CNBC make it 2024-04-02 02:00:53


My family’s from a Greek island where people often live to 100: The 12 foods we always eat

On Ikaria, the Greek island where people “forget to die,” as one centenarian told longevity expert Dan Buettner, is one of a handful of Blue Zones around the globe where people live an inordinately long time. 

In 2009, Greek physicians and researchers found that 13% of Ikarians in their study were over 80, compared to about 1.5% of the global population and about 4% in North America and Europe. People on the island were 10 times more likely to live to 100 than Americans.

I have deep family roots on Ikaria, and for almost two decades, I’ve been running a cooking school out of the kitchen and garden of my village home. My pantry is culled from the traditions of the Mediterranean: chock-full of all the things that have long given food its flavor in this part of the world.

Here’s what’s in an Ikaria-inspired pantry:

Beans and legumes

These are among the seminal ingredients of the Ikarian way of eating. Adding them to your everyday meal plan is proven to increase longevity and can help you phase meat out of your diet. Try:

  • Broad beans (aka, fava beans)
  • Chickpeas
  • Gigantes (giant beans)
  • Lentils
  • Split peas

Garlic

I couldn’t imagine my life or kitchen without garlic! It’s the ultimate flavor-packing, healthproviding natural ingredient. There’s a virtual pharmacopeia of goodness in every clove.

Modern-day Ikarians swear by it. My daughter makes a preventive infusion of raw garlic, mountain or sage tea, ginger, and honey, which she consumes when the temperature drops or she feels a cold coming on — advice taken from our friend, Yiorgos Stenos, 91.

Garlic makes almost everything taste better. It sweetens up as it softens and cooks, lending an almost caramelized flavor to so many different foods.

Grains

Whole grains are an integral part of the Ikaria diet. Here are a few different types to keep on hand:

  • Bulgur
  • Farro
  • Pasta, especially whole wheat pasta and gluten-free, high-protein, bean-based pastas, such as chickpea and lentil pastas

Herbs

On Ikaria, myriad herbs grow wild and most of us can grow a few pots of fresh herbs at home, even if it’s just on the windowsill. I use herbs with abandon in many of my recipes.

Most families have a cupboard packed with dried herbs, the therapeutic qualities of which are contained in the knowledge passed down from generation to generation. Basic dried herbs include: 

  • Bay leaves
  • Oregano
  • Savory
  • Thyme
  • Mint

Nuts

Nuts are an important ingredient in many of my plant-based recipes and traditionally are an important ingredient in Greek regional cooking. They grow abundantly throughout the country.

Here are a few of the most popular — and healthiest:

  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Sesame seeds and tahini
  • Walnuts

Olives

Olives have been a staple in the Greek diet since prehistoric times, and they’re one of the many preserves I always keep stocked.

In Greece, they’re traditionally eaten on their own or in salads. I love to pair them with pantry staples like beans or pasta and other grains.

Olive oil

Olive oil is the defining food of the Mediterranean diet and an absolute must in the pantry. 

Many of the health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet, and, by extension, the Ikaria diet, are attributed to the health properties of olive oil. I only use extra virgin oil, which simply means the oil is unrefined.

Sea salt

On Ikaria, many people, myself included, use sea salt that collects in the small natural salt basins that have formed along the island’s rocky coastline over eons. It tastes better than regular table salt, which comes from mines and is heavily processed.  

Honey

This is one of my personal favorites. Consuming honey daily is one of the longevity secrets of the islanders. Honey is antibacterial, rich in antioxidants including flavonoids, and — unlike white sugar or artificial sweeteners — helps the body to regulate blood sugar levels. Many people here eat a spoonful every morning. 

You can add a liberal drizzle to your tea or a breakfast smoothie bowl, or whisk it into dressings.

Dried fruits

Figs and raisins are two dried fruits I always have on hand to use in all sorts of savory dishes, especially in salads and rice dishes.

Yogurt

Yogurt is a fermented food that has been part of the culinary tapestry of the Eastern Mediterranean for thousands of years. The traditional yogurt on Ikaria is produced with goat’s milk and has a delicious sour flavor and creamy texture.

If goat’s milk yogurt isn’t to your liking, you might prefer the Greek yogurt commonly found in American supermarkets, which is similarly rich in probiotics.

Feta and similar cheeses

Almost all the cheese Ikarians make and eat is produced with goat’s milk or sheep’s milk, like feta. Much of it is naturally fermented.

Over the years of teaching mostly Americans who come to my classes, I’ve had many guests who are lactose intolerant but are able to enjoy the island’s traditional goat’s milk cheeses and even a glass or two of fresh goat’s milk without a problem.

Diane Kochilas is the host and co-executive producer of ”My Greek Table,” runs the Glorious Greek Cooking School on her native island Ikaria, and is the author of 18 books on Greek cuisine, including most recently, ”The Ikaria Way: 100 Delicious Plant-Based Recipes Inspired by My Homeland, the Greek Island of Longevity.”

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From ”The Ikaria Way: 100 Delicious Plant-Based Recipes Inspired By My Homeland, the Greek Island of Longevity,” by Diane Kochilas, Copyright © 2024 by the author, and reprinted with permission of St. Martin’s Publishing Group.

36-year-old brought in $77,000 in passive income from Etsy in 2023—she spends 5-10 minutes a day on it

After years of building out her successful Etsy store, Rachel Jimenez is now focusing her efforts on other projects. The store features printables like Elf on a Shelf games for Christmas and has made six figures in passive income in past years. She founded it in 2019.

Etsy brought in $77,000 in passive income in 2023, with Jimenez working just “five-to-ten minutes” per day or so checking messages, she says. That, plus some of her and her husband’s other moneymaking efforts made her realize she could start being pickier about her projects.

In considering her “now what,” Jimenez realized she wanted to focus on projects that could both “have a bigger impact and help people,” she says, like her blog and newsletter.

Here’s how the 36-year-old is sharing her wealth of knowledge and building out her content, including how much each venture brought in last year, pre-tax.

‘Optimize Your Life Academy’ brought in $12,250

In early 2023, Jimenez released a virtual course about positive psychology and its ability to bring about success, “Optimize Your Life Academy.” That brought in about $12,250 in 2023 altogether.  

She publicizes it through various online efforts like email blasts and a free webinar she released. “I still have that funnel setup,” she says. “And so it’s still bringing leads in and people are still buying the course.” She charges $297 for it.

DON’T MISS: The ultimate guide to earning passive income online

In September 2023, Jimenez also launched another course, “Passive Income 101,” about what passive income is, how to start a passive income business and how to invest. Thus far, she’s only let the people receiving her newsletter know about it. She charges $97 for it and made about $900 from it last year.

Affiliate links in her blog brought in $24,000

Jimenez started her blog in 2019 and her weekly newsletter in October 2021. Both cover topics such as passive income, personal finance and positive psychology.

“I will say my blog, some weeks I miss,” she says about trying to keep up her posting routine, “but my newsletter I am proud to say I have not missed a week.” The newsletter is free and comes out every Thursday. It now boasts more than 8,000 subscribers, she says.

Altogether, the two take about four hours to write per week. The blog makes money through affiliate links and brought in about $24,000 last year. The newsletter makes money through ads and brought in more than $1,500.

Jimenez is currently working on sharpening her marketing skills to grow her audience in both. “Pinterest has always been a black box for me,” she says, so she’s currently taking a course about “how to use that to drive more traffic to blogs.”

Teaching brought in about $10,450

Finally, as of summer 2023, she’s teaching classes as an adjunct professor at Mt. San Antonio College.

Over the summer, she taught three: home-based business I, home-based business II and a mobile technology class teaching the basics of cell phone use like texting.

This semester, she’s down to just one, home-based business II, which focuses on marketing your business. She works three hours per week and makes $66 per hour. Last year she brought in about $10,450.

The classes give her an opportunity to talk to a potential audience of her content. “I can guess at what their problems are,” she says, “but when I have conversations with real people, that’s the best market research you can do.”

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.

I’m a CEO in Finland, the happiest country in the world: 3 phrases we use at work every day

Finland is the happiest country in the world for the seventh year running, according to the latest World Happiness Report.

Two major factors help Finns find happiness at work: a high level of trust in institutions and colleagues, as well as a strong focus on work-life balance, says Miika Makitalo, CEO of HappyOrNot.

The Finland-based company makes the smiley-faced feedback buttons used in airports and other retail spaces around the world. It employs 56 people in Finland, who are of 15 different nationalities, as well as some 15 people in the U.S. and around 5 workers in the U.K.

As a business leader, Makitalo says there are three phrases in particular that capture the Finnish mentality around finding happiness and contentment at work.

‘No one is born a smith’

Essentially, this phrase underscores that “no one is born as a professional,” and “there’s always things to learn,” Makitalo says.

The phrase is meant to empower people to aspire to do great work, even if they’re still learning on the job.

“If you dream of something, go for it,” he says. “Apply for the positions you aspire to. And when you land something, learn how to do it.”

Experts agree that having a growth mindset at work, or believing that you can improve your skills with practice, is an attractive quality in a star worker.

The Finnish phrase also emphasizes that it’s OK to make mistakes in the learning process, as long as you use those experiences and any constructive feedback to improve.

It’s a comforting idea, Makitalo says, that “it’s not required or expected to master [something] on day one. Have mercy on oneself.”

‘Serious business matters are taken care of; otherwise, we’ll be like Mary’s chickens on the loose’

This phrase comes from the classic Finnish novel, “The Unknown Soldier,” and is used to say that a team of soldiers will take care of matters expected of them, Makitalo says. After accomplishing the task, they’ll take it easy with the idea of being “chickens on the loose” as a positive thing: They’ve done their job and will use the rest of their time as they see fit.

Funny imagery aside, Makitalo says this phrase is meant to highlight the flat hierarchies common in Finnish work cultures. The main takeaway is, “Anything that is urgent will be taken care of. But we don’t care about structures, bosses — don’t come here telling me what to do,” Makitalo says. “I know what I should be doing. And I’m setting the priorities.”

As CEO, Makitalo says he supports hearing feedback directly from his employees. “Anyone in the organization can come to me and say, ‘Miika that doesn’t make any sense. Correct the strategy.’”

“I think that’s good feedback, especially if it’s based in facts,” he says.

Finnish workers may have different roles and supervisory responsibilities, but “we are all equal contributors, and this amplifies that,” Makitalo says.

It also prevents micromanaging behaviors and can empower workers to take ownership of their work. “When everyone in the organization knows the strategy and vision, they can act on their own and they don’t need to be told what is required,” he adds.

‘Forward, said the granny in the snow’

Another visual metaphor, this phrase is meant to help people work through challenges.

“There’s this playful idea that, even in four feet of snow, even a granny can say, ‘Hey this is not a big deal,’” Makitalo says.

There’s a mindset of: Let’s not worry, let’s not dwell on it, it will be taken care of when starting moving forward.
Miika Makitalo
CEO of HappyOrNot

This phrase might come up during a long meeting where people can’t decide on the next point of action. At a certain point, Makitalo says, you have to move forward and address the unknowns as they come up.

“The idea is, let’s get things done,” he says. “So there’s a mindset of: Let’s not worry, let’s not dwell on it, it will be taken care of when starting moving forward.”

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 top 5 U.S. cities to retire if you don’t have any savings—only 1 is in Florida

If you’ve got nothing saved for retirement, you’re not alone.

Nearly 30% of Americans have $0 saved for retirement, per recent data from personal finance website GOBankingRates. Another 33% have less than $50,000 saved.

If you fall into either category and you’re approaching retirement age, it may be time to start preparing to live on a smaller budget after you stop working, says Anne Lester, a retirement expert and author of “Your Best Financial Life: Save Smart Now for the Future You Want.”

“You’ll need to start thinking about how you can start paring back your standard of living and gradually get used to having less money to spend post-retirement,” she tells CNBC Make It.

If you don’t have much money saved up in a retirement account such as a 401(k) or a Roth IRA, you may need to rely on your Social Security benefit to cover your expenses — which may not go very far. The average monthly benefit is around $1,773 as of February, per the Social Security Administration.

With that in mind, GOBankingRates analyzed the 100 biggest U.S. cities with a large population of residents over 65 to determine the best place to retire on little to no savings. It ranked each city on a variety of metrics, including the city’s average home value, annual grocery costs, annual utilities costs and whether the state taxes Social Security benefits.

The study used data from a range of sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey, the Tax Foundation and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey.

Here are the top five places in the U.S. to retire if you have little to no savings, according to GOBankingRates.

1. Foley, Alabama

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 31%
  • Average 2023 home value: $296,232
  • Social Security benefits taxed: No
  • Average annual grocery costs: $4,326
  • Average annual health-care costs: $8,120

2. Mountain Home, Arkansas

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 28%
  • Average 2023 home value: $199,388
  • Social Security benefits taxed: No
  • Average annual grocery costs: $4,277
  • Average annual health-care costs: $6,482

3. Hot Springs Village, Arkansas

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 63%
  • Average 2023 home value: $289,418
  • Social Security benefits taxed: No
  • Average annual grocery costs: $4,407
  • Average annual health-care costs: $6,749

4. The Villages, Florida

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 86%
  • Average 2023 home value: $418,926
  • Social Security benefits taxed: No
  • Average annual grocery costs: $4,591
  • Average annual health-care costs: $6,882

5. Bella Vista, Arkansas

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 32%
  • Average 2023 home value: $322,770
  • Social Security benefits taxed: No
  • Average annual grocery costs: $4,385
  • Average annual health-care costs: $6,461

To that point, if you’re approaching retirement age and have little to nothing saved, you may need to make some tough decisions.

For instance, you may need to consider delaying your retirement in order to receive a higher Social Security benefit or picking up a part-time job to help supplement your post-work income, Lester says.

“It’s time to start getting serious about how much money you’ll have and how far that will go depending on where you’re living,” she says.

How to decide where to retire

Three out of the top five places for retiring with little to no savings are in Arkansas, which offers both advantages and disadvantages for retirees on a tight budget.

You could benefit from the state’s relatively cheap cost of living and housing expenses, which are around 8% and 22% lower than the national average, respectively, according to RentCafe.

However, in exchange for cheaper living expenses, you may need to forgo some perks, such as proximity to family or variety of things to do. While Arkansas offers scenic natural beauty in the form of hot springs, caves and forests, you’d need to travel a bit in order to relax on the beach, for example.

And remember, although lists like this can provide helpful context, where you choose to retire will depend on many personal preferences outside of living costs. If you’re thinking about relocating, a good rule of thumb is to visit your potential retirement destination ahead of time to get a feel for what it may be like to live there long term.

“If you think relocation is in your future and you’ve got the budget for it, check out some places to start seeing what’s possible,” Lester says.

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

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The day Mark Cuban became a millionaire, he took off his watch and threw it away—here’s why

Some people celebrate big career wins by splurging on a Rolex watch.

Not Mark Cuban. At age 32, he sold his first startup — a software company called MicroSolutions — for $6 million. That same day, he took off his watch and threw it away, he said at a SXSW panel earlier this month.

It was symbolic: After gaining that financial security, he didn’t want to feel like anyone owned his time, he said.

“Time is the one asset you can never get back. You can never truly own [it],” said Cuban, 65. “I wanted to be … in a position where I get to call my own shots [and] spend time the way I wanted to spend time. That was always my motivating factor.”

Cuban inherited that mantra at age 14 from his dad, who worked 60 hours per week for a company that upholstered cars outside of Pittsburgh, he told CNBC Make It last month. Sometimes, his dad brought him to work to show him what it looked like to work for someone else.

“This time wasn’t spent to learn about what my dad did, but to learn that his job didn’t have a future,” Cuban said. “His time was never his own … he wanted me to create my own path.”

When Cuban’s next company, audio streaming service Broadcast.com, sold to Yahoo for $5.7 billion in stock in 1999, he took a much larger step toward protecting his time: buying a private plane for $40 million.

The transaction is still the largest single e-commerce transaction in the Guinness Book of World Records. ”[Buying a private plane] was my all-time goal because the asset I value the most is time, and that bought me time,” Cuban told told Money in 2017.

Today, Cuban wears an Apple Watch to track his health metrics, he said at SXSW — but it hasn’t changed his stance on time. He spends most of it either with his family, helping run the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, appearing on ABC’s “Shark Tank” or running his pharmaceutical company, Cost Plus Drugs.

“I wanted to make enough money so I didn’t have to respond to anybody else,” Cuban said in a recently released MasterClass course. “I could make my own schedule and live my own life the way I wanted to do it.”

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

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.