Top TED Talks for Entrepreneurial Leaders

TED started in 1984 as a conference that sat at the intersection of Technology, Entertainment, and Design. In the many years that have passed, the organization has grown to encompass so much more than that and is dedicated to the sharing of ideas around the world. In recent memory, TED is known mostly for the TED talks, short presentations where influential experts speak passionately about ideas and advancements in their field. At this point, giving a TED Talk is a hallmark of being a thought leader. For you fellow entrepreneurial leaders out there, here are some of the best TED Talks to help you inspire and lead. 

A Guide to Collaborative Leadership

This presentation is led by Lorna Davis, the former president of Danone, Kraft, and Mondelez, and in it, she talks about sustainable leadership. It may be tempting to be a hero or a lone wolf when you’re a leader, but Lorna has found from her experience trying to lead alone that interdependent leadership yields the most success. Contrary to what you might expect, she says that it’s harder to work as a group instead of being a hero because the former requires transparency and vulnerability. How can you apply this to your business? As you work on innovating and expanding, it’s worth it to be open to collaborative leadership.

Helping Others Makes Us Happier

Researcher Elizabeth Dunn specializes in happiness in that she studies the what and the why of the things that make us happy. She discovered that helping others makes people happy on a fundamental level and that it matters not just that we help, but how we help. Giving blindly to charity, that is, not seeing where it goes or who it impacts, doesn’t actually encourage people to give more. Dunn’s advice is to create opportunities that enable people to connect with the communities that they’re helping. Through this shared humanity, Dunn says, is how we will experience the most joy from helping others. Take this advice with you if your company holds charity events or volunteer opportunities so that you can create an experience that will spark happiness for everyone. 

Sleep is Your Superpower

All too often, entrepreneurs feel compelled to believe that they’re superhuman. Truth is, like everyone else, you have limitations to what you’re capable of doing. It’s tempting to avoid sleep to make time for your daily grind, but ultimately, this is futile. Sleep researcher Matt Walker explains in his presentation the science behind sleep loss and the direct association that the lack of sleep has with chronic diseases, brain function, and more. As someone who studies the impact of sleep on the brain, Walker explains that sleep isn’t a luxury: just like food, it’s a biological necessity that everyone needs to survive. 

If you need some inspiration or perspective, be sure to check out these presentations. 

Originally published on MattWalkerKansas.net

Family-Friendly South American Vacations

An international getaway sounds blissful, but what’s even better is when you can share that experience with your family! Having the perfect mix of nature, culture, and relaxation, it’s not hard to see why South America is a top destination when it comes to travel, and fortunately, there are a number of kid-friendly options for the adventurous family. The continent has so much to offer from breathtaking scenery and incredible wildlife to cultural highlights in the form of food and art. Here are some of my top picks for family-friendly South American vacations.

Brazil

If you and your kids love trying new food and learning about new cultures through food, then a trip to Brazil will be fitting for you. Brazil is the perfect destination for foodie families and adventurous eaters. You can book culinary tours through Rio de Janeiro, which will also take you to Corcovado and Sugarloaf mountain. There will be local wine and craft beer for the grown-ups and regional delicacies like pão de queijo and brigadeiros for everyone to enjoy. To make things even easier, let the folks at South America Travel help you create your itinerary so you can have your epicurean experience without having to do the legwork. A trip like this is best for non-picky eaters ages 5 and up. While you don’t need a visa to visit Brazil, it’s recommended that you get some inoculations and stay up to date with your vaccines. Being in the southern hemisphere, the weather is warmest during our “winter” months, but a trip like this doesn’t require perfect weather.

Peru

Peru is home to Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The ancient city ranks high on many travelers’ bucket lists, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take the kids with you. There is a train and bus route up the mountains that makes ascending the Lost City of the Incas a breeze. At the top of the mountain, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views, the Temple of the Sun, and llamas. Something to consider is hiring a private guide who can add dimension to the runes and help kids to envision the ancient civilization. Mountains aren’t all Peru has to offer: round out your trip by staying by the beaches of Lima! It’s a bit of a hike when you get to Machu Picchu, so this itinerary is best for kids who don’t need a stroller and have some stamina, around ages 6 and up. 

Originally published on MattWalkerKansas.org

Common Retirement Mistakes to Avoid

Retirement planning will differ for each person because they all have unique situations that will determine how much one should save or when they can retire. There is no single “right” way to approach retirement; after all, nobody has all the right answers. That being said, there are wrong ways to prepare for retirement. These mistakes may seem harmless at first, but they can actually cause a great deal of long-term damage. Fortunately, however, if you catch these blunders soon enough, they’ll be easy to correct. Today on the blog, I’ll be focusing on a couple of common retirement mistakes to avoid

Forgetting about the impact of taxes on retirement income

You won’t be paying taxes on the initial contributions of a tax-deferred retirement account, such as a 401(k) or traditional IRA, but you will owe income taxes once you start making withdrawals in retirement. If you forgot about these taxes, it can have a significant effect on your financial future. It could lead to you withdrawing more money than you should from your retirement fund, which can then result in running out of money sooner than you expected. An increase in spending during retirement may put you in a higher tax bracket, meaning you may owe the IRS even more of your savings. Depending on where you live, you might owe taxes on your social security benefits at the state level, too. With all of these taxes, that’s a lot of retirement income that you won’t be able to spend. Preparing for them helps to prevent you from discovering an expensive surprise later down the road. 

Not considering retirement account fees

Since you’re paying fees when you invest savings in your 401(k) or IRA, it’s best to understand what you’re paying for. Even paying a fraction of a percentage more than you should can add up to tens of thousands of dollars over a lifetime. According to a study from the Center for American Progress, the average worker paying annual fees of 1% will end up paying over $138,000 in fees. Given a slightly higher rate of 1.3%, the same worker will pay more than $166,000 over a lifetime. Talk to your plan administrator and check your plan’s statements to find the expense ratio to find out what you’re paying in fees. If you find that you’re paying higher than average fees, consider switching to a less expensive option.

Originally published on MattWalkerKansas.com

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