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If you work for yourself doing government contracts and American Express asks for you to show them a current pay stub, how would you provide that? Is there a form that has an earnings statement that you can fill out yourself?It seems to me you should just ask American Express if they have form you can fill out. It seems odd they would want to see an earnings statement, but if you need to show some sort of proof of income, typically in the absence of a pay stub, your most recently-filed tax return should suffice.I'd really ask them first before automatically sending them your tax returns though.
What habits do doctors recommend for young people to adopt to have long and healthy lives? What are the common diseases in old age and what can we do now to prevent them?What can you do when you are young to protect yourself from common diseases in old age? Let’s get straight to it.Oh wait. We can’t. For that to happen, you’d first have to signNow old age, and there are a bunch of diseases that can kill you before that. So we’d have to talk about those as well.So how about I answer both questions in a nutshell by telling you how to avoid dying from the most common causes of death where you live? Okay? Okay. So, firstly, what are the most common causes of death?And secondly, before I blab, you must remember three things:None of advice I offer below is based on speculation or opinion or tradition (what your grandma said) or ‘alternative medicine’ like Ayurveda or Homeopathy (read: quackery). Nearly everything I say below is based on scientific medical consensus.All of my advice is purely practical. I’m covering preventable causes. Some causes of certain diseases in the list are unavoidable (genetics or city life, for example).None of my advice is exhaustive. I swear to God, listen carefully: I’m establishing basic principles here, not writing a how-to guide. Do not ask me for strategy and details in the comments section. Do not ask me for specific strategies and plans in the comments area. I will NOT respond to those comments, do you hear me? If you want to know how many kilometers you should run each week, turn that into a separate question on the site.Let’s start with the diseases at the top and work our way down.Ischemic heart disease and strokeThey both have a common basis in hypertension and high cholesterol levels. To beat the hypertension, exercise regularly and ingest less salt. To beat the cholesterol, reduce body fat, which again happens by exercise.But what kind of exercise? You could spend long hours performing a low-intensity exercise or short periods performing a high-intensity exercise. Opt for the latter. Brief bursts of high-intensity activity will both improve heart health and decrease body fat, whereas prolonged-low-intensity exercise will mostly do only the latter. So you should HIIT (High-Intensity-Interval-Training).Except, two problems. High-intensity exercise is often also high-impact. This can cause joint damage. And then again, sudden high-intensity exercise by a normally sedentary person can trigger a heart attack. (HIIT can be safely performed by people with a resting heart rate below 70 bpm).The solution? Start with low-intensity training to lose weight, strengthen muscle, bone, ligaments, tendons and moderately challenge your heart. Once your resting HR is less than 70 bpm, start HIITing on a regular basis.I HIIT five times a week for about thirty minutes. This is more than necessary. Four times a week for about twenty minutes is more like it. Oh, don’t forget to stretch both before and after to avoid tendon injuries.Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and tracheal/bronchial/lung cancersCOPD and cancers of the respiratory pathway have one common cause: cigarette smoke.So, never smoke. Don’t try it. Ever. Don’t smoke an occasional cigarette. Second-hand smoke is deadlier than first-hand smoke (the particles are smaller and hence are less likely to be filtered; the particles are further oxidized and are hence more carcinogenic). Water does not dilute the carcinogenic effect; do not burble it through a hookah.COPD has a strong association with atmospheric pollution. While I cannot tell you to get out of cities, I can give you a practical solution if you live in a city with heavy air pollution: avoid two-wheelers. Opt for transportation methods that allow travel in a controlled environment, like a car. It’s a small improvement but it counts.And avoid going running outdoors in the early mornings. Because temperature drops at night, the atmospheric soot settles closer to the ground overnight. Particulate matter in the city air is higher in the early morning. Early morning joggers are simply accelerating their lung pollution: they’re taking deep breaths in extra-polluted air. If you must run early mornings, run indoors. Or wait till the air begins to heat up, around, say, nine a.m. into the morning.Lower Respiratory Tract infectionsAlso called pneumonia. It isn’t always directly because of some deadly virus. The people who are affected the most by it often have already compromised lungs: smokers, old people, infants.So get your vaccines on schedule when you’re young. No they won’t cause autism. And get your influenza vaccine when you’re old, i.e., after 60. Remember that they give you a different influenza vaccine at each time on your schedule. Influenza vaccines are not boosters. We change them to match the virus as it evolves.Also don’t smoke, like I said before. It will damage your respiratory tract and your urinary tract.Remember that the risk of pneumonia is not increased by cold. It is increased by suddenly lowering core temperature. So when you are soaking wet, avoid sudden transitions from a hot environment to a cold one. If you step out of a steam-filled shower into a bone-chilling AC room, towel off immediately. Don’t stand around and let the water evaporate, drawing from your body heat to do so. Ideally, towel off inside the warm bathroom.Diabetes mellitusOne form of diabetes is caused by destruction of certain cells in the pancreas at a very young age. Lifestyle changes don’t stop that. But the far more common variant is the other variety. It is caused by having too many fat cells and resting muscle cells (haven’t worked in years) in the body.Again, fix this by exercising and modulating your food intake.The key is that you have to exercise your entire body and you have to lose weight. Barring an endocrine or genetic disorder, if you have been going to the gym for a whole year and have not lost any weight or gained any muscle, it does not count.I see people like this all the time, who complain the gym is not working out for them because “they’ve been going for a year but have seen no changes”. My response is to call them on their BS. Going twice a week in expensive ‘gym-wear’ only to stand around discussing fitness plans with the trainers and then walk for twenty minutes on the treadmill while glued to the TV does not count as going to the gym! When you are exercising, be there in the moment.Cut down on the sodas. Cut down on the cheese. Eat less red meat (beef, pork, mutton) and more white meat instead (fish, chicken). Eat less meat and more vegetables.Eat a heavy breakfast, a small lunch, and an even smaller dinner. Avoid snacking. Avoid grazing on other people’s food (which is actually a very subtle form of gluttony).Alzheimer’s diseaseCongratulations! If you can avoid all the above diseases, you can signNow old age, which is the point where you run the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.This disease is nearly unavoidable after a certain age (~90yrs) but you can offset it by keeping your mind continually active throughout your life.So get a schooling. And use it to get an education. If you’re Indian, like me, I’d advise you to marry late. Wait till your late twenties or early thirties. The reason is married life (with its many superfluous obligations that exceed your sworn duty to pleasure your partner in bed) can make an advanced education difficult.Forget Sudoku and chess and other ‘mind-games’. Read books that make you think. Have conversations that make you think. An easy way to do both: read non-fiction. Fiction, especially novel series by an author, discourages mental effort by sticking to a prefixed formula that the mind of the fan can orgasm to. Non-fiction, in contrast, is an education. Good non-fiction acts as social contagion; it sparks potential conversations. Argue a bit, for the sake of arguing; but not a lot.Try to avoid retirement. (Note: I will not mention the need for close friends and a social support circle because the above automatically induces such a support network)Never mind the antioxidant craze. The actual amount of antioxidants in dark chocolate and green tea and blueberries and every exotic idiot food item that is touted as ‘found by scientists (ostensibly!) to have abundant amount of
and and ward off depression and dementia’.Avoid Vit-C megadoses. Avoid megavitamins. Avoid health supplements that claim a spoonful a day will lengthen your life. You’re just making expensive urine. No amount of vitamin supplements have ever been proven to have even the slightest effect on risk reduction of any cancer ever.Also, avoid cannabis (marijuana). Yes, I support legalizing it because it is not addictive, but that doesn’t mean it does not damage the brain. We already know chronic use has adverse effects. But our research is hampered by the fact that the drug itself is still widely illegal, but we suspect that when the cumulative research eventually comes in, you’ll be glad you didn’t smoke it on a regular basis.Road injuriesAvoid SUVs at all costs and at all angles. Avoid crossing the road in front of an SUV. Avoid driving an SUV. Avoid driving in the vicinity of an SUV. Definitely avoid people who aspire to drive an SUV.When a regular car hits a pedestrian head-on, it usually collides with his thighs, causing him to flip onto the hood. But an SUV tends to hit the person’s abdomen or chest, and so SUV collisions are more fatal to pedestrians.Vehicle safety comes in two forms: passive safety and active safety. Passive safety acts by creating an illusion of safety: surrounding the driver with a lot of metal, seating the driver high up so he can look down on traffic, overstuffed seats, etc. Active safety works by creating an illusion of un-safety: vehicle close to the ground, smaller bonnet, etc; thus causing the occupant of the vehicle to feel unsafe, and thus react by driving more safely.Active safety trumps passive safety. Drive a sedan or a coupe or a hatchback. These vehicles have a low center of gravity and are designed as cars, i.e. with a roll-cage designed to protect the occupants if the vehicle flips multiple times.SUVs are high, unstable, under-powered, and designed as trucks: a metal floor is just lowered onto a suspension and a roof is dropped onto it. If SUVs appear over-powered, that is mostly the passive-safety effect: the SUV driver thinks he is safe, so accelerates more than other drivers, who do not, because their cars make them feel unsafe.The kind of person who drives an SUV is the type with an external locus of self-worth: derives satisfaction from how people perceive him. Typically these people tend to score (on average) lower on IQ, EQ, and basic driving skills. I can happily tell you to avoid such people because they usually aren’t interesting (You want to meet really interesting people? Eschew even the sedans, and take public transportation.)Cross the street perpendicularly to reduce your exposure to the traffic. I see people cross it obliquely because they have weak knees and because of momentum.Wear a helmet if you’re riding a motor-bike/bicycle. Even if you’re riding pillion. I see couples riding bikes; and the driver has his helmet on but the person riding pillion does not. The must think the tarmac will excuse this person’s skull in event of contact.Oh, and get your vehicle emissions checked (for the COPD problem, as stated previously).Liver cancer and stomach cancerThere are at least two things you can do about liver cancer: avoid infection with the Hepatitis virus, and avoid alcoholic cirrhosis.For the former, the most important are Hep B and Hep C. To avoid both, ensure any needles that touch your skin (tattoo needles included) are sterilized or straight out of the package. Note that razors also count. Blood transfusions too: ensure you’re getting blood that has been screened.As for alcohol consumption, how much you drink matters less than how you drink it. One, even two glasses of wine every day of the week is much better than seven or fourteen glasses all together every Saturday evening. Avoid drunkenness. Avoid binges.For the latter, avoid H.pylori infections. It’s a bacteria that increases the risk of gastric ulcers and then inflammation. So get any persistent burning sensation in the stomach checked out at a hospital. And if you are prescribed a course of antibiotics for it, make sure you finish the entire course, instead of stopping once the symptoms stop (symptoms appear and disappear when bacterial load crosses a threshold; so the disappearance of symptoms does not mean the death of all the bacteria, and stopping antibiotics now will enable the remaining bacteria to evolve and become antibiotic resistant).That should do it.Look, the implications of following all the above advice is a life that involves regular dedicated vigorous exercise, less greasy-salty-meat, more veggies, no cigarettes, no joints, no pub crawls, a solid reading-thinking habit, basic sanitation and sterilization and good bowel function.And the problem is that this will automatically repel the YOLO crowd; the types who feel the pathetic need to jump off bridges while tied to giant rubber bands because they never have an adrenaline rush when they think of their work life or home life. Not all my generation is like that, but enough are; and they can create Instant-gram cultures strong enough to repel advice like this that is based on medical consensus.If you think the prescribed life is boring and restrictive, consider this: a thing may be labelled as restrictive when it reduces your options. Locking a person in a cage is socially restrictive because it reduces his conversational options. But becoming a groupie that tags along with a boy-band is restrictive as well because it too reduces one’s conversational options.There’s nothing more pathetic than someone raised in a traditional home model, given a standardized education, wearing factory-produced textiles, using a mass-manufactured electronic device to capture a picture of himself/herself to prove they are a ‘rebel’.Actually, you know what, I might be wrong. There is something more pathetic than such a person: it’s someone who looks at the cumulative knowledge of medicine, and says, “Lighten up, bro. Don’t be so boring. Just chill, man. Take a chill pill,” and then proceeds to spend the morning meditating (that is, staring at his crotch) and then goes to get a colon-cleanse afterward (because he did a lot of weed all of last week).So if you are that person, you know what? Never mind me. What do doctors know? Corporate stooges like me spend more than a decade in med school getting indoctrinated by pharma reps on how to fleece you, right? So ignore us. Go ahead and shoot up with your friend’s needle, smoke a joint or two, then drag-race your over-sized HUMVEE at 3 a.m. to the club while making fun of people who think for a living between puffs of smoke.I’ll be there for you if you make it to the morning.P.S. that last was purely rhetorical. Anyone sensible enough to ask and follow this question is obviously not the target of my closing statement. ;)
How should I plan a relocation?Relocation starts, usually, with a better job offer at another location. If you have a family, a period of cogitation will inevitably follow as moving house is all about letting go - for your spouse, who may be employed, for your children, who may be going to school or college, and for other dependents as well.Relocation policies or Relocation services differ from organization to organization, but even the most considerate of employers may not look for a job for your spouse, or school admission for your child.Meghnad Mitra, a finance professional who has made eight intercity shifts during his career, seconds Samanta: "Getting your child into a preferred school is the toughest bit."For journalist Swati Mazumdar, three transfers over six years for her husband, also a media professional, translated into her own career taking a backseat. While her experience ensured she landed a job every time, she says that not once did her husband's employer, a private TV channel, offer to accommodate her or help find her a position suited to her talents.Footing the bill. Apart from these domestic issues, there is also the matter of interfacing with the (current or prospective) employer to figure out how much of a financial hit you will take personally. While most employers will house you and your family at the company guesthouse, crosscheck if they will offer you escorts and vehicles when you go house-hunting.Find out, also, if they will extend you a loan for rental deposits. In cities like Mumbai and Bangalore, where landlords regularly demand and get deposits equivalent to 10 months' rent, it's a considerable sum. Even in Delhi, where a three-month deposit is a norm, the assured availability of Rs 60,000 (on a monthly rent of Rs 20,000 for a mid-sized apartment) can be a huge relief.Some employers will also write off re-registering charges for cars as part of moving expenses. The idea, HR experts say, is to make the employee as comfortable as possible, as soon as possible, since any downtime is lost time. So you have to take the call on how far to push the envelope with your employers.The big decisionsBefore the move, you need to take a call on a moveable and immovable property.House. For any residential property you may own, either outright or on finance, you have three options: selling it, keeping it vacant or giving it out on rent.Property management. If the property is in your name and not financed, a sale may attract a capital gains tax, depending on the year of purchase. However, if the sale proceeds are used to buy another property for residential use, there is no tax. So, should you want to reside in your own place in a new city, study property prices well and then decide on a beneficial plan.If the house you currently occupy is financed and you have EMIs outstanding, you have to first find a buyer and then get the loan transferred to him. Alternatively, you can pay off the balance on your own. Get a clearance certificate from the bank after paying off the loan, but remember that early closure allows the bank to impose a loan pre-payment penalty.Property management services If you plan to return to live in the city in the near future, or if you are emotionally attached to your residence, you may want to keep the house vacant. You will still be required to foot maintenance bills. Also, should you want to buy a new home in the new city, either outright or on a loan, bear in mind that taxmen will consider one of your properties to be rented out, even if it is vacant, and thus liable for the tax.Rental management services Renting out your house to reliable tenants can give a steady income and take care of maintenance headaches.Securing EMIs. An outstanding loan calls for a few extra steps. If the EMIs will continue to be paid through your existing bank account, provide for sufficient funds. Once you are settled into your new home, inform the bank about your new account and direct deduction of future EMIs from there after completing the formalities.Cars. With a vehicle, the options are slightly different. You can either sell it or take it with you. The decision could depend on the state you are moving to. For instance, Karnataka demands that a certain percentage of the value of the car, decided by the make and the age of the vehicle, be paid as road tax on a transferred vehicle. Do you want to shell out Rs 15,000 or so on a four-year-old Santro, over and above the transportation costs? Will your employer make good the tab?If you want to keep it, then the law needs you to change the registration to that of your new residence within a certain period (it varies from state to state).For instance, if you are moving from Delhi to Visakhapatnam, you will need to fill in RTO forms in quadruplicate, pencil-stencil the chassis number, bring your insurance up to date and acquire the relevant certificates from the insurance company. If your signNows are in the clear, the RTO will provide you a NOC valid for 90 days.When you re-register your vehicle in Visakhapatnam, you will need to present the NOC and your vehicle, along with the originals of the registration certificate, the insurance signNows, tax receipts, and a pollution-under-control certificate. You will also need to pay the road tax as it is applicable in Andhra Pradesh. Technically, you can get a refund of this amount from the Delhi RTO. But this is no easy task.You also need to factor in the cost of transporting your car, either by road, truck, rail or air. This is potentially a bill for your employers to sponsor.If your car is financed, there will be another ring of formalities to tackle. The RTO in Delhi will demand a letter from the financing bank, stating that they have no objection to the vehicle being moved out of state limits.As in the case of a home loan, if EMIs for the car are to be paid through your existing bank account, you have to ensure the availability of sufficient funds.Once you and your finances are settled in the new city, you may inform the bank and complete formalities to debit future EMIs from your new account.The signNowwork is far less if you want to sell your car. If you own the car, you need to find a buyer, fill up Forms 29 and 30 and ensure the buyer transfers the registration to his own name. If it is financed, you can either get the loan transferred to the new buyer or pay off the balance on your own. Don't forget to get the clearance certificate from the bankers.Whether you are keeping your car or selling it, "all the signNowwork should be done at least a month and at most 10 days prior to moving," suggests Joshi. "Also, if the company packing and moving your belongings is moving the car also, be sure to get a good bargain."A month before...Before shopping for a moving company, you need to do a lot of work - organizing, brain-storming, signNow-tracking, and closet-cleaning. Considering that these are also likely to be the last days at work, be prepared for a pressure-cooker situation.Plan a visit to the new city to finalize a residence, keeping in mind proximity to work, school, and conveniences.Money memos. Identify the utilities on which you have a deposit. For instance, cooking gas and landlines. Track down the original signNows: you'll need them to get a refund. If they are missing then do the necessary signNowwork to get the all-clear signal.This could take some running around. Even if you decide to write off the deposit, no PSU gas agency will issue a transfer voucher, necessary for a fresh connection in the new city, without this statement.As far as MTNL and BSNL phones are concerned, the process is comparatively painless. But the refund will be dispatched only after due process to your new address, so make sure you mention it clearly in your request form.Cellphones are a different story altogether. According to V Venkatesh, the chief operating officer of Airtel Mobility, Karnataka, "Our customers can contact us through fax, email, our call center or any of our showrooms with a request for disconnection of services. On receipt of the request, we try to get in touch with the customer. If he's relocating to a state where we have Airtel services, we offer a new connection with the same facilities to ensure a seamless service experience."While the principle may be true across service-providers, information on how to surrender connections is not easy to access. None of the websites of the leading mobile phone companies, for instance, has a section on voluntary disconnection of services. Customer care executives provide notoriously contradictory information."Check that you cancel any standing instructions for ECS or direct debit facility at least a week before moving. Otherwise, you may end up with nasty surprises in terms of debits," advises Joshi.Taking into account. To close a savings bank account, again, you need the passbook and related signNows. Some private sector banks altogether deny the option of closing your account, in which case you can transfer or withdraw the entire amount from the account.If you want to keep the account, inform the bank of the change in address, and make sure it is added in their records.Loose ends. Landlords, schools, doctors, insurance, subscriptions, clubs - in short, everything that roots you to a city have to be seen to. As soon as you know you are moving, inform your landlord.Doctors, especially family doctors, should be kept in the loop as well, and tapped for referrals in the city that will be your new home.Schools are a trickier proposition. Till middle-school, leaving a school is more a matter of losing friends and familiar teachers than losing out academically (especially if the move can be coordinated with the end of the school year). But higher classes call for complete conviction before you can request for a transfer certificate.Some relocation experts, however, suggest that parents avoid moving during school holidays. That way, children avoid joining school on the chaotic first day.The run-up to the move is also the time to cancel club and magazine subscriptions (some require a lead time of up to three months) and to ask your insurance agent if he would like to continue servicing your policy. Closer to the date, inform your newsagent and cable operators, and settle their dues in advance.A week before...Deciding on the movers. If it is a company transfer, the choice of the firm usually rests with them. If the decision is up to you, seek recommendations from colleagues and friends who have moved between the same cities.Not all packer-and-mover companies have full-fledged services in all centers and you certainly don't want to be dealing with sub-contractors who have nothing at stake for your move. "A lot of people make the mistake of settling for a vendor who quotes a lower price," warns Singh. "But experience will tell you that the Rs 5,000 or Rs 10,000 they charge less usually translates into inferior service."If it's a short-distance move, advises Joshi, get the Packers to commit to free godown facility at either city. This gives you some breathing space between sending off your goods, catching a train or plane, and unpacking. For a long-distance move, sign up with a company that allows you to track the consignment on the Internet. That way, you will know exactly where the truck with your belongings is on any given day.Calling in the company. Once you have finalized the agency, an evaluation visit will follow and you will be asked to put a figure to everything you own for insurance purposes. Professionals advise you to err on the plus-side. Though this means a higher outlay (which will be considered part of the total cost), it also gives you better coverage. Also, bear in mind that for electronic items, the only external damage will be considered for compensation.If you have chosen right, the Packers will ease your tensions, not add to them. Use this time (and the last of the Internet connection) to list all the services you will need at your new home and collect their contact numbers from your current network. This covers water purifiers, inverters, white goods, satellite radios...everything that requires expert installation.This is also the time to consider the future of any potted plants you may have. Will they survive a long-distance road journey? What if the truck escorts forget to water them? Or would it be better to farm them out to friends and relatives? Donate at least one to your local park.Once the professionals take over, use the time to give the new address to your landlord (so your mail can be forwarded), last-minute meetings and a farewell bash. And, don't forget to congratulate yourself: the tough part is over.Clean slateThe good thing about moving to a new city is that, as a fresh consumer, you can expect great service from everyone. The bad thing is that you don't know anyone. So, start with your landlord. Once you have settled on a house, keep in touch with him and figure out the local vendor and domestic help network.Back to basics. If it is a long distance relocation, there will a gap of at least a few days between your arrival and the arrival of your household goods. Use the time to apply for a gas connection.Neighbors or your landlord could give you the agency details. Once you submit the transfer voucher, the new agency will seek confirmation from your previous agency, by post. The process can take up to a week.Similarly, contact the other service providers. Based on the arrival of the trucks, schedule visits. If you will be living in a housing complex, check out society rules regarding the entry of trucks and the movement of workers.Diana Ramsey, director business development of Going There, a destination services company, recalls a top-level German executive who had their consultant sift through 53 properties before settling on an apartment in Bangalore. "She (ensured) the bottled water supply was in situ in their apartment when they moved in, helped set up their bank accounts and standing order/ payment for rent, verified a German-speaking local contract driver-and-car and set up a supply of lactose-free milk for the wife's medical condition."Unpacking, reinstalling. You are unlikely to recognize any of the faces who arrive with your goods, but they should bear the same stamp of professionalism. Insist that furniture - each piece should be easily identifiable - be placed in their identified spaces, and then unpacked. Ensure they put together dismantled dining tables, beds and anything else they may have taken apart for easy transportation.At the end of the day, you'll be left with a huge amount of packaging material. Check with the moving company whether they will collect it, or if you should sell it for recycling. Once the domestic help is in place get recommendations for an electrician and a carpenter for essential modifications. Putting up pictures or photographs is the first step towards making a house a home.Pace yourself. Don't expect the flat to become familiar overnight. Give it time - and yourself too - to let your new home grow on you.Hope this added value.