeding.
  • Tell your doctor about your plans to breastfeed, and ask if the place where you plan to deliver your baby has the staff and setup to support successful breastfeeding. Some hospitals and birth centers have taken special steps to create the best possible environment for successful breastfeeding. These places are called Baby-Friendly Hospitals and Birth Centers.
  • Take a breastfeeding class. Pregnant women who comprehend about how to breastfeed are more likely to be successful at breastfeeding than those who do not. Breastfeeding classes offer pregnant women and their partners the chance to prepare and ask questions before the baby’s arrival.
  • Ask your doctor to recommend a lactation consultant. You can establish a contact with a lactation consultant before the baby comes so that you will have support ready after the baby is born.
  • Talk to your doctor about your health. Discuss any breast surgery or injury you may have had. If you have depression, or are taking supplements or medicines, talk with your doctor about treatments that can work with breastfeeding.
  • Tell your doctor that you would like to breastfeed as soon as possible after delivery. The sucking instinct is very strong within the baby’s first hour of life.
  • Talk to friends who have breastfed, or consider joining a breastfeeding support group.
  • Talk to fathers, partners, and other family members about how they can help you successfully breastfeed. Partners and family members can:
    • Support your breastfeeding by being kind and encouraging
    • Show their love and appreciation for all of the work that goes into breastfeeding
    • Be good listeners if you need to talk about any breastfeeding concerns you might have
    • Help make sure you have enough to drink and get enough rest
    • Help around the house
    • Take care of any other children who are at home
    • Give the baby love through playing and cuddling
  • Get the items you will need for breastfeeding, such as nursing bras, covers, and nursing pillows.
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It’s unfortunate how many people believe that estate planning is only for wealthy people.

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Know the Ins and Outs

It’s unfortunate how many people consider that estate arranging is only for wealthy people. People at all economic layers benefit from an estate plan. Upon death, an estate plan legally protects and distributes property based on your wishes and the needs of your family and/or survivors with as little tax as possible.

A will is the most practical first step in estate arranging; it makes clear how you wish your property to be distributed after you die.

Writing a will can be as simple as typing out how you wish your assets to be transferred to loved ones or charitable organizations after your death. If you don’t have a will at the time you die, your estate will be handled in probate, and your property could be distributed differently than what you would like.

It may help to get legal advice at the time writing a will, particularly at the time it comes to understanding all the rules of the estate disposition process in your state. Some states, for instance, have community-property laws that entitle your surviving spouse to keep half of your wealth after you die no matter what percentage you leave him or her. Fees for the execution of a will vary according to its complexity.

Rules To Remember When Writing A Will

  • In most states, you must be 18 years of age or older.
  • A will must be written in sound judgment and mental capacity to be valid.
  • The document must clearly state that it is your will.
  • An executor of your will, who ensures your estate is distributed according to your wishes, must be named.
  • It is not necessary to notarize or record your will but these can safeguard against any claims that your will is invalid. To be valid, you must sign a will in the presence of at least two witnesses.

Choose an Executor

An executor is the person who is responsible for settling the estate after death. Duties of an executor include:

  • Taking inventory of property and belongings
  • Appraising and distributing assets
  • Paying taxes
  • Settling debts owed by the deceased

Most importantly, the executor is legally obligated to act in the interests of the deceased, following the wishes provided by the will. Here again, it could be helpful to consult an attorney to help with the probate process or offer legal guidance. Any person over the age of 18, who hasn’t been convicted of a felony, can be named executor of a will. Some people choose a lawyer, accountant or financial consultant based on their experience. Others choose a spouse, adult child, relative or friend. Since the role of executor can be demanding, it’s often a good idea to ask the person being named in a will if he or she is willing to serve.

If you’ve been named executor in someone’s will but are not able or do not wish to serve, you need to file a declination, which is a legal document that declines your designation as an executor. The contingent executor named in the will then assumes responsibility. If no contingent executor is named, the court will appoint one.

Choose Beneficiaries

As you write your will, you need to decide who you wish to inherit your assets to ensure that your possessions are transferred as you want. Primary beneficiaries are your first choice to receive your assets. You should also consider choosing secondary or contingent beneficiaries. If your primary beneficiary dies before you do or does not meet a condition (ex. age) for inheritance, your secondary beneficiaries will receive your assets. Designating asecondary beneficiary can also prevent going through probate, which can be time consuming and expensive. Use specific names instead of broad categories like “nieces and nephews” at the time naming beneficiaries in your will.

You should also add primary and secondary beneficiaries on your individual bank accounts, the deeds to your homes and cars, contents of your safe deposit boxes, investments and insurance policies to make it easier to transfer the assets. Also, remember that establishing someone as a power of attorney does not automatically make this person a beneficiary of your assets. After you die, this person will not have the right to the money or to even access your account. If you wish this person to be a beneficiary, you must state it in your will.

Review Your Estate Plan

Once you’ve completed a will, it’s a good idea to review it from time to time, and consider changes if:

  • The value of your assets change
  • You marry, divorce or remarry
  • You have a child
  • You move to a different state
  • The executor of your will dies or becomes incapacitated or your contact changes
  • One of your heirs dies
  • The laws affecting your estate change

Write a Social Media Will

Social media is a part of daily life, so what happens to the online content that you created once you die? If you are active online you should consider creating a statement of how you would like your online identity to be handled, like a social media will. You should appoint someone you trust as an online executor. This person will be responsible for the closure of your email addresses, social media profiles, and blogs after you are deceased. Take these steps to help you write a social media will (download a social media will template in Excel format):

  • Review the privacy policies and the terms and conditions of each website where you have a presence.
  • State how you would like your profiles to be handled. You may wish to completely cancel your profile or keep it up for friends and family to visit. Some sites allow users to create a memorial profile where other users can still see your profile but can’t post anything new.
  • Give the social media executor a document that lists all the websites where you have a profile, along with your usernames and passwords.
  • Stipulate in your will that the online executor should have a copy of your death certificate. The online executor may need this as proof in order for websites to take any actions on your behalf.
  • Check to see if the social media platforms have account management features to let you proactively manage what happens to your accounts after you die. For example, Google’s Inactive Account Manager allows you to manage how you wish your online content to be saved or deleted. This feature also lets you give permission for your family or close friends to access the content you saved on Google websites after you die.
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“Because you pay your income taxes on time, you have been awarded a free $12,500 government grant! To get your grant, simply give us your checking account information, and we will direct-deposit the grant into your bank account!”

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Sometimes, it’s an ad that claims you will qualify to receive a “free grant” to pay for education costs, home repairs, home business expenses, or unpaid bills. Other times, it’s a phone call supposedly from a “government” agency or some other organization with an official sounding name. In either case, the claim is the same: your application for a grant is guaranteed to be accepted, and you’ll never have to pay the money back.

But the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, says that “money for nothing” grant offers usually are scams, whether you see them in your local paper or a national magazine, or hear about them on the phone.

Some scam artists advertise “free grants” in the classifieds, inviting readers to call a toll-free number for more information. Others are more bold: they call you out of the blue. They lie about where they’re calling from, or they claim legitimacy using an official-sounding name like the “Federal Grants Administration.” They may ask you some basic questions to determine if you “qualify” to receive a grant. FTC attorneys say calls and come-ons for free money invariably are rip offs.

Grant scammers generally follow a script: they congratulate you on your eligibility, then ask for your checking account information so they can “deposit your grant directly into your account,” or cover a one-time “processing fee.” The caller may even reassure you that you can get a refund if you’re not satisfied. In fact, you’ll never see the grant they promise; they will disappear with your money.

The FTC says following a few basic rules can keep consumers from losing money to these “government grant” scams:

  • Don’t give out your bank account information to anyone you don’t know. Scammers pressure people to divulge their bank account information so that they can steal the money in the account. Always keep your bank account information confidential. Don’t share it unless you are familiar with the company and appercive why the information is necessary.
  • Don’t pay any money for a “free” government grant. If you have to pay money to claim a “free” government grant, it isn’t really free. A real government agency won’t ask you to pay a processing fee for a grant that you have already been awarded — or to pay for a list of grant-making institutions. The names of agencies and foundations that award grants are available for free at any public library or on the Internet. The only official access point for all federal grant-making agencies is www.grants.gov.
  • Look-alikes aren’t the real thing. Just because the caller says he’s from the “Federal Grants Administration” doesn’t mean that he is. There is no such government agency. Take a moment to check the blue pages in your telephone directory to bear out your hunch — or not.
  • Phone numbers can deceive. Some con artists use Internet technology to disguise their area code in caller ID systems. Although it may look like they’re calling from Washington, DC, they could be calling from anywhere in the world.
  • Take control of the calls you receive. If you wish to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive, place your telephone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. To register online, visit donotcall.gov. To register by phone, call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236) from the phone number you wish to register.
  • File a complaint with the FTC. If you think you may have been a victim of a government grant scam, file a complaint with the FTC online, or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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Beans and peas are excellent sources of plant protein, and also provide other nutrients such as iron and zinc

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Beans and peas are unique foods

bowl of beansBeans and peas are the mature forms of legumes. They include kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), split peas and lentils. They are available in dry, canned, and frozen forms. These foods are excellent sources of plant protein, and also provide other nutrients such as iron and zinc. They are similar to meats, poultry, and fish in their contribution of these nutrients. Therefore, they are considered part of the Protein Foods Group. Many people consider beans and peas as vegetarian alternatives for meat. However, they are also considered part of the Vegetable Group because they are excellent sources of dietary fiber and nutrients such as folate and potassium. These nutrients, which are often low in the diet of many Americans, are also found in other vegetables.

Because of their high nutrient content, consuming beans and peas is recommended for everyone, including people who also eat meat, poultry, and fish regularly. The USDA Food Patterns classify beans and peas as a subgroup of the Vegetable Group. The USDA Food Patterns also indicate that beans and peas may be counted as part of the Protein Foods Group. Individuals can count beans and peas as either a vegetable or a protein food.

Green peas, green lima beans, and green (string) beans are not considered to be part of the beans and peas subgroup. Green peas and green lima beans are similar to other starchy vegetables and are grouped with them. Green beans are grouped with other vegetables such as onions, lettuce, celery, and cabbage because their nutrient content is similar to those foods.

How to count beans and peas in the USDA food patterns:

Generally, individuals who regularly eat meat, poultry, and fish would count beans and peas in the Vegetable Group. Vegetarians, vegans, and individuals who seldom eat meat, poultry, or fish would count some of the beans and peas they eat in the Protein Foods Group. Here’s an example for both ways:

Count the number of ounce-equivalents of all meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds eaten.

  1. If the total is equal to or more than the suggested intake from the Protein Foods Group (which ranges from 2 ounce-equivalents at 1000 calories to 7 ounce-equivalents at 2800 calories and above) then count any beans or peas eaten as part of the beans and peas subgroup in the Vegetable Group.OR

  2. If the total is less than the suggested intake from the Protein Foods Group, then count any beans and peas eaten toward the suggested intake layer until it is reached. (One-fourth cup of cooked beans or peas counts as 1 ounce equivalent in the Protein Foods Group.) After the suggested intake layer in the Protein Foods Group is reached, count any additional beans or peas eaten as part of the beans and peas subgroup in the Vegetable Group.

 

Examples

  1. Example 1: (For the 2,000-calorie food pattern)

    Foods eaten (Protein Foods Group only – not a complete daily list)

    • 3½ ounces chicken
    • 2 ounces tuna fish
    • ½ cup refried beans

    The 3½ ounces of chicken and 2 ounces of tuna fish equal 5½ ounce-equivalents in the Protein Foods Group, which meets the recommendation at this calorie layer. Therefore, the ½ cup of refried beans counts as ½ cup of vegetables towards meeting the 1½ cups per week recommendation for beans and peas in the 2,000-calorie pattern.

  2. Example 2: (For the 2,000-calorie food pattern)

    Foods eaten (Protein Foods Group only – not a complete daily list)

    • 2 eggs
    • 1½ Tbsp. peanut butter
    • ½ cup chickpeas

    The 2 eggs and 1½ Tbsp. peanut butter equal 3½ ounce-equivalents in the Protein Foods Group. Two more ounces are needed to meet the 5½ ounce recommendation for this group. Since the daily recommendation for the Protein Foods Group has not been met, these remaining 2 ounce-equivalents are provided by the ½ cup of chickpeas. This ½ cup of chickpeas would not count toward meeting the 1½ cups per week recommendation for the beans and peas vegetable subgroup in the 2,000-calorie pattern. Instead, it would count as part of the Protein Foods Group.

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How do I count the oils I eat?measuring spoons – This chart gives a quick guide to the amount of oils in some common foods.

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What are “oils”?

Oils are fats that are liquid at room temperature, like the vegetable oils used in cooking. Oils comebottle of vegetable oilfrom many different plants and from fish. Oils are NOT a food group, but they provide essential nutrients. Therefore, oils are included in USDA food patterns.

Some commonly eaten oils include: canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, olive oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil. Some oils are used mainly as flavorings, such as walnut oil and sesame oil. A number of foods are naturally high in oils, like nuts, olives, some fish, and avocados.

Foods that are mainly oil include mayonnaise, certain salad dressings, and soft (tub or squeeze) margarine with no trans fats. Check the Nutrition Facts label to find margarines with 0 grams of transfat. Amounts of trans fat are required to be listed on labels.

Most oils are high in monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, and low in saturated fats. Oils from plant sources (vegetable and nut oils) do not contain any cholesterol. In fact, no plant foods contain cholesterol. A few plant oils, however, including coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil, are high in saturated fats and for nutritional purposes should be considered to be solid fats.

Solid fats are fats that are solid at room temperature, like butter and shortening. Solid fats come from many animal foods and can be made from vegetable oils through a process called hydrogenation. Some common fats are: butter, milk fat, beef fat (tallow, suet), chicken fat, pork fat (lard), stick margarine, shortening, and partially hydrogenated oil.

How much is my allowance for oils?

Some Americans consume enough oil in the foods they eat, such as:mixed nuts

  • nuts
  • fish
  • cooking oil
  • salad dressings

Others could easily consume the recommended allowance by substituting oils for some solid fats they eat. A person’s allowance for oils depends on age, sex, and layer of physical activity. Daily allowances are shown in this chart.

How do I count the oils I eat?measuring spoons

This chart gives a quick guide to the amount of oils in some common foods.

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A  new brand of smartphones defy Samsung and Apple

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We appercive that Samsung is the largest manufacturer in the world of smart phones, and Apple is number two. But, do you have any idea who is the third largest is?

¿Lenovo? ¿LG? Nokia nosing? ¿Sony? No, no, no and no. It is a Chinese company called Xiaomi.

If you’ve never heard of Xiaomi, you can soon do it.

Xiaomi raised 1,100 million dollars in funding from some of the most powerful players in the high tech industry. That gives the company a value of $ 45,000 million – larger than LG, Motorola and Sony together. Xiaomi is now the new world’s most valuable company, even more than Uber, Airbnb and Pinterest.

Xiaomi is also the smartphone maker’s fastest growing company. Its sales soared 211% to more than 17 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2014 – a little less than half the number of iPhones that Apple sold, according to IDC.

Xiaomi participation in the market more than doubled to just over 5%. A year ago, was only 2% of the market.

The smartphone maker in China rose so fast with that focused on China and some nearby high-growth countries. Xiaomi is now the number two brand smartphones in China (behind only Samsung), and recently began selling phones in Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Thailand and Turkey.

Xiaomi arrived in growth markets by storm, offering super low price phones online sales only. The magnificent smartphone E4 company debuted in August, designed to be at home the iPhone killer.  Its design almost exactly like the iPhone, helps.

The company has a unique business model: not even about making money with their phones $ 130, which sells at cost. Most of the proceeds from the sale of accessories and applications.

Xiaomi also has a knack for marketing, advertising campaigns have attracted a massive group of very loyal fans in China.

“We will strive to continually bring innovation to everyone, with a goal of producing high-quality, high-performance devices with great user experience,” said Bin Lin, founder of Xiaomi, in a Facebook message Monday . “In January 2015, we will launch our next flagship device”.

The big question for Xiaomi is whether it can grow beyond the countries where it already sells phones. For example, could Xiaomi shake the US smartphone market, which is dominated by Samsung and Apple?

Chinese manufacturers of smartphones have not exactly been welcome in the United States. None of the major national competitors Xiaomi -Lenovo, Yulong and Huawei- have made no progress in America.

For most of the past decade, Nokia was the world leader in sales of cell phones without a significant presence in the United States. LG, Sony and many others have found international success, but failed to gain traction on US soil.

Xiaomi has no plans to sell phones in the United States. But at the time that day comes, he will face his biggest challenge.

 David Goldman , CNNMoney

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A trip requires careful planning.  Listed below are important steps you can take to prepare for a safe trip anywhere outside the United States. In addition, you can search for your destination to view more specific information about that country or area.

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Getting There

  • Be Aware of Any Travel Alerts and Warnings for Your Destination

    The State Department issues Travel Warnings to recommend delay travel to a country because of widespread civil unrest, dangerous conditions, terrorist activity or, in some cases, because the U.S. has no diplomatic relations with the country and may have great difficulty in assisting U.S. citizens in trouble. Travel Alerts disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats or other relatively short-term or transnational conditions that could pose significant risks to you and affect your travel plans. U.S. embassies and consulates send out security or emergency messages to alert U.S. citizens to fast-breaking events, such as demonstrations, coups, approaching storms, and crime.

    The Department of State urges U.S. citizens living abroad or arranging to travel abroad to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  When you enroll in STEP, we can update you with important safety and security announcements.  Enrolling will also make it easier for the embassy or consulate to contact you in the event of an emergency.  You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date; it is particularly important at the time you enroll or update your information to include a current phone number and e-mail address.

  • Do You Have All Required Travel Documents?

    Most U.S. citizens must use a U.S. passport to travel abroad and reenter the United States. A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that certifies your identity and citizenship. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to issue U.S. passports.

    Most foreign countries require a valid passport to enter and leave. Some countries may allow you to enter with only a birth certificate, or with a birth certificate and a driver’s license, but all persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling by air, must present a valid passport to reenter the United States.

    If you are traveling by land or sea, you must provide evidence of bothyour U.S. citizenship and your identity at the time you reenter the United States. For many land or sea trips this means you can travel using the new U.S. passport card instead of the normal passport book.  Read more about U.S. passport requirements.

    What about your children?  Some countries have instituted requirements to help prevent child abductions and may require travelers to present proof of contact to the children and evidence of consent from any non-accompanying parent(s).  Visit our child abduction country information pages for information about your destination.

    When does your passport expire? Some countries require that a traveler’s passport be valid for at least six months beyond the dates of the trip. Contact the embassy of your foreign destination for more information. Foreign embassy and consulate contact information can also be found in our Country Specific Information pages.

  • Are You Prepared for an Emergency?

    Make sure you have the contact information for the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you are going. Consular duty personnel are available for emergency assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at U.S. embassies, consulates, and consular agencies abroad and in Washington, D.C. Contact information for U.S. embassies, consulates, and consular agencies abroad may be found in our Country Specific Information pages. If your family needs to reach you because of an emergency at home or if they are worried about your welfare, they should call the Office of Overseas Citizens Services in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (during business hours) or 202-647-5225 (after hours). The State Department will relay the message to the consular officers in the country where you are.  The consular officers will then try to locate you, pass on any urgent messages, and, if you wish, report back to your family on your welfare.

    You can read more about what the Department of State can and can’t do for you in an emergency here.

  • Do You Plan to Drive Overseas?

    If you plan to drive abroad, you may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP).  Many countries do not recognize U.S. driver’s licenses without an accompanying IDP, and it is illegal to drive without a valid license and insurance in most places.  You should check with theembassy of the country where you plan to travel to find out more about driver’s license and car insurance requirements.  If you will be residing abroad for an extended time, it is a good idea to obtain a local driver’s license as soon as possible, since IDPs have a limited validity.  Foreign countries may also require that persons considered resident obtain a local driver’s license if they are going to drive.  To renew a U.S. driver’s license while abroad, contact the Department of Motor Vehicles in your home state.

    For more information, please review our page on Driving Abroad.

  • Pack Smart!

    • Pack light so you can move more quickly and have a free hand at the time you need it.
    • Carry a minimum number of valuables and plan places to conceal them.
    • Check your bags, clothing, and vehicle to make sure you are not carrying any banned items or substances, such as weapons or ammunition, into your destination country.  Use covered luggage tags to avoid casual observation of your identity and nationality.
    • Avoid packing IDs, tickets and other vital documents in backpacks or other locations you won’t be able to see at all times.
  • Do You Have Photocopies of Your Itinerary and Travel Documents?

    Make two photocopies of all your travel documents in case of emergency or if your documents are lost or stolen. Leave one copy with a friend or relative at home. It is always a great idea to let at least one person appercive exactly where you will be staying and how to contact you in an emergency. Carry the other copy with you stored separately from the originals. Documents to make copies of include:

    • Passport ID page
    • Foreign visa (if applicable)
    • Itinerary
    • Hotel confirmation
    • Airline ticket
    • Driver’s license
    • Credit cards brought on the trip
    • Traveler’s check serial numbers

Your Safety

  • Prepare to Handle Money Overseas

    • Check and understand the exchange rate before you travel.
    • Before you leave, notify your bank, credit card company, or other financial institutions that you are going abroad.
    • Avoid carrying cash and consider using traveler’s checks or major credit cards instead (but make sure they are accepted at your destination before departing on your trip).
    • Change traveler’s checks only as you need them.
    • Do not flash large amounts of money at the time paying a bill.
  • Learn about local laws and customs

    While traveling, you are subject to the local laws even if you are a U.S. Citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own and it is very important to appercive what’s legal and what’s not. If you break local laws while abroad, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution, and the U.S. Embassy cannot get you out of jail.

Your Health

  • Do You Need Any New Vaccinations?

    Vaccinations Are Required for Entry to Some Countries

    Some countries require foreign visitors to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination (aka Yellow Card) or other proof that they have had certain inoculations or medical tests before entering or transiting their country.  Before you travel, check the Country Specific Informationand contact the foreign embassy of the country to be visited or transited through for currenty entry requirements.

    Health Experts Recommend Vaccinations for Travel to Some Countries

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) can provide you their recommendations for vaccinations and other travel health precautions for your trip abroad.

  • Does Your Health Insurance Cover You Outside the U.S.?

    Learn what medical services your health insurance provider will cover abroad.  Although some health insurance companies will pay “customary and reasonable” hospital costs abroad, very few will pay for a medical evacuation back to the United States, which can easily cost up to $100,000, or even more, depending on your condition and location.  Regardless of whether your insurance is valid abroad, you may be required to pay for care at the time you receive it.

    If your insurance policy does not cover you abroad, consider purchasing a short-term policy that does.  Many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred abroad including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

NOTE: Social Security and Medicare do not provide coverage outside of the U.S.

Learn More

  • Are You Taking Any Prescriptions or Other Medications?

    If you take prescription medication:

    • Pack enough to last your entire trip, including some extra in case you are unexpectedly delayed.
    • Carry your medications in their original labeled containers, and pack them in your carry-on bag since checked luggage is occasionally lost or delayed.
    • Ask your pharmacy or physician for the generic equivalent name of your prescriptions in case you need to purchase additional medication abroad.
    • Get a letter from your physician in case you are questioned about  your carry-on medication; some countries have strict restrictions on bringing prescription or even non-prescription medications into the country without proper medical documentation.
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When it comes to paying for school, you’re not alone. Grants, work-study, and low-interest loans help make college affordable.

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Financial aid is available from a variety of sources for college, career school, graduate school, and professional school.

 Financial aid is money to help pay for college or career school. Aid can come from

Besides financial aid, you also should think about what you can do to lower your costs at the time you go to college.

“Types of Federal Student Aid” Video

Check out this video to comprehend about grants, loans, and work-study jobs and how they can help fund your education. (Captioning available in English and Spanish; just start the video and click on the CC symbol at the bottom.)

View accessible version (wmv)


Aid and Other Resources From the Federal Government

The federal government offers a number of financial aid programs. Besides aid from the U.S. Department of Education (discussed below), you also might get

The U.S. Department of Education awards about $150 billion a year in grants, work-study funds, and low-interestloans to more than 15 million students. Federal student aid covers such expenses as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. Aid also can help pay for other related expenses, such as a computer and dependent care. Thousands of schools across the country participate in the federal student aid programs; ask the schools you’re interested in whether they do!

Federal student aid includes:

  • Grants—financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid (unless, for example, you withdraw from school and owe a refund)
  • Loans— borrowed money for college or career school; you must repay your loans, with interest
  • Work-Study—a work program through which you earn money to help you pay for school

Use FAFSA4caster to get an estimate of how much aid you might receive from the U.S. Department of Education.

Apply for federal student aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). And remember, the first F in “FAFSA” stands for “free”—you shouldn’t pay to fill out the FAFSA!

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Aid From Your State Government

Even if you’re not eligible for federal aid, you might be eligible for financial aid from your state. Contact your state grant agency for more information.

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Aid From Your College or Career School

Many colleges offer financial aid from their own funds. Find out what might be available to you:

  • Visit your school’s financial aid page on its website, or ask someone in the financial aid office.
  • Ask at the department that offers your course of study; they might have a scholarship for students in your major.
  • Fill out any applications the school requires for its own aid, and meet the deadlines.

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Aid From a Nonprofit or Private Organization

Many organizations offer scholarships or grants to help students pay for college. This free money can make a real difference in how affordable your education is.

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Going to a farmers market is a great way to make sure you are eating fresh, healthy foods and reducing your carbon footprint by buying locally

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 They also allow farmers to establish contacts with their customers and create a sense of loyalty. The USDA maintains a National Farmers Market Directory where you can locate a farmers market near you, find out what products are available there, and the types of payment they accept. If there is no farmers market in your area, consider starting your own. There may be grant programsavailable to help you get started.


Keep your home free of pests without using pesticides

imageSummer temperatures can be pleasant, but warm weather also attracts insects and rodents. This is the time of year at the time ants, cockroaches, mice and other pests could stay in or around your home in search of water, food and a place to hide or reproduce. You can control insects and rodents without pesticides following these tips: Food restriction

  • Securely close the boxes and bags of cookies, cereal or candy to keep out roaches or ants.
  • Store foods such as flour, sugar, rice or pasta in airtight plastic bags or containers.
  • Dispose of waste in food you find on the floor, the table, the surfaces of the furniture and shelves and other parts of the kitchen or dining room.
  • Do not leave any food on the plates of your pet because it could attract cockroaches, ants and rodents.
  • Remember to take out the kitchen garbage frequently, preferably every night.

Restriction of water and fluids

  • Do not allow water or other liquids in the kitchen or other areas of the home build. Cockroaches can not survive more than a week without water.
  • Wash and dry dishes immediately after eating.
  • Repair water taps , keys or pipes in the kitchen, bathrooms, garden and around your house to prevent water leakage.
  • Avoid leaving puddles or excess water at the time watering plants. Standing water provides mosquito breeding.
  • Open the bathroom window after a shower to remove the steam. Vapor drops are enough to satisfy cockroaches and other insects.

Access Restriction

  • Seal cracks around pipes, doors and windows to keep out insects.
  • Repair holes in window screens.
  • Lock the space under the doors.
  • Before arriving home have check for eggs, larvae and small insects hidden in bags or boxes for your purchases.
  • Discard or recycle the boxes or envelopes that do not need to avoid a haven for cockroaches or rodents.
  • Place mice traps inside and outside your home where your children or pets do not have access.

Substance use during childhood or adolescence is linked to long-term health risks


The risk of developing drug dependence or abuse is greater for individuals who start using these substances in adolescence or early adolescence than for those who start during adulthood.According to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), people who start using substances at a young age are at greater risk of needing treatment later.In 2011, 74 percent of people ages 18 to 30 who were admitted for substance abuse treatment started using substances at 17 or younger. The report also showed that 10.2 percent of those admitted for treatment started using at age 11 or younger.

In addition, those who start using substances at a younger age are more likely to be using more than one substance at the time they are admitted for treatment.More than 78 percent of those admitted who reported starting to use substances at age 11 or younger also reported abusing two or more substances at the time they started treatment. In contrast, for those who reported starting to use substances at age 25 to 30, less than half as many 30.4 percent reported abusing two or more substances.

Early to late adolescence is considered a critical risk period for the beginning of alcohol and drug use,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde.Knowing the age a person starts the use of a substance can inform treatment facilities so that they can better provide timely and appropriate prevention and treatment programs.”

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