Creative Solutions for Life’s Little Problems

It’s refreshing to see that many people are beginning to implement new and innovative ideas to address some of life’s seemingly little problems that may have a more widespread societal impact.

Take teenagers and their penchant for sleeping in, for example. While some teenagers are just  lazy, there is a biological reason teenagers may not be getting enough sleep. During puberty, the hormone melatonin is released at a later time of the day, which means teenagers don’t feel drowsy until about 11 pm. As a result, teens may not be getting an adequate amount of rest each night. If parents continue to wake them for school at six a.m., for example, they may not be getting enough sleep to function efficiently throughout the day.

While it may be more convenient for parents to have teens off to school before leaving for work, there may be an alternative that allows teenagers to get a sufficient amount of rest, while also improving their performance in the classroom.

There’s a growing movement to delay the start of the school day in high school to accommodate a teenager’s natural sleep habits. Studies have revealed that schools that have pushed back start times for teenagers have resulted in better grades, test scores and even fewer auto accidents by teenage drivers. As a result, many teens (and parents) have had to adjust to more independence and autonomy when it comes to getting up, fixing breakfast, and getting to school on their own. That could be an added bonus, depending on your point of view, of this one potential solution to a rather common problem.

[CLICK HERE to read article, “To Keep Teenagers Alert, Schools Let Them Sleep In,” at The New York Times, March 13, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to view the presentation, “Teens and Sleep,” at University of Minnesota, Oct. 2013.]

Another issue that seems to be affecting America is the decrease in farming alongside the increase in suburban sprawl. During the economic downturn, land-rich but cash-strapped developers stumbled onto a new idea – “Agritopia.” They began to build more modest housing communities with a working farm as the central feature instead of a golf course, pool or fitness center. The result has been embraced by families who convene at the local farm stand to buy fresh produce and visit with neighbors.

[CLICK HERE to read article, “Farm-to-Table Living Takes Root,” at The New York Times, March 11, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read about an Agritopia development, 2014.]

With the rising costs of college tuition and subsequent renewed interest in community colleges and vocational schools, four-year universities are thinking outside the campus to recruit new co-eds and better prepare them for college. Their strategy? Pay for committed freshmen to take a”gap year” before the start of their college program to work or volunteer in another country. The college, in turn, covers airfare, housing and even visa fees for that gap year. The result has yielded more mature and experienced freshman who have seen a bit of the world, learned to live without their parents for a year, and are more appreciative of the opportunity to receive a college education.

[CLICK HERE to read article, “College Offers to Pay Students to Take a Year Off,” at the Associated Press, March 14, 2014.]

Paris has also come up with its own out-of-the-box solution to its air pollution problem. It recently provided free public transportation to discourage people from driving during a three-day span in which severe pollution took root due to unusually warm weather.

[CLICK HERE to read article, “Paris offers free public transport to reduce severe smog,” at the BBC, March 14, 2014.]

Each of these examples demonstrate very reasonable solutions to some rather common problems. Please give us a call if we can help you identify some reasonable and unique solutions to help you address your financial concerns and keep you on the path to achieving your financial goals.

Our firm assists retirees and pre-retirees in the creation of retirement strategies that include the use of insurance products.

The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. It is given for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions,
nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation. All clients are encouraged to consult qualified tax, legal and investment professionals before making any decisions about their personal situation.

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