CNBC make it 2024-02-18 02:50:53

People in this remote valley live to 100—they follow 5 distinct diet and lifestyle habits for longevity

In a little-known mountainous area called Hunza Valley, located far north of Pakistan, people seem to defy all medical odds.

It is primarily home to the Burusho and Wakhi people, who for centuries have survived and thrived in remote villages — with minimal amenities and rudimentary health facilities. Studies have found that the average life expectancy here is around 100 years.

My husband was born and raised here, and is from the Burusho indigenous community. After we got married, I left the U.S. and we settled down in the Central part of the valley.

Here are some intriguing habits that help the people of Hunza live longer:

1. They consume apricot seeds and oil

Apricot trees are one of the most important local crops in the valley. Studies have shown that apricot seeds can help fight cancer and other sources of inflammation in the body, in part due to a compound called amygdalin.

Nearly every traditional Hunzai dish includes apricot oil. Back in the day, it was made by hand, but now locals use machines to extract it from their harvested kernels.

My mother-in-law told me that 50 years ago, it was all anyone used to cook food with, even meat. Dried versions of the fruit also help with altitude sickness, and are boiled into a soup come winter.

2. They never stop moving

People here are healthy and active throughout their lives, well into old age. It’s very common to see folks in their 80s outside, even in the winter. Elderly family members still graze their cows and sheep, collect wood, and do other household tasks.

They also participate in community activities like “rajaki,” which involves cleaning out the elevated water canals when spring arrives.

Locals of all ages cycle, skate, and play sports like soccer and cricket every day.

3. They drink glacier water

Hunza is filled with dozens of glaciers, all of which melt throughout the summer.

A shiny, dark-grey liquid, “Hunza water” has long held the interest of scientists. Unlike other water sources, this glacial water is naturally filtered by layers of ice and rock and contains precious minerals.

Some argue that the water contains quartz (sillica) minerals in colloid form, which are considered to be powerful antioxidants.

The runoff generally lasts from May to October each year, which is when you’ll find it served at restaurants and in homes. Locals swear by it, and prefer it to filtered water.

4. They rarely eat processed foods

Almost every piece of meat eaten in Hunza comes from a locally sourced animal that’s been recently killed.

People rarely eat processed foods, and you certainly won’t find any fast food spots here. Meals are typically prepared fresh in the home daily, and almost every household grows some kind of vegetable.

Spinach is especially popular, and other favorites like tomatoes and potatoes are grown locally and organically.

5. They have strong community values

Neighborhoods and villages are tight-knit, and the people of Hunza take care of each other, especially the older members of the community.

Retirement homes don’t exist here. Elders are highly respected and attended to by their families.

With essentially zero crime, it’s safe enough for kids to wander about on their own, even at young ages. It’s likely one of the last places where you’ll see more outdoor play than iPad play.

Having lived here for for the past two years, I can happily say that I’ve never had the privilege of experiencing a society as collective as this one.

Samantha Shea is a Polish-American travel writer from Connecticut. She lives and works remotely in Hunza Valley, Pakistan, and runs women’s tours to the region. Follow her on Instagram and YouTube. 

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.

A shopping trip taught Barbara Corcoran this valuable 7-word career lesson

Barbara Corcoran turned an unpleasant retail experience into a business lesson she still uses today.

Years ago, while shopping with her brother, the millionaire co-star of ABC’s “Shark Tank” encountered a sales associate who left a bad taste in her mouth, she said in a recent TikTok video.

″[I was] trying to pay for a tube of mascara. From what I could see, the lady behind that counter had no intention of helping us. She didn’t even make eye contact,” Corcoran, 74, said. “I said, ‘Ma’am, can I please pay for my mascara?’ And she ignored me.”

Corcoran grew “furious,” she said, wanting to give the woman a piece of her mind, until her brother stepped in.

″[He] put his hand over mine and said to me, ‘Barbara, hold it. Consider: She’s doing the best that she can,’” said Corcoran. “He went on to say, ’You have no idea what she dealt with before she went to work this morning, what her life is like, what’s on her plate, what she has to deal with every day.”

Today, Corcoran thinks about those words often, she said: “She’s doing the best that she can.” And they taught her just how crucial empathy is as a soft skill, which she still uses as an investor and CEO.

″[Those] seven simple words made me a much nicer person,” Corcoran said.

The power of kindness in business

Being nice doesn’t just impact your own outlook: It makes you come across as more relatable and trustworthy to others. Kindness is a valuable leadership trait, according to a 2020 Gallup survey which found that workers have “four universal needs” when it comes to their bosses: trust, compassion, stability and hope.

Mark Cuban, Corcoran’s “Shark Tank” co-star, agrees. “I wish somebody would have told me to be nicer,” Cuban told the “Bio Eats World” podcast last year, when asked what advice he’d give his younger self. “Because I was always go, go, go … Ready, fire, aim. Let’s go. Let’s go faster, faster.”

Cuban’s lack of kindness, which he called an “underrated” trait, started to negatively impact his employees — so he made a conscious effort to change his ways, he told Vanity Fair in 2018.

“I went through my own metamorphosis, if you will. Early on in my career,” said Cuban, adding: “I wouldn’t have wanted to do business with me when I was in my 20s [and 30s] … So I had to change, and I did, and it really paid off.”

Kindness is a fairly easy soft skill to develop, experts say. You can start with something simple: During your next conversation or interaction with someone, ask them some questions and really pay attention to their responses.

“Listen both for the words being said and the feeling behind them,” psychologist Daniel Goleman told CNBC Make It in 2017. “Respond accordingly, with a sign that you understand, or offer a helpful comment.”

“One conversation won’t boost your empathy,” Goleman added. “But over time, exercising your curiosity and listening closely to others will help you sense more accurately how others think and feel.”

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.

The 10 U.S. cities where renters’ incomes go the furthest—No. 1 is in California

For Shalonda Lucas, living somewhere affordable hasn’t meant giving up the perks of a lively city.

The 39-year-old recruiter lives in Surprise, Arizona, which was named the second-best place in the U.S. for renters to get the most out of their income by a recent RentCafe study

“I just love this area so much,” Lucas tells CNBC Make It. “Surprise is one of those cities that’s growing — new businesses coming might have more job opportunities coming into play, and it’s a very diverse city. It’s continuing to grow and expand, and I see a lot of people, even from California, coming here.”

Lucas makes about $70,000 a year and pays $1,795 a month in rent. Though Surprise is slightly more expensive than where she previously lived in North Phoenix, Arizona, she says it’s well worth the cost and she’s still able to enjoy the entertainment and shopping Surprise has to offer.

“It’s very affordable,” Lucas says. “If you’re looking for something luxurious, that’s more upscale, and you’re looking for a city where you want to retire, Surprise is it.”

Surprise follows Sunnyvale, California, in RentCafe’s ranking. In Sunnyvale, high incomes help make steep living costs affordable for residents. The city’s average monthly rent of $3,013 is well above the national average of $1,702, but renters there earn a median income of $145,723 — nearly triple the national median of $49,201 among renters, according to RentCafe’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

In Surprise, the average monthly rent is $1,781, only slightly higher than the national average. But similar to Sunnyvale, the median annual income among renters is also higher at $86,236, helping make it a relatively affordable place to live. 

RentCafe’s study compared median incomes among renters in 189 U.S. cities with local average rent prices to see where renters can get the most out of their money. Though the cost of rent was the largest factor in the ranking, it also took local costs of necessities such as food, health care, transportation and more into account to rank the cities by overall affordability.

Here are the top 10 U.S. cities where renters’ incomes go the furthest, according to RentCafe.

1. Sunnyvale, California

  • Median renters’ household income: $145,723
  • Average monthly rent: $3,013

2. Surprise, Arizona

  • Median renters’ household income: $86,236
  • Average monthly rent: $1,781

3. Arlington, Virginia

  • Median renters’ household income: $102,710
  • Average monthly rent: $2,494

4. Bethesda, Maryland

  • Median renters’ household income: $99,315
  • Average monthly rent: $2,684

5. Alexandria, Virginia

  • Median renters’ household income: $89,845
  • Average monthly rent: $2,068

6. Westminster, Colorado

  • Median renters’ household income: $75,841
  • Average monthly rent: $1,864

7. Scottsdale, Arizona

  • Median renters’ household income: $82,865
  • Average monthly rent: $2,084

8. Round Rock, Texas

  • Median renters’ household income: $68,517
  • Average monthly rent: $1,574

9. Plano, Texas

  • Median renters’ household income: $76,824
  • Average monthly rent: $1,786

10. Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

  • Median renters’ household income: $54,594
  • Average monthly rent: $1,117

Though residents of the top places on the list may be able to make the most of their incomes, that isn’t the case for many people in the U.S. More renters than ever are burdened by the cost of their dwellings, according to a recent Harvard study.

In fact, half of U.S. renters put more than 30% of their income toward their rent, the study found. Experts recommend keeping rental costs at or below 30% of your income to help maintain financial stability.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say and the best way to talk about pay.

40-year-old millionaire who retired early only lasted 5 months—here’s what made her go back to work

My entire life used to be about maximizing my time for work. I spent over a decade building a career in New York’s tech scene.

I worked at Foursquare and Google, and in 2014, I started my business, Tech Ladies. My goal was to help women in the industry find jobs, negotiate and network. I hired a team and bootstrapped the company from $0 to millions in revenue.

I was proud of the mission, but I never exercised or took a vacation, and I rarely saw friends. I didn’t realize how burned out I was. I finally sold my company in 2021, but stayed on for a year to help with the transition.

Since I had seven figures saved, I realized that I could consider leaving the working life behind. So in 2023, I turned 40 and decided to retire early. The funny things is, I only lasted five months.

From retired to unretired

When I retired, we moved from New York City to New Jersey for my husband’s job. For the first time in years, I had a blank calendar.

I planted a flower garden. I started weightlifting and took long walks with new friends. I volunteered a few hours a week at the local soup kitchen and animal shelter. I fostered dogs and adopted a rescue named Addie.

Five months in, my quality of life had vastly improved. But I had mixed feelings, and at times it felt boring. I knew I couldn’t go back to 80-hour workweeks, but through volunteering at the shelter and spending time with my dog, I had come up with a business idea: an online community for Gen Z and Millennial pet owners.

I missed the creative outlet of entrepreneurship. I’d been in extreme work mode for so long that I thought cutting myself off entirely was the cure to my burnout. While I enjoyed my new hobbies, I didn’t feel challenged like I did when I was running a startup.

The truth is, I never had balance in my work life before, but I owed it to myself now to try.

The No. 1 lesson I learned about happiness

When I ran Tech Ladies, stealing even a 15-minute break felt impossible. I was obsessed with how much time I didn’t have, when I should have been paying more attention to where I put my energy and how it made me feel.

The most valuable lesson I learned is that you shouldn’t wait to do the things you dream about doing in retirement. So I asked myself three questions as I began my next chapter:

  1. If you didn’t have to work, what is on your list of things you’d do that brings you joy?
  2. How many hours a week would it take to actually do it? 
  3. What can you take off your plate to give yourself more time and energy to do it?

Your ability to free up time and energy will vary, especially if you are taking care of kids or older parents. Push yourself to be honest and audit your time relentlessly. Just don’t give it all to a job.

I started working in earnest on Juniper, my business idea, this past August and it launched in November. I’m bootstrapping the business again, and in the last few months started to bring in revenue. I’ve gotten a lot of joy from growing this new community.

Most importantly, I’m working a more manageable 40-hour workweek. I also have some non-negotiables: I carve out time to walk my dog, work out and cook every day — and I take weekends off. My husband and I also don’t skip vacations anymore.

I want to build another successful company, but my definition of success now is accomplishing my goals without sacrificing my health, or the things that bring me joy and purpose.

Allison Esposito Medina is the founder and CEO of Juniper, an online community and pet product discovery platform. She also founded Tech Ladies, an online network for women in technology. Before that, she spent a decade working at various startups like Foursquare and Google.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.

Crumbl Cookies started as a ‘fun side hustle’—now it brings in $1 billion a year

In 2017, two cousins with absolutely zero professional baking experience decided to open a cookie business together.

Now, Crumbl Cookies has more than 980 stores across the U.S., topping $1 billion in sales across all franchises while selling more than 300 million cookies in 2022, according to co-founders Jason McGowan and Sawyer Hemsley.

“I never imagined in my wildest dreams that we would do over $1 billion in sales,” says McGowan, 43, who estimates he invested about $68,000 of his own money to get the business off the ground. (The company declined to share its 2023 sales, saying those figures are still being audited.)

Crumbl’s rise began when McGowan, a former tech executive at companies like and television guide app i.TV, decided to start a business with his cousin. When their first store opened in Logan, Utah, in 2017, Hemsley was still studying marketing at Utah State University.

“We just thought it was a fun side hustle,” McGowan tells CNBC Make It.

McGowan and Hemsley had never baked professionally before, but they meticulously tested different cookie recipes and enlisted friends, family and strangers to taste-test them. They grew confident enough in a single recipe, Crumbl’s signature chocolate-chip cookies, to build their first location around it.

From there, the co-founders’ backgrounds in tech and marketing took over. The pair used social media to build a huge following “from the beginning,” McGowan says. They take cues from the fashion industry, by organizing weekly “drops” where they announce new, limited-edition cookie flavors on TikTok.

“It creates that hype. It creates that excitement. And it also creates some scarcity, because you can only have that cookie for that week,” McGowan says. Individual Crumbl cookies typically cost between $4 and $5 apiece, with the per-cookie price decreasing if you order packs of four, six or 12, according to the company’s website.

Crumbl’s social media following currently tops 16 million followers across platforms. It has become particularly popular on TikTok, with more than 7 million followers and a viral hashtag, ”#TasteWeekly.” TikTokers use it to post reviews, both positive and negative, of Crumbl’s cookie flavor drops.

As a result of that hype, Crumbl has attracted plenty of franchising interest — and used it to open more than 600 new stores between 2022 and 2023. McGowan says the pace will probably slow going forward — though Crumbl does intend to expand internationally, including in the U.K.

Crumbl has also attracted copycats, it claimed in a pair of 2022 trademark infringement lawsuits. Both eventually resulted in settlements with undisclosed terms. “Just as any company would, Crumbl chose to protect its brand,” says a company spokesperson.

Indeed, McGowan says one of his biggest lessons so far is that Crumbl’s success is fairly easy to replicate.

“As I get older and as I build this company, I realize more and more that everything that we do is really just something that anyone can do,” he says. “Whether you don’t have a mixer yet, or you don’t have a recipe for a cookie yet, you just get started.”

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.