Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tips For An Awesome Retirement

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Some of us have reached our golden years, and some of us have not. But these tips for an awesome retirement should be read by everyone. They have been collected from many a senior, each with his or her own piece of advice. Some you may know, some may surprise you, and some will remind you of what's important. 

 1. It's time to use the money you saved up.
Use it and enjoy it. Don't just keep it for those who may have no notion of the sacrifices you made to get it. Remember there is nothing more dangerous than a son or daughter-in-law with big ideas for your hard earned capital. 
Warning: This is also a bad time for an investment, even if it seems wonderful or fool-proof. They only bring problems and worries and this is a time for you to enjoy some peace and quiet.

2. Stop worrying about the financial situation of your children and grandchildren. 
Don't feel bad for spending your money on yourself. You've taken care of them for many years and you've taught them what you could. You gave them an education, food, shelter, and support. The responsibility is now theirs to earn their own money.

3. Keep a healthy life, without great physical effort.
Do moderate exercise (like walking every day), eat well, and get your sleep. It's easy to become sick, and it gets harder to remain healthy. That is why you need to keep yourself in good shape and be aware of your medical and physical needs. Keep in touch with your doctor and go for periodical medical check up even when you're feeling well. 

4. Always buy the best, most beautiful items for your life patner.
The key goal is to enjoy your money with your partner. One day, one of you will miss the other, when money will not provide any comfort. So, enjoy it together.

5. Don't stress over the little things.
You've already overcome so much in your life. You have good memories and bad ones, but the important thing is the present. Don't let the past drag you down and don't let the future frighten you. Feel good in the now. Small issues will soon be forgotten.
6. Regardless of age, always keep love alive.
Love your partner, love life, love your family, love your neighbor, and remember: "A man is not old as long as he has intelligence and affection."

7. Be proud, both inside and out.
Don't stop going to your hair salon or barber, do your nails, go to the dermatologist and the dentist, keep your perfumes and creams well stocked. When you are well-maintained on the outside, it seeps in, making you feel proud and strong.

8. Don't lose sight of fashion trends for your age, but keep your sense of style.
There's nothing worse than an older person trying to wear the current fashion among youngsters. You've developed your own sense of what looks good on you - keep it and be proud of it. It's part of who you are.

9. ALWAYS stay up-to-date.
Read newspapers, watch the news. Go online and read what people are saying. Make sure you have an active email account and try to sign up to a couple of social networks. You'll be surprised which old friends you may meet. Keeping in touch with what is going on and with the people you know, is important at any age.

10. Respect the younger generation and their opinions.
They may not have the same ideals as you, but they are the future, and will take the world in their direction. Give advice, not criticism, and try to remind them of yesterday's wisdom that still applies today.
11. Never use the phrase: "In my time". Your time is now.
As long as you're alive, you are a part of this time. Have fun and enjoy life. 

12. Some people embrace their golden years, while others become bitter and surly.
Life is too short to waste your days on the latter. Spend your time with positive, cheerful people, it'll rub off on you and your days will seem that much better. Spending your time with bitter people will make you older and harder to be around.

13. Do not surrender to the temptation of living with your children or grandchildren.
Sure, being surrounded by family sounds great, but we all need our privacy. They need theirs and you need yours. If you've lost your partner (our deepest condolences), then find a person to move in with you and help out. Even then, do so only if you feel you really need the help or do not want to live alone.

14. Don't abandon your hobbies.
If you don't have any, make new ones. You can travel, hike, cook, read, dance. You can adopt a cat or a dog, grow a garden, play cards, checkers, chess, dominoes, golf. You can paint, volunteer at an NGO or just collect certain items. Find something you like and spend some real time having fun with it.

15. Even if you don't feel like it, try to accept invitations.
Baptisms, graduations, birthdays, weddings, conferences. Try to go. Get out of the house, meet people you haven't seen in a while, experience something new (or something old). But don't get upset when you're not invited. Some events are limited by resources, and not everyone can be hosted. The important thing is to leave the house from time to time. Go to museums, go walk through a field. Get out there.
16. Be a conversationalist. Talk less and listen more.
Some people go on and on about the past, not caring if their listeners are really interested. That's a great way of reducing their desire to speak with you. Listen first and answer questions, but don't go off into long stories unless asked to. Speak in courteous tones and try not to complain or criticize too much unless you really need to. Try to accept situations as they are. Everyone is going through the same things, and people have a low tolerance for hearing complaints. Always find some good things to say as well.

17. Pain and discomfort go hand in hand with getting older.
Try not to dwell on them but accept them as a part of the cycle of life we're all going through. Try to minimize them in your mind. They are not who you are, they are something that life has added to you. If they become your entire focus, you lose sight of the person you used to be.

18. If you've been offended by someone, forgive them. If you've offended someone, apologize.
Don't drag around resentment with you. It only serves to make you sad and bitter. It doesn't matter who was right. Someone once said: "Holding a grudge is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die." Don't take that poison. Forgive, forget and move on with your life.

19. If you have a strong belief, savor it.
The key is not to waste your time trying to convince others. They will make their own choices no matter what you tell them, and it will only bring you frustration. Live your faith and set an example. Live true to your beliefs and let that memory sway them.

20. Laugh. Laugh A LOT. Laugh at everything.
Remember, you are one of the lucky ones. You've managed to have a life, a long one. Many never get to this age, never get to experience a full life. But you did. So what's not to laugh about? Find the humor in your situation.
21. Take no notice of what others say about you and even less notice of what they might be thinking.
They'll do it anyway, and you should have pride in yourself and what you've achieved. Let them talk and don't worry. They have no idea about your history, your memories and the life you've lived so far. There's still much to be written, so get busy writing and don't waste time thinking about what others might think. 

Now is the time to be at rest, at peace and as happy as you can be!

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Source: Received as an email from a friend

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Hidden Dangers of “Over The Counter” Medicine

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Never buy medicines Over the Counter Medicines (OTC MEDS)without prescription by doctors, for temporary reliefs.
You may end up with serious health issues which may need emergency treatments by specialist doctors.Prolonged use of some of these drugs can lead to extensive damage to the liver and kidneys, and even heart attacks and strokes. So what are the dangers in taking these drugs, and how can you avoid them?

How drugs become available:
Before drugs appear on shelves in pharmacies, they go through many stages of research and testing, meant to verify its efficacy, safety and potential side effects. In the first, pre-clinical phase, the pharmacological properties of the drug are tested on laboratory animals and human tissue cultures. Tests also include the potential of causing birth defects or growths in embryos. If the initial phase is successful, researches move to initial clinical trials on healthy volunteers, using low dosage of the drug to learn both how it affects humans and its level of effectiveness.

In the second clinical phase, researchers screen and select hundreds of patients, giving them different dosages of the drug. This process takes about 2 years, and then progresses to the third clinical stage – dispensing the drug to thousands of patients through local medical centers. In order to verify the drug’s real effects, some control groups receive placebos instead. Once these 4 stages are deemed successful, researchers apply for government approval. This, however, doesn’t conclude the testing phase, because as more people are exposed to the drug, new side effects that weren’t previously diagnosed may arise.

Dangerous side-effects of popular drugs
Each drug has its array of potential side-effects, so before you pop that pill, read this guide and make sure you’re aware of the potential harm it may cause:

1. Ibuprofen: Kidney & liver damage, heart-attacks
  • Commercial names: Advil, Neurofen
Towards the end of WWII, the Bayer Company discovered Aspirin’s ability to reduce inflammation and pain. Since that time, the NSAID family expanded to include many other drugs that suppress 2 enzymes called COX. The most popular of these is ibuprofen; developed by Dr. Stewart Adams in an improvised laboratory he made in his home kitchen. It actually took him several years of developing the drug before he presented it to the company, getting them to invest in further development.

As we all know, no drug is free of side-effects – Ibuprofen may cause gastric bleeding if used for a prolonged period. For this reason, ibuprofen is not recommended for people suffering from stomach ulcers or gastric inflammation, people who take blood-thinners or those suffering from clotting problems. Ibuprofen may also diminish the effects of certain blood-pressure medication.

In extreme cases, ibuprofen may even be far more dangerous: In about 15% of users, liver damage occurs. Initial symptoms are a rise in liver enzymes in the blood which may hint to liver damage. In rarer cases, ibuprofen causes severe liver damage, leading to jaundice, Hepatitis, irreversible damage of liver cells and even liver failure. Without a replacement liver, patients may even die.

2. Paracetamol: One of the most toxic medication available
  • Commercial names: Tylenol, Pain Relief, Panadol
While widely available and commonly found in most people’s medicine cabinet, very few know the extent of paracetamol’s toxicity.
Paracetamol side-effects are very rare, but over dosage may be fatal: Taking 8 grams a day (more than 16 pills) can lead to irreversible liver damage and might even lead to death. Maximum allowed dosage is 3 grams per day (6 pills), spaced out into 500mg every 4 hours.
It is most dangerous when combined with alcohol, blood-pressure medication, grapefruit juice or supplements that contain Hypericum: Such combination may cause widespread liver damage. Consult the information booklet before taking it in combination with other medicine.

3. Aspirin: Familiar but unsafe
  • Commercial name: Aspirin
One of the medicine world’s greatest invention, aspirin’s power comes from Salicylic Acid – the main ingredient. Salicylic acid was discovered to not only lower a fever and reduce pain, but also as an effective blood-thinner that can prevent heart attacks and strokes. Recently, it was even discovered that it may prevent some types of cancer, but despite all these benefits, using aspirin is not risk-free.

Aspirin inhibits the COX-1 enzyme, which is in-charge of mucus production and the COX-2 enzyme that regulates body temperature, pain sensation and inflammation. In recent years, aspirin’s preventative properties were discovered to not only include blood-thinning, but also reduce blockage-causing inflammations in blood vessels that cause heart-attacks and strokes.

One of the major side-effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is their tendency to irritate the stomach and cause ulcers and bleeding, this is due to their inhibition of the enzyme in-charge of mucus production. This is the main reason why it’s highly recommended to take aspirin only on a full stomach. In rare cases, Aspirin may trigger Reye’s Syndrome in children and adolescents, and can lead to brain and liver damage. This is why it is forbidden to give aspirin to children under the age of 12.

Aspirin should not be combined with the following drugs:
  • Anticoagulants – Aspirin may increase the efficacy of the drugs, causing internal bleeding.
  • Antacids – Reduced acidity in the stomach may hinder coated aspirin tablets from breaking down and releasing into the blood.
  • Corticosteroids – May increase stomach irritation and cause an ulcer.
  • Gout medication – Aspirin reduces the concentration of the active ingredient (Allopurinol) in the blood, rendering it ineffective.
  • Diuretics – Aspirin will reduce the concentration of diuretics in the users’ blood.
  • Phenobarbital – Used to treat seizures, it will become less effective when combined with aspirin.
  • Phenytoin – Also used for seizure treatment, can become toxic when combined with aspirin.

Avoiding side-effects:

a) Don’t be shy – The pharmacist’s job is to inform you of potential side-effects, as well as drugs or foods you need to avoid in conjecture with your drug. Tell the pharmacist about any other medication you are taking to prevent an adverse interaction between the drugs.

b) Be sure to read the information booklet – Even drugs you’ve been taking for a long time can become dangerous as you age and start taking other drugs as-well. The booklet will list known side-effects, interaction with other drugs, as well as counter-indications for certain users who might be allergic to the drug’s ingredients.
Adjust the intake to your weight – A drug must be adjusted to the patient’s weight to avoid overdosing. This is particularly important in children and babies.
Report all side-effects – If any side-effect occurs when taking the medicine, report it to your family physician immediately! You might need to change dosage or even change medicines.

c) Avoid prolonged exposure – Do not take a drug for more than 3 days straight without talking to your physician, and only take the recommended dosage in the recommended time-frame, according to your doctor’s orders and the information-booklet.

Thanks to Vue DeDiue for posting these hidden dangers of the 
" Over the Counter " medicines. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Details of Deductions eligible for Tax Benefits for IT Payers in India

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The details of various deductions eligible for Tax benefits for IT Payers in India are given below:

Section 80c

Under Section 80C, the maximum tax exemption limit is Rs 1.5 Lakhs per annum. 

The various investments that can be claimed as tax deductions under section 80c are listed below;

PPF (Public Provident Fund)

EPF (Employees’ Provident Fund)5 years

Bank or Post office Tax saving Deposits

National Savings Certificates (NSC)

ELSS Mutual Funds (Equity Linked Saving Schemes)

Children’s Tuition Fees Life Insurance. 

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Premium Sukanya Samriddhi Account.         

Deposit Scheme SCSS (Post office Senior Citizen Savings Scheme)

Repayment of Home Loan (Principal only)

National Pension System NABARD rural Bonds

Stamp duty charges for purchase of a new house

Section 80CCC

Contributions made towards Annuity plans available with any of the Life Insurance Companies for receiving pension from the fund can be considered for tax benefit. 

The maximum Tax deduction allowed under this section is Rs 1.5 Lakhs.

Section 80CCD

Employees can contribute to National Pension Scheme (NPS). 

The maximum contributions can be up to 10% of the salary (Basic+DA) for salaried or gross income in case of self employed. 

From 2017-18 and additional tax deduction of up to Rs 50,000 u/s 80CCD (1b) is allowed for excess employee contributions and this is over and above the limit of Rs 1.5 Lakhs.

The definition of Salary is ‘Basic + Dearness Allowance + any other bonus’. 

If the employer also contributes to Pension Scheme, the entire employer contribution (maximum 10% of the salary) can be claimed as a tax deduction under Section 80CCD (2). 

This is over and above the limit of Rs.1.5 Lakhs.

It is to be kindly noted that the total deductions under sections 80C, 80CCD (1) and 80CCC put together cannot exceed Rs 1,50,000 for the financial year 2017-18.

Section 80DD

Up to Rs 75,000 can be claimed for spending on medical treatments of your dependents (spouse, parents, children or siblings) who have 40% disability. 

The upto Rs 1.25 lakhs can be deducted in case of severe disability (80%).

Section 80DDB

Any individual below the age of 60 years can claim upto Rs 40,000 for the treatment of certain specified critical diseases. 

This can also be claimed for his/her dependents.

Senior Citizens (above 60 years) can claim upto Rs 60,000 and very Senior Citizens (above 80 years) can claim Rs 80,000 under this section.

It is mandatory for an individual to obtain a Medical Certificate from a specialist doctor in a Hospital, to claim Tax deductions under Section 80DDB

Section 80U

This section is similar to Section 80DD but here the Tax deduction is permitted for the employee himself who is physically or mentally challenged.

Section 80D

Upto Rs. 30,000 can be deducted towards the medical insurance premium for senior citizens (above 60 years) and upto Rs. 25,000 can be deducted towards medical insurance of self and dependents (spouse & children).

Additionally, a deduction of up to Rs. 25,000 towards medical insurance premium of parents (father/mother/both) is available. If both the parents (Father & Mother) are senior citizens, then the deduction allowed is up to Rs. 30, 000.

Section 24 

Income Tax Benefit for Interest paid on Home Loan

Income tax benefit on payment of Interest paid on home loan is allowed for deduction under Section 24. 

The maximum deduction allowed under this Section for a self-occupied house property is upto Rs. 2 Lakhs.

In case, the home Loan has been taken for the property which is not self-occupied, there is no maximum limit prescribed and the entire interest paid is fully exempted.

( It has been clarified by one of my friends that  regarding Sec.24, if the house property  is let out , the loss from house property that can be deducted from taxable income is pegged to Rs.2-00 lakhs from current FY onwards.  Remaining  un adjusted    loss can be carried   forward. Thus the entire interest paid is not exempted in the same year.)

If the taxpayer has availed a home loan for repair works or reconstruction, a maximum deduction of upto Rs 30,000 per financial year is permitted.

Section 80EE

In Budget 2017-2018, a new proposal has been made in which, first time home buyers are eligible for an additional tax deduction of up to Rs 50,000 on home loan interest payments under section 80EE. 

For claiming tax deductions under this new section 80EE, the following criteria have to be met.

The home loan should have been availed or sanctioned in FY 2017-2018.

The Loan amount should be less than Rs 35 Lakhs. The value of the home should not be more than Rs 50 Lakhs. The buyer should not possess any other residential house under his/her name.

Section 80 TTA

Under this section 80TTA, upto Rs. 10,000 from the total gross income can be claimed towards income generated from interest on savings account deposits with a bank or post office or co-operative society. 

This deduction cannot be claimed on income generated from interest on fixed deposits.

Section 80GG

As per the budget 2017, the permissible tax deduction under 80GG has been raised from Rs 24,000 p.a to Rs 60,000 p.a. 

80GG is applicable only for those individuals who do not receive HRA from employer and do not possess a residential property.

The maximum tax deduction will be limited to the least of the following criteria;

Rent paid minus 10 percent of the total incomeRs 5000 per month25 % of the total income

Section 80G

Contributions made to charitable institutions and certain relief funds are claimed as a deduction under Section 80G. 

This deduction can be claimed only when the contribution is made through cheque or draft. In case of cash contribution, a maximum of Rs 10,000 is allowed as deduction. Contributions such as clothes, food material, medicines, etc are not eligible for deduction under section 80G.

Section 87A Rebate

From 2017-2018, if the taxable income of a Taxpayer after various permissible income tax deductions, is below Rs 5 lakhs, he/she is eligible for upto Rs 2,500 on Tax payable as tax rebate under this section. 

In case, if the tax payable is less than Rs 2,500 for FY 2017-18, the rebate will be restricted to actual income tax payable only.

Section 80E

Interest paid towards your education loan can be claimed under Section 80E as a tax deduction. 

This loan should have been ideally availed by you, your spouse or children or by a student whom you are the legal guardian, for higher education purposes. 

Only interest paid can be claimed and not the principal.

Under section 80E, there is no specific limit on the amount of interest claimed as deduction. 

The deduction can be claimed for a maximum of 8 years or until the interest is fully repaid, whichever is earlier.

Section 80GGC

A taxpayer can claim deduction for the amount that he/she has contributed to a political party or an electoral trust formed to oversee the election process. 

The contributions made in cash are not allowed for deductions. (Political party refers to any political party registered under the section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951)

Section 80RRB

Income received through Patent royalty (registered on/after 01.04.2003), under the Patents Act 1970 can be claimed upto Rs. 3 lakhs or the income actually received, whichever is less. The taxpayer must be a resident of India who holds the patent.

Thanks to the sender of these Sections of IT details in one of WhatsApp groups.

However please consult your auditors / Tax consultants for proper understanding and claims , since periodic changes / amendments are being done by IT, which they will be updated well.