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Social Security benefits make up a big part of a majority of seniors’ incomes. In fact, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA),
64 percent of “aged beneficiaries” received at least half of their income from Social Security in 2013. Whether you’re still decades away from joining these retirees or have already collected your final paycheck, here are a few ways to increase those benefits.

  1. Put in at least 35 years.

Your 35 highest-earning years are factored into the equation that the SSA uses to calculate your Social Security benefits. But because you only need 40 credits to qualify, and you can earn up to four annually, you don’t have to actually work 35 years—unless you want to maximize your Social Security benefits. Work fewer years and a corresponding number of zeros will be factored into the calculation, thus decreasing your benefit payout.

While construction spending in the first two months of this year ($157.1 billion) was
11.2 percent higher than it was for the same period last year, and experts predict it will continue to grow at a modest pace due to low mortgage rates and increasing demand for new homes, volatility in other U.S. markets—as well as the world—hint at the potential for another recession.

Construction company owners—though most are cautiously optimistic—may remain focused on reducing operational costs as a result. While it’s generally wise to embrace strategies that result in meaningful financial savings—such as adjusting staffing levels and the use of new tools to improve efficiencies—keep in mind these risks you may not have considered.

If you’re like most Americans who want to buy a home, you’re going to need a mortgage. In fact, according to CoreLogic, a real estate data company, homebuyers making cash purchases accounted for a mere
34 percent of total transactions in 2015—the lowest percentage since 2008. It’s easy to see why: the median existing-home price for all housing types nationwide is currently $210,800. And 62 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.

Of course, whether to obtain a loan or empty your savings account isn’t the only decision you’ll need to make when purchasing real estate. Should you go the mortgage route, you’ll need to calculate costs carefully in order to determine how much property you can afford and how high a mortgage payment you can comfortably take on. For the most accurate calculation, avoid making these mistakes.

According to some estimates, as many as 700,000 U.S. adults are transgender—meaning they identify as a gender that is different from the sex they were assigned at birth. Associated issues have been a hot topic lately—one even the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is addressing.

OSHA recently released a best practices publication on restroom access for transgender workers. Within it, they explain that restroom access is a health and safety matter. When an employer requires an employee to use a restroom that is not consistent with his or her gender identity, or restricts the employee to a specific or gender-neutral restroom, it may make the worker fear for his or her physical safety at work. This can result in restroom avoidance and potentially serious physical injury or illness.


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