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Apr 82021

Simple Solutions To Your Money Worries

By |April 8th, 2021|Personal Finance Tips|0 Comments

Experiencing stress at any time is not a comfortable or positive feeling, but financial stress can be even worse. Everyone wants to feel secure and confident in their financial position, so finding solutions to your money worries can be beneficial to your bank account, as well as your mental wellbeing. To help you get started, we have put together this list of 5 simple solutions to solve your money worries. (more…)

Apr 62021

Risks of Getting Dental Procedures Abroad

By |April 6th, 2021|Life, Personal Finance Tips|0 Comments

Your teeth will take care of you as long as you take care of them. However, some people have different standards when it comes to the term, “taking care.” For example, many people are resorting to dental tourism to escape the high costs of dentistry in a developed country. Getting a dental implant can cost as much as $4,500 after all. But what are the risks of dental procedures abroad?

Fraud

One of the biggest risks of dental procedures abroad is the risk of fraud. When you travel abroad you become a foreigner – chances are good that you won’t understand how dental certification processes abroad work.

To better illustrate this point, let’s briefly examine the certification process to become a dentist in the United States. Becoming a dentist is considered the second-best kind of career one can attain. The average American dentist makes $155,000.

And those are hard-earned dollars. A dentist is a doctor and to attain that title a dentist must enroll in at least four years of dental school. Before enrolling in dental school, a dental student must pass the Dental Admissions Test.

And most dental students must apprentice under a licensed dentist to graduate from medical school. Most dental school curriculum programs are at least four-year programs but could be longer.

After graduating, an American dentist can become either a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). And even after graduating, a dentist must still take a series of exams to gain a dental license to legal practice.

After all of that education and training, many American dentists undergo even more training to become dental specialists. Over 20% of American dentists are specialists.

The point is that most of the American dentists you encounter will be licensed, certified, and well-educated.

What will you know about the dentist you encounter abroad?

The Unknown

I am not implying that the dentists that you encounter abroad will be uneducated and unqualified. What I will say is that if you are considering getting dental work abroad, your number one priority is probably finding the cheapest dentist who performs the procedure you require.

So, that means you may not be picky in this circumstance. It also means that you are probably considering going to a developing country to get your dental procedure performed.

Most developing countries are still struggling to develop an internal infrastructure to adequately serve their citizens. And many developing countries grapple with widespread fraud and corruption in many industries.

One of your biggest risks of dental procedure abroad will be fraud. You won’t know if the dentist performing your procedure is an educated, licensed, and professional doctor.

Your ability to research a foreign dentist could be limited depending on the country you travel to for the procedure. The foreign dentist you visit could be a student in training, unlicensed, not a doctor, or an impostor that is just learning on the job to make money.

Consider the role of a cruise ship doctor. To dodge taxes and federal regulations, most American cruise ships are registered and operated by companies in foreign countries.

So, if you were on a cruise before the pandemic, your cruise doctor probably was not licensed to perform in the United States if they were licensed at all.

Also, the country you travel to may not have any specific regulations on who can or can’t become a dentist. Or such regulations may not be very strict.

In other words, your foreign dentist may be a licensed professional and doctor in their country. However, their skills and training probably can’t compare to the dental training available in the United States.

And dental clinics in developing countries most certainly do not have the latest in state-of-art dental equipment. Even if they do, such innovations will be limited to urban centers. It will depend on the country you visit.

Botched Dental Procedures

One of the biggest risks of dental procedures abroad is your chances of getting injured in a botched procedure.

If your dentist doesn’t know what they are doing they could injure doing the procedure and make a simple dental procedure much worse. Now, what will you do? Stay in a foreign country longer or come back home and pay a lot more money to get the cheap procedure you sought remedied?

Will your travel insurance cover such a procedure? Probably not.

Limited Liability Options

Many people go to countries like the Dominican Republic, Thailand, Mexico, Colombia, and India for cheaper dental procedures. You can get a root canal performed in India for less than $200.

What will you do if you suffer a botched procedure and come home? You have limited options to sue a dentist who lives abroad or demand a refund.

The cost and bureaucracy involved in suing a foreign dentist will be immense and could take years to accomplish.

Cost

In the end, you may end up paying more money to visit a foreign dentist to get cheap dental procedures.

You will have to pay the cost of airfare, hotel and food, and the cost of the procedure. If you are injured, getting treatment in the United States won’t be cheap.

Also, you will see that it probably would have been cheaper to get your procedure done here in such a circumstance.

Options

The risks of dental procedures abroad are great. You have many options to consider here.

First of all, try to negotiate with your local dentist. If you are willing to travel thousands of miles to negotiate prices, why not start here? Your local dental clinic may be able to accommodate you or develop a payment plan.

Many dental clinics offer discount services for people who can’t afford to pay.

Or call or visit your local dental college. You can get a procedure done by a dental student supervised by a dentist. You will receive a discount on the service.

However, you may have to travel far for the privilege – like the next city instead of another country.

Risks of Dental Procedures Abroad

The greatest risk of dental procedures abroad could be hilarious karma. You may receive subpar care or get injured abroad.

Then you’ll end up spending more money to get your foreign procedure fixed than if you just had it done in the United States in the first place.

Remember to brush and floss your teeth regularly and use mouthwash. And see your dentist at least twice a year for a checkup. Take care of your teeth and you won’t have to consider discount dental work in a developing country.

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Mar 312021

Simple Ways to Manage Your Allergies on a Budget

By |March 31st, 2021|Personal Finance Tips|0 Comments

Spring is officially here, which means allergy season is, too. In the US, there are approximately 112.8 million people between the ages of 18 and 44 and 50 million of them experience seasonal allergies every year. In fact, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, allergies are the sixth-leading cause of chronic illness.

Allergies aren’t exactly the most budget-friendly ailment to have. On average, the annual cost of allergies exceeds $18 billion. So what can you do to help treat your seasonal allergies without breaking the bank? Here are a few simple ways you can manage your allergies on a budget.

Wear your face mask outside

Face masks are essential during the COVID-19 pandemic to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. But face masks can also be an effective technique to fight back against seasonal allergies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when used with allergy medication, face masks can help to protect against pollen exposure. They can also help to reduce the risk of spreading other ailments like the common cold, which affects 1 billion people every year. Just be sure to wash your mask between uses to prevent pollen build-up on your mask.

Use free allergy apps

One of the best ways to avoid the worst of your seasonal allergies is to stay inside when pollen levels are particularly bad. You can monitor your area’s pollen levels by using an allergy app like AroundMe, AirVisual Air Quality Forecast, or Plume Air Report. Allergy apps have grown in popularity in recent years with daily data usage climbing by 38% between 2019 and 2020, and for good reason. Allergy apps allow you to monitor not only the pollen count in your area but also other types of allergens such as ragweed. You can view hayfever forecasts and work your day around when your allergens aren’t as active.

Use generic alternatives

Your doctor may prescribe you brand-name allergy medications, but sometimes these medications can be expensive even with insurance coverage. Ask your doctor or your pharmacist about generic alternatives to brand-name allergy meds instead. Sometimes generic brands can be just as effective, but less expensive, than brand-name medications.

Use a saline nasal rinse

A great way to make your allergy medication more effective is to use it alongside a saline nasal rinse. A saline nasal rinse can help to flush away any pollen that may be hiding in your nasal passages and irritating your sinuses. It can also help to clear your sinuses and reduce your allergy symptoms.

It’s no secret that managing your allergies is challenging, especially on a budget. But by following the tips above, you can reduce some of these seasonal costs so you can breathe and budget easier.

Mar 292021

An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Thriving in a Pandemic

By |March 29th, 2021|Personal Finance Tips|0 Comments

It’s no big secret: many businesses—of all sizes—all struggling during this pandemic, even as restrictions lift across the country. However, startup organizations are more vulnerable than larger enterprises, and the coronavirus threatens to derail them before they can move onto their next round of funding or find financing (more…)

Mar 292021

Tips to Get Your Finances Straight Before Retirement

By |March 29th, 2021|Personal Finance Tips|0 Comments

Retirement isn’t for everyone. Sometimes people have to continue working to make ends meet. However, if you are lucky enough to stop working and head into retirement, your financial dynamic has the potential to change entirely from where you live with it at this moment. Plan ahead for your retirement and make sure your finances are in order. You would hate to have to go back to work after just a few years of enjoying a work-free life. We have some tips that can help you get your finances straight before retirement. (more…)

Mar 292021

7 Lessons the Developing World Can Learn from Singapore

By |March 29th, 2021|Personal Finance Tips|0 Comments

In 1964, there was a palpable air of misery that surrounded Singapore. Just a year back, the city-state sought a merger with other former British colonies in Southeast Asia to form the Federation of Malaysia, which had, as one of its goals, the creation of a common market. One year later, not only were the economic promises of a common market between Malaysia and Singapore not coming to fruition, the ideological differences between them were also proving to be too great of a chasm to bridge.

This economic and political divide resulted in bitter exchanges between the leaders of the two countries, particularly on issues concerning taxation in Singapore, its loans to the states of Sabah and Sarawak, and its revenue contributions to the federal government. Moreover, the already-existing communal tensions in the city-state were further played up by political leaders and pro-Malay right wing activists, which eventually led to the violent race riots of July and September of 1964. Finally, on 9 August 1965, after weeks of negotiations between the leaders of the two states, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew and Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman simultaneously announced the secession of Singapore from the Malaysian Federation.

During the press conference, Prime Minister Lee encouraged his fellow Singaporeans to remain firm and calm, all while being overcome with emotions himself. Indeed, the end of Singapore’s union with Malaysia was an occasion of deep perturbation among many Singaporeans, who felt that the economic prospects of the country were suddenly cast into dire straits.

56 years on, however, Singapore stands not only as the wealthiest country in Southeast Asia, but also one of the most economically successful nations in the entire world. In this short review, we’ll take a look at some of the things this country has done right since that fateful day in 1965. These are experiences from which today’s many developing countries can draw lessons and inspiration.

Creating a Society Undivided by Culture, Ethnicities, and Religions

On the same day Singapore seceded from Malaysia, Prime Minister Lee made a promise that would echo through the country’s history. He said, “We are going to have a multiracial nation in Singapore. We will set the example. This is not a Malay nation. This is not a Chinese nation. This is not an Indian nation. Everybody will have his place.” Today, Singapore continues to be a place where people from different religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds coexist in harmony. This coexistence is the foundation not only of the country’s unique and vibrant culture, but also of the peace that its citizens enjoy.

Establishing a Social System of Meritocracy

Despite recent criticisms that argue that it perpetuates elitism and inequality, meritocracy remains as one of the most sacred tenets of Singaporean national identity. Meritocracy is based on the idea that a person’s success and status in life should be based on merit—that is, on the person’s individual skills, talent, and effort. It permeates all areas of life in Singapore, from education and corporate life to public governance. While meritocracy does have its limitations, very few people will contest that it is a much better system than the nepotistic favouritism, cronyism, and ethnoracial discrimination and that is so rampant in many other societies.

Designing a Free-Market Economy

Economic freedom is one of the quintessential advantages that Singaporeans and Singapore residents enjoy, and this is largely due to the export-oriented free-market economy that the country has established over the decades. Singapore is a free-market success story where people enjoy very free trade, very low taxes and tariffs, and a very liberal approach to immigration that has attracted the highest-quality talents from all over the world. Indeed, Singapore is not only the most open economy in the world today, it is also the most pro-business country, consistently ranking at the top of ease of doing business indices.

Nurturing Local Industries and Adopting an Open-Minded Approach to Industrialisation

Being a small city-state with a land area of just over 700 square kilometers, Singapore does not have significant natural resources. However, this did not stop it from becoming a major economic center in Asia, creating thriving industries that today include shipbuilding, electronics manufacturing, biomedical sciences, chemical production, petroleum refining, banking and financial services, and many others. It’s not so surprising, considering that early on, the Singaporean government poured substantial amounts of state funds into its local industries as a way to address poverty and unemployment. Moreover, at a time when many countries were adopting a hands-off approach toward multinational corporations, Singaporeans defied convention by instead attracting MNCs and other foreign investors into their country, affording them incentives that they couldn’t find elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Investing in Education

Right from the get go, the Singapore government has also realised that the country’s true natural resource is its citizens, which is why it invested heavily in education to make up for the city-state’s lack of natural resources. Singapore was a poor country in the 1960s, but by improving the skills and talent of the location population, it was able to attract the crème de la crème of Singaporeans, who were then asked to join the ranks of the government. More than that, investing in education created exponential positive gains for the Singaporean economy, not only because better education led to higher marginal productivity per capita, but also because it opened up numerous positive economic externalities for Singapore society as a whole.

Adopting a Pragmatic Approach to Social Services

In its nascent years as an independent country, Singapore learned from the mistakes made by other nations in the area of social service. The Singaporean government rejected the adoption of very lavish social welfare systems adopted by many western countries, knowing full well that indiscriminate welfare state expenditures can lead to financial ruin. Instead, Singapore chose to establish the country’s social policy around healthcare, housing, and pensions based on defined contributions rather than benefits. The city-state’s housing policy, in particular, has resulted in one of the highest rates of homeownership in Asia, with more than 80 per cent of the population being served by the programmes administered by the Housing Development Board (HDB) today. Some of the best home loans Singapore citizens can take out come from HDB itself, which offers loan-to-value limits of up to 90 per cent for new flats.

Curbing Corruption

Corruption was rampant in Singapore during the British colonial period and the post-war era, which is why when the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) first took reins of the government, it made eliminating corruption one of its priorities. Today, Singapore consistently ranks as one of the least corrupt countries in the world, frequently appearing in the top 10 cleanest governments in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.

More than five decades after Singapore left the Malaysian Federation, it stands as one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Naturally, this didn’t occur just by happenstance. By creating an environment that is conducive to peace, free trade, stability, and rule of law, Singaporeans were able to turn a resource-deprived island into one of the most prosperous places on earth.

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