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As more and more young people are graduating college and joining the ranks of the service sector, the need for employers to offer 401k retirement plans has been as strong as ever. 2015 will see a number of innovative corporations offer great benefits for those that hold part-time jobs.
Is the 401k still relevant?
If this is your first time on the job market, you might not know what 401k plan is. Having a 401k means that you, as an employee, have the option to put a percentage of what you earn into an account before any income tax is deducted. This way you save money and reduce the amount of taxes you pay and it is designed to be a way for people to support themselves when they decide to eventually retire. 401k plans have been traditionally associated with full-time, professional jobs which require a college degree. It may sound surprising then to find out that a 401k is available with certain part-time jobs that do not require advanced qualification. Most of the time employers will also agree to match the percentage employees choose to save, and this can lead to a doubling of the savings.
One of the first companies to offer 401k plans in the service industry is Starbucks. They have a number of benefits for those that meet certain criteria (for a start, those who work more than 20 hours a week). Among these benefits you will find perks such as bonuses, health insurance and discount prices for stock purchasing. Starbucks’ 401k options allow for matching of employee contributions ranging from 25% to 125% for up to 4% of their total salary. In addition to that, the free pound of coffee offered to all employees make Starbucks one of the places with the highest rate of employee satisfaction.
Another corporation that has begun offering 401k plans to part-time workers is Whole Foods. Not only do they pay their employees more than competing grocers, but they also offer over 30 options for the 401k retirement plan. The 401k plan is held at Fidelity NetBenefits and already contains almost $400 million pooled in from over 4500 participants. Those who choose to participate have an average 401k balance of $8000.
It is welcome news to hear that more employers will expand their 401k programs to part-time workers in 2015. However, not all news is so rosy. Darden Restaurant, an employer who is known for its terrible 401k plan, has recently made headlines for making their retirement plan even more unattractive. Darden Restaurants is one of the largest restaurant companies in America, owning brands such as Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and Red Lobster. Perhaps it’s their size that allows them to offer less than the best for their employees. Only 13% of employees participate in the program with 44% having their savings invested in Darden’s less-than-stelar stock.
However, whether it’s Starbucks or Darden Restaurants, progressive employers are looking to 401k plans as a tool for attracting and retaining new workers. This movement is expected to grow in 2015 with more employers offering not only retirement plans but other benefits such as health, dental, life and disability plans.
On February 26th, 2014, Joseph Myers of Ohio Valley, VA filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers of Testim, a low testosterone drug, claiming that the manufacturers misled consumers in believing that taking the drug would be a safe way to treat hypogonadism, a condition associated with low testosterone. He also claims that he had a stroke as a result of taking Testim.
The lawsuit comes only a few weeks after a number of similar lawsuits were sued against AbbVie Inc., and Abbott Laboratories Inc., the manufacturers of Androgel, which is another drug designed to treat low testosterone levels.
What are low testosterone drugs?
Testosterone is a hormone found only males as it is produced primarily by the testicles. It plays a vital role in bone density, sex drive, red blood cell production, sperm count, muscle strength and volume and body fat distribution.
Low testosterone levels can only be established after submitting for a blood test. If you are diagnosed with hypogonadism, a condition where the body produces insufficient testosterone, you may be prescribed a testosterone therapy treatment. This treatment can come in either topical gel form, patch, injection or pellet that is taken with food.
Testim is a low testosterone drug that comes in gel form, in tubes of either 50mg or 100mg. Patients are instructed to apply the gel on their shoulders or upper arms. One application of Testim will increase a patient’s testosterone levels for 24 hours.
Known risks and the FDA
A number of studies have prompted the FDA to investigate low testosterone drugs further. In a January announcement, the federal agency said that it would look further into reports of increased heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular incidents that were claimed to have resulted after taking such drugs. What prompted the FDA to make this announcement was the publishing of two major studies related to testosterone therapy and its side effects. One of the studies has shown that men over the age of 65 had a two-fold increase in the risk for suffering a heart attack. Younger men who had a history of heart disease were not spared either, being susceptible to a three fold increase in risk of cardiovascular complications after beginning low testosterone therapy.
Lawsuits filed against drug manufacturers
A number of low testosterone lawsuits have already been filed in Federal Court in Chicago in 2014. These are individually filed Mass Tort lawsuits and do not constitute a Class Action lawsuit. However, the possibility of a multi-district litigation (MDL) to be created is entirely possible, since many of the plaintiffs are suing the same manufacturer (AbbVie). If you’ve suffered side effects as a result of taking similar drugs and are thinking of suing visit http://lowtestosteronelawsuit.net/ to see what your legal options are.
The summer gardening season is almost over in Northern Washington so it would be a good idea to begin planting cool weather vegetables and flowers that thrive in lower temperatures.
Summer vegetable plants have run their course so it’s a good idea to cull those plants that are no longer producing and replace them with plants that like cooler weather. Among them you can find peas, fava beans, beets, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, radish, carrots, kale, leeks beets, winter zucchini and celery. If you plant any of these plants now, they will be ripe in late winter or early spring.
Northern Washington Septembers are typically warm during the day and chilly at night. The temperate climate makes a great fit for planting flowers that will bloom in late autumn and winter. To start off, consider planting pansies, foxgloves, stock, sweet alyssum, calendula, chrysanthemums, sweet peas, snapdragons and asters. If you’re going to use seeds, make sure the seeded area remains moist and have plenty of shade until the seedlings at least 3 or 4 inches tall. It’s important to do this as direct exposure to sun can kill off these delicate plants.
Preparing the soil
If you’re an avid gardener and you’re looking to renew your garden beds, now is the best time to do so. Remove tired vegetables and dried flowers. Loosen the soil and a couple of inches of compost to the mix. The compost will provide your new plants with the required nutrients for growth. If you are going to plant in an area that you haven’t planted before, it is advised to water the area deeply, remove all weeds, break up the soil as much as you can and only then add the compost.
Choose the right bulbs
Your local gardening center (or nursery) will have two kinds of spring-blooming bulbs: tulips and hyacinth. Both have to be cooled for six weeks before they can be planted. For best results, place the bulbs in paper bags and store them in your refrigerator, until November. To get the most beautiful flowers, make sure to select the biggest, freshest-looking and most firm bulbs.
After summer, many hedges and shrubs have sprouted long straggly stems. Pruning is a way to reshape and stimulate new growth before winter. Well-pruned hedges and shrubs help with holding in the heat which can prove essential if a winter frost were to occur.
Although some homeowners prefer to not water their lawns in order to save on water bills, some homeowner associations require homeowners to maintain a certain a mount of lawn on their areas. You can either choose to have a yard that has less lawn or you can replace the lawn with drought-tolerant ground cover. Among the types of ground cover that do well on little water are dymondia, lantana, sedums, yarrow, verbenas and even thyme.
One advantage of Northern Washington is that the climate is temperate and not affected by drying winds like the Santa Ana in Southern California. However you should still keep your plants hydrated.
Fishing piers from all over the nation have joined the Responsible Pier Initiative which is aimed at saving marine critters that anglers hook on their lines.
This young green sea turtle, named Rory has successfully been delivered to sea and now it is making its way back to the Gulf of Mexico.
The critter was released at the National Seashore’s Fort Rockfort area Tuesday. The green sea turtle would not have survived, however, if it not for the new program which is designed to train fishermen and fishing pier managers in rescuing marine life that has been hooked or entangled in fishing line.
The Responsible Pier Initiative comes from the Loggerhead Marinelife Center who has taught the staff at Navarre Beach Fishing Pier techniques on how to rescue sea critters as well as what tools to use. The Center, based in Juno FL, provides free training, large fishing nets for rescue purposes and information on how to save sea turtles and other marine animals without further harm.
Helen Bishop, the store manager describes how she got word that the turtle was hooked from one of the fishermen. She then promptly took a net and went down the pier. With the help of the fishermen, they were able to safely pull the turtle into the net.
Rory was hoisted up and the line removed from its flippers. Helen and the rest of the team placed the turtle into a container, but not before wrapping the turtle in a towel soaked with sea water, in order to help stabilize the turtle’s condition.
If you are a fisherman and have accidentally caught a sea turtle or other marine animal, you should contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for prompt assistance. The officers will instruct you on how to best secure the animal until they arrive to pick it up and deliver it to the Gulfarium in Fort Walton Beach where it will receive proper treatment and supervision.