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Instagram is going after meme accounts — which post pictures with slogans — often created by other social-media fanatics and, on many occasions, reposted without giving credit.

On July 26, 15-year-old Ben was surprised to find he couldn’t log into five of his eight Instagram FB, -2.36%  accounts. The meme curator, who goes by the pseudonym “spicymp4” and chose not to give his last name to MarketWatch, owned multiple popular comedy accounts.

One such account, @spicy.mp4, had more than 500,000 followers. Others, like @bnjee and @memeextraordinaire, each had over 20,000. “I made sure to credit everything as I used to be a content creator myself and I know the frustration of not being credited,” Ben said.

Instagram banned more than 30 highly popular pages. The accounts, some of which have millions of followers, repost funny memes and videos.

Ben wasn’t the only victim of Instagram’s latest meme-page purge. Late last month, Instagram banned more than 30 highly popular pages. The accounts, some of which have millions of followers, repost funny memes and videos.

Some meme accounts are both original and wildly popular. Grumpy Cat, who died earlier this year, was named meme of the year at the 2013 Webby awards, beating out “Gangnam Style” and “Harlem Shake.” Some social-media trackers consider Grumpy Cat to be the first viral meme. (Grumpy Cat’s account has 2.7 million followers.)

But Instagram is targeting other sites that it regards as poaching other people’s content. Meme accounts are often accused of stealing content from creators without giving proper credit. Elliot Trebele, the creator of a still-active meme page, was forced to apologize last year

Read MarketWatch’s Moneyist advice column on the etiquette and ethics of your financial affairs. This week: ‘ My children’s stepmother won’t return family heirlooms and gifts they gave their late father — how can we get them back?’

“These accounts were disabled following multiple violations of our policies, including attempted abuse of our internal processes,” an Instagram spokeswoman told MarketWatch. The alleged violations included attempts to buy and sell accounts and attempts to improperly obtain usernames.

The purge has cost some users thousands of dollars. Ben told MarketWatch his pages earned him $4,000 a month and were his only salary. He made the money through selling shoutouts: Users looking to grow their pages paid Ben to promote those pages on his account.

“I don’t have another job as Instagram paid in one week what I would get in one month of an actual job,” Ben said. He did not think it would last forever, however. Ben saved most of the money he earned from his page, but is now looking for another source of income.

If you’re as popular as reality TV star Kylie Jenner, who has 142 million followers on Instagram, you can bring in $1,000,000 with just one post.

“It is becoming increasingly challenging to build a business where your sole revenue comes in from third-party social-media platforms,” social media expert and commentator Kris Ruby. Compared to some, Ben was small potatoes. Ruby said some of these frivolous meme accounts could earn up to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Five years ago, the idea that Instagram could be your job was unheard of. Now, it’s becoming increasingly common. Influencers and page admins like Ben can bring in thousands of dollars from ads and promotions on their pages. And if you’re as popular as reality TV star Kylie Jenner, who has 142 million followers on Instagram, you can bring in more than $1,000,000 with just one post.

The July meme page purge isn’t the first time Instagram has deleted dozens of popular comedy accounts. On Christmas day 2018, Instagram deleted some of its most popular meme pages, including @God, @SocietyFeelings, @Deep, and @ComedySlam. The founder of @ComedySlam, 17-year-old Declan Mortimer, said he made $200,000 each year with his 11-million-follower page before it was disabled.

Instagram did comment on those bans, claiming that some of the usernames were “stolen or traded.” “We do not allow people to buy, sell, or trade aspects of their account, including user names. We are consistently taking steps to disincentivize and stop this behavior, including removing accounts that violate our policies,” an Instagram spokesperson said at the time.

Like Ben, multiple banned users disputed the charge, saying they never violated Instagram’s terms. The recently deleted meme accounts are incredibly popular with their followers and drive significant traffic to Instagram’s platform.

But some people on Twitter TWTR, -2.80%  are bidding a not-so-fond farewell to these pages:

Ben says these critics are simply jealous. They “would 100% take the opportunity to make thousands a month, or even a week,” he said. He and others have started a petition to get their accounts back, but Instagram has called such purges “final.”

Ben hasn’t yet decided if he will start another meme on Instagram. First, he wants to hear what he did wrong from the company. “I’ve had no explanation from Instagram at all,” he said. “I’ve reached out multiple times and not heard back from an actual person, just a bot.”

In the meantime, he’s looking looking for a new job.

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Former smokers are prone to replacing one habit with another.

Between 2005 and 2016, major depression among former smokers rose to 6% from nearly 5%. They also said their use of marijuana had increased to 10.1% from 5.3% in the year prior to being interviewed, and binge drinking rose to 22.3% from 17.2% in the month prior to being interviewed, according to the study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

“Mental health and substance-use problems are associated with smoking relapse among former smokers,” the authors said. “Yet little is known about the prevalence of mental health and substance use among former smokers in the U.S.” The authors suggest it could be a prevalent problem: Former smokers have grown to outnumber the current number of U.S. smokers (14% of adults).

Depression and substance use, which are factors associated with increased risk for cigarette use relapse, appear to be increasing over time among former U.S. smokers.

Former smokers were more likely to be older than 65 and never married, with some college education and annual incomes over $75,000. More than 50% had also quit smoking for three years or more. The increasing legalization of marijuana, the decreasing perception of risk associated with use, and reduced stigma may also have contributed to the increased marijuana use, the researchers said.

“The findings represent a looming threat to the progress that has been made in reducing the prevalence of cigarette use,” lead investigator Renee Goodwin, a psychiatric epidemiologist and clinical psychologist, said of the former smokers included in the study. “More of them are now suffering from depression and engaging in problematic substance use.”

The data in the study were drawn from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual, nationally representative study. More than 67,000 individuals aged 18 and over participated in the study. The authors claimed it’s the first national U.S. study to focus on the prevalence and time trends of depression, marijuana use and problematic alcohol use among former smokers.

Don’t miss: The CDC is probing a link between e-cigarettes and lung illness

The study was carried out by the Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health at the City University of New York, the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at CUNY’s Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.

Every state in the country taxes cigarettes, with the average tax on a pack of 20 cigarettes sitting at $1.81 and some taxes — like the one in New York state — reaching as high as $4.35.

A $1 tax increase on traditional cigarettes reduces cigarette use by 1.9% overall and by 3.5% for daily smokers, a separate study co-authored by researchers from Georgia State University, Temple University and the University of Kentucky, and distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research last month found. It also increased vaping rates by 9.7%.

Every state in the country taxes cigarettes, with the average tax on a pack of 20 cigarettes sitting at $1.81 and some taxes — like the one in New York state — reaching as high as $4.35. These are on top of the $1.01 federal cigarette tax. A pack of cigarettes in New York City now starts at $13. This supports previous research on the effectiveness of tobacco taxation in reducing smoking.

Binge drinking is also booming — among boomers. In fact, more than one in 10 Americans aged 65 and older are binge drinkers, according to a New York University study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society earlier this month; binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks during one occasion in the past month for men, and four or more for women.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends that adults over 65 consume three alcoholic drinks or fewer a day. “Older adults are especially vulnerable to the harms of alcohol use, especially binge drinking, due to physiological changes of aging and the higher likelihood of having more chronic medical disease and taking more prescribed medications,” it says.

(James Wellemeyer and Nicole Pesce contributed to this story.)

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Dear Moneyist,

My mother’s sister is using my mother’s Social Security Number to avoid having to pay the Internal Revenue Service back taxes she owes. My aunt owes the IRS a bunch of money and believes the IRS would take it if it were in her name. She is currently receiving money under my deceased mother’s Social Security Number.

Also see: A letter from a reader on the poverty line: ‘I know what it means to go hungry for five days until you get your next paycheck’

My father was recently very sick and in the hospital, and he was not in his right mind. She somehow persuaded him to sign away power of attorney during the time he was in hospital. He thought it was 2058 and he was in jail. Obviously he had no idea what he was signing.

Recommended: My mother stole my identity and racked up $500,000 in debt

She then took the document to a friend who signed and notarized it. Is there anything I can do to stop her from changing his beneficiaries and emptying his bank accounts?

Feeling Powerless

Dear Powerless,

There’s a lot you can do, and you should do it as soon as possible. You cannot allow this to continue and, in order to do that, you must release yourself from any feelings associated with the consequences your aunt will face. What she’s doing is unethical and illegal. She’s stealing money from your late mother’s Social Security and, likely, from your father. She is either unwilling or unable to pay her taxes, and has no remorse about her own part in that. She has simply moved on to the next grift.

Your aunt may regard this as a series of unfortunate events, and believe she is entitled to other people’s money, but this is part of a pattern that will not end until you contact your father’s bank, the Social Security Administration and the IRS to put an end to it. Enlist a family lawyer that specializes in conservatorship and estate law, and challenge her power of attorney. Petition a court to have yourself appointed instead. You need to remove this woman from your lives and your family’s finances. Imagine she is a burglar who crept into your house in the dead of night — because through forged paperwork and coercion, that’s exactly what she’s done.

Don’t miss: My husband and I paid off $193,000 in debt — now he never wants to take a vacation or even socialize with friends

There are 1 million cases of elder abuse reported to the National Adult Protective Services Association per year, a small fraction of overall cases. Your father was not of sound mind when he signed over power of attorney. Under the law, your father must have been of sound mind and not under or subject to duress, restraint, fraud or undue influence to sign a power of attorney document. The National Center on Elder Abuse, a government agency affiliated with the U.S. Administration on Aging, reports that elder abuse lags by as much as “two decades” behind research into other areas of familiar and domestic abuse.

See also: I built a nest egg of $1 million and I’m only 46 — so why do I still spend my waking hours worrying?

I’ll tell you what I told the woman whose mother who spent thousands of dollars on credit cards opened in her name: Someone who indulges in this kind of “familiar fraud” is banking on protection and/or a safety net from those family connections. If you confront her, you are likely to be told some kind of sob story and complex list of resentments about your family’s history that will be used to justify this behavior and pluck at your heartstrings. Put a stop to this before it goes any further.

I spoke to six white-collar felons a number of years ago, and they told me that they committed their crimes because they had financial worries or because they were following orders. Others say they were people-pleasers trying to help out family members or were helping themselves maintain the lifestyle to which they had become accustomed. One faced the courage to do time after watching Martha Stewart on television, looking happy and successful after her own stint in prison. Make those calls today.

Do you have questions about inheritance, tipping, weddings, family feuds, friends or any tricky issues relating to manners and money? Send them to MarketWatch’s Moneyist and please include the state where you live (no full names will be used).

Would you like to sign up to an email alert when a new Moneyist column has been published? If so, click on this link.

Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook group, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas: inheritance, wills, divorce, tipping, gifting. I often talk to lawyers, accountants, financial advisers and other experts, in addition to offering my own thoughts. I receive more letters than I could ever answer, so I’ll be bringing all of that guidance — including some you might not see in these columns — to this group. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

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Dear Moneyist,

I am a 23-year-old female who is in a relationship with a 30-year-old man. We have been together for the past four years and now have a 1-year-old together. He also has one child from a previous relationship. He has a career in the Navy and is planning to make rank again in the fall. In the past few years, I have noticed that he is horrible with finances. He has little to no savings and he also pays a good sum in child support. He loves designer brands.

Also see: My husband is leaving his personal savings …to his mother! What should I do?

Our respective upbringings were completely different. I grew up the only child while he grew up in a not-so stable environment. After talking about it for a while now we have decided that we would like to purchase a home. Before making this decision he thinks he should buy a 2017 Jaguar. How can I talk him out of this horrible decision and make him realize that investing in real estate would be a great move?

Sincerely,

Dazed and Confused in Virginia

Dear Dazed and Confused,

You have two issues on your hands here: One is emotional and one is financial. To fix one, you have to address the other, and vice versa. I have one theory, but there may be a thousand more. Growing up, he may have felt anxiety or shame about coming from an unstable background and, perhaps, appearances were important to him and/or his family.

Hiding family drama or financial problems at home could have taken a toll on his emotional health. He may still be that scared, insecure boy who needs to show the world that he is, in fact, not worth less than anyone else. Designer brands and a 2017 Jaguar could be the latest “fix” to help him not feel like that. Forgive my “pop psychology” response.

Don’t miss: I love my girlfriend, but she treats her father like an ATM for designer clothes and vacations

Whatever the reason, you need to sit down and figure out a plan. Before you commit to buying a home, list your savings, income and expenditures. It will help him to see his reality in black and white. There’s nothing like cold, hard data to bring a carefree or careless consumer back down to earth. Every purchase he makes for himself is money that could be invested in your future.

Recommended: My wife drinks too much, has never bathed our 7-year-old son and now wants a divorce

A gentle word of warning for you: Don’t make possibly the biggest investment of your life with someone who cannot demonstrate fiscal responsibility. If he fails to pay his share, you will be responsible for the mortgage. If you can’t afford the monthly payments without him, you could both lose your home. Tread very carefully before signing on that dotted line.

I hope you can navigate the next phase of your life and your relationship. The solution may be that he needs to agree to check with you before making any more purchases. It’s time for your boyfriend to realize that, in addition to child support, he also must pay his own fair share of family support. Just because the latter is not court mandated does not make it optional.

Do you have questions about inheritance, tipping, weddings, family feuds, friends or any tricky issues relating to manners and money? Send them to MarketWatch’s Moneyist and please include the state where you live (no full names will be used).

Would you like to sign up to an email alert when a new Moneyist column has been published? If so, click on this link.

Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist Facebook group, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas: inheritance, wills, divorce, tipping, gifting. I often talk to lawyers, accountants, financial advisers and other experts, in addition to offering my own thoughts. I receive more letters than I could ever answer, so I’ll be bringing all of that guidance — including some you might not see in these columns — to this group. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

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Investors and business leaders, it’s often said, hate uncertainty and don’t react very well to it. Well, get used to uncertain times. The Chine trade fight isn’t over anytime soon and neither is the threat it poses to the U.S. economy. See full story.

The Fed needs to radically change policy and start printing money

An open letter to Jerome Powell from Wall Street economist Steven Ricchiuto. See full story.

‘It is an act of insanity to stay in the U.S.’: Why this 63-year-old teacher ditched Massachusetts to retire in the highlands of Panama

You can live on about $2,000 a month, experts says, and Panama has a generous ‘pensionado program.’ But there are drawbacks. See full story.

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Hemp Naturals Inc. – HPMM

Hemp Naturals Inc. - HPMM

When President Trump signed the “Farm Bill” in December of 2018, shares of Hemp Naturals Inc. (HPMM) sky-rocketed to a high of $3.45.

 
Currently (HPMM’s) share prices are around $.25 cents.
 
Now, I’m not saying that Monday’s profile is going to be rocketing up the charts to that $3.45 level, but you need to be fully aware of the potential upside and recent share price levels of this stock.
 
 
Could This Be The Biggest Sleeping Giant
What If This $.25 Cent Hemp Play Is The Next Unicorn?
 

Hemp Companies Gain Traction

 
Hemp is the can·na·bis plant and can be used for industrial purposes such as building energy-efficient homes and plug up cracks in infrastructure, has a low barrier to entry and various applications.
 
Looking to get in on the ground floor?
 

Hemp Naturals Inc. (Symbol: HPMM)

Hempcrete is made from lime and hemp shivs (a waste product from hemp fiber growing); it can be used for walls, floors, and for roof insulation; it’s breathable, absorbing and emitting moisture to regulate internal humidity and avoid trapped moisture and mold growth; it provides excellent acoustic and thermal insulation and thermal mass; it’s lightweight and reduces construction costs; and it’s environmentally friendly.
 
– Wikipedia
2018’s Bill legalized industrial Hemp and the production of (CBD) oil from the hemp plants. Industrial hemp has over 25,000 recorded uses. You read that right. It can be used to manufacture cotton, plastic (Lego have just invested $20 mill into a project to investigate building Lego blocks out of hemp), paper (cheaper to produce, using less space, and being far more environmentally friendly), biofuels, and many, many more.  
 
 
The $867 bln reconciled farm bill was passed by the Senate on December 11, 2018, and by the House on December 12.
 
On December 20, 2018, it received President Donald Trump’s signature and became law.
 
 
 

Welcome To Hemp Naturals Inc. (HPMM)

 
We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of can·na·bis’s vast potential.
 
For better or worse, ‘Green Wave’ is immensely popular — and its popularity is increasing each and every day. There is a massive market for it, and investors have been slow to the punch.
 

Why Hemp Naturals Is The Future 

 

Fortunately, companies like Hemp Naturals, Inc. (HPMM) are working on the innovative and environmentally friendly forms of construction. The lifespan of a building made of concrete, steel, or wood is shorter than that of a flesh-and-blood human.

 
According to the U.S Department of Energy, the average office building lifespan in 2008 was 73 years. The primary cause of this insignificant lifespan span of buildings which are supposed to last for hundreds of years is not far-fetched from the materials used during their construction.
 
This, in turn, prompted the need for Realtors and building construction professionals (Engineers and Architects) to seek the ultimate sustainable building material that can stand the test of time.
 
The quest to provide this need is the primary reason why Hemp Naturals Inc. was established. We exist to bring game-changing technological solutions and advancement to the Real estate Industry in the United States of America..
 

Hemp Naturals Inc. HempCrete Sustainability Is Our Culture

 

Our durable, reusable, and recyclable with an estimated lifespan of 400 to 500 years. This material that enables realtors to construct insulable and incombustible buildings that can stand the test of time, tension, and pressure from the ambient environment. We specifically buy lands and develop them using these excellent materials to revitalize the real estate industry in the USA using innovative products and smart technicalities.
 
Here at Hemp Naturals Inc.(Symbol: HPMM), our Philosophy is simple—we provide nothing but the best quality building using HempCretes and other complementary materials that work with utmost serendipity to give the best output in the real estate industry. We carry out our services in this industry with excellence and professionalism.
 
We have a mixture of both written and unwritten company norms and belief that guild our employees’ interactions and behavior. In pursuance of the founder’s vision, we will ensure that our staffs are carefully selected and continuously trained to give our clients the best quality buildings.
 
“Our sole mission is to provide the best quality building structures in the country using Hemp materials as well as other durable products that prolong the lifespan of building erected in this great nation, the USA.” We also wish to promote the hemp/can·na·bis industry by erecting as many building as possible with HempCrete to show its durability and reliability in building construction projects.”
 
 

Hemp-Based CBD Products Taking the Marketplace by Storm

 
The return of industrial hemp has farmers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and innovators scrambling to make the most of this massive opportunity.
 
Many investors are weighing their options for getting in on the action.
 
The major players in this space are already showing significant gains in sales, which leads to a big question for investors. What are the best hemp stocks to buy that are most likely to generate substantial returns?
 

Analysts’Estimate The Market Potential For Hemp-Based Products To Hit An Astonishing $20 Bln. by 2020.

 

Simply put, this is the most opportune time to get yourself in this budding sector.

Start your research on HPMM right way and stay up to date as this sector develops and its key players take place.

Sincerely,

MSA

Disclaimer
We have received two thousand five hundred dlrs for the awareness of HPMM

Any type of reproduction, copying or distribution of the material in this email is prohibited without a written consent from the site owner.

Disclaimer- By reading our newsletter you agree to the terms of our disclaimer, which are subject to change at any time. Owners and affiliates are not registered or licensed in any jurisdiction whatsoever to provide financial advice or anything of an advisory nature. Always do your own research and/or consult with an investment professional before investing. Low priced stocks are speculative and carry a high degree of risk, so only invest what you can afford to lose. By using our service you agree not to hold us, our editor’s, owners, or staff liable for any damages, financial or otherwise, that may occur due to any action you may take based on the information contained within our newsletters, website, twitter, Facebook and chat. We do not advise any reader take any specific action. Our website, newsletter, twitter, Facebook and chat are for informational and educational purposes only. Never invest purely based on our alerts. Gains mentioned in our newsletter, twitter, Facebook and on our website may be based on EOD or intraday data. We may be c.ompensated for the production, release and awareness of this newsletter. This publication and their owners and affiliates may hold positions in the securities mentioned in our alerts, which we may sell at any time without notice to our subscribers, which may have a negative impact on share prices. Our emails may contain Forward Looking Statements, which are not guaranteed to materialize due to a variety of factors. We do not guarantee the timeliness, accuracy, or completeness of the information on our site or in our newsletters. The information in our email newsletters, twitter, Facebook our website and chat is believed to be accurate and correct, but has not been independently verified. The information in our disclaimers is subject to change at any time without notice.

We are not held liable or responsible for the information in press releases issued by the companies discussed in these email’s. Please do your own due diligence.

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Don’t miss these top money and investing features:

Stories connecting with MarketWatch readers this past week include a spotlight on the grim financial reality millennials are likely to encounter when they begin to retire in about 30 years. Plus, read about why the U.S. stock market is riskier than you think, dividend-paying stocks to consider now, bond investment advice, and the basics of socially responsible stock funds.

— Jonathan Burton

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Park your money here for the ultimate in impact investing

Creators of a new exchange-traded fund thought carefully about how to pursue better outcomes both for portfolios and for the world: invest in countries that are more free.
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Corporate VC is on the rise: Here’s what you should know

Venture funding for U.S companies reached $131 billion in 2018. There’s one corner in the startup market that some big corporations are most excited about.
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Mary Taft lives with her two daughters, seven cats and two dogs in a mansion in Panama — and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

But the former teacher and school administrator didn’t always know that a Panamanian retirement was in store for her. Indeed, as she consulted with her two adult daughters about where to move, dozens of spots were on the table. “We had this blue-sky conversation — where can we all go and live together?” the 63-year-old former Springfield, Mass., resident recalls. “Canada was out because it was too cold. We wanted the tropics because we were sick of winter. We ruled out Asia because it was too far and [because of] the language barrier. Australia was too expensive.”

The Spanish speaker had been to Latin America numerous times, and her older daughter, a musician, worked a lot in Brazil, so they began looking around there. They ruled out Belize because of a “lack of infrastructure,” and Costa Rica because of its cost and “poor track record with health care,” according to Taft. But Boquete, Panama — a lush, mild-weather town in the Panamanian highlands that’s popular with expats — checked nearly all their boxes.

iStock
White clouds above the small town of Boquete.

“It’s a place of indescribable beauty, and the culture is complex and vibrant,” she says. “It’s not a sleepy town in the mountains; there’s arts and culture, birding, sailing, hiking, restaurants with chefs from around the world — it’s a foodie paradise. There’s so much going on here.” (Travel guide Lonely Planet has this to say: “Boquete is known for its cool, fresh climate and pristine natural surroundings. Flowers, coffee, vegetables and citrus fruits flourish in its rich soil, and the friendliness of the locals seems to rub off on everyone who passes through.”)

Plus, Mary says she and her daughters were fed up with a lot of things in America — including the high cost of living, repeated mass shootings and what she saw as a lot of “rage and hate.”

“The U.S. has gotten so out of control — the social fabric is shattering,” she says. “It is an act of insanity to continue to stay in the U.S.,” she adds, noting that in Panama crime is low, you see guns less frequently, and life can be more affordable.

(Indeed, Panama is a pretty safe country: The U.S. government puts Panama at a Level 1 in terms of safety, the best ranking you can get — though it advises Americans not to travel to parts of the Mosquito Gulf and Darien Region due to crime. And it’s important to note that some types of crime may be more prevalent in Panama than the United States, and there are plenty of countries that are even safer.)

In 2018, Mary moved to Panama with her two daughters — and she’s staying put.

“Unless somebody dies, I don’t envision going back there,” she says. “I have only been back once. I had to go to Miami to do some personal banking, I did the banking, and I got back on the plane.”

Here’s what life is like — including costs, health care, residency and more — in Boquete, Panama …

Images courtesy of Mary Taft

The cost: “I spend about the same [as in the U.S.], but I have a much better lifestyle for the same cost,” Mary says. While she had one house in Massachusetts, in Panama she has two homes — a three-bedroom condominium unit at the beach and roughly 6,000 square feet of house, which includes a main house and a little two-bedroom casita on the property, perched up in the mountains. Mary says she purchased the house for $499,000 and the apartment for $219,000, adding that “it is possible to purchase lovely, well-appointed houses that are a bit smaller in the $200,000 range.” (Referring to her daughters and pets, she says, “Each of us has a separate section of the house,” she explains, joking that “there would be blood flowing” if they all lived on top of one another.)

Some things are expensive in the area, like eating out, which might cost “$40 a person at upscale restaurants, or $10 a person at a medium-scale restaurant, or $7 per person at a típico Panamanian restaurant,” she says, reporting that she loves the food in the area. (But local Panamanian beer can be had for $1, she adds, and you can get a good Chilean wine at the grocery store for $5 to $7.)

Other things are more affordable: Her electricity bill is only about $30 a month because of her solar panels, she says, and her cellphone bill is $20 a month, “but everyone uses WhatsApp for everything,” so she says she is “probably overpaying.”

International Living magazine breaks out the costs of living in Boquete, estimating that you could live pretty well on about $1,550 to $2,600 a month:
• Rent (two-bedroom, centrally located apartment): $800 to $1,200 per month
• Electricity: $60 to $150
• Water and trash pickup: $0 to $25
• Gas for cooking, heating etc.: $0 to $10
• Supermarket (mix of local and imported food and household items): $400 to $500
• Entertainment for two (movies twice a month with snacks; dinner out four times a month): $140 to $400
• Phone: $13 to $20
• High-speed internet: $20 to $45
• Cable or satellite TV: $35 to $50
• Transportation (taxis or fuel for compact car): $75 to $200
Total: $1,553 to $2,600 a month

iStock
Rainbow over Boquete.

The pensionado program: “The pensionado visa is the most popular visa for retirees,” says Jackie Lange, an expat since 2010 who now runs a Panama relocation program — and it gives retirees throughout Panama deep discounts on everything from airfare to restaurants. An American retiree collecting Social Security can apply for the “Panama Pensionado Visa,” as long as he or she has regular income of at least $1,000 a month, or income of at least $750 a month and buys property for at least $100,000. When you qualify you get lots of perks including 50% off entertainment anywhere in the country (movies, concerts, sports); 30% off bus, boat and train fares; 25% off on airline tickets; between 30% and 50% off hotel stays; 25% off at restaurants; 15% off hospital bills; 10% off prescriptions; 20% off medical consultations; and 15% off dental and eye exams.

Mary loves the program. When she shops or picks up medications, the clerk “calls me a jubiloso — it means a jubilant person — that’s where they get the word for retiree,” she says. “I have a 10% discount at the pharmacy, I give them my old box of whatever, and they give me a new one. In and out in five minutes. Even my dogs and cats get a discount on medication.

Residency: “It’s a daunting process,” Mary says — adding that she got a lawyer to help her navigate it. The process takes months, has “many, many steps,” and is, in her estimation, “impossible for an outsider to navigate” alone. Her advice is that you “follow your lawyer’s directions, provide what s/he asks for, and show up in Panama at their direction and do what they say.” She says that getting a driver’s license in Panama is also complicated. These resources can help youget started.

Health care: Health care in Panama is considered good for the region (particularly in Panama City, which has a number of respected hospitals and is about an hour’s flight from Boquete), and the country ranks in the top 100 in the world in terms of quality and access to health care for its residents.

Mary has catastrophic health insurance from Cigna International, and says she pays roughly $2,000 a year for it. In Panama, she pays out of pocket for her occasional doctor’s visits (about $20); her inhaler (she has asthma) costs $20 at the local pharmacy with the retiree discount, and her sleep meds cost about $10 for a two month’s supply, she says. “Doctors here are well-trained and efficient,” she says — adding that she communicates with them via WhatsApp if she needs anything.

The cons of living in Panama: Though Panama has better roads and infrastructure than plenty of other Central and South American nations, some rural areas are still lacking. And Americans used to prompt customer service might be struggle to adapt to the slower pace of life in Panama. You also can’t always get all the goods you do in the States. Mary jokes that the one thing she misses most are “Temptations cat treats … much to the chagrin of expat cat owners far and wide!”

Bottom line: Mary stays busy by being on the board of directors at an animal-rescue nonprofit, Salvadores de Animales. She loves the food and activities in the country. But it’s the friendly Panamanian spirit that truly sold Mary on it. “Panamanians celebrate many more holidays than in the U.S., and there are typically parades with music and horses. It was explained to me that ‘Panamanians like each other and we like to get together to celebrate our lives,’ which is why there are so many celebrations,” she says. “I enjoy being in a place where people like each other.”

This post was originally published on this site

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Want to get ahead?

Most people want a job that allows them to advance, learn new skills and earn more money. It’s the $112,000 question: How can you have both? Is there a job out there that gives you a six-figure income, and all of that too? As unemployment hovers a 49-year low, there are more professions to choose from that will give people the one thing that gets them out of bed in the morning: a meaningful job with the possibility of advancement.

The economy had about 501,000 fewer jobs as of March 2019 than the Bureau of Labor Statistics initially calculated in its survey of business establishments. That’s the largest revision since the waning stages of the Great Recession in 2009. Fewer jobs were created in restaurants, hotels, retailers and professional business services. Leisure and hospitality employment was reduced by 175,000, business services by 163,000 and retail by 146,400.

So where are the in-demand jobs? Access to career momentum opportunities in the workplace is one of the strongest predictors of employee satisfaction based on millions of reviews left on Glassdoor, in addition to culture and values and quality senior leadership, according to a study released Wednesday by the company. “This list of jobs with great career opportunities is not limited to tech; we see several finance, health-care and marketing roles with strong career paths,” the report said.

Is there a job out there that gives you a six-figure income, allows you to advance and makes you happy?

Tax managers have the strongest career opportunities rating, according to employees in this position. They had a median base salary of $112,021 a year and 4,803 job openings on Glassdoor as of July 5. With the infiltration of technology into financial services, there’s a renewed emphasis for tax managers to build closer client relationships, the report’s authors said.

The report used the following criteria: a median base salary over the past year of $80,000 a year or higher, well above the June 2019 U.S. median annual pay of $53,411, and at least 2,000 job openings as of July 5 on Glassdoor. Employees rated their job on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest level of advancement. Tax manager had a rating of 4.1 compared to the average rating of 3.0 across all jobs on the Glassdoor website. Here’s a list of the top 25.

Tax managers were followed by Salesforce developers ($81,721 a year with 3,193 job openings), product designers ($102,054 a year and 2,045 openings), strategy managers ($142,328 a year and 3,131 openings), HR managers ($84,700 a year and 4,351 openings), audit managers ($102,521 a year and 3,050 openings) and data scientists ($110,160 a year and 6,789 openings).

Read MarketWatch’s Moneyist advice column on the etiquette and ethics of your financial affairs. This week: ‘My dad is difficult and even refuses to use his oxygen tank — will our stepmother get all his money if he dies without a will?’

Data scientists are also in high demand. They ranked No. 1 on Glassdoor’s recent “Best Jobs in America” for 2019 — for the fourth straight year. They boast median base annual salary of $108,000, but Glassdoor also says there are signs their salary growth has been leveling off. They were followed by nursing managers at No. 2 ($83,000), marketing managers at No. 3 ($82,000), occupational therapists at No. 4 ($74,000) and product managers at No. 5 ($115,000).

There were other six-figure jobs on Glassdoor’s top 20 list with a relatively high number of job openings, job satisfaction and earning potential, including DevOps engineers, who work with developers and IT staff to oversee code releases, at No. 6 ($106,000 a year); data engineers at No. 8 ($100,000); software engineers at No. 10 ($104,000); physician assistants at No. 12 ($105,000); strategy managers at No. 16 ($140,000) and security engineers at No. 17 ($102,000).

Data scientists and software developers use programming language such as Python, followed by R, SQL, Hadoop and the more well-known Java, according to Glassdoor. A mid-level data scientist is likely to be proficient in Python, R and SQL, Java, Python and JavaScript and make close to $130,000 a year. Google GOOG, -3.21%, Aetna US:AET and Microsoft MSFT, -3.19%  typically hire people for these roles.

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The labor market is getting stronger, judging by the latest jobs figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics last month. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7% in July and remained near a 50-year low. What’s more, more people entered the labor force in search of work. The labor force participation rate was 63% in July, up slightly from 62.9% in June.

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