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Consider longer-term investments: Alistair Bean and Associates


How long are you going to live and how many people do you know who are already in their 80s or 90s? Will you financially cope?

 

These are some of the questions people ask themselves and then their thoughts turn to investments. When thinking about investing, many people may only consider a one or two-year term deposit or a balanced fund.

“The questions you should be asking yourself are ‘When am I planning on spending all of my money?’ and ‘When am I planning on spending bits of my money?’” says Financial Adviser, Alistair Bean.

“If the answer to the first question is that I am never planning on spending all of my money, then this portion should be in longer-term investments. To the second question, allocate your short and medium-term funds to your day-to-day budget and emergency needs, then that three to five year project that you have, with the remainder being specifically allocated to the longer-term and, insist on this to your Adviser!”

Here are some investment tips from Alistair:

LONGER-TERM INVESTMENT
Many of you now already have longer-term investments with your KiwiSaver and a lot of you now have six figure balances in your KiwiSaver as average salary and wage earners, if you are 40+ years old. Not even you can believe this has already happened as you read your last statement.
However, because we don’t want to outlive our money, as we are living longer, your greatest risk now, is not having your funds allocated in the right area by perhaps having too much in short and medium-term and/or too conservatively-balanced fund investments.

MANY FORMS OF INVESTMENT
Your Financial Adviser researches many different forms of investment every day and can recommend longer-term investments to you. Many of these investments may only be accessed by using a Financial Adviser and are not available to individuals, although wholesale and sophisticated investors may be able to access these funds directly.
Such investments specifically include KiwiSaver, where you can pick your own investments, for example individual shares and not just funds which, by themselves, are now very old school. With KiwiSaver, it is imperative that you choose one that gives you this choice.

FINANCIAL ADVISERS
Using a Financial Adviser means that you can take control of your investment and retirement savings. They will assist you in selecting longer-term investments like technology, medical and electric vehicle companies. For instance Rocket Lab, BYD, Graphene, Apple, Microsoft, TruScreen, as well as internationally managed funds, that you can now include individually in your investment portfolios.
If you’re unsure, then speak with a Financial Adviser so that your current investments don’t wallow away in sleepy conservative balanced funds. Challenge your adviser to lift their game to match your current true risk attitude and not just fill out a questionnaire.

Contact Alistair Bean and Associates – Financial Advisers via the website www.abafs.co.nz. Disclosure document available upon request.

Alistair Bean

 

Paying lip service


 

Harsh winter conditions aren’t always kind to lips, but there are a few tried and true remedies for keeping yours looking luscious.

 

 

Hydration is number one. People tend to hydrate less in winter, but it is essential to still drink plenty during the colder months. Dehydration will leave your lips dry and chapped. Here are a few other tips from Metropol to leave your lips plump and kissable.

  • Avoid licking your lips constantly.
  • Try home remedies such as aloe vera and honey.
  • Apply your lip balms at night.
  • Use sunscreen on lips regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Load up on Vitamin A.
  • Always treat dry and chapped lips.

 

Maintaining brain health


 

If you had to choose between good physical health or good cognitive function, which would it be?

 

It may surprise you to learn that more people fear losing their mind than their physical health, yet according to the Research & Development Director at American-based Chiva-Som, Dr Jason Culp, there are five simple ways to help avoid this.

A naturopath doctor, his focus on primary care is intended to help treat and prevent chronic or acute diseases using a combination of conventional medicines and traditional holistic philosophies.

“Those of us who have witnessed a loved one slip away through Alzheimer’s disease, understand too well about the major detriment that cognitive decline has on all aspects of health and wellbeing,” he says. “Although we cannot be certain of the future, the great news is there are simple and practical ways of promoting your brain health and cognitive function. Additionally, there are specific lifestyle practices that can help to ‘grow your brain’ (or at least form new nerves and neural connections in the brain),” he says.

This phenomenon is known as “neurogenesis” (neuro meaning nerve, and genesis create new), and Dr Culp says there are five simple and effective ways to promote brain health and help preserve cognitive function. They are:

  • A diet that is high in unsaturated fats, such as Omega 3, 6, and 9, can help promote the production of new neurons in the brain. Omega fats can be found in salmon, tuna, raw walnuts, cold-pressed olive oil, and freshly-ground flax seeds.
  • Aerobic activity has been shown to elevate moods and improve cognition as well. Research studies have shown that 30 minutes per day of sustained, aerobic activity has a positive impact on nerve growth and brain function.
  • Adequate sleep (six to eight hours uninterrupted) is crucial for learning retention by promoting the growth of new nerve connections. This process is called “neuroplasticity” and takes place each time we learn a new skill or habit.
  • Non-dominant hand exercises (neurobics) such as brushing your teeth, drinking your coffee, or messaging on the phone, can help you form new nerve connections, and improve emotional health and impulse control.
  • Playing an instrument has been found to develop greater connectivity between different brain regions in musicians. The combination of movements with sounds and visual patterns has led to enhanced neuroplasticity as well.

 

Potted Pleasure


If your garden soil is on the heavy side, switch to growing your bulbs in pots. Spring flowering bulbs thrive in pots and are some of the best plants you could choose for container planting.

 

 

What to plant:
Cool climate bulbs: tulips, hyacinths and crocuses.

Any-climate bulbs: daffodils, Dutch irises, grape hyacinths and freesias.

Some tips for the best results:
Choose the right bulb for the right pot – the bigger the bulb the bigger the pot.

Always plant in fresh potting mix. Invest in a planting mix containing controlled release fertiliser and supplement with fortnightly feeds of liquid fertiliser.

Plant generously so that the pots look full. Large bulbs, such as tulips, can be almost touching. Bulbs which have bushy foliage, such as freesias, should be spaced about 2cm apart.

If you are layering your bulbs, put the tallest and the latest flowering varieties towards the bottom of the pot. Add some more potting mix ensuring you have covered the first layer of spring bulbs.

After planting, place the containers in a cool place until the shoots appear. Then bring them out into a sunny position for flowering.

Drainage is further improved by sitting pots on spaced bricks or special pot feet.
Keep the potting mix moist, but not wet throughout the growing season.

Then enjoy the show!


 

What to do for winter


April is when autumn really gets going. The days are noticeably shorter and night temperatures cooler, so we need to be preparing the garden for winter. Here are Metropol’s tips for what to focus on in your mid-autumn garden.

 

 

Blooming bulbs

Spring bulbs may still be planted now, if space is lacking plant them in containers and pack them in. Bulbs in pots can be planted much closer than those in the garden to achieve a full display when flowering.

Vege versions

Tomato plants will be getting to
the end of their season so remove the old plants and dispose of the vines especially if they have had any disease. Best not to compost them. Dig potatoes if the ground is likely to get water-logged and store them in a cool dark place.

Leaves and lawns

Fallen leaves literally smother lawns, preventing light and oxygen from penetrating. If you don’t want patchy lawns this spring, collect

the leaves and pop them in your compost bin or in a separate bin to make leaf mould.

Flowering and fruity

Cut back perennials. Prune berry fruits. Do clean up spraying on fruit trees so that any pest or disease will not be carried over to the next season. Any frost tender plants need to be moved inside if in containers or else covered for protection once the harder frosts start.

In general

It is important to cut back any over-hanging branches on trees or shrubs near pathways and to treat paths for moss so that we are safe when the weather is wet and cold.


 

Makeover your makeup


So, you’ve spring cleaned your home, re-organised your wardrobe and sorted your summer skincare – but it might also be time to declutter your makeup bag. We look at what to keep, what to chuck (and when), and what to add.

 

If you’re a lover of makeup, chances are that you have more than one type of mascara, lipstick and any other beauty product in your makeup draw.

And if so, there is an even higher chance your makeup mountain is looking a bit cluttered.

Which is all very well (a lady’s got to have options), but besides the obvious hygiene reasons – makeup’s expiration date can impact its performance.

And no one has time for that. Not to mention the catharsis of a good, old-fashioned clean out.

Here are our tips for keeping your cosmetics under control.

WHEN TO SAY GOODBYE
Look for the use-by symbol. This resembles a wee opened jar icon and should have a time like either 3M, 6M, 12M, 24M or 36M inside. Yes, the M means months!

WHAT TO TOSS
Have a product that looked cool in the packet but didn’t work that well for you? Throw it away or donate it, there is no point hanging on to something you are not going to use.

HOW TO DO IT
Investing in a YouTube-worthy makeup storage system doesn’t absolve you: too much (or unnecessary) stuff, is too much stuff. Instead, find your product faithfuls, and stick with ‘em.

WHO TO KEEP
When collating your arsenal of makeup bag heroes consider; concealer, foundation, a smudge-proof mascara, neutral lipstick and a basic blush. Then, build in a primer, setting spray, highlighter and one heroic palette.

WHERE TO TAKE IT
Don’t send your pre-loved products straight to landfill. TerraCycle offers a makeup and skincare packaging recycling scheme, as do some brands. Unopened, non-expired goods can also be donated to Women’s Refuge or Dress for Success.

Handy tip: De-cluttering is good but so is regularly cleaning the products you hold onto. Experts say a couple of times a month, whilst others say every seven to 10 days. It just depends how frequently you use them.


 

Growing a summer garden


Summer is so close you can taste it. The festive season is almost upon us with holidays and of course Christmas. As holiday mode takes hold, enjoy relaxing evenings in the garden with a hose in one hand and a drink in the other!

 

KITCHEN GARDEN

  1. This is a time of rapid growth so ensure you pay attention to watering, weeding, feeding and spraying.
  2. You can still sow seeds such as beans, beetroot, parsnip, radish, lettuce, spinach, and sweetcorn directly into the soil. Sow seeds every two weeks to ensure you have a continuous harvest.
  3. Plant seedlings of lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, tomato, pumpkin, courgette, capsicum, and cucumber.
  4. Protect plants from caterpillars with Derris Dust or an organic caterpillar control.
  5. Be aware of slugs and snails in both the kitchen and flower gardens and keep an eye on any nasty insects on plants as they will multiply in warm weather.
  6. Be vigilant in removing the laterals off your tomatoes once a week or you will end up with out of control plants. Ensure the plants are firmly staked and water regularly.

FLOWER GARDEN

  1. Plant seedlings such as chrysanthemum, dianthus, portulaca and salvia.
  2. Roses and perennials can still be planted. Just ensure the new plantings are well watered. Remove dead flowers from roses to encourage new blooms.
  3. Lift spring flowering bulbs once the leaves have died down completely and store in a cool dry place.
  4. A layer of mulch around the base of garden shrubs will conserve moisture and protect from the sun.

CONTAINER GARDENING

  1. Fill pots with flowering annuals such as petunias, marigolds, or impatiens for a bright Christmas and summer display.
  2. Keep up watering in warm weather.

LAWNS

  1. Don’t forget the lawn. Raise the lawn mower up a level for the summer season. If cut too short lawns will dry out more quickly.
  2. Water the lawn early in the morning so it can absorb the water during the day.
  3. Apply fast acting lawn food to keep lawns fresh and green.

 

Glowing up for summer


While we pack away our winter clothes and pull those lighter, brighter summer garments to the front – it’s important our skincare is also kept up to season. After a winter and early spring hibernating under sweaters and pants, no pre-summer skincare tip is as crucial as exfoliation. Here’s our tips for prepping your skin for the warmer, sunnier months ahead.

 

EXFOLIATION STATION
Exfoliating is vital in the lead-up, as well as to maintain, throughout the sunniest season. Pre-season, it’s an often-cathartic exercise to remove any scaly winter build-up. And once the sun arrives, it reduces clogging of your skin as humidity increases, you’re regularly breaking a sweat, and continuous coats of SPF are being applied (at least we would hope!)

KNOW YOUR TOOLS
Physical exfoliation is popular on the body, using delicate granules or brushes to remove the surface layer of dead skin. When it comes to the more delicate face, chemical exfoliation dissolves dead skin cells, delving slightly deeper to assist with new cell turnover. Enzyme exfoliators are also increasingly popular, as a more natural option relying on bio-active ingredients derived from fruits.

SAFE AND SMOOTH
Whichever exfoliator works best for you, it’s important your skin is also being protected. Moisturisers act as a barrier for your skin and prevent dehydration. Even better, dual-purpose moisturisers include SPF and if anything, SPF is the most important. New-age facial sunscreens, like those by Ultra Violette, Mecca and Emma Lewisham, combine hydrating, lightweight properties to nourish and protect.

EXFOLIATION TIPS:

  1. Use an exfoliating mitt in the shower for your body
  2. Craft a DIY body scrub with coffee grounds, coconut oil and vanilla extract
  3. Try a gentle AHA, BHA or enzyme exfoliant for your face and decolletage – always patch test before use
  4. Sunscreen is a daily non-negotiable
  5. Consult a dermatologist if you have sensitive or problem skin

 

Growing good health: Terra Viva


There’s plenty to love about growing your own fruit and vegetables. Terra Viva’s Peter Worsp tells Metropol about the holistic health benefits of this rewarding pastime.

 

MIND MATTERS
The mental health benefits of gardening in general have been well documented in studies; ranging from early-onset dementia to hyperactive children. The studies pinpoint the calming influence of the outdoors, the physical handling of the soil itself, and the satisfaction of growing your own food.

VERY VITAMIN-Y
The benefits of vitamins are well-known, especially the efficacy of vitamin C in citrus, so that old lemon tree that still produces so vigorously may well hold the key to dealing with next winter’s colds. For all age groups vegetables are high in vitamins A and C, antioxidants, minerals, and fibre to protect against cancer and heart disease. We’re all conscious of what goes into and onto our food these days so growing your own gives certainty about sprays etc.

CURIOUS KIDDIES
Persuading children to eat anything that’s remotely green and healthy is an uphill battle. However, in case we didn’t know it (!), children have mysterious thought processes and it’s been shown that they’ll happily eat something they’ve grown themselves. So start with simple easy plants like lettuce, radishes, and strawberries (the only fruit that has its seeds on the outside) and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

HEALTHY WALLET
Growing vegetables gives you a healthy body and mind, a great sense of satisfaction – and a healthy pocket! That convenient back garden vege patch can save you big bucks, especially at this ‘in between’ season of the year.

QUICK TIPS:

  1. Herbs are quick, easy, ultra-useful, and happy in pots if space is limited.
  2. Tomatoes are still the leading summer vegetable with great flavour, good health benefits, and such a multi-purpose kitchen staple. Heat, consistent watering, and feeding are the keys to success.
  3. Love fresh fruit but short of space? Any fruits or vegetables with good colour are classic health providers, including beetroot, blueberries, tomatoes, and red capsicums, and all can be grown in pots.
  4. Soil preparation is the key to growth so dig down to a spade’s depth and mix in blood and bone, a dusting of lime and sheep pellets to provide loose and fertile earthworm-attracting soil.

 

Raising the toddlers of the plant world


Also known as “vegetable confetti”, microgreens are the quickest food crop urban gardeners can grow – often as simply as in a container on your kitchen windowsill.

 

Not to be confused with sprouts – germinated seeds that are eaten root, seed and shoot – microgreens are the seedlings of leafy herbs and plants that are harvested less than a month after germination.

The stem, seed leaves and first set of true leaves are all edible.

Common microgreen varieties include amaranth, basil, beets, broccoli, cabbage, celery, chard, chervil, coriander, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, parsley, peas, radish, rocket, spinach, and sorrel.

Growing microgreens only requires good light – a well-lit kitchen bench, sunny windowsill or balcony – a suitable shallow container, water and a growing medium.

MIGHTY MICROGREENS:

• Microgreens are a nutrient- dense food that contain digestible vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, and are packed with flavour, colour, texture and living enzymes
• Some studies have shown microgreens contain considerably higher concentrations of vitamins and carotenoids than their mature plant counterparts
• Many varieties will regrow and produce several harvests

HOW TO GROW:

  1. Line seed tray with moistened paper. Fill tray with moist growing medium, e.g soil or burlap, about 2 to 3cm deep
  2. Sprinkle seeds over mix, press in lightly
  3. Water by misting with a spray bottle
  4. Place on a drainage tray in warm spot
  5. Water every day as needed, but avoid overwatering!
  6. Cover seeds with clear lid or plastic bag with holes snipped for airflow to encourage germination
  7. Harvest after the first two true leaves emerge from the cotyledon by snipping off at soil level