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Boomer couple divide audiences after revealing they're spending their children's inheritance

<p>A couple from Victoria have ignited a fierce debate over spending their children's inheritance, after they revealed they are happy to spend the money on holidays during their retirement years. </p> <p>Leanne and Leon Ryland appeared on the SBS show <em>Insight</em>, along with their son Alex, to discuss how they are spending their retirement fund without considering leaving their cash flow to their two grown up kids. </p> <p>The couple have spent $170,000 on travelling so far, with their goal to visit the wonders of the world taking them to Machu Picchu in Peru, India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, with the US being next on their agenda. </p> <p>The couple joked the only thing their two sons would inherit would be their “shelf of s***”, a pile of cheap trinkets from their travels.</p> <p>However, the couple also own a home, and have been using their superannuation, pension and savings to fund their travels. </p> <p>Their jet setting comes after they saw a financial planner before they retired about four years ago after saving their whole lives.</p> <p>“We’ve done all the right things by investing in property, boosting up our super, making sure that was healthy, going without a lot of things,” Ms Ryland said.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C9JyzoDvYkM/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C9JyzoDvYkM/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Insight at SBS (@insightsbs)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“And he said, ‘You’re crazy if you don’t retire when you can, because you’ll spend most of your wealth on travel or whatever in the first 10 years and then after that it slows down’."</p> <p>“It’s changing your mindset. You get into a phase now where you actually spend instead of save.”</p> <p>The cashed-up boomers run a Facebook group called “SKIclub”, which stands for “spending kids inheritance”, where retirees can share travel tips.</p> <p>Ms Ryland said she’s trying to convince her husband they have to “spend now, because if we don’t spend it, you know he gets it”, pointing to her son.</p> <p>“We’re not going be able to spend all this money so let’s do it because in another 10 years we won’t be climbing the Great Wall of China. We won’t be going up Machu Picchu,” she said.</p> <p>“We won’t be doing those things. So we’ve gotta do it now because what else is there?”</p> <p>The attitude of the couple quickly welcomed a wave of criticism online, who were quick to brand the pair as “entitled”. </p> <p>“SBS <em>Insight</em> tonight is hilarious — boomer privilege at its best &amp; still not conscious of it. So entitled,” one person wrote on X.</p> <p>“Boomers are evil … bragging about overseas holidays with no regard for the environment, spending all their money so their kids have no inheritance,” another wrote.</p> <p>“Clogging healthcare due to their perceived entitlement for health and refusal to die. Selfish and privileged.”</p> <p>However, despite the views of many on social media, the couple’s son Alex appeared to support his parents' decision.</p> <p>“It’s their money,” he told the program.</p> <p>“They’ve worked hard their entire life and invested well in order to get that money so I think they should be able to do whatever they’d like with it.”</p> <p>Alex's sentiment was echoed by others online, with one person saying, "They have a right to do what they want, after the years of being so amazing and responsible for raising a kids, their turn is now."</p> <p>Another simply stated, "It's their money, they can do what they want."</p> <p><em>Insight</em>’s ‘The Boomer Economy’ is available to stream on <a title="https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/news-series/insight" href="https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/news-series/insight" data-outlook-id="534ae148-66c7-42db-b3ee-8f15bf016de4">SBS On Demand</a> now.</p> <p><em>Image credits: SBS</em></p>

Retirement Life

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How much do you need to know about how your spouse spends money? Maybe less than you think

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/scott-rick-1534612">Scott Rick</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-michigan-1290">University of Michigan</a></em></p> <p>Love is in the air, and wedding season is upon us.</p> <p>Like many elder millennials, I grew up watching sitcoms in the 1980s and ‘90s. Whenever those series needed a ratings boost, they would feature a wedding. Those special episodes taught me that weddings usually involve young lovebirds: think Elvin and Sondra from “The Cosby Show,” Cory and Topanga from “Boy Meets World,” or David and Darlene from “Roseanne.”</p> <p>But those were different times. People are getting married later in life than they used to: In the United States, <a href="https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/visualizations/time-series/demo/families-and-households/ms-2.pdf">the median age of newlyweds</a> has grown to 28 for women and 30 for men.</p> <p>This trend means that many Americans now enter marriage after being self-reliant for several years, including managing their own money. Will they be eager to change that once they get married? Don’t count on it. A 2017 <a href="https://bettermoneyhabits.bankofamerica.com/content/dam/bmh/pdf/ar6vnln9-boa-bmh-millennial-report-winter-2018-final2.pdf">Bank of America survey</a> suggests that millennial married couples are around 15 percentage points more likely than their predecessors to keep their finances separate.</p> <p>This is not necessarily a good development. As a behavioral scientist <a href="https://michiganross.umich.edu/faculty-research/faculty/scott-rick">who studies money and relationships</a>, I find that joint accounts <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/jcr/ucad020">can bring partners closer</a>.</p> <p>There are some risks, however. Joint accounts create transparency, and intuitively, transparency feels like a good thing in relationships. But I argue that some privacy is important even for highly committed couples – <a href="https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250280077/tightwadsandspendthrifts">and money is no exception</a>.</p> <h2>The newlywed game</h2> <p>Behavioral scientists <a href="https://kelley.iu.edu/faculty-research/faculty-directory/profile.html?id=jgolson">Jenny Olson</a>, <a href="https://som.yale.edu/faculty-research/faculty-directory/deborah-small">Deb Small</a>, <a href="https://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/directory/finkel_eli.aspx">Eli Finkel</a> and I recently conducted <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jcr/article-abstract/50/4/704/7077142">an experiment with engaged and newlywed couples</a>. Each of the pairs had entirely separate accounts, but they were undecided about how they wanted to manage their money moving forward.</p> <p>We randomly assigned each of the 230 couples to one of three groups. One group kept their money in separate accounts; one merged their cash into a joint account and stopped using separate accounts; and one managed their money however they liked.</p> <p>We followed couples for two years, periodically asking them to complete surveys assessing their relationship dynamics and satisfaction. Our relationship quality measure included items such as “I cannot imagine another person making me as happy as my partner does” and “Within the last three months, I shouted or yelled at my partner.”</p> <p>Among the couples who could do whatever they wanted, most kept things separate. They and the couples assigned to keep separate accounts experienced a steady decline in relationship quality over time.</p> <p>This is a fairly typical pattern. For instance, in <a href="https://academic.oup.com/sf/article-abstract/79/4/1313/2234046">a large study that tracked U.S. couples’ marital happiness for 17 years</a>, <a href="https://www.unk.edu/academics/social-work/faculty_staff/van_laningham.php">sociologist Jody Van Laningham</a> and colleagues found that “marital happiness either declines continuously or flattens after a long period of decline.”</p> <p>Declines during the first two years of marriage are particularly important. Social scientist <a href="https://liberalarts.utexas.edu/prc/faculty/hustontl">Ted Huston</a> and colleagues call those first two years <a href="https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.80.2.237">the “connubial crucible</a>.” They find that relationship dynamics that develop during that crucial period can foreshadow relationship quality for many years to come.</p> <p>Couples in our study who were prompted to take the plunge into a joint account, however, maintained their initial level of relationship satisfaction over the course of the two-year experiment.</p> <h2>Tit-for-tat</h2> <p>Our survey results suggest that, by turning “my money” and “your money” into “our money,” a joint account can help to reduce scorekeeping within a relationship. For example, we found that couples with joint accounts were more likely to agree with statements such as “When one person does something for the other, the other should not owe the giver anything.”</p> <p>Relationships usually don’t start with a scorekeeping orientation. In the 1980s and ‘90s, psychologist <a href="https://psychology.yale.edu/people/margaret-clark">Margaret Clark</a> and colleagues conducted experiments where partners had the option of keeping track of each other’s contributions to a shared task. <a href="https://clarkrelationshiplab.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/Resource%20allocation%20in%20intimate%20relationships.pdf">They observed</a> that intimate relationships often begin with a “communal” orientation, where partners help one another without keeping careful track of who’s doing what.</p> <p>Eventually, however, they take on more of an “exchange” orientation – where inputs are tracked and timely reciprocity is expected. Couples that manage to stave off a tit-for-tat mindset <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797610373882">tend to be happier</a>.</p> <h2>Too much of a good thing?</h2> <p>The data from our experiment with young couples clearly suggests that using only a joint account is better than using only separate accounts. However, I argue in my new book, “<a href="https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250280077/">Tightwads and Spendthrifts</a>,” that just a joint account is probably not optimal.</p> <p>When partners use only a joint account, they get an up-close-and-personal view of how the other person is spending money. This kind of transparency is <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/money-habits-successful-married-couples-avoid-2016-11">normally viewed</a> as a good thing.</p> <p>Some commentators argue that a healthy marriage should have no secrets whatsoever. For example, Willard Harley, Jr., a clinical psychologist who primarily writes for Christian audiences, argues that you should “reveal to your spouse <a href="https://www.marriagebuilders.com/the-policy-of-radical-honesty.htm">as much information about yourself as you know</a>: your thoughts, feelings, habits, likes, dislikes, personal history, daily activities, and plans for the future.”</p> <p>In addition, if your goal is to minimize optional spending, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/jcpy.1083">research suggests</a> that the transparency that comes with a joint account can be helpful. We spend less when someone is looking over our shoulder.</p> <p>Still, there are reasons to believe that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407500172005">complete transparency can be harmful for couples</a>.</p> <p>Many people have become convinced that if they could just stop buying lattes and avocado toast, they could invest that money and become rich. Unfortunately, the underlying math is highly dubious, as journalist Helaine Olen points out in <a href="https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/308568/pound-foolish-by-helaine-olen/">her book “Pound Foolish</a>.” Still, many people view small indulgences as their primary obstacle to wealth. Complete transparency around these financially inconsequential “treats” <a href="https://slate.com/business/2021/09/partner-hates-retail-therapy-money-advice.html">can lead to unnecessary arguments</a>.</p> <p>Also, spouses may have different passions that their partner does not fully understand. Expenses that seem perfectly reasonable to another hobbyist may seem outrageous <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jcr/article-abstract/19/2/256/1929895">to someone without the proper context</a> – another source of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2352250X21000750">avoidable disagreements</a>.</p> <h2>'Translucent,’ not transparent</h2> <p>I propose that many couples may benefit from a combination of joint and separate accounts.</p> <p>A joint account is essential for ensuring that both partners have immediate and equal access to “our money.” Ideally, all income would be direct-deposited into the joint account, which would help to blur the gap between partners’ earnings. Conspicuous income differences <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/432228">can jeopardize relationship quality</a>.</p> <p>Separate accounts attached to the joint account can allow some privacy for individual purchases and help partners maintain a sense of autonomy and individuality. Each person gets to spend some of “our money” without their partner looking over their shoulder. Spouses would have a high-level understanding of how much their partner is spending per week or per month, but avoid the occasionally irritating details.</p> <p>This kind of partial financial transparency – <a href="https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250280077/tightwadsandspendthrifts">what I call “financial translucency</a>” – could help couples strike the right balance between financial and psychological well-being.</p> <p>Of course, this approach requires a lot of trust. If the relationship is already on thin ice, complete financial transparency may be necessary. However, if the relationship is generally in the “good, but could be even better” category, I would argue that financial translucency is worth considering.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/230070/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/scott-rick-1534612">Scott Rick</a>, Associate Professor of Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-michigan-1290">University of Michigan</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-much-do-you-need-to-know-about-how-your-spouse-spends-money-maybe-less-than-you-think-230070">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Tourism Australia staff caught spending $140k of taxpayers' money on personal travel

<p>Three Tourism Australia employees have been fired after spending $137,441 of taxpayers' money for personal travel expenses, with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) called in to investigate.  </p> <p>Tourism Australia is the government agency in charge of promoting Australia's tourism industry abroad. </p> <p>Tourism Australia chief executive Phillipa Harrison appeared before a Senate committee in Canberra on Tuesday and confirmed the breach of the agency’s travel policy. </p> <p>The spending  had been uncovered in October 2023 when the agency's own staff detected the misuse of funds and “immediately reported and escalated” it. </p> <p>“The three employees undertook personal travel that was booked through Tourism Australia’s corporate travel agent and was invoiced to Tourism Australia,” she told the committee. </p> <p>“Tourism Australia demanded that the three individuals repay the full amount of this travel.”</p> <p>She added that the full amount was repaid to Tourism Australia last December, and the three employees have since been sacked. </p> <p>Harrison also said that Deloitte was hired to do an extensive audit dating back to 2021 “to ensure that we understood the full extent of the issue” but “no further instances of wrongdoing were identified”.</p> <p>“Off the back of the audit I have overseen a strengthening of our travel policy processes to ensure the conduct cannot be repeated,” she said.</p> <p>Tourism Australia have referred the matter to the NACC and are awaiting a response. </p> <p>When asked by New South Wales Nationals senator Ross Cadell about the identities of the staff and whether the agency's chief financial officer was among those involved, she replied: "The NACC has advised me that I'm unable to provide the further details on the roles and the people involved until they have finished their investigations." </p> <p>"To do so may compromise current or potential investigations, and prematurely impact the reputations of individuals in circumstances where the legislation enacted by parliament intends to avoid that by requiring that investigations, generally, be conducted in private and that information concerning them is not to be disclosed."</p> <p>She took a question on notice about how many trips were booked by the staff and the destinations for the travel. </p> <p>Her refusal to answer the questions caught the senator off-guard and he said: “I am shooketh, shaken, by not being able to ask these questions,” before calling a short suspension to discuss the concerns. </p> <p>On return, she officially claimed “public interest immunity” and was told she had to outline the situation in writing. </p> <p>"I have to say, this is the first time in my experience where a direction from the NACC has directed an official not to make a public statement," Tourism and Trade Minister Don Farrell said. </p> <p>"This does present some significant issues which I myself would like to get clarified.</p> <p>"You and I both voted for this legislation and obviously this is how it's being applied. The witness, obviously, has to comply with the direction of the NACC, she has no choice."</p> <p>The matter has not been referred to authorities. </p> <p><em>Image: Tourism Australia/ news.com.au</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Spending too much time on social media and doomscrolling? The problem might be FOMO

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kim-m-caudwell-1258935">Kim M Caudwell</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/charles-darwin-university-1066">Charles Darwin University</a></em></p> <p>For as long as we have used the internet to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/mar/07/email-ray-tomlinson-history">communicate and connect with each other</a>, it has influenced how we think, feel and behave.</p> <p>During the COVID pandemic, many of us were <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953622007985">“cut off” from our social worlds</a> through restrictions, lockdowns and mandates. Understandably, many of us tried to <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0258344">find ways to connect online</a>.</p> <p>Now, as pandemic restrictions have lifted, some of the ways we use the internet have become concerning. Part of what drives problematic internet use may be something most of us are familiar with – the fear of missing out, or FOMO.</p> <p>In <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12888-024-05834-9">our latest research</a>, my colleagues and I investigated the role FOMO plays in two kinds of internet use: problematic social media use and “doomscrolling”.</p> <h2>What are FOMO, problematic social media use and doomscrolling?</h2> <p>FOMO is the fear some of us experience when we get a sense of “missing out” on things happening in our social scene. Psychology researchers have been studying FOMO for <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.02.014">more than a decade</a>, and it has consistently been linked to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8283615/">mental health and wellbeing</a>, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0376871624001947">alcohol use</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2021.106839">problematic social media use</a>.</p> <p>Social media use becomes a problem for people when they have difficulty controlling urges to use social media, have difficulty cutting back on use, and where the use has a negative impact on their everyday life.</p> <p>Doomscrolling is characterised by a need to constantly look at and <a href="https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210226-the-darkly-soothing-compulsion-of-doomscrolling">seek out “bad” news</a>. Doomscrollers may constantly refresh their news feeds or stay up late to read bad news.</p> <p>While problematic social media use has been around for a while, doomscrolling seems to be a more recent phenomenon – <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7735659/">attracting research attention</a> during and following the pandemic.</p> <h2>What we tried to find out</h2> <p>In our study, we wanted to test the idea that FOMO leads individuals to engage in problematic use behaviours due to their difficulty in managing the “fear” in FOMO.</p> <p>The key factor, we thought, was <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/b:joba.0000007455.08539.94">emotion regulation</a> – our ability to deal with our emotions. We know some people tend to be good at this, while others find it difficult. In fact, greater difficulties with emotion regulation was linked to experiencing <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S088761852100058X">greater acute stress related to COVID</a>.</p> <p>However, an idea that has been gaining attention recently is <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.636919/full">interpersonal emotion regulation</a>. This means looking to others to help us regulate our emotions.</p> <p>Interpersonal emotion regulation can be helpful (such as “<a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11031-016-9569-3">affective engagement</a>”, where someone might listen and talk about your feelings) or unhelpful (such as “<a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2F0012-1649.43.4.1019">co-rumination</a>” or rehashing problems together), depending on the context.</p> <p>In our analyses, we sought to uncover how both <em>intrapersonal</em> emotion regulation (ability to self-manage our own emotional states) and <em>interpersonal</em> emotion regulation (relying on others to help manage our emotions) accounted for the link between FOMO and problematic social media use, and FOMO and doomscrolling, respectively.</p> <h2>What we found – and what it might mean for the future of internet use</h2> <p>Our findings indicated that people who report stronger FOMO engage in problematic social media use because of difficulty regulating their emotions (intrapersonally), and they look to others for help (interpersonally).</p> <p>Similarly, people who report stronger FOMO are drawn to doomscrolling because of difficulty regulating their emotions intrapersonally (within themselves). However, we found no link between FOMO and doomscrolling through interpersonal emotion regulation.</p> <p>We suspect this difference may be due to doomscrolling being more of a solitary activity, occurring outside more social contexts that facilitate interpersonal regulation. For instance, there are probably fewer people with whom to share your emotions while staying up trawling through bad news.</p> <p>While links between FOMO and doomscrolling have been observed before, our study is among the first to try and account for this theoretically.</p> <p>We suspect the link between FOMO and doomscrolling may be more about having more of an online presence <em>while things are happening</em>. This would account for intrapersonal emotion regulation failing to help manage our reactions to “bad news” stories as they unfold, leading to doomscrolling.</p> <p>Problematic social media use, on the other hand, involves a more complex interpersonal context. If someone is feeling the fear of being “left out” and has difficulty managing that feeling, they may be drawn to social media platforms in part to try and elicit help from others in their network.</p> <h2>Getting the balance right</h2> <p>Our findings suggest the current discussions around <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/psychology-group-says-infinite-scrolling-social-media-features-are-par-rcna147876">restricting social media use for young people</a>, while controversial, are important. We need to balance our need for social connection – which is happening increasingly online – with the <a href="https://www.biomedcentral.com/collections/spia#tab-3">detrimental consequences </a> associated with problematic internet use behaviours.</p> <p>It is important to also consider the nature of social media platforms and how they have changed over time. For example, adolescent social media use patterns across various platforms are <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10964-019-01060-9">associated with</a> different mental health and socialisation outcomes.</p> <p>Public health policy experts and legislators have quite the challenge ahead of them here. Recent work has shown how loneliness is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190033">a contributing factor</a> to all-cause mortality (death from any cause).</p> <p>We have long known, too, that social connectedness is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190033">good for our mental health</a>. In fact, last year, the World Health Organization established a <a href="https://www.who.int/news/item/15-11-2023-who-launches-commission-to-foster-social-connection">Commission on Social Connection</a> to help promote the importance of socialisation to our lives.</p> <p>The recent controversy in the United States around the ownership of TikTok illustrates how central social media platforms are to our lives and ways of interacting with one another. We need to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/article/2024/may/27/dominic-andre-tiktok-ban">consider the rights of individuals</a> to use them as they please, but understand that governments carry the responsibility of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/apr/04/what-does-tiktoks-ban-on-australian-government-devices-mean-for-its-future">protecting users from harm</a> and safeguarding their privacy.</p> <hr /> <p><em>If you feel concerned about problematic social media use or doomscrolling, you can speak to a healthcare or mental health professional. You can also call <a href="https://www.lifeline.org.au/">Lifeline</a> on 13 11 14, or <a href="https://www.13yarn.org.au/">13 YARN</a> (13 92 76) to yarn with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander crisis supporters.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/230980/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kim-m-caudwell-1258935">Kim M Caudwell</a>, Senior Lecturer - Psychology | Chair, Researchers in Behavioural Addictions, Alcohol and Drugs (BAAD), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/charles-darwin-university-1066">Charles Darwin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/spending-too-much-time-on-social-media-and-doomscrolling-the-problem-might-be-fomo-230980">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Technology

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How much time should you spend sitting versus standing? New research reveals the perfect mix for optimal health

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christian-brakenridge-1295221">Christian Brakenridge</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/baker-heart-and-diabetes-institute-974">Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute</a></em></p> <p>People have a pretty intuitive sense of what is healthy – standing is better than sitting, exercise is great for overall health and getting <a href="https://theconversation.com/could-not-getting-enough-sleep-increase-your-risk-of-type-2-diabetes-225179">good sleep is imperative</a>.</p> <p>However, if exercise in the evening may disrupt our sleep, or make us feel the need to be more sedentary to recover, a key question emerges – what is the best way to balance our 24 hours to optimise our health?</p> <p><a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00125-024-06145-0">Our research</a> attempted to answer this for risk factors for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. We found the optimal amount of sleep was 8.3 hours, while for light activity and moderate to vigorous activity, it was best to get 2.2 hours each.</p> <p><iframe id="dw4bx" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/dw4bx/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <h2>Finding the right balance</h2> <p>Current health guidelines recommend you stick to a <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/physical-activity-and-exercise/physical-activity-and-exercise-guidelines-for-all-australians/for-adults-18-to-64-years">sensible regime</a> of moderate-to vigorous-intensity physical activity 2.5–5 hours per week.</p> <p>However <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2019.02.031">mounting evidence</a> now <a href="https://doi.org/10.2337/dc14-2073">suggests</a> how you spend your day can have meaningful ramifications for your health. In addition to moderate-to vigorous-intensity physical activity, this means the time you spend sitting, standing, doing light physical activity (such as walking around your house or office) and sleeping.</p> <p>Our research looked at more than 2,000 adults who wore body sensors that could interpret their physical behaviours, for seven days. This gave us a sense of how they spent their average 24 hours.</p> <p>At the start of the study participants had their waist circumference, blood sugar and insulin sensitivity measured. The body sensor and assessment data was matched and analysed then tested against health risk markers — such as a heart disease and stroke risk score — to create a model.</p> <p>Using this model, we fed through thousands of permutations of 24 hours and found the ones with the estimated lowest associations with heart disease risk and blood-glucose levels. This created many optimal mixes of sitting, standing, light and moderate intensity activity.</p> <p>When we looked at waist circumference, blood sugar, insulin sensitivity and a heart disease and stroke risk score, we noted differing optimal time zones. Where those zones mutually overlapped was ascribed the optimal zone for heart disease and diabetes risk.</p> <h2>You’re doing more physical activity than you think</h2> <p>We found light-intensity physical activity (defined as walking less than 100 steps per minute) – such as walking to the water cooler, the bathroom, or strolling casually with friends – had strong associations with glucose control, and especially in people with type 2 diabetes. This light-intensity physical activity is likely accumulated intermittently throughout the day rather than being a purposeful bout of light exercise.</p> <p>Our experimental evidence shows that <a href="https://diabetesjournals.org/care/article/39/6/964/29532/Benefits-for-Type-2-Diabetes-of-Interrupting">interrupting our sitting</a> regularly with light-physical activity (such as taking a 3–5 minute walk every hour) can improve our metabolism, especially so after lunch.</p> <p>While the moderate-to-vigorous physical activity time might seem a quite high, at more than 2 hours a day, we defined it as more than 100 steps per minute. This equates to a brisk walk.</p> <p>It should be noted that these findings are preliminary. This is the first study of heart disease and diabetes risk and the “optimal” 24 hours, and the results will need further confirmation with longer prospective studies.</p> <p>The data is also cross-sectional. This means that the estimates of time use are correlated with the disease risk factors, meaning it’s unclear whether how participants spent their time influences their risk factors or whether those risk factors influence how someone spends their time.</p> <h2>Australia’s adult physical activity guidelines need updating</h2> <p>Australia’s <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/physical-activity-and-exercise/physical-activity-and-exercise-guidelines-for-all-australians/for-adults-18-to-64-years">physical activity guidelines</a> currently only recommend exercise intensity and time. A <a href="https://www.uow.edu.au/media/2023/why-adults-need-to-move-more-stop-sitting-and-sleep-better-.php">new set of guidelines</a> are being developed to incorporate 24-hour movement. Soon Australians will be able to use these guidelines to examine their 24 hours and understand where they can make improvements.</p> <p>While our new research can inform the upcoming guidelines, we should keep in mind that the recommendations are like a north star: something to head towards to improve your health. In principle this means reducing sitting time where possible, increasing standing and light-intensity physical activity, increasing more vigorous intensity physical activity, and aiming for a healthy sleep of 7.5–9 hours per night.</p> <p>Beneficial changes could come in the form of reducing screen time in the evening or opting for an active commute over driving commute, or prioritising an earlier bed time over watching television in the evening.</p> <p>It’s also important to acknowledge these are recommendations for an able adult. We all have different considerations, and above all, movement should be fun.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/228894/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christian-brakenridge-1295221"><em>Christian Brakenridge</em></a><em>, Postdoctoral research fellow at Swinburne University, Centre for Urban Transitions, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/baker-heart-and-diabetes-institute-974">Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-much-time-should-you-spend-sitting-versus-standing-new-research-reveals-the-perfect-mix-for-optimal-health-228894">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Body

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"Worth it": Insane amount woman spends to clone dead cat

<p>Kelly Anderson from Texas, US was devastated when she lost her "soulmate" cat Chai more than four years ago. </p> <p>Not long after, in what she calls "fate", Anderson decided to clone her beloved pet, a process which cost her a whopping $USD25,000 ($AUD38,000).</p> <p>"It was just one of those moments where I had been talking about cloning a few weeks before and fate kicked in," she told <em>Weekend Today</em>.</p> <p>"I remembered the conversation and decided to clone."</p> <p>The process took about four years, which is roughly twice the average time it takes to clone a pet. </p> <p>"It was not money that I had come easily to me but it was a very important process for me to do," she said.</p> <p>"It was 100 per cent worth it. The process saved my life."</p> <p>Anderson added that Belle, the successfully cloned cat, has grown to be as "bold, bossy, sassy" as Chai, and their personalities have become more alike. </p> <p>Despite the similarities, Anderson said that she doesn't set any expectations on Belle to be Chai's replacement. </p> <p>"I would still say she's very much her own cat and I treat her that way. I always try to treat them as individuals.</p> <p>"I never wanted to put expectations on Belle to be Chai. But I would say that they're very similar in a lot of ways."</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">According to</span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> </span><em><a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/business-60924936" target="_blank" rel="noopener">BBC</a>, </em>the process itself involves extracting DNA from the pet to be cloned, then injecting that into a donor egg that has had its genetic material removed. The egg then grows into an embryo before being implanted into a surrogate mother, who then gives birth to the kitten. </p> <p>Pet cloning has become an increasingly popular practice, , despite how controversial and expensive it is, with celebrities like Barbra Streisand and Simon Cowell using the process to clone their own beloved pets. </p> <p>Anderson, who decided to document her story on social media added that people have mixed reactions to the process. </p> <p>"I think there's people who are fascinated and don't even realise that we're cloning animals ... so a lot of people are learning about cloning," she said. </p> <p>"But a lot of people also have opinions. So it's a mixed bag."</p> <p><em>Images: Weekend Today</em></p> <p> </p>

Money & Banking

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It’s not just about accumulating super. Australians need to learn how to spend their retirement savings

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marc-olynyk-1493791">Marc Olynyk</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p>Australia’s superannuation and retirement income system is complex and difficult to navigate.</p> <p>Retirees need to make decisions on numerous issues where they have less than full information and understanding, both financial and non-financial. They also require access to retirement products to help them manage and balance income needs against longevity risk.</p> <p>Recognising these issues, the government released a <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2023-441613">discussion paper</a> this month seeking views on three key issues:</p> <ol> <li> <p>helping super fund members navigate the retirement income system</p> </li> <li> <p>supporting superannuation funds to deliver better services</p> </li> <li> <p>making retirement income products more accessible.</p> </li> </ol> <p>Australia has one of the largest and most sophisticated pension systems in the world. Valued at more than <a href="https://www.apra.gov.au/quarterly-superannuation-statistics">A$3.5 trillion</a> as at September 2023, and is the <a href="https://www.thinkingaheadinstitute.org/research-papers/global-pension-assets-study-2023/">5th largest pension scheme</a> in terms of asset size.</p> <p>It is also the <a href="https://www.mercer.com/insights/investments/market-outlook-and-trends/mercer-cfa-global-pension-index/">5th most highly rated retirement income system</a> internationally behind the Netherlands, Iceland, Denmark and Israel.</p> <h2>What is wrong with the super system?</h2> <p>But while the super system ranks highly in terms of integrity and sustainability, the numbers are not as flattering when it comes to “adequacy”.</p> <p>Adequacy is the level of income available to retirees depending on their different circumstances. According to a recent <a href="https://www.mercer.com/insights/investments/market-outlook-and-trends/mercer-cfa-global-pension-index/">study</a>, Australia is ranked 20th out of 47 worldwide on the adequacy index.</p> <p><a href="https://www.investmentmagazine.com.au/2023/02/purpose-of-super-law-to-herald-tax-reform/">Reform</a> in the <em>pre-retirement</em> phase of Australia’s retirement income scheme is ongoing and designed to support accumulating wealth for retirement.</p> <p>These ongoing reforms have been designed to make superannuation easier to understand and to reduce much of the decision making required. They’ve been needed because of an apparent lack of skills, interest and financial literacy among Australians.</p> <p>While the message that we need to save to be comfortable in retirement is getting through, the lack of information about how to manage these savings once we retire means many retirees are left to navigate the complex system as best they can.</p> <p>Given the complexity and volatility of Australia’s financial system, it’s hardly surprising many of the decisions made by retirees don’t produce the best financial results. For example, more than <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2023-441613">84%</a> of retirement savings are held in account-based pensions which, if not properly managed, can run out. This is despite government and community awareness that outliving your savings is a real possibility.</p> <p>About 50% of retirees currently withdraw at the minimum pension rate, which means many people experience a lower standard of living than what would normally be expected with the super they have accumulated. This can result in wealth not being used and instead being passed on to the next generation.</p> <h2>Help is needed now because the retiree sector is booming</h2> <p>Over the next decade there is going to be a big increase in the number of people retiring and transitioning from the accumulation phase of their super to the pension phase. It’s estimated <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2023-441613">2.5 million</a> Australians will move to the retirement phase in this period.</p> <p>Following the 2014 <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/publication/c2014-fsi-final-report">Financial System Inquiry</a>, the government introduced the <a href="http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/sia1993473/s52.html">Retirement Income Covenant</a> in 2022 to force super fund trustees to develop a strategy that would provide better retirement outcomes for their members.</p> <p>The strategy is based on retirees maximising their expected retirement income, managing expected risks to their retirement income and having flexible access to super funds during their retirement.</p> <p>A 2022-23 review conducted by <a href="https://asic.gov.au/regulatory-resources/find-a-document/reports/rep-766-implementation-of-the-retirement-income-covenant-findings-from-the-apra-and-asic-thematic-review/">Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission</a> found while trustees were providing more help to retirees, overall there was a lack of progress and urgency among trustees to improve retirement outcomes.</p> <h2>How the system could be improved</h2> <p>Several proposals have been put forward to improve the experiences and decision-making of retirees. These have included:</p> <ul> <li> <p>improved support from and education by superannuation fund trustees</p> </li> <li> <p>changing how people view their super savings from an accumulation of wealth to a system that enables drawdown of retirement savings over time to fund expenses.</p> </li> <li> <p>providing an automatic rollover of retirement savings into an income-stream instead of allowing a lump sum withdrawal on retirement</p> </li> <li> <p>expanding existing income products (that are starting to be offered by several financial institutions) which combine providing investment choice with a pension for life</p> </li> <li> <p>setting up a MyRetire product that would run parallel to <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/programs-and-initiatives-superannuation/mysuper">MySuper</a> and provide a simple and cost-effective retirement income system for less engaged members. MySuper only applies to the accumulation phase. Once a member starts an income stream in retirement, their MySuper account ceases</p> </li> <li> <p>improving access to financial planning advice which is shown to play a significant role in preparing Australians for retirement.</p> </li> </ul> <p>The government, superannuation industry and the community all have a greater role to play in improving the financial outcomes and experiences of retirees.</p> <p>With Australia’s ageing population, the need to better support retirees to achieve a dignified retirement is becoming more urgent.</p> <p>All Australians expect and deserve a financially secure retirement.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/219217/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marc-olynyk-1493791"><em>Marc Olynyk</em></a><em>, Director of Financial Planning, Deakin Business School, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/its-not-just-about-accumulating-super-australians-need-to-learn-how-to-spend-their-retirement-savings-219217">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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4 strategies to keep you from overspending this holiday season

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/johanna-peetz-1494248">Johanna Peetz</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/carleton-university-900">Carleton University</a></em></p> <p>The urge to spend money is present all year round, but during the gift-giving season, the temptation to splurge on loved ones can be particularly strong. For many, the desire to be generous during the holidays clashes with the need to conserve funds for essential expenses.</p> <p>This year, money is tighter than ever, with <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/231121/dq231121a-eng.htm?indid=3665-1&amp;indgeo=0">high prices for groceries, housing and entertainment</a> leaving shoppers with reduced funds as the holiday season descends upon us.</p> <p>A growing number of individuals are feeling the financial squeeze, with 40 per cent of Canadians <a href="https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/financial-stress-is-impacting-the-mental-health-of-canadians-survey-1.1933491">citing money as their main source of stress</a>. <a href="https://newsroom.bmo.com/2023-11-08-78-Per-Cent-of-Canadians-Plan-to-Cut-Back-on-Holiday-Spending,-but-a-Third-Will-Still-Give-Back-to-Charitable-Causes-BMO-Survey">Seventy-eight per cent of Canadians</a> plan on buying fewer gifts this holiday season and 37 per cent are worried they won’t be able to afford all the items on their holiday shopping lists.</p> <p>Given that <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.790434">pricier gifts are not necessarily more appreciated by the person receiving the gift</a>, what are some ways shoppers can resist the temptation of appealing, yet expensive, gift options that might strain their finances?</p> <p>As a social psychologist who studies personal spending, I think it is worthwhile to remind ourselves of self-control strategies that can help us manage financial decisions during the holiday season.</p> <h2>Strategies for resisting temptation</h2> <p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691615623">Self-control is not just suppressing temptation</a>; it also involves setting yourself up for success by creating situations that make resisting temptations easier.</p> <p><strong>1. Avoid temptations</strong></p> <p>Perhaps the most obvious strategy is to avoid shopping temptations. This may include steering clear of places — both physical and online — that are out of your budget range. While this is easier said than done during gift shopping, it’s an effective way to manage temptations: People who report having an easier time with self-control <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2014.09.031">tend to avoid rather than resist temptations</a>.</p> <p><strong>2. Make a budget</strong></p> <p>If you haven’t sat down to make a holiday budget yet, it’s never too late to make one. Considering one-quarter of Canadians are <a href="https://globalnews.ca/news/10087745/canadian-holiday-spending-debt/">still paying off last year’s holiday debts</a>, being as fiscally responsible as possible is a wise choice this year.</p> <p>Setting spending limits ahead of time makes your financial goals clear and explicit. When setting budgets for gifts <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/jcr/ucad011">people tend to spend the entirety of the estimated amount (unlike budgets for personal purchases where they try to come in under the budget)</a>. It’s good to be realistic, rather than optimistic, when setting budgets.</p> <p><strong>3. Implementation intentions</strong></p> <p>Anticipate any potential shopping temptations you are likely to encounter so you can develop strategies to resist them. One effective approach is <a href="https://kops.uni-konstanz.de/server/api/core/bitstreams/14cc2a36-5f01-4dc1-b9ca-f2d0ca0c8930/content">forming intentions</a> about how you will act once you encounter a temptation.</p> <p>For example, you might consider what you will do when you see a gadget your friend would enjoy when you have already bought them something and have reached the limit of your budget. Instead of purchasing it and exceeding your budget, you could write down the gadget for next year’s gift.</p> <p><strong>4. Write a list</strong></p> <p>Finally, thinking ahead to the gifts you plan to buy and writing a shopping list rather than relying on being inspired in the store might help with sticking to a budget. <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11747-019-00670-w">Consumers spend thousands each year on impulse purchases</a>. Writing shopping lists, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/cb.1812">even for online shopping</a>, can reduce overall spending and shopping regret.</p> <h2>The best strategy is the one that works</h2> <p>The holidays should be about joy, not financial stress. Maintaining self-control allows you to celebrate without compromising your financial well-being.</p> <p>There are of course many strategies beyond the four strategies listed here that can help create situations where resisting temptations is easier. The most effective strategies for maintaining financial self-control <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2021.104189">are the ones you are already using</a>, and the ones <em>you</em> find most effective. If you want to avoid giving in to shopping temptations, take a moment to think about the financial strategies you are already using and think about how you might use them in your holiday shopping.</p> <p>If you haven’t yet found a strategy that works for you, now is a great opportunity for you to try some out and see which ones are effective. Using strategies to manage the cost of holiday spending can prevent gift-giving from becoming a financial stressor in an already stressful time.</p> <p>Finally, while adhering to a budget is important, it shouldn’t be the sole or primary focus during holiday shopping. Keep in mind that the true spirit of the season is spending quality time with loved ones. The joy of the holidays doesn’t come from extravagant gifts, but from shared moments and meaningful connections.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/219380/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/johanna-peetz-1494248"><em>Johanna Peetz</em></a><em>, Professor in Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/carleton-university-900">Carleton University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/4-strategies-to-keep-you-from-overspending-this-holiday-season-219380">original article</a>.</em></p>

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How to protect yourself from cyber-scammers over the festive period

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachael-medhurst-1408437">Rachael Medhurst</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-wales-1586">University of South Wales</a></em></p> <p>The festive season is a time for joy, family and festive cheer. However, it’s also a prime target for cybercriminals. As online shopping ramps up, so does the risk of falling prey to cyber-attacks. That’s why it’s crucial to be extra vigilant about your <a href="https://blog.tctg.co.uk/12-cyber-security-tips-of-christmas">cybersecurity</a> during this time.</p> <p>Here are some essential tips to safeguard yourself and your data during the festive period:</p> <h2>Phishing</h2> <p>Phishing is when criminals use scam emails, text messages or phone calls to trick their victims. Their <a href="https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/phishing-scams">goal</a> is often to make you visit a certain website, which may download a virus on to your computer, or steal bank details or other personal data.</p> <p>This type of scam tends to <a href="https://www.egress.com/blog/phishing/holiday-phishing-scam-guide">increase</a> at this time due to the amount of people having bought or received new gadgets and technology.</p> <p>Look out for there being no direct reference to your name in any communications, with wording such as “Dear Sir/Madam” or other terms such as “valued customer” being used instead. Grammar and spelling mistakes are also often present.</p> <p>Be wary of any suspicious links or attachments within emails too, and don’t click them. It’s better to contact the company directly to check if the message is genuine. You can also <a href="https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/phishing-scams">report</a> suspicious messages and phishing scams to the government’s National Cyber Security Centre.</p> <h2>Shopping safely online</h2> <p>The convenience of online shopping is undeniable, especially during the festive season. However, it’s crucial to prioritise your security when buying online.</p> <p>Before entering your personal and financial information on any website, ensure it’s legitimate and secure. Look for the “https” in the address bar and a <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-vast-majority-of-us-have-no-idea-what-the-padlock-icon-on-our-internet-browser-is-and-its-putting-us-at-risk-216581">padlock</a> icon, which indicates a secure and encrypted connection.</p> <p>When creating passwords for online shopping accounts, use strong, unique combinations of letters, numbers and symbols. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts, as a breach on one site could compromise all your others.</p> <p>As with shopping in the real world, be cautious when encountering offers that are significantly below usual prices or which make extravagant promises. Always conduct thorough research on the seller and product before making a purchase. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.</p> <p>And if you are out shopping in towns or city centres, there will often be a large number of public wifi options available to you. However, criminals can intercept the data that is transferred across such open and unsecured wifi. So, avoid using public wifi where possible, especially when conducting any financial transactions.</p> <h2>Social media</h2> <p>While social media platforms provide people with a means to keep in touch with family and friends over the festive period, they are often a goldmine for <a href="https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-spot-a-social-media-scam-aMtwF3u1XKGt">scams</a> and malware (software designed to disrupt, damage or gain unauthorised access to a computer). In the spirit of the festive season, people often share an abundance of personal information on social media, often without considering the potential consequences.</p> <p>This trove of data can make people vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Scammers can exploit this information to gain unauthorised access to social media accounts, steal personal information, or even commit identity theft. To protect yourself, be mindful of what you share.</p> <p>Be wary when interacting with posts and direct messages, especially if they contain suspicious links or attachments. Before clicking on anything, hover over the link to verify its destination. If it shows a website you don’t recognise or seems unrelated to the message, do not click on it. If you receive a message from someone you know but the content seems strange or out of character, contact them directly through a trusted channel to verify its authenticity.</p> <p>Likewise, be wary of messages containing urgent requests for money or personal information from businesses. Genuine organisations will never solicit sensitive details through social media.</p> <p>There are many buy and sell platforms available on social media. But while such platforms can be a great place to find a unique gift, it is also important to remember that not all sellers may be legitimate. So, it’s vital that you don’t share your bank details. If the seller sends a link to purchase the item, do not use it. When meeting to collect an item, it’s generally safer to use cash rather than transferring funds electronically.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/aO858HyFbKI?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Advice for staying safe online.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Package delivery scams</h2> <p>As well as being a time for giving and receiving gifts, the festive season is also ripe for cybercriminals to exploit the excitement surrounding <a href="https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/about-us1/media/press-releases/scams-linked-to-parcel-deliveries-come-top-in-2023/">package deliveries</a>.</p> <p>Scammers often pose as legitimate delivery companies, sending emails or text messages claiming that a delivery attempt was unsuccessful or requiring additional fees for processing, or even customs clearance. Typically, these messages contain links or phone numbers that, when clicked or called, lead to fake websites or automated phone systems designed to collect personal information or payments.</p> <p>To protect yourself, always verify the legitimacy of any delivery notifications you receive. Check the sender’s email address or phone number against the official contact information for the delivery company. If the information doesn’t match or seems suspicious, don’t click any links or provide personal details.</p> <p>Legitimate delivery companies will never ask for upfront payment or sensitive information through unsolicited messages or calls.</p> <p>Remember, cybercriminals are skilled at manipulating the festive spirit to their advantage. Stay vigilant, exercise caution, and don’t let your excitement for gifts and deliveries compromise your cybersecurity.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/218294/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachael-medhurst-1408437"><em>Rachael Medhurst</em></a><em>, Course Leader and Senior Lecturer in Cyber Security NCSA, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-wales-1586">University of South Wales</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-cyber-scammers-over-the-festive-period-218294">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Trying to spend less on food? Following the dietary guidelines might save you $160 a fortnight

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-burch-438717">Emily Burch</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/southern-cross-university-1160">Southern Cross University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lauren-ball-14718">Lauren Ball</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p>A rise in the <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BriefingBook47p/CostOfLiving#:%7E:text=Consumer%20Price%20Index%20over%20time,but%205.1%25%20in%20the%20second">cost of living</a> has led many households to look for ways to save money.</p> <p>New research suggests maintaining a healthy diet, in line with the <a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/guidelines">Australian Dietary Guidelines</a>, is cheaper than an unhealthy diet and <a href="https://southwesthealthcare.com.au/wp-content/uploads/SWH-HP-Healthy-Diets-ASAP-Protocol-Warrnambool-Report-2023.pdf">could save A$160</a> off a family of four’s fortnightly shopping bill.</p> <p>Poor diet is the most common preventable risk factor contributing to chronic disease in <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30752-2/fulltext">Australia</a>. So improving your diet can also be an important way to reduce the chance of developing chronic disease.</p> <h2>First, what are the dietary guidelines?</h2> <p>The guidelines provide information on the quantity and types of foods most Australians should consume to promote overall health and wellbeing.</p> <p>Recommendations include eating a wide variety of nutritious foods from the main five food groups:</p> <ul> <li>vegetables and legumes</li> <li>fruit</li> <li>grains</li> <li>lean meats and meat alternatives such as tofu, nuts and legumes</li> <li>dairy products.</li> </ul> <p>The guidelines recommend limiting our intake of foods high in saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol.</p> <h2>What are Australians eating?</h2> <p>Fewer than <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/dietary-behaviour/latest-release">7%</a> of Australians eat sufficient vegetables, in line with the Australian Dietary Guidelines. In fact, Australians have an average healthy diet score of <a href="https://www.csiro.au/-/media/News-releases/2023/Total-Wellbeing-Diet-Health-Score/Diet-score-2023-Report_September.pdf">55 out of 100</a> – barely passing.</p> <p>Foods that aren’t part of a food group are known as “discretionary” items, which includes alcohol, cakes, biscuits, chocolate and confectionery and most takeaway foods. Because they’re typically high in kilojoules, saturated fat, sodium and added sugars, the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend they only be eaten occasionally and in small amounts (ideally zero serves).</p> <p>For many households, discretionary items make up a big portion of their grocery shop. Australians consume an average of <a href="https://www.csiro.au/-/media/News-releases/2023/Total-Wellbeing-Diet-Health-Score/Diet-score-2023-Report_September.pdf">28 serves</a> of discretionary choices per week (equal to 28 doughnuts, 28 slices of cake, or 28 cans of soft drink or beer). This is an increase of ten serves since 2015.</p> <p>One recent <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12966-022-01389-8">study</a> estimated 55% of Australians’ total energy intake was from discretionary items.</p> <h2>What did the researchers find?</h2> <p>Researchers from the Health Promotion Team at South West Healthcare <a href="https://southwesthealthcare.com.au/wp-content/uploads/SWH-HP-Healthy-Diets-ASAP-Protocol-Warrnambool-Report-2023.pdf">recently</a> visited four local supermarkets and takeaway stores in Warrnambool, Victoria, and purchased two baskets of groceries.</p> <p>One basket met the Australian Dietary Guidelines (basket one), the other aligned with the typical dietary intake of Australians (basket two).</p> <p>They compared prices between the two and found basket one would cost approximately $167 less per fortnight for a family of four at the most affordable supermarket. That’s equal to $4,342 a year.</p> <p>Basket one was sufficient to supply a family of four for a fortnight, and aligned with the Australian Dietary Guidelines. It cost $724 and included:</p> <ol> <li>fruit and vegetables (made up 31% of the fortnightly shop)</li> <li>grains and cereals (oats, cornflakes, bread, rice, pasta, Weet-bix)</li> <li>lean meats and alternatives (mince, steak, chicken, tuna, eggs, nuts)</li> <li>milk, yoghurt and cheese</li> <li>oils and spreads (olive oil).</li> </ol> <p>Basket two reflected the current average Australian fortnightly shop for a family of four.</p> <p>In the project, the team spent over half of the fortnightly shop on processed and packaged foods, of which 21% was spent on take-away. This is based on actual dietary intake of the general population reported in the 2011-2012 <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/australian-health-survey-nutrition-first-results-foods-and-nutrients/latest-release#:%7E:text=Food%20consumption,across%20the%20major%20food%20groups.">Australian Health Survey</a>.</p> <p>Basket two cost $891 and included:</p> <ol> <li>fruit and vegetables (made up 13% of the fortnightly shop)</li> <li>grains and cereals (oats, cornflakes, bread, rice, pasta, Weet-bix)</li> <li>lean meats and alternatives (mince, steak, chicken, tuna, eggs, nuts)</li> <li>milk, yogurt and cheese</li> <li>oils and spreads (olive oil, butter)</li> <li>drinks (soft drink, fruit juice)</li> <li>desserts and snacks (muffins, sweet biscuits, chocolate, ice cream, potato chips, muesli bars)</li> <li>processed meats (sausages, ham)</li> <li>convenience meals</li> <li>fast food (pizza, meat pie, hamburger, fish and chips)</li> <li>alcohol (beer, wine).</li> </ol> <h2>But a healthy basket is still unaffordable for many</h2> <p>While this piece of work, and other <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/11/2469">research</a>, suggests a healthy diet is less expensive than an unhealthy diet, affordability is still a challenge for many families.</p> <p>The Warrnambool research found basket one (which aligned with guidelines) was still costly, requiring approximately 25% of a median household income.</p> <p>This is unaffordable for many. For a household reliant on welfare, basket one would require allocating 26%-38% of their income. This highlights how the rising cost of living crisis is affecting those already facing financial difficulties.</p> <p>Around 3.7 <a href="https://reports.foodbank.org.au/foodbank-hunger-report-2023/">million</a> Australian households did not have access to enough food to meet their basic needs at some point in the last 12 months.</p> <p>Policy action is needed from the Australian government to make recommended diets more affordable for low socioeconomic groups. This means lowering the costs of healthy foods and ensuring household incomes are sufficient.</p> <h2>What else can you do to cut your spending?</h2> <p>To help reduce food costs and support your health, reducing discretionary foods could be a good idea.</p> <p>Other ways to reduce your grocery bill and keep your food healthy and fresh include:</p> <ul> <li> <p>planning for some meatless meals each week. Pulses (beans, lentils and legumes) are nutritious and cheap (a can is <a href="https://coles.com.au/product/coles-chick-peas-420g-8075852?uztq=46abcbb7e16253b0cdc3e6c5bbe6a3f0&amp;cid=col_cpc_Generic%7cColesSupermarkets%7cPLA%7cCatchAll%7cAustralia%7cBroad&amp;s_kwcid=AL!12693!3!675842378376!!!g!326304616489!&amp;gad_source=1&amp;gclid=CjwKCAjwkY2qBhBDEiwAoQXK5SceYhU2VtKepNLXWN218GH8Cp8Vs9cnYynCBwRqQPaW3UYNX2SVIBoC_6EQAvD_BwE&amp;gclsrc=aw.ds">less than $1.50</a>. Here are some great pulse recipes to <a href="https://nomoneynotime.com.au/healthy-easy-recipes/filter/keywords--vegetarian/p2">try</a></p> </li> <li> <p>checking the specials and buy in bulk (to store or freeze) when items are cheaper</p> </li> <li> <p>making big batches of meals and freezing them. Single-serve portions can help save time for lunches at work, saving on takeaway</p> </li> <li> <p>Australian supermarkets are <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/datablog/2023/jul/27/cost-of-living-grocery-store-price-rises-cheapest-fresh-produce-australia-woolworths-coles#:%7E:text=The%20results%20showed%20independent%20and,best%20place%20for%20affordable%20groceries">almost never</a> the cheapest place for fresh produce, so shop around for farmers markets or smaller local grocery shops</p> </li> <li> <p>buying generic brands when possible, as they are <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/public-health-nutrition/article/streamlined-datagathering-techniques-to-estimate-the-price-and-affordability-of-healthy-and-unhealthy-diets-under-different-pricing-scenarios/872EA6396533166E0C6FA94C809D9CAC#r">notably cheaper</a>. Supermarkets usually <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-science-that-makes-us-spend-more-in-supermarkets-and-feel-good-while-we-do-it-23857">promote</a> the items they want you to buy at eye-level, so check the shelves above and below for cheaper alternatives.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/216749/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> </li> </ul> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-burch-438717">Emily Burch</a>, Dietitian &amp; Academic, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/southern-cross-university-1160">Southern Cross University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lauren-ball-14718">Lauren Ball</a>, Professor of Community Health and Wellbeing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty </em><em>Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/trying-to-spend-less-on-food-following-the-dietary-guidelines-might-save-you-160-a-fortnight-216749">original article</a>.</em></p>

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How to spend time wisely – what young people can learn from retirees

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/boroka-bo-1371004">Boróka Bó</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-essex-1291">University of Essex</a></em></p> <p>For many young people, retirement is a blip on the radar, if not a total unknown. This is particularly true during our cost of living crisis, when investing and contributing more to your pension might fall down the priority list behind paying rent.</p> <p>Despite this, more and more young people are starting to think about retirement in <a href="https://www.forbes.com/advisor/retirement/the-forbes-guide-to-fire/">earlier ages</a>, with many focusing on their future quality of life and financial independence after they leave work.</p> <p>This can sometimes come at the expense of their wellbeing while they are still working, spending extremely frugally and focusing on the “hustle”, instead of enjoying the freedom and good times that could also characterise young adulthood.</p> <p>For my <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8681690/">new research</a>, I interviewed over 200 people and surveyed hundreds more to understand how they balance time and money. I focused on people going through major life transitions: recent retirees and new parents, and people preparing for those moments. While we expect retirees to have all the time in the world, I found that in reality, retirees are often pressed for time.</p> <p>Over a quarter of them feel <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s11205-015-1029-z.pdf">time poor</a>, with not enough hours left in the day for all they need to do. This is regardless of the amount of money they have. Although wealthy retirees generally have more control over their schedules, both rich and poor retirees are impacted by time poverty in older ages.</p> <p>It’s never too late (or too early) to start making the most of your time and living a better life. Here are some important lessons learned from my retirees’ journeys.</p> <h2>Don’t chase money, let money chase you</h2> <p>One of the biggest regrets among my <a href="https://betterdwelling.com/city/toronto/heres-torontos-richest-and-poorest-neighbourhoods-interactive/">less privileged</a> research participants was their inability to get as much education as they wanted when younger. Some left university or college early to support their families, or because they could not afford to continue. But all regretted not getting as much education as they needed to be competitive in the labour force later on.</p> <p>To make enough money, pick something and follow through: whether university or skilled technical trades, get good at something. Then, the money will follow.</p> <h2>Worry about how you feel – not how you look</h2> <p>When youth wanes, you are left with how you feel. In retirement, will you be in pain thanks to spending your life in hard labour or nonstop work? My interviewees made clear that when you prioritise making money over health – whether by necessity or by choice – you pay for this by having to give up your precious time in retirement.</p> <p>Some of my new retirees’ health recovery efforts included spending extra time with medical providers, and spending money and time on commuting to appointments. Women were doubly disadvantaged here as, unlike men, they continued to face societal pressures to look younger than their age.</p> <p>To avoid having to <a href="https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article/57/5/910/2632069?login=false">spend extra</a> time and money on health recovery in later life, focus on health preservation in earlier life. Sometimes you may need to to prioritise your own wellbeing above the needs of your employer, for example by taking time off for your physical or mental health.</p> <p>While this is a luxury currently not afforded to all, movements like “quiet quitting” are beginning to start a public conversation on this topic.</p> <h2>Make your time count by sharing it with others</h2> <p>We can “buy” time by exchanging money for tasks we do not wish to do. Consuming items can also have <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/24737120.pdf?addFooter=false">time costs</a>, as both shopping and learning to use new items takes time. Thanks to my retirees, I now also know that we can get more out of time when we share it with others.</p> <p>Time is what social scientists would call a “<a href="https://sociologicalscience.com/time-network-good/">network good</a>”. In other words, how we value time depends on the number of other people we can share our time with.</p> <p>All of my retired participants spoke of the need to build strong, healthy relationships while younger, to have friends we can share life with when older. Shared time leads to <a href="https://sociologicalscience.com/time-network-good/">greater emotional wellbeing</a> and happiness.</p> <h2>Identify your passions early</h2> <p>While nearly all of my retirees spent a considerable amount of time financially planning for retirement, almost as many regretted not planning ahead when it comes to cultivating hobbies and interests. This was particularly pressing for my wealthy retirees, as they faced a drop in their social status and loss of work friends when they retired.</p> <p>Starting new hobbies and interests once retired – out of necessity – can feel like extra work. Pursuing passions is <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07053436.1995.10715491?casa_token=Puyxz2akU2oAAAAA:Gl6qIREhdxqfcm5fo0cJ6_5DLLjTCuEVPF7Da2JDyxVHNwbeq6N-9Hbc0nMLiKn-cO1fZfd8cKRi">necessary for wellbeing</a>, but this should be done before retirement, while it is purely for fun.</p> <h2>Time is love</h2> <p>Repeatedly, my interview participants gently reminded me that giving your time to another person is the biggest act of kindness we can do. This is because once you give your time away, you can never get it back.</p> <p>Be mindful of this as you give your time, to your friends, employers, acquaintances or to social media companies. Thanks to my participants, I now often ask myself: Does this company or organisation love me? Generally, the answer is no, at which point I also know they do not deserve much of my time.</p> <p>At the same time, when a friend, trusted mentor, teacher or stranger donates their precious time to me, I am aware that my appreciation and kindness can only ever partially repay them.</p> <p>My retired participants show that it is important to remain grateful for the time we share with each other while on this Earth. When the daily grind gets you down, remind yourself that time is love.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/189340/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/boroka-bo-1371004"><em>Boróka Bó</em></a><em>, Assistant professor in sociology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-essex-1291">University of Essex</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-spend-time-wisely-what-young-people-can-learn-from-retirees-189340">original article</a>.</em></p>

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The ‘yes’ Voice campaign is far outspending ‘no’ in online advertising, but is the message getting through?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrea-carson-924">Andrea Carson</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/max-gromping-1466451">Max Grömping</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rebecca-strating-129115">Rebecca Strating</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/simon-jackman-310245">Simon Jackman</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>With early voting set to open next week for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum, this is a critical time for campaigners to win over voters.</p> <p>If the <a href="https://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/n11054/pdf/ch01.pdf">2022 federal election</a> is anything to go by, Australians have developed a taste for early voting, with fewer than half of all voters actually going to a polling station on election day.</p> <p>If the same voting patterns apply to the referendum, this means more than half of Australians, particularly <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/government-and-opposition/article/correlates-of-early-voting/49D19E94A1D26F9AFE1B72DCB56AFF3F">older voters</a>, may have cast a vote before voting day on October 14.</p> <h2>What’s happening in the polls?</h2> <p>Public polls indicate support for the “yes” campaign continues to decline, despite, as we’ve shown below, huge spending on advertising and extensive media coverage of its message.</p> <p>According to <a href="https://simonjackman.github.io/poll_averaging_voice_2023/poll_averaging.html">Professor Simon Jackman’s</a> averaging of the polls, “no” currently leads “yes” by 58% to 42% nationally. If this lead holds, the result would be <a href="https://www.aec.gov.au/elections/referendums/1999_referendum_reports_statistics/1999.htm">even more lopsided</a> than the 1999 republic referendum defeat, where the <a href="https://www.aec.gov.au/elections/referendums/1999_referendum_reports_statistics/summary_republic.htm">nationwide vote </a> was 55% “no” to 45% “yes”.</p> <p>The rate of decline in support for “yes” continues to be about 0.75 of a percentage point a week. If this trend continues, the “yes” vote would sit at 39.6% on October 14, 5.5 percentage points below the “yes” vote in the republic referendum.</p> <p>If “yes” were to prevail on October 14, it would take a colossal reversal in public sentiment, or it would indicate there’s been a stupendously large, collective polling error. Or perhaps both.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe style="width: 100%;" src="https://simonjackman.github.io/poll_averaging_voice_2023/level_plot_standalone.html" width="100%" height="688"> </iframe></p> <hr /> <h2>What’s happening in the news and social media?</h2> <p>Using Meltwater data, we have seen a massive spike in Voice media coverage since Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the referendum date at the end of August.</p> <p>In the most recent week we analysed, from September 14-21, we saw a huge jump of mentions of the Voice to Parliament (2.86 million) in print media, radio, TV and social media. This compares to about a quarter million mentions in the first week of the “yes” and “no” campaigns, which we documented in our <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-no-campaign-is-dominating-the-messaging-on-the-voice-referendum-on-tiktok-heres-why-212465">last report</a> of this series monitoring both campaigns.</p> <p>Voice coverage now constitutes 6.7% of all Australian media reporting, up from 4.2% in week one. To put that in perspective, mentions of Hugh Jackman’s marriage split from Deborra-Lee Furness comprised 1.5% of total weekly coverage, while mentions of the AFL and NRL amounted to 4.1% and 1.7%, respectively.</p> <p>Media coverage of the Voice peaked on September 17 with 38,000 mentions, thanks to widespread coverage of the “yes” rallies that day around the country.</p> <p>This was followed closely by 35,000 Voice mentions the next day, led by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s <a href="https://www.skynews.com.au/australia-news/voice-to-parliament/voice-will-see-lawyers-in-sydney-and-melbourne-get-richer-dutton/video/40349a54a9f0c2f48baec7ba7263a000">claim</a> on Sky News that a Voice to parliament would see lawyers in Sydney and Melbourne “get richer” through billions of dollars worth of treaty negotiations.</p> <p>Our analysis of X (formerly Twitter) data provides further insight to these trends, showing the nationwide “yes” rallies on September 17 received the most public engagement about the Voice during the week we analysed.</p> <hr /> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549754/original/file-20230922-21-tp54x2.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549754/original/file-20230922-21-tp54x2.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=269&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549754/original/file-20230922-21-tp54x2.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=269&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549754/original/file-20230922-21-tp54x2.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=269&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549754/original/file-20230922-21-tp54x2.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549754/original/file-20230922-21-tp54x2.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549754/original/file-20230922-21-tp54x2.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">X (Twitter) data accessed via Meltwater.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Author provided</span></span></figcaption></figure> <hr /> <h2>Who is advertising online?</h2> <p>This week, we specifically turned our attention to the online advertising spending of the campaigns. We also examined the types of disinformation campaigns appearing on social media, some of which are aimed at the Australian Electoral Commission, similar to the anti-democratic disinformation campaigns that have roiled the US.</p> <p>The main online advertising spend is on Meta’s Facebook and Instagram platforms. We have real-time visibility of this spending thanks to the ad libraries of Meta and Google.</p> <p>The Yes23 campaign has far outspent any other Voice campaigner on these platforms. In the last three months, its advertising expenditure exceeds $1.1 million, compared to just under $100,000 for Fair Australia, the leading “no” campaign organisation.</p> <hr /> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549942/original/file-20230925-23-7tl134.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549942/original/file-20230925-23-7tl134.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=241&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549942/original/file-20230925-23-7tl134.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=241&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549942/original/file-20230925-23-7tl134.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=241&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549942/original/file-20230925-23-7tl134.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=303&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549942/original/file-20230925-23-7tl134.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=303&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549942/original/file-20230925-23-7tl134.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=303&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Top five Voice campaign spenders on Facebook and Instagram since June 2023.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Meta ad library</span></span></figcaption></figure> <hr /> <p>Yes23 has also released a far greater number of new ads in September (in excess of 3,200) on both platforms, compared to Fair Australia’s 52 new ads. The top five spenders from both sides are listed below.</p> <p>As early voting nears, this graph shows Yes23 ad spending outpaced Fair Australia on both Google and Meta platforms in week three, as well.</p> <hr /> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549762/original/file-20230922-23-1bi7ov.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549762/original/file-20230922-23-1bi7ov.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=484&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549762/original/file-20230922-23-1bi7ov.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=484&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549762/original/file-20230922-23-1bi7ov.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=484&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549762/original/file-20230922-23-1bi7ov.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=608&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549762/original/file-20230922-23-1bi7ov.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=608&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549762/original/file-20230922-23-1bi7ov.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=608&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Campaign ad spending on digital platforms from Sept. 14-21.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Authors provided.</span></span></figcaption></figure> <hr /> <p>The advertising spending data shows how drastically different the strategies of the two main campaigns are. Yes23’s approach is an ad blitz, blanketing the nation with hundreds of ads and experimenting with scores of different messages.</p> <p>In contrast, the “no” side has released far fewer ads with no experimentation. The central message is about “division”, mostly delivered by the lead “no” campaigner, Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price. All but eight of the ads released by the “no” side in September feature a personal message by Price arguing that the referendum is “divisive” and “the Voice threatens Aussie unity.”</p> <p>To win, “yes” requires a majority of voters nationwide, as well as a majority of voters in a majority of states. The “no” side is strategically targeting its ads to the two states it believes are most likely in play – South Australia and Tasmania. It only needs to win one of these states to ensure the “yes” side fails.</p> <hr /> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549949/original/file-20230925-20-zgr4wg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549949/original/file-20230925-20-zgr4wg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=797&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549949/original/file-20230925-20-zgr4wg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=797&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549949/original/file-20230925-20-zgr4wg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=797&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549949/original/file-20230925-20-zgr4wg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1001&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549949/original/file-20230925-20-zgr4wg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1001&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549949/original/file-20230925-20-zgr4wg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=1001&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Campaign ad spend on Meta platforms across the states since mid-August. (Dark blue = greater the ad spend).</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Author provided</span></span></figcaption></figure> <hr /> <h2>Referendum disinformation</h2> <p>The Meltwater data also reveal a surge in misinformation and disinformation targeting of the AEC with American-style attacks on the voting process.</p> <p>Studies show disinformation surrounding the referendum has been <a href="https://osf.io/qu2fb/">prevalent</a> on X since at least March. To mitigate the harms, the AEC has established a <a href="https://www.aec.gov.au/media/disinformation-register-ref.htm">disinformation register</a> to inform citizens about the referendum process and call out falsehoods.</p> <p>We’ve identified three types of disinformation campaigns in the campaign so far.</p> <p>The first includes attempts to redefine the issue agenda. Examples range from the false <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-08-02/fact-check-indigenous-australians-support-for-the-voice/102673042">claims</a> that First Nations people do not overwhelmingly support the Voice to <a href="https://stephenreason.substack.com/p/the-voice-to-parliament-the-united">conspiracy myths</a> about the Voice being a globalist land grab.</p> <p>These falsehoods aim to influence vote choice. This disinformation type is not covered in the AEC’s register, as the organisation has no provisions to enforce truth in political advertising.</p> <p>The register does cover a second type of disinformation. This includes spurious claims about the voting process, such as that the referendum is voluntary. This false claim aims to depress voter turnout in yet another attempt to influence the outcome.</p> <p>Finally, a distinct set of messages targets the AEC directly. The aim is to undermine trust in the integrity of the vote.</p> <p>A most prominent example was Dutton’s <a href="https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/voice-voting-rules-confusion-stinks-dutton-20230824-p5dz41">suggestion</a> the voting process was “rigged” due to the established rule of counting a tick on the ballot as a vote for “yes”, while a cross will not be accepted as a formal vote for “no”. Sky News host Andrew Bolt <a href="https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1256952825005993">echoed</a> this claim in his podcast, which was repeated on social media, reaching 29,800 viewers in one post.</p> <p>Attention to the tick/cross issue spiked on August 25 when the AEC <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/aug/25/indigenous-voice-to-parliament-referendum-aec-poll-unfairness-claims-rejected">refuted</a> the claim (as can be seen in the chart below). Daily Telegraph columnist and climate change denialist Maurice Newman then linked the issue to potential <a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/maurice-newman-aec-rules-on-voting-could-create-confusion-uncertainty/news-story/c76bc3e1e031c2f349710dd1e9f3b51e?btr=15aad1c65d873d8f896d09618a96e228">voter fraud</a>, mimicking US-style attacks on the integrity of voting systems.</p> <hr /> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549852/original/file-20230924-23-ob3ltn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/549852/original/file-20230924-23-ob3ltn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=267&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549852/original/file-20230924-23-ob3ltn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=267&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549852/original/file-20230924-23-ob3ltn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=267&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549852/original/file-20230924-23-ob3ltn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=336&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549852/original/file-20230924-23-ob3ltn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=336&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/549852/original/file-20230924-23-ob3ltn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=336&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Disinformation attacking AEC or referendum over past month.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Authors provided</span></span></figcaption></figure> <hr /> <p>The volume of mentions of obvious disinformation on media and social media may not be high compared to other mentions of the Voice. However, studies show disinformation disproportionately grabs people’s attention due to the <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-019-0224-y">cognitive attraction</a> of pervasive negativity, the focus on threats or arousal of disgust.</p> <p>All three types of disinformation campaigns attacking this referendum should concern us deeply because they <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00104140231193008">threaten trust</a> in our political institutions, which undermines our vibrant democracy.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/213749/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrea-carson-924"><em>Andrea Carson</em></a><em>, Professor of Political Communication, Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/max-gromping-1466451">Max Grömping</a>, Senior Lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rebecca-strating-129115">Rebecca Strating</a>, Director, La Trobe Asia and Associate Professor, La Trobe University, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/simon-jackman-310245">Simon Jackman</a>, Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-yes-voice-campaign-is-far-outspending-no-in-online-advertising-but-is-the-message-getting-through-213749">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Dying husband and wife spend their final days holding hands

<p>A married couple have spent their final days holding hands in hospital, after their beds were pushed next to each other so they could be side-by-side as they both passed away. </p> <p>The couple from Tennessee, Tommy and Virginia Stevens, both 91, were both admitted to the Vanderbilt hospital for unrelated medical issues. </p> <p>Tommy, who was suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, had been struck down with aspiration pneumonia and sepsis, and was transferred to the hospital's palliative care unit. </p> <p>The same morning, Virginia suffered a fall as she sustained six broken ribs, a spinal fracture, and a hip injury, and was admitted to the hospital's trauma unit. </p> <p>As Tommy and Virginia's family were struggling to split time between the two wards, hospital staff were able to pull strings for the longtime lovebirds to be roomed side-by-side.</p> <p>Virginia was moved into a room near Tommy’s in the Palliative Care Unit, and her hospital bed was scooted against his so she could comfort him as his health continued to get worse, the hospital said.</p> <p>“He was awake when she came in,” their daughter Karen Kreager said.</p> <p>“His eyes were open. He wasn’t communicating a lot — just in small whispers. But he knew that she was there and that she was going to be right beside him. They haven’t stopped holding hands the whole time. She won’t let go of him.” </p> <p>“It reminds me of why we do this work,” Mohana Karlekar, MD, medical director of VUMC’s adult Palliative Care Program told local news station <em><a href="https://www.wsmv.com/2023/09/19/she-wont-let-go-him-vanderbilt-helps-hospitalized-wife-comfort-dying-husband/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">WSMV</a></em>.</p> <p>“We take care of people — husbands, wives, mothers, fathers — not patients. We brought this family together during one of their most difficult times with little effort on our part. It involved a call, seeing an extra patient that day and some conversations.”</p> <p>“From the time we brought Mrs. Stevens over, she held her husband’s hand and fussed in a very loving way with him,” Karlekar said.</p> <p>“She was able to tell me Monday that she was at peace with what was going on, and she wanted to be there until the end.”</p> <p>Tommy died on September 8th, just a day before the couple’s 69th anniversary, and Virginia died a few days later on September 17th.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Vanderbilt University Medical Center and The Stevens Family</em></p>

Caring

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#GirlMaths: a seemingly innocent and fun way to justify expenses that can have serious financial consequences

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/janneke-blijlevens-150258">Janneke Blijlevens</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/angel-zhong-1204643">Angel Zhong</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lauren-gurrieri-5402">Lauren Gurrieri</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p>These shoes are perfect, made for me! I have to get them! But really, I should be paying off my car loan instead. I can’t justify this purchase. Or can I …?</p> <p>We all know this feeling, this tension between what you really want to do and what you really should, or shouldn’t, do. What you are experiencing is <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Leon-Festinger/Cognitive-dissonance">cognitive dissonance</a>.</p> <p>It’s a psychological discomfort we feel when our behaviours and our values or beliefs do not match. Not to worry, we can make that discomfort simply disappear with a good dose of #GirlMaths!</p> <h2>So what is #GirlMaths?</h2> <p>GirlMaths recently became a viral phenomenon on TikTok after New Zealand FVHZM radio hosts Fletch, Vaughan and Hayley used #GirlMaths to justify one host’s mother’s expensive dress purchase as basically free because the dress was going to be worn at least four times.</p> <p><iframe id="tc-infographic-904" class="tc-infographic" style="border: none;" src="https://cdn.theconversation.com/infographics/904/f0b5e215a804bb450e609c397b96c7fcbf46172f/site/index.html" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Since then, influencers have added to the #GirlMaths trend with gems such as “If I buy it for $100, wear it, and then resell it for $80 then I basically wore it for free”, “If I pay with cash, it means it’s free”, and “If I just returned something, then purchase something new for the same amount of money, then it’s free”.</p> <p>The reason #GirlMaths resonates so well with everyone and allows it to go viral is that we are very familiar with this type of thinking. The mental gymnastics of #GirlMaths needed to justify cost-per-wear or cash-is-free is a perfect display of behavioural biases and heuristics, such as confirmation bias and denomination bias, being applied to everyday consumption decisions.</p> <h2>The psychology of decision-making</h2> <p>Behavioural biases and heuristics are shortcuts in our thinking that help us make decisions quicker and easier, and are great for reducing the cognitive dissonance we sometimes experience.</p> <p>Our brain has a lot of decisions to make in a day and simply doesn’t have the power to scrutinise every little detail of every <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-shall-we-have-for-dinner-choice-overload-is-a-real-problem-but-these-tips-will-make-your-life-easier-193317">decision</a>. These shortcuts in our thinking may facilitate the decision making process, but they don’t always mean we make the most optimal decisions.</p> <p>Confirmation bias is a bias where you justify your decisions by considering only the evidence that supports what you want and ignore the evidence that would mean you’d have to make a different decision. Cost-per-wear does sound quite financially savvy. It is just like bulk-buying pantry essentials, right?</p> <p>The issue is you are ignoring the facts such as: 1) your disposable income does not match this expense in light of your utility bills, 2) you could rewear a cheaper dress all the same, and 3) by spending money on a fancy dress, you lose the opportunity to spend the money on other better investments for wealth accumulation, or to pay off your car loan.</p> <h2>The financial and social costs</h2> <p>But it’s all a bit of innocent fun, right? Surely people won’t take #GirlMaths that seriously? We beg to differ.</p> <p>First, the term is unnecessarily gendered. Gendered language operates to reinforce societal expectations with a particular gender and can promote stereotypes, biases and binary categories.</p> <p>In this case, the term “girl maths” reinforces problematic stereotypes that equate women with consumption, frivolity and extravagant spending. When stereotypes are reinforced within our own social circles, we are more likely to <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167299025007004?casa_token=dOhnQVtFwPsAAAAA:XSBdix5AB6bDfGjNgfbX9OIjstw4KE071GP0l60mAxvHJMaEwkyPERqHXf3z9PhctWJUl6h7TgTHg_U">internalise these as part of our identity</a>.</p> <p>By representing women in a less favourable way, the term operates to both demean and discriminate on a gendered basis. This is heightened by the use of “girl” as opposed to “woman”, which implies someone is childlike or lacking in knowledge or experience. It also begs the question what “boy maths” - set up as something opposing and different - might connote.</p> <p>Second, the #GirlMaths trend reminds us of the power of “<a href="https://theconversation.com/fintok-and-finfluencers-are-on-the-rise-3-tips-to-assess-if-their-advice-has-value-161406">finfluencers</a>” – social media content creators amassing huge online followings by sharing advice on anything from budgeting to buying a house, to investing.</p> <p>These online gurus appeal to Gen Z and millennials, simplifying complex financial concepts into digestible nuggets, much like #GirlMaths simplifies purchases based on cost-per-wear or cash-as-free.</p> <p>Just as regulators such as <a href="https://moneysmart.gov.au/other-ways-to-borrow/buy-now-pay-later-services">ASIC</a> repeatedly warn us of the dangers of buy-now-pay-later services, we must caution the #GirlMaths trend as a dangerous cocktail for young women who are susceptible to the “advice” of finfluencers.</p> <p>The trend resembles BNPL by breaking down expenses into smaller, more palatable portions, making purchases seem justifiable and affordable at the moment.</p> <p>Denomination bias describes this tendency to spend more money when it is denominated in small amounts rather than large amounts. We find it much easier to spend $50 four times than $200 all at once.</p> <p>However, the convenience of these shortcuts in our thinking can obscure the hidden financial risks. You may overlook the bigger picture of your financial health, and spend more than what you can afford. That’s why a large number of BNPL users find themselves ending up in a <a href="https://www.choice.com.au/money/credit-cards-and-loans/personal-loans/articles/bnpl-submission-to-treasury">modern debt trap</a>.</p> <h2>The perils of #GirlMaths</h2> <p>The danger of #GirlMaths to young women lies in the cocktail of feeling oddly familiar and reinforced in this biased thinking, the problematic stereotypes that shape identities, and the power of finfluencers, who wield increasing influence over the financial choices and decision-making of young women.</p> <p>While the term may initially come across as innocent fun, it’s crucial not to underestimate its potential harms. Instead, let’s champion the use of inclusive language in finance that doesn’t perpetuate gender biases.</p> <p>And if you’re a staunch supporter of #GirlMaths, we strongly urge you to take into account the possible adverse financial consequences of these quick-fix spending habits.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/211903/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/janneke-blijlevens-150258">Janneke Blijlevens</a>, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/angel-zhong-1204643">Angel Zhong</a>, Associate Professor of Finance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lauren-gurrieri-5402">Lauren Gurrieri</a>, Associate Professor in Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/girlmaths-a-seemingly-innocent-and-fun-way-to-justify-expenses-that-can-have-serious-financial-consequences-211903">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Medical Research Future Fund has $20 billion to spend. Here’s how we prioritise who gets what

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adrian-barnett-853">Adrian Barnett</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/philip-clarke-1149967">Philip Clarke</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-oxford-1260">University of Oxford</a></em></p> <p>The <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/medical-research-future-fund">Medical Research Future Fund</a> (MRFF) is a A$20 billion fund to support Australian health and medical research. It was set up in 2015 to deliver practical benefits from medical research and innovation to as many Australians as possible.</p> <p>Unlike the other research funding agencies, such the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), most of the MRFF funding is priority-driven. It seeks to fund research in particular areas or topics rather than using open calls when researchers propose their own ideas for funding.</p> <p>As the <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/not-how-you-run-a-1b-scheme-science-fund-backers-lead-chorus-for-reform-20230619-p5dhni.html">Nine newspapers</a> outlined this week, researchers have criticised the previous Coalition government’s allocation of MRFF funds. There is widespread consensus the former health minister had <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/a-centre-never-built-and-a-hospital-that-missed-out-the-coalition-s-unusual-20b-research-fund-20230619-p5dhng.html">too much influence</a> in the allocation of funds, and there was limited and sometimes no competition when funding was directly allocated to one research group.</p> <p>The current Health Minister, Mark Butler, has instituted a <a href="https://www.innovationaus.com/billion-dollar-medical-research-grants-process-under-review/">review</a>. So how should the big decisions about how to spend the MRFF be made in the future to maximise its value and achieve its aims?</p> <h2>Assess gaps in evidence</h2> <p>Research priorities for the MRFF are set by the <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/committees-and-groups/australian-medical-research-advisory-board-amrab?language=und">Australian Medical Research Advisory Board</a>, which widely consults with the research sector.</p> <p>However, most researchers and institutions will simply argue more funding is needed for their own research. If the board seeks to satisfy such lobbying, it will produce fragmented funding that aligns poorly with the health needs of Australians.</p> <p>A better approach would be to systematically assemble evidence about what is known and the key evidence gaps. Here, the board would benefit from what is known as a “<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15484602/">value of information</a>” framework for decision-making.</p> <p>This framework systematically attempts to quantify the most valuable information that will reduce the uncertainty for health and medical decision-making. In other words, it would pinpoint which information we need to allow us to better make health and medical decisions.</p> <p>There have been <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30288400/">attempts</a> to use this method in Australia to help inform how we prioritise hospital-based research. However, we now need to apply such an approach more broadly.</p> <h2>Seek public input</h2> <p>A structured framework for engaging with the public is also missing in Australia. The public’s perspective on research prioritisation has often been overlooked, but as the ultimate consumers of research, they need to be heard.</p> <p>Research is a highly complex and specialised endeavour, so we can’t expect the public to create sensible priorities alone.</p> <p>One approach used overseas has been developed by the <a href="https://www.jla.nihr.ac.uk/">James Lind Alliance</a>, a group in the United Kingdom that combines the public’s views with researchers to create agreed-on priorities for research.</p> <p>This is done using an intensive process of question setting and discussion. Priorities are checked for feasibility and novelty, so there is no funding for research that’s impossible or already done.</p> <p>The priorities from the James Lind Alliance process can be surprising. The top priority in the area of <a href="https://www.jla.nihr.ac.uk/priority-setting-partnerships/irritable-bowel-syndrome/top-10-priorities.htm">irritable bowel syndrome</a>, for example, is to discover if it’s one condition or many, while the second priority is to work on bowel urgency (a sudden urgent need to go to the toilet).</p> <p>While such everyday questions can struggle to get funding in traditional systems that often focus on novelty, funding research in these two priority areas could lead to the most benefits for people with irritable bowel syndrome.</p> <h2>Consider our comparative advantages</h2> <p>Australia is a relatively small player globally. To date, the MRFF has allocated around <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/medical-research-future-fund-mrff-grant-recipients?language=und">$2.6 billion</a>, just over 5% of what the United States allocates through the National Institute of Health funding in a <a href="https://www.who.int/observatories/global-observatory-on-health-research-and-development/monitoring/investments-on-grants-for-biomedical-research-by-funder-type-of-grant-health-category-and-recipient">single year</a>.</p> <p>A single research grant, even if it involves a few million dollars of funding, is unlikely to lead to a medical breakthrough. Instead, the MRFF should prioritise areas where Australia has a comparative advantage.</p> <p>This could involve building on past success (such as the research that led to the HPV, or human papillomavirus, vaccine to prevent cervical cancer), or where Australian researchers can play a critical role globally.</p> <p>However, there is an area where Australian researchers have an absolute advantage: using research to improve our own health system.</p> <p>A prime example would be finding ways to improve dental care access in Australia. For example, a randomised trial of different ways of providing insurance and dental services, similar to the <a href="https://www.rand.org/health-care/projects/hie.html">RAND Health Insurance Experiment</a> conducted in the United States in the 1970s.</p> <p>This could provide the evidence needed to design a sustainable dental scheme to complement Medicare. Now that is something the MRFF should consider as a funding priority.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/209977/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adrian-barnett-853">Adrian Barnett</a>, Professor of Statistics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/philip-clarke-1149967">Philip Clarke</a>, Professor of Health Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-oxford-1260">University of Oxford</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/medical-research-future-fund-has-20-billion-to-spend-heres-how-we-prioritise-who-gets-what-209977">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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The cost of living is biting. Here’s how to spend less on meat and dairy

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clare-collins-7316">Clare Collins</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</a></em></p> <p>The cost of groceries has risen substantially <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/price-indexes-and-inflation/monthly-consumer-price-index-indicator/may-2023">over the last year</a>. Food and non-alcoholic drinks rose by 7.9% in the year to May, with biggest increases in dairy products (15.1%), breads and cereals (12.8%) and processed foods (11.5%).</p> <p>Meat costs rose by 3.8%, but the absolute increase was high, with a kilo of fillet steak costing up to A$60 for a kilogram.</p> <p>Australians spend around <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/6530.0Main+Features12009-10?OpenDocument">15% of their weekly food budget</a> on meat and half that (7.4%) on dairy products.</p> <p>About <a href="https://www.finder.com.au/cost-of-living-report">43% of householders</a> say grocery prices are a cause of financial stress, with half trying to reduce spending.</p> <p>So how can you save money on meat and dairy products without skimping on nutrients?</p> <h2>Meat</h2> <p><a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/five-food-groups/lean-meat-and-poultry-fish-eggs-tofu-nuts-and-seeds-and">Meat</a> is a good source of protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12.</p> <p>Recommendations are for a maximum of three serves of cooked lean red meat a week. This includes beef, lamb, veal, pork, or kangaroo, with a serve being 65g cooked, which equates to 90–100g raw. This means purchasing 270–300g per person per week.</p> <p>Check prices online and weekly specials. Less expensive cuts include oyster blade, chuck or rump steak ($22–$25 per kilogram). They can be tougher, making them better for casseroles or slow cook recipes, like this <a href="https://nomoneynotime.com.au/healthy-easy-recipes/clares-slow-cooked-beef-stroganoff">beef stroganoff</a>.</p> <p>One exception is mince because higher star, lower fat, more expensive products shrink less during cooking compared to regular mince, which shrinks by 25–30%.</p> <p>Extend casserole and mince dishes by adding vegetarian protein sources, such as dried or canned beans and legumes.</p> <p>A 400g can of red kidney beans costs about $1.50 and contains 240g of cooked beans, equivalent to 1.6 standard serves. Add a can of any type of legume (black, adzuki, cannelloni, butter, chickpeas, four-bean mix, brown lentils) or use dried versions that don’t need pre-soaking like dried red lentils at about $5 per kilogram.</p> <p>This <a href="https://www.glnc.org.au/resource/legumes-nutrition/">adds nutrients</a> including protein, B vitamins, iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and dietary fibre.</p> <h2>Dairy</h2> <p>Dairy products are important sources of protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium and vitamins A, B2 and B12. <a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/recommended-number-serves-adults">Australian recommendations</a> are for two to three serves a day for adults and four serves for women over 50. One serve is <a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/serve-sizes">equivalent to</a> a cup of milk or 40g cheese.</p> <p>Fresh milk costs between $1.50 and $3.00 per litre depending on type and brand, while UHT milk is cheaper, about $1.60 per litre. It’s even cheaper to buy powdered milk ($10 per kilogram pack, which makes ten litres), equating to $1 per litre.</p> <p>Making yoghurt at home costs about $5–6 per kilogram using a powder mix and yoghurt maker ($25). Once set, divide into smaller tubs yourself. Use as a substitute for cream or sour cream.</p> <p>Fresh yoghurt varies from $11–$18 per kilogram, with individual serves and flavoured varieties more expensive (but not always). Compare per kilogram or per 100g prices and check for specials.</p> <p>Cheese prices vary a lot so compare prices per kilogram. As a guide, block cheese is cheaper than pre-sliced or grated cheese. Home brand products are cheaper than branded ones. Mature cheeses are more expensive and processed cheese least expensive. But, if you cut block cheese really thick you end up using more. Block cheese ranges from $15 to $30 a kilogram, while packets of pre-sliced cheese vary from $18 to over $30.</p> <p>Pre-grated cheeses range from $14 to $30 per kilo, with most around $20, and processed cheese varies from $10 to $15. Extend grated cheese by mixing with grated carrot (about $2 a kilogram) and use as a topper for tacos, wraps, pasta and pizza. Use processed cheese slices for toasted sandwiches. Most recipes work adding less cheese than specified.</p> <p>A high-calcium alternative to cheese in sandwiches is canned salmon, but at $15–$30 per kilogram ($6–$7 per 210g can) you add variety but may not save money.</p> <h2>3 tips to save on your food bills</h2> <p><strong>1. Have a household food budget</strong></p> <p>Ensure everyone is on the same page about <a href="https://nomoneynotime.com.au/hacks-myths-faqs/how-to-save-money-at-the-supermarket">saving money on food and drinks</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.suncorpgroup.com.au/news/features/food-for-thought-australians-spend-272-billion-on-food-annually">About 50% of household food dollars</a> are spent on takeaway, eating out, coffee, alcohol, food-delivery services and extras, so have a budget for <a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/discretionary-food-and-drink-choices">discretionary</a> food items. This is where you can make big savings.</p> <p>Your household might need an incentive to stick to the budget, like voting on which “discretionary” items food dollars get spent on.</p> <p><strong>2. Have a rough weekly meal plan</strong></p> <p>Use your meal plan to write a grocery list. Check <a href="https://nomoneynotime.com.au/hacks-myths-faqs/ingredient-swaps-to-limit-supermarket-trips-during-lockdown">what you already have</a> in the pantry, fridge and freezer.</p> <p>If you’re not sure where to start, look at ours at <a href="https://nomoneynotime.com.au">No Money No Time</a>, <a href="https://nomoneynotime.com.au/hacks-myths-faqs/take-our-nmnt-2-week-food-budget-challenge-and-eat-for-55-a-week">either for one person</a> or a <a href="https://nomoneynotime.com.au/ebooks-meal-plans-more/feeding-a-growing-family-on-a-budget-meal-plan-1">family with young children</a>.</p> <p><strong>3. Avoid food waste</strong></p> <p>Australians <a href="https://www.ozharvest.org/food-waste-facts/">waste 7.6 million tonnes of food</a> each year yet 70% is edible. Before heading to the shops, check your <a href="https://nomoneynotime.com.au/hacks-myths-faqs/creating-kitchen-space-for-christmas-and-preventing-food-waste-too">fridge</a>.</p> <p>Turn <a href="https://nomoneynotime.com.au/hacks-myths-faqs/managing-kitchen-stock-and-using-leftovers-to-minimise-food-waste">leftovers</a> into tomorrow’s lunch or dinner. When clearing the dinner table, pack leftovers straight into lunch containers so it’s grab and go in the morning (or freeze for days you’re too busy to cook).</p> <p><em>Use our resources at <a href="https://nomoneynotime.com.au/hacks-myths-faqs?search=budget">No Money No Time</a> for ideas on how to help your food dollars go further. If you need food help right now, the <a href="https://askizzy.org.au/">Ask Izzy</a> website can locate services in your area.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/206703/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clare-collins-7316">Clare Collins</a>, Laureate Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-cost-of-living-is-biting-heres-how-to-spend-less-on-meat-and-dairy-206703">original article</a>.</em></p>

Food & Wine

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"Gross exaggeration": Sporting officials slam Dan Andrew's Comm Games spending

<p>Dan Andrews has been the subject of a blistering attack by sporting officials just hours after announcing the 2026 Commonwealth Games would not go ahead. </p> <p>The Victorian premier broke the news in a press conference on Tuesday, saying the <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/money-banking/i-m-not-here-to-apologise-dan-andrews-fires-up-as-comm-games-is-scrapped" target="_blank" rel="noopener">event has been cancelled</a> due to ongoing funding issues. </p> <p>He shared that the event, which was due to be held in numerous regional Victorian towns and was first expected to cost $2.6 billion, would now blow the budget out to a whopping $7 billion. </p> <p>However, following Andrews' announcement, Commonwealthh Games Australia Executive Officer Craig Phillips said the premier's cost update doesn't add up, with the $7 billion figure being a "gross exaggeration". </p> <p>“Beyond disappointing for us,” he said on Tuesday. </p> <p>“It’s a comprehensive let-down for the athletes, the excited host communities, First Nations Australians who were going to be at the heart of the Games and which millions of fans that would have embraced the sixth home Games in Australia.”</p> <p>Phillips also accused Andrews of telling misinformation surrounding the process in which the government put its hand up to host the event. </p> <p>After being confirmed to host in April 2022, planning documents showed the intentions were to establish hubs in Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland, each with an athlete’s village.</p> <p>Shepparton was also planned to host events, and the MCG would have hosted the opening ceremony.</p> <p>In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, Phillips made bombshell claims government officials ignored advice to save costs by moving events to existing stadiums and facilities in Melbourne. </p> <p>Phillips also said Commonwealth Games Australia was not notified about the changed budgetary estimates until the government had already made its decision.</p> <p>He said, “The detailed budgetary implications announced today have not been sighted or discussed with the CGF or CGA ahead of being notified of the Government’s decision." </p> <p>“The stated costs overrun, in our opinion, are a gross exaggeration and not reflective of the operational costs presented to the Victoria 2026 Organising Committee board as recently as June."</p> <p>“Beyond this, the Victorian Government wilfully ignored recommendations to move events to purpose-built stadia in Melbourne and in fact remained wedded to proceeding with expensive temporary venues in regional Victoria."</p> <p>Many were up in arms over the Games being cancelled, including Victorian opposition senator Anne Ruston, who has called on prime minister Anthony Albanese to “take responsibility” for Victoria’s decision to cancel the Commonwealth Games, arguing it has dented Australia’s international reputation.</p> <p>“I say to the prime minister: Australia’s reputation has been damaged today and you should be very worried about the damage this does to Australia’s international reputation,” Ruston said. </p> <p>“This is a terrible decision for Australia but it is also very disingenuous and I think as we dig into the decision this morning, which we will do through our Senate inquiry, you will see that the Victorian government is hiding its incompetence behind a smokescreen of saying this is a budget blowout.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p> </p>

Legal

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How your favourite things can boost your financial wellbeing

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jingshi-joyce-liu-1424398">Jingshi (Joyce) Liu</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/city-university-of-london-1047">City, University of London</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amy-dalton-1425283">Amy Dalton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/hong-kong-university-of-science-and-technology-1153">Hong Kong University of Science and Technology</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anirban-mukhopadhyay-1425284">Anirban Mukhopadhyay</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/hong-kong-university-of-science-and-technology-1153">Hong Kong University of Science and Technology</a></em></p> <p>The cost of living crisis has left many people struggling to afford basic necessities such as food and heating for their homes. On the other hand, the top ten richest men in the world <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/04/economic-inequality-wealth-gap-pandemic/">doubled their wealth</a> during the COVID pandemic while 99% of people became worse off.</p> <p>While this is a comparison of two extremes, many people attempt to “keep up with the Joneses” – looking at what the people around them own and striving to afford the same things. Comparing material wealth and resources to those around you is even more common when others are better off. It’s hard not to wonder why someone else has a nicer car or better clothes.</p> <p>Lots of <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jasp.12631">research supports</a> this tendency, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/00222437221141053">including our own</a>. For example, when we asked American people to watch a video about research on income inequality in their own country, unsurprisingly, it made them think about their own wealth and how it compares to those around them.</p> <p>And we found that it doesn’t matter how wealthy a person is. Relatively well-off people still tend to look upwards in this way. There is nearly always someone who has more money or owns a better car, a bigger house or the latest gadgets.</p> <p>But while money may not buy you happiness, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/00222437221141053">our research shows</a> that a favourite possession can actually help to make you feel happier when facing income inequality. Thinking about a single treasured possession – even something small like a favourite book gifted by a friend or a keepsake from a trip – can help prevent these feelings of deprivation and actually boost your wellbeing.</p> <p>We used the <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/gini-index.asp">Gini coefficient</a> – a common measure of income inequality – to analyse more than 31,000 Instagram posts from 138 countries. We found that posts tend to convey less happiness in places with more income inequality (i.e., when the Gini coefficient of the location of the post increases).</p> <p>We focused on posts that were about favourite possessions (that used hashtags such as #favouritething, #favthing), comparing these with posts about favourite things in general, that is things that aren’t “owned”. The latter posts used hashtags such as #fashion or #favoritepeople.</p> <p>Posts that used hashtags about general consumption and favourite things that aren’t “owned”, such as music or friends, were typically less happy and posted in areas with more income inequality. But when we looked at posts that used hashtags about favourite possessions, such as #favouritething or #favthing, we found there was a weaker relationship with income inequality.</p> <p>So whether a post was happy or not wasn’t linked to the equality of the area it was posted in. These posts about favourite possessions were therefore less affected by income inequality.</p> <p>This means that encouraging people to think differently about things they already own could help some cope better with inequality. Rather than focusing on how much you own, which tends to exacerbate social comparison and undermine happiness, focus instead on your favourite possessions. Our research indicates that people who do this tend to make fewer material comparisons, and are happier as a result.</p> <h2>Simply remember your favourite things</h2> <p>A treasured possession doesn’t even have to be particularly expensive. From a memento purchased on a trip abroad, to your grandmother’s embroidered cushion, a football jersey that reminds you of your old school teammates, or even that tattered t-shirt of your favourite band, such items can feel priceless to their owners because they are unique and their value transcends any kind of price.</p> <p>In a separate multi-country study using an online questionnaire, we asked 1,370 participants from China, India, Pakistan, the UK, Spain, Russia, Chile and Mexico to describe either every item of clothing they had recently purchased, or a single favourite item of clothing. After participants described these things, we asked them about their wellbeing, as well as their perception of income inequality in their country.</p> <p>Those who thought about recent clothing purchases reported lower wellbeing when thinking about income inequality in their country. In comparison, those who talked about a single favourite piece of clothing were not as affected by the income inequality they perceived around them.</p> <p>Three more online experiments with over 2,000 participants <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/00222437221141053">revealed that</a> when people are reminded of their favourite possessions they feel less affected by income inequality because they are making fewer material comparisons.</p> <p>In one of these studies, we found that merely describing a favourite possession made people less likely to compare their wealth to that of others. When people stopped making these comparisons they were happier – even those living in places with more income inequality.</p> <h2>#FavouriteThing</h2> <p>Our research shows the benefits of focusing on a few favourite things that we own, rather than thinking about the amount of possessions we have and what else we need to “keep up with the Joneses”.</p> <p>Hashtag trends like #ThrowbackThursday encourage people to post photos on certain themes. In a similar vein, encouraging more people to post photos of their favourite possessions using hashtags like #FavouriteThing could do a lot to help boost happiness during the cost of living crisis.</p> <p>Income inequality is rampant and the cost of living crisis has only made its effects worse. But we all possess something dear to us that can keep us from comparing ourselves to others and help protect our wellbeing in this difficult economic environment.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/201997/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jingshi-joyce-liu-1424398">Jingshi (Joyce) Liu</a>, Lecturer in Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/city-university-of-london-1047">City, University of London</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amy-dalton-1425283">Amy Dalton</a>, Associate Professor of Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/hong-kong-university-of-science-and-technology-1153">Hong Kong University of Science and Technology</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anirban-mukhopadhyay-1425284">Anirban Mukhopadhyay</a>, Lifestyle International Professor of Business and Chair Professor of Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/hong-kong-university-of-science-and-technology-1153">Hong Kong University of Science and Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty </em><em>Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-your-favourite-things-can-boost-your-financial-wellbeing-201997">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Holidays you’d be happy to spend your life savings on

<p>There’s nothing better than an amazing travel adventure that makes you stop, look at the world around and you have life-altering “ah-ha” moments. These are the holidays that dreams are made of. You’ve worked hard your whole life – go on, you deserve it.</p> <p><strong>Swim with sea turtles in the Galapagos Islands</strong></p> <p>Step right into your own nature documentary with a visit to the home of Darwin’s evolution theory. Get up close to wildlife that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else- Blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises and marine iguanas to name just a few.</p> <p>You can choose to live on board a cruise, or join an island-hopping cruise where you sleep in small hotels and hostels on different islands.</p> <p>Swim or snorkel with sea turtles and sea lions, hike volcanic craters or just kick back and snap away on your camera.</p> <p>If you really want to push the boat out (pun intended!) you could add another adventure. Explore Ecuador, where cruises to the Galapagos Islands depart from, or hop over to Peru and see the Machu Picchu. If trekking isn’t your thing, take a guided tour where you stay in a lodge each night, or board the Orient Express at Cusco to tick off another bucket list item!</p> <p>For more information visit the Over60 Global Journeys South America section <a href="http://oversixty.globaljourneys.com.au/coach_tours/south_america/index.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>here</strong></span></a>.</p> <p><strong>Expedition cruise to Antarctica</strong></p> <p>It might be the coldest, windiest, emptiest, driest continent on earth, but an expedition cruise to Antarctica is one of the hottest destinations for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.</p> <p>If spectacular iceberg formations and abundant wildlife such as whales, seals and penguins appeal to you, then this has to go on your bucket list.</p> <p>You can choose a cruise that retraces the footsteps of Scott and Shackleton, or one that offers activities for keen kayakers, photographers or wildlife enthusiasts.</p> <p>Most cruises depart from South America, so why not extend your holiday while you’re there and travel around South America too? We’re sold.</p> <p>For more information visit G Adventures <a href="http://www.gadventures.com.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>here</strong></span></a>. </p> <p><strong>Track the ‘Big Five’ in Africa</strong></p> <p>Tanzania is well-established as one of the best wildlife-viewing destinations in the world, but when you head out on a private jeep safari at dawn from your luxury lodge, you’ll feel like there are just the incredible animals, and you.</p> <p>Tick off the big five: lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and rhinos as you watch the sun come up over the Serengeti plain, one of the 10 natural travel wonders of the world.</p> <p>Include a stop-over at Kenya and visit a Masai village, or for the extremely adventurous, Mount Kilimanjaro isn’t far away. Finish your trip with some R&R time on Zanzibar, an island full of Arabian influence and stunning beaches just off the coast of Tanzania.</p> <p>For more information visit the Over60 Global Journeys Africa section <a href="http://oversixty.globaljourneys.com.au/coach_tours/africa/index.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>here</strong></span></a>. </p> <p><strong>Grand Canyon and the Rockies</strong></p> <p>One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is North America’s must-see destination. Zoom over the parched red rock formations in a light aircraft or helicopter, or trek down to the bottom on horseback or on foot.</p> <p>Then fly to Colorado to start a tour of the incredible Rocky Mountains. Stay on a ranch in cowboy country and pretend you’re in a spaghetti western, spot bears, elk and bison in Yellowstone National Park and get a taste of what the pioneers first discovered when they started moving westwards. Keep heading north on one of the most spectacular journeys in the world through Glacier, Banff and Jasper National Parks, and finish your trip in stunning Vancouver.</p> <p>For more information visit the Over60 Global Journeys USA section <a href="http://oversixty.globaljourneys.com.au/coach_tours/usa/index.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>here</strong></span></a>. </p> <p>Prices vary depending on the level of luxury and length of trip.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty / Shutterstock</em></p>

International Travel

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Aussies want their parents to spend their nest egg

<p dir="ltr">New research has found that most Australians would rather see their parents and grandparents spend their retirement savings than receive an inheritance. </p> <p dir="ltr">In the last 20 years, inheritances in Australia have totaled almost $1.4 trillion, averaging out to about $67 billion a year.</p> <p dir="ltr">The average inheritance is approximately $125,000 and goes to a recipient of about 50 years of age. </p> <p dir="ltr">The new report from CompliSpace has suggested a shift in attitudes for how Aussies think about inheritances, while also helping to bridge the aged care funding shortfall, which is set to increase. </p> <p dir="ltr">It is estimated that the Australian government spends approximately $24 billion each year on aged care, which is less than half of the global average. </p> <p dir="ltr">Melbourne woman Louise Lucas shared her attitudes on her parents spending their nest egg, telling <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/inheritance-values-changing-parents-urged-to-spend-not-leave-to-kids/3764f9cd-5287-4520-948a-e6de08ce2d1d">9news.com.au</a> she was “heartily all for” her parents leaving her nothing in their will, as long as they had a comfortable retirement. </p> <p dir="ltr">"I'm a mortgage broker and I've met a lot of retired people who are just hanging on and not living very well," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Louise went on to say that while it is better for older people to spend their money during their retirement years to live comfortably and stay active, it would also give the economy a boost. </p> <p dir="ltr">"Money's for experiences, you'd like to think, not things," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"If you've got more than $100,000 in the bank when you die, you've wasted your time and money."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Retirement Income

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