Living Your Best Financial Life

11 Nutrition Tips For Travelers

Your Health & Your Wealth

This is a guest post by John Praino, Co-Owner of Training for Warriors Mahopac

Do you travel a lot?

If so, you can still stick to a healthy diet with a little advance planning. If you’re watching your weight, these are some simple techniques for cutting calories while on the go.

Advance Planning

1. Eat well before leaving.

It’s always easier to resist fattening foods if you feel full. Enjoy a hearty meal before you set out. If you have an early flight, get up in time to enjoy a home cooked breakfast high in protein. This will help you avoid eating processed airport food.

2. Call your hotel.

Phone the concierge or the front desk at the hotel where you’ll be staying. Ask for their recommendations for nearby organic farm to table or healthy restaurants. Research the location of the nearest grocery store. You can save money and calories by picking up fresh vegetables nuts and fruits to snack on.

3. Do some investigative work.

Go online to find your best options at the airports and destinations you have planned. Airport websites usually list their restaurants. Search local business directories by zip code to find ethnic or vegetarian restaurants, health food stores, and farmers markets.

4. Bring along bottled water.

Bottled water is a traveler’s best friend. Staying hydrated helps keep you from feeling hungry. Plus it’s super expensive at the airport so bring your own!

5. Pack your own meals and snacks.

Preparing your own meals and snacks will give you more control over your diet. Put together a trail mix of nuts, hard boiled eggs, vegetables or fruits. Fill zip lock bags with cut vegetables or peanut butter & celery.

6. Keep your car stocked with healthy snacks.

Many people spend long hours in their cars. Always have water and healthy snacks handy. Stopping at a food mart or quick stop leads to eating processed food full of hydrogenated oils, trans-fats and sugar. Stick to healthy snacks from home, it’ll also save you money!

Eating Away From Home

1. Control your portion sizes.

You can enjoy dining out and still eat like a thin person. Make a meal out of a couple of appetizers instead of a full size entree. Cut your entree in half and take the leftovers back to your hotel for breakfast.

2. Eat slowly.

Slowing down is a simple and effective way to consume fewer calories. You’ll recognize when you’re full instead of overeating. Put your fork down in between bites.

3. Learn to read menus and ask your waiter questions.

They are there to serve you. Ask them what kind of oils they use to cook their food. If it’s vegetable or canola ask them to cook your food in butter. Yes butter. Butter is much healthier than the rancid hydrogenated oils many restaurants use. Skip the bread before dinner, trade in the rice or pasta for extra veggies and steer clear of fried food!

4. Avoid high calorie drinks.

Soft drinks, shakes, and many cocktails can add on a lot of calories. Drink water with your meals. At the bar, order a small glass of wine or a vodka drink with soda and lime instead of the jack and coke or bourbon and ginger.

5. Ask for slimmed-down dishes.

Many restaurants offer lighter dishes for the health conscious. You can also ask for sauces and dressings on the side or substitute another vegetable for the potatoes.

It can be challenging to eat right when you’re away from home. Planning ahead will help you avoid being tempted by fast food. A nutritious diet will give you the energy you need to enjoy your travels and return home without any excess baggage.

7 Tips to a Financially Secure Retirement

If you haven’t retired already, at some point you’ll probably want to. Financial security in retirement doesn’t just happen. It takes planning, commitment and money. You’ll need enough money to potentially live on for at least 20 years, probably more. With the average life expectancy in the U.S. at nearly 80 and growing (1), you’ll want to be sure you can maintain the lifestyle you envision throughout your retirement years.

To help you focus on what you should be doing to succeed, here are 7 planning tips:

1. Make Saving a Habit

If you are already saving every month, awesome! Keep going! If you’re not, start now. The sooner you start the more time your money has to grow.

2. Know Your Retirement Expenses

This is much easier to do the closer you get to retirement. A twenty or thirty year old may have no idea what those numbers will eventually be. If that is you, concentrate more on the other tips. For those of you with retirement in your sightline, figure you will need AT LEAST 70% of your pre-retirement income to live comfortably. Knowing what you need is the key to getting what you need. The key to a secure retirement is to have a clearly defined goal.

3. Participate in your 401(k) or 403(b)

If your employer offers a 401(k) plan or 403(b) plan sign up and aim to contribute to the maximum. Over time, compound interest and tax deferrals can make a huge difference in the amount you accumulate for retirement.

4. Invest Wisely

Diversify your savings to reduce risk (i.e. don’t put it all on black!). In a nutshell, risk simply means how much money could you potentially lose with your investments. To check your current tolerance for risk use our free tool. It will give you something called your Risk Number™ which is a great starting place to see how much risk you can emotionally handle. You can then compare that to the Risk Number™ of your current portfolio and see if they match up or if you potentially need to make changes. Keep in mind, your investment mix may need to change over time due to age, goals, and circumstances, so it’s always a good idea to monitor your risk tolerance and portfolio allocation. Remember, financial knowledge and financial security go hand in hand.

5. Check Your Social Security Benefits

Social Security benefits provide supplemental income to you and your spouse during retirement. If you are counting on social security to bail you out, think again. Social Security provides enough for you to live around the poverty line. Check the Social Security website to see how much the government will pay you every month.

6. Ask Questions

The more you know, the better your chances of enjoying financial security in your retirement years. Talk with your accountant or financial advisor. Better yet, book a meeting with me right now! Ask questions and get good advice. Build a plan, and stick with it.

7. Make Planning for Your Retirement a Priority

Use our retirement check-up tool to find out if you are on the right track. It’s never too early or too late to start saving for your future. However, the longer you wait or leave things to chance, the less likely you will live a financially secure retirement.

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” -Alan Lakein

If you know anyone that could benefit from this advice, feel free to share this video with them. Good luck on your journey toward a financially secure retirement.

For more financial planning tips, download my free report: “8 Steps to Organize and Optimize Your Financial Life”. Thanks for reading!

Your Health & Your Wealth: The 1 Thing That Will Improve Your Golf Game

This is a guest post by John Praino, Co-Owner of Training for Warriors Mahopac

Spring is finally upon us!

Spring is a time for new beginnings, new flowers start to grow, trees begin to fill with leaves and people start to take part in outdoor activities. One of those popular activities is golf!

How did your golf season go last year?  Did you get better or was it an inconsistent mess?

Are you going to have a new fresh start to your golf season?

Are you Golf Ready?

I figured out how you can get Golf Ready and have a more consistent and successful golf season!

Golfers often seek to improve their game by buying new equipment, playing more golf, or taking lessons. Although these are some possible solutions, there are many times our golf game is not a reflection of our skill as a golfer or the equipment we use. It is actually a reflection of our body’s physical limitations.

How can someone expect to drive the ball further or have a consistent swing when his or her body lacks the proper foundation to swing the club and play the game?

My Approach to Being a Better Golfer:

When Tiger Woods debuted in 1996, a component to the game rarely talked about emerged: physical conditioning for your golf game.

Since then, the idea of working out to become a better golfer was something that became common.

My question is, how do we work-out and what parts of the body do we train to play better golf? What exercises and muscle groups help the golf swing? Can certain exercises and muscle groups hinder the golf swing? Is there a different routine for different types of golfers?

My answer.


In my opinion the average golfer doesn’t need to be focusing on accute muscles and movements via sport-specific, complicated exercises.

You want to be a better golfer?

Get stronger. The end

Recreational golfers don’t need to complicate things.  You simply need a workout routine that incorporates the right kind of strength training and flexibility exercises that will give you that extra edge to stay in golf shape year-round.

If I’m being specific, rotational power is the key to improved golf performance. To hit a golf ball with power and accuracy, you need to strengthen the muscles used to putt, drive, and swing. The keys would be to strengthen your legs, abdominals, hips, back, arms.

Here’s a good idea…

Strengthen your ENTIRE body. Just get in better shape!

For golfers, I emphasize a full-body approach developing strength of both bones and muscles, which can of course come from a comprehensive weight lifting program.

The bottom line is this: By developing stronger muscles and bones throughout your entire body, you will increase fitness and play better. A simple, safe and short routine will accomplish this task.

Strength Training:

When you start a strength training program you are adding resistance to your body (muscles, tendons, joints and bones) in the process making them stronger.

Strength training has many benefits.  For instance, if you suffer from low back pain like so many golfers do, strengthening the hips, core and low back will help reduce the pain that you get as you go through the course. You can accomplish this with simple exercises like squats, deadlifts, pushups, planks, weighted carries, sit-ups crunches and various other core exercises.

Here are some other key reasons why focusing on strength will improve your golf game:

  • Better Balance
  • More Strength
  • Boosts confidence
  • Decrease body fat levels
  • Reduce incidence of Injury
  • Positive effect on bone density
  • Better sleep: exercise enables a better sleep pattern to develop
  • Decreased stress: you are doing something for YOURSELF
  • Range of motion and flexibility increases

Strength Training Misconceptions:

Unfortunately, golfers have traditionally avoided weight training for muscle strengthening and injury prevention.

Many feared that it would reduce their joint flexibility and decrease their club speed.

These assumptions are completely untrue.

Let me just debunk a MYTH that I hear all the time from most athletes that play Baseball (FYI I played baseball in HS, College and Semi-Pro).

When they inquire about strength training here’s the question:

“I need to stay loose to be able to swing and throw, I don’t want to be muscle bound, doesn’t working out with weights make you tight”?

THE ANSWER IS NO!! It takes a whole lot of dedication nutritionally and in the weight room to put on muscle and get totally jacked up. If you follow a comprehensive strength program that includes flexibility and mobility the end result will be a leaner, stronger, more flexible, better golfer.  Would you sign up for that?

How You Should Get Started:

If you’ve never lifted weights or it’s been a long time since you’ve lifted weights don’t let that stop you, if you find a qualified coach (like the one’s here at Training for Warriors Mahopac) they should explain each exercise, progress you through the workout and build your confidence.

  • The basics of setting up a program:

    • Start slowly. This will decrease your chance of injury and soreness.
    • Start with single sets and work your way up to multiple sets.
    • Use the correct weight amount.  Using too much weight will increase your chance of injury because your form will suffer. However if you’re not using enough weight your muscles will not be challenged and you won’t experience the desired benefits of weight training.
    • Give your muscles time to rest and recovery.  You should wait at least 24 – 48 hours before you train the same muscle group once again.


  • Weight training doesn’t have to be boring

    Switching up your routine monthly is the perfect way to receive strength gains and to decrease boredom. Keep your routine interesting by using the machines, free weights, bars, bands, kettle bells, med balls and even your own body weight.


My best advice if you want to have a better season is not to complicate things. Get started on a solid program now and have fun out driving all of your buddies!

3 Important Tips To A Healthy Retirement

Your Health & Your Wealth

This is a guest post by John Praino, Co-Owner of Training for Warriors Mahopac

You’re retiring!

You’ve made the announcement.

You’re family, friends and co-workers have thrown more parties and functions than the Yankees did for Derek Jeter.

But are you ready?

Just as you proudly grew your financial nest egg, hopefully you’ve also invested in your health.

How do expect to insure a secure retirement without your health?

How do you expect to enjoy all of your hard work if you’re going to the doctor the majority of those golden years.

So, investing in your health is just as important for your bottom line as investing in your 401(k)

A major life change like transitioning into retirement can be stressful, even if retirement is a happy and welcome change from working.

So what’s the secret?

Start now!  You’ve already planned for your fiscal future, why should your physical future be any different.

Here are 3 tips you can use to stay healthy as you move into retirement and beyond.

1. Get Moving and Stay Moving:

Regular physical activity also improves functional abilities we need for daily living.

These benefits are both physical and mental.  Physical activity improves mood and can create more energy.

Regular physical activity can reduce your chances of diseases such as cancer and Heart disease. It will improve balance, agility and strength.

Older adults can even increase muscle and bone strength through using their major muscle groups at least twice per week.

Age means nothing! staying active will allow you to feel healthier and enjoy life more than ever!

In the years before you retire, I would suggest developing a routine of regular physical activity that will carry on into retirement.

When you retire, your daily routines will certainly change.  This change can be a challenge; one of the best ways to adapt to retired life is to follow fun and fresh routines that include physical activity.

Here are some tips:

  • Do what you love to do. This could mean activities you have done for years, such as walking, swimming or tennis – or something new and different like Training For Warriors or yoga.
  • Lift weights.
  • Find a partner or a group of friends who enjoy similar activities. This can help motivate you!
  • Take advantage of available times while others are working and schedule your activities to avoid busy times on the golf course or ski trails, or at the swimming pool and gym.
  • Be active with your family, take your kids or grandchildren walking, hiking camping, fishing, cycling or even kayaking. Get involved with their lives and what they’re doing.
  • Aim for at least 3-5 days of physical activity each week, remember it doesn’t have to be super intense everyday.  Mix your and match your activities, keep it fresh!


2. Healthy Eating:

Are you looking to spend all of you money fixing problems caused by a poor diet?

I ask because your diet greatly influences your long-term health. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy yourself and never have some of your favorite (but less healthy) foods. However, you should pay attention to what you eat.

Sugar and Ultra-Processed foods are making us fat and shortening our lives.  Live happier and healthier by eliminating all processed foods such as grains, sugar and industrial oils.

Fruits and vegetables can help your health, as can nuts, fish, and other heart-healthy foods. Also, consider “brain foods” like salmon and blueberries. These can improve your mood and help your brain avoid deterioration.

I have profiled healthy food options off of the TFW Warrior 20 nutrition checklist and broken down the foods into Proteins, Carbohydrates & Fats.

Avoid spending your money on future medical bills and start incorporating these foods into your diet.


1. Lean Meats

Including meat in a well-balanced diet is a way to get a sufficient amount of high-quality protein. You don’t need to give up meat just because you’re trying to lose weight. The key is to stick with lean meats because they contain less total fat, as well as lower amounts of saturated fats.

Examples: Organic Chicken & Turkey, Grass-Fed Beef, Lamb & Bison,  Look for phrases like “grass fed” (beef, bison) “free range” (chicken, turkey), “organic” (all meats)

2. Wild Caught Fatty Fish

Fatty fish is high in protein and provides heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. If it’s not wild caught don’t eat it!

Examples: Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel, Anchiovies

3. Eggs

Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse. The white packs a lot of high-quality protein and the yolks healthy fats & cholesterol as well as micronutrients like vitamin A, calcium, and phosphorous.

If you can afford it, look for local varieties of pasture raised eggs. Try the farmer’s market or gourmet grocery stores. If not, at least stick with organic, cage free, free range eggs. At  the very least they weren’t packed into cages and pumped with drugs. These eggs tend to be pricey however your health is worth money.


This just in….Carbs are not the ENEMY! If you are a person that likes to exercise (and you all should be that person) then a low-carb diet for a long period of time may hurt more than it helps. Reducing your intake of healthy carbs can lead to a slow metabolism, lower levels of muscle/strength-building hormones & higher levels of stress hormones. As a result your weight loss will probably slow down or stop.

1. Sweet Potatoes & Yams

Tubers like sweet potatoes are loaded with carbohydrate energy.  They are loaded with Vitamin A, which is important in the synthesis of protein.

2. Quinoa

Known as the “mother of all grains” by the Incas.  Quinoa is higher in protein than most grains and can be a great replacement for rice.  It is also gluten-free making it an option for those of us with gluten intolerance.

3. Legumes

Beans such as Lentils and Kidney contain complex carbohydrates as well as fiber & protein.  Beans are loaded with antioxidants and minerals such as magnesium, iron zinc & potassium.

* Beans are difficult to digest so if you are a person that likes to eat beans I would suggest soaking them prior to consuming.


Healthy Fats:

Our bodies need healthy fats. They help slow down the digestion process so our bodies have more time to absorb nutrients, and help provide a sustainable level of energy.

1. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.”

It  has a unique combination of fatty acids that have a positive effect on fat loss and better brain function. Other health benefits include skin care, stress relief, cholesterol level maintenance, boosted immune system, proper digestion and regulated metabolism.

2. Nuts

Many nuts are rich in mono-unsaturated & omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help with inflammation and brain function.

Examples: Almonds (almond butter), Cashews (cashew butter) Walnuts, Pecans, Macadamias, Pistachios.  Avoid processed nuts as they lose a lot of nutrients instead opt for raw nuts.  The same goes for nut butters, avoid nut butters that are high in hidden sugars and hydrogenated oils.  Look for the most minimally processed options possible.

3. Seeds

Seeds, like nuts are a good source of fat.  Seeds are rich in fiber and can help you feel fuller longer

Examples: Chia, Flax, Hemp and Pumpkin.


Warrior 20 Graphic small

Start building your healthy diet and DOWNLOAD our Warrior 20 checklist FREE.

Start incorporating this important checklist in your diet:

3. Attack Your Bucket List:

How often do you say you wish you had more time to do amazing things like drive cross country or sky dive.

Well you will when you retire!

Retirement opens up doors and once in a lifetime opportunities for bucket list activities to become a reality. You can do anything and become anything that you want. If you’ve always wondered what would have happened if your life had taken a different turn, this is your  opportunity to make that turn and see what happens.

Start fresh!

Today people that adopt a healthy lifestyle can live well into their 80’s and 90’s. So get out and hike the Appalachian Trail , go back to school, learn to play an instrument or open a business like Colonel Sanders who started Kentucky Fried Chicken at age 65!

With a healthy body, strong mind and solid planning you can look forward to a happy, active and fulfilling retirement.

3 Mistakes That Leave You Vulnerable to Identity Theft & Tax Scams

Despite all the media attention, tax scams along with Identity theft continue to plague the american public, especially during tax time. In fact, according to MarketWatch  the IRS  has seen a “400% increase in phishing and malware this tax season” compared to last season. So, what mistakes are you making that could potentially cause you to fall victim?

Mistake #1: Emailing Sensitive Information

The one is a HUGE problem, and the one I am most passionate about. Since email is so ubiquitous and simple to use most of us don’t think twice about sending our personal information to our accountants, financial planners, bankers, attorneys, etc. The problem is that most email is not encrypted and therefore not secure. Even services like dropbox are questionable when it comes to sharing documents containing your social security number, account information, etc, particularly if you are not using two-step verification. Don’t get me wrong, having free email and using a file sharing service like dropbox is great, just don’t use email for sending any information someone could potentially use to access your accounts or credit cards, open accounts in your name, or file a return to claim your refund! Also, be sure to add the extra layer of protection with dropbox if you plan to use it. If you need to send sensitive documents or information regularly, you should upgrade from free email and document sharing to a more robust, secure and encrypted solution. However, if you only occasionally need to send this type of information electronically, the person requesting the information should have their own solution in place for you to collaborate with them. For example, at Weiss Financial Group we use the Secure Client Website by eMoney and our affiliate company Weiss, Orro, & Stern uses SmartVault. Make use of these tools, because the more precautions you take the less chance you have of becoming the next victim of ID theft or fraud.

Mistake #2: Responding to a Phone Call From the IRS Saying You Owe Them Money

First off, the IRS will NEVER call your house if you aren’t already working with an agent. So, if you come home and you have a threatening message on your answering machine (do people still have those?) DO NOT call them back. If by some lapse of judgement you do call them back, DO NOT give them your Social Security number or other personal info, and NEVER give them money. It is a scam! Surprisingly, this scam keeps popping up every year, and every year people fall for it. My wife and I actually came home to one of these messages on our answering machine last year (ok, I admit, I still have an answering machine!). Obviously we did not call them back, however the message sounded authentic and was quite threatening. Want to hear a sample of one of these phony messages? Click here to watch a video I found on YouTube of an actual message left on someone’s cell phone. To see what the IRS says about all this, click here for a short video from the IRS regarding these scams along with some helpful scam prevention advice.

Mistake #3: Clicking on an email from the IRS or a Bank Requesting Personal Information

Clicking on emails from unknown sources exposes you to all sorts of bad things including a potential computer virus. So, as tempting as it is, train yourself not to open them! As I said before, the IRS will not call you at home, likewise they will not email you asking for sensitive information. Unfortunately, emails are quite easy to forge and fool you into thinking they are authentic. Just remember that the IRS will not send you a threatening email, so if you receive one don’t open it, and definitely do not hit reply.

I hope this gives you the ammo you need to protect yourself from making any of these mistakes. Be alert and be smart. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out.


  1. This material was prepared, in part, by MarketingPro, Inc.


Best Personal Finance Books of 2015

I often get asked for book recommendations, so I thought now would be a great time to pass along my favorite personal finance books of 2015. I’ve broken down my list into a few categories so you can find one right for you, but, truthfully, all of these are fascinating reads. As you’ll see, my favorites are those that manage to take complicated financial topics and explain them in an easy, approachable way.


Best for Parents:
The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money.
by Ron Lieber

This was actually my personal favorite, probably because, being a parent, it had the most direct impact on my life. Any parent today can attest to how difficult it is to make our kids understand and appreciate all they have. Stuff is so easy to acquire these days that they often take for granted all they have. Lieber outlines many strategies for dealing with this modern parenting issue, however, his take on allowance was the most intriguing to me. The premise is in order to teach our kids about the value of money, give them a weekly allowance not tied to chores. The theory is if you want to teach your kids how to budget, save and value their money, give them a weekly allowance. If you are trying to teach your kids about discipline and the value of hard work then focus on their studies, extra curricular activities and sports programs. I had my doubts, but figured I it was worth testing out since my previous attempts at giving allowances to my 6 and 9 year olds fizzled out after a short period of time. Surprisingly, it worked for us. I started giving my boys $5 a week in April. My youngest son initially spent the money as soon as he got it. My oldest son decided he would save his money to buy a new Wii. Between his allowance, birthday gifts, and various holidays he accomplished that goal quicker than my wife and I expected. The deal is they can use the money for whatever they want. Toys, apps, video games, books, whatever, it’s their money. My youngest soon learned the value of saving and stopped spending his cash so quickly. The bonus for my wife and I was that the kids stopped asking for stuff all the time. After 4-6 months they realized they could get whatever they had enough money for (and mom and dad approved of). If they don’t have enough money they now know they need to save. What they haven’t totally figured out yet is that they could make more money if they started doing some work around the house! The author suggests paying the kids for tasks you might pay someone else for. I got my youngest son to do some weeding in the summer but so far I haven’t had much additional success. I’m not saying this will work for everyone but both my wife and I were very surprised at how quickly the kids learned to budget, save and learn the value of a dollar. Definitely worth a read.

Best For Planning:
The One-Page Financial Plan: A Simple Way to Be Smart About Your Money
by Carl Richards

I believe everyone should have a financial plan. The problem is if you don’t know where to start, are just beginning your career, or you are not working with a Certified Financial Planner, you probably haven’t created one. This book outlines how to focus on the big picture and create a simple, workable financial plan. It clears away all the noise that distracts most people from creating a plan and helps you stick to the important stuff and get you headed in the right direction.

Best For Everyone:
Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending
by Elizabeth Dunn, Michael Norton

This is my second favorite book I read in 2015. Even though it was actually published in 2013 I kept in on my list because of how good it is. The idea behind it is that money CAN actually buy happiness… if you use it wisely. Their research revealed some fascinating things like luxury cars often do not provide more pleasure than economy cars, and that spending your money on experiences will give you more happiness bang for your buck than buying stuff. No doubt, after reading this book you will question where you are currently spending your money and if you are getting the most happiness you can out of those purchases.

Best For Pre-Retirees:
Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security
by Laurence J. Kotlikoff

Alright, admittedly this is the least exciting book on the list. I mean, who really wants to read a book about Social Security during their free time? Nevertheless, Social Security can be an incredibly confusing maze of options. Knowing which claiming strategy is best for your situation can be overwhelmingly difficult for most people without enlisting help. Choosing the wrong strategy can cost you tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime. This book explains the options in plain english and uses real world examples to help it make sense. I strongly recommend this book for anyone trying to decide when to start claiming social security. One caveat, with file and suspend having recently been eliminated, some of the advice is no longer relevant.

Want some great financial planning tips? Download my free report: 8 Steps to Organize & Optimize Your Financial Life. It’s packed with helpful advice, useful tips and valuable resources.

To learn what I can do for you visit