CNBC make it 2024-04-05 02:00:54

I grew up in Italy and studied longevity for 35 years—the No. 1 way to eat for a long, healthy life

Valter Longo has been studying longevity in Italy for nearly 20 years, but having grown up in regions like Molochio, Calabria, he would say he’s been interested in how to live longer basically all of his life.

In 1989, Longo officially started researching what it takes to make it to age 100 and beyond. Now, he’s the director of the Longevity and Cancer Laboratory at the IFOM Institute of Molecular Oncology in Milan, Italy.

Longo is also the director of the Longevity Institute of the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California-Los Angeles.

Italy is the perfect place for Longo’s work, as its home to several areas where people live longer than most including Sardinia, which is the one of the first regions longevity researcher Dan Buettner designated as a “Blue Zone.”

One of Longo’s biggest takeaways in his studies is that “diet is by far the most important.”

Here’s what Longo says is the best way to eat for longevity.

Limit these 5 problematic foods

“I recommend what I call the longevity diet, which takes from lots of different things,” Longo tells CNBC Make it. “Both the Okinawa diet and the Mediterranean diet.”

Ideally, the longevity diet that Longo suggests will follow these characteristics:

  • Mostly vegan
  • Relatively low fruit intake, but high vegetable intake
  • Legumes
  • Tree nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Fish three or four times a week

From ages 20 to 70, he also recommends that people eat “no red meat, no white meat, maybe two, three eggs a week, at most, very little cheese [and] very little animal-based products.”

There are foods that Longo suggests limiting — he calls them the five problematic Ps.

They include:

  1. Potatoes
  2. Pasta
  3. Pizza
  4. Protein
  5. Pane (bread)

“I think they’re very good ingredients. They just happen to be problematic,” he says, “because people just eat tons of it, and they become sugar very quickly, almost as quickly as table sugar.”

Longo also believes that fasting in a safe way contributes to longevity — “I recommended 12 hours of fasting daily. Let’s say you eat between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. [or] 7 a.m. [and] 7 p.m.” — and is a proponent of periodically implementing a fasting-mimicking diet for five days at a time.

The fasting-mimicking diet involves eating a diet “high in unsaturated fats and low in overall calories, protein and carbohydrates,” according to the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.

A recent study published in the journal Nature Communications (in which Longo was a senior author) found that the health of mice — adhering to the fasting-mimicking diet — was associated with reduced biological age and a lower risk of developing diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart conditions.

Longo says, “Those periods of fasting were probably key to maintaining functionality and staying younger.”

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The highest-paying in-demand tech skill, according to Indeed—it can pay over $150,000 a year

Employers are ushering in the age of AI. Nearly half, 45% of high level execs say they are actively upskilling and training their workforces in AI, according to a January 2024 Deloitte survey of 100 corporate executives. About the same amount, 44%, say they’re currently hiring for it.

It should come as no surprise, then, that among the highest paid tech skills, generative AI comes in at No. 1. That’s according to a recent report by job search site Indeed, which calculated which tech skills make the biggest difference in salary. When a job included generative AI as a desired skill, its salary was 47% higher, Indeed found.

“We are seeing a continued interest in AI-related jobs and skills,” says Maggie Hulce, executive vice president and general manager at the job seeker division at the company. “Searches for generative AI jobs on Indeed have surged nearly 4,000% in the last year, and job postings for generative AI roles have seen a remarkable 306% increase since September 2022.”

Here’s what employers are looking for, specifically, and how to gain some generative AI skills yourself.

The average salary potential is $174,727

When it comes to hiring, some employers are looking for experts who can help them build AI tools for their business.

Among the job titles that include this type of skill are machine learning engineer, which designs computer programs for solving problems, and software engineer, Indeed found. The average salary potential for a job that includes generative AI is $174,727.

Other employers may simply be looking for people who know how to use generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot themselves to cut work time on administrative tasks, for example. Fiverr experts who offer to create images using generative AI tool Midjourney charge as much as $300 per project.

‘Consider taking advantage of resources your employer has to offer’

If you’re keen to either improve your generative AI skills or are even starting from scratch, there are many ways to go about it.

“Some effective methods for learning these tech skills include enrolling in online courses, attending boot camps, or participating in other training programs tailored to AI development,” says Hulce. “These resources provide practical experience and can accommodate busy schedules.” Various colleges and universities offer courses, as well as companies like Google and Udemy.

“If you’re interested in upskilling within your current company, consider taking advantage of resources your employer has to offer, or asking what options for upskilling may be available,” she says. “Lean into your network. Your co-workers and peers can often serve as additional resources to discover new tools, trainings and opportunities to upskill.”

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. CNBC Make It readers can save 25% with discount code 25OFF.

10 U.S. states where everyday Americans earn the most money—No. 1 isn’t New York or California

If you had to guess where America’s highest earners live, you might imagine the booming metropolis of New York City or the tech-heavy cities that make up Silicon Valley.

But the state where workers earn the highest median annual wage is actually Massachusetts, where the median income as of 2023 is about $60,690, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Workers in the District of Columbia have a higher annual median wage at $84,450, but Massachusetts is the highest-earning state.

A number of reasons help workers in Massachusetts earn higher salaries. The state is home to booming biotechnology and engineering hubs, which are well-known industries for high-paying jobs. Top colleges like Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which historically churn out high earners, may also drive Massachusetts’ median wages up.

Check out the map below to see the median wage in every U.S. state.

The Northeast is a high-earning region, home to five of the 10 states with the highest median annual wages, including Massachusetts. The West Coast contributes two of the highest-earning states — No. 2 Washington and No. 10 California — to the top 10.

Here are the 10 U.S. states with the highest median annual wages.

While the wages in these states may seem outsized relative to other states, the cost of living is also generally higher in these areas.

Hawaii is the only state — not including the District of Columbia — where the average annual cost of living is higher than Massachusetts, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

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The No. 1 personality trait employers always look for: It’s ‘universally valuable’

As a workplace psychologist with over a decade of experience, I specialize in helping organizations create great experiences for their employees and job candidates. 

I speak with hundreds of executives and HR professionals every year about what is most important to them. While they occasionally have concerns about how to deal with trends like “quiet quitting,” hiring good talent is always at the top of their priority lists.

Conscientiousness is the top trait that employers always look for in new hires. Here’s what that means, and why it’s in demand.

The personality trait employers prize the most: Conscientiousness

You may be familiar with the five factor model, also known as the set of Big Five personality traits.

  1. Openness to experience: Huge capacity for curiosity and imagination
  2. Conscientiousness: Organized, responsible and hard working
  3. Extraversion: Gregarious and energized by social interactions
  4. Agreeableness: Cooperative and unselfish
  5. Emotional stability: Secure and has predictable emotional reactions

While each of these personality traits can be important for certain positions, conscientiousness predicts performance across many jobs. That makes it universally valuable for employers. 

Conscientiousness transcends specific job tasks. Very often, the initial role that someone is hired for will change as the needs of the organization evolve. So employees who have this trait are more likely to find success, regardless of the job. 

How you can demonstrate conscientiousness 

During the hiring process, there are a few simple ways you can show potential employers that you possess this key trait.

Many pre-hire personality assessments are rooted in the Big Five, and employers use them to better understand candidates’ knowledge, skills, abilities and characteristics.

Then there is the interview itself. Effective interview questions will often ask about a time you engaged in a specific behavior that is relevant to the job as a way to better gauge your organizational skills and work ethic.

DON’T MISS: The ultimate guide to acing your interview and landing your dream job

When presented with these types of questions, use a consistent structure to demonstrate your conscientiousness: Explain the context, describe what you did, share the results and what you learned from the experience.

Recruiters and hiring managers observe candidates’ responsiveness to calls and emails, punctuality and professionalism — subtle cues that are all proxies for conscientiousness. So show up on time and proofread any written material to demonstrate that you can be counted on to take work seriously.

This continues even after you land the job. Employers and managers take note of small behaviors that indicate care, meticulousness and proactivity.

How to become more conscientious

If you’re not quite sure about your level of conscientiousness, do some reflection. You can talk with a trusted friend or colleague, or take a Big Five personality assessment online.

If you find that you’re conscientious, that’s great. Emphasize your diligence and work ethic.

If these traits don’t come naturally to you, though, that’s OK. You may be able to establish supports where you need them. Introverts, for example, tend to get drained by the constant social interaction that is common in workplaces. But they can still be highly successful by setting boundaries for themselves and carving out dedicated time to focus and recharge.

The same is true for conscientiousness. If you aren’t the most naturally organized employee, identify tools to help you stay on top of things, whether that is a digital assistant, time management coaching or a weekly calendar review.

Conscientiousness is a durable, transferrable trait that will always be sought out by employers. For people serious about finding a fulfilling job, it’s essential to be true to yourself.

If conscientiousness isn’t your strength, don’t pretend otherwise. That said, with practice, there are ways to develop that muscle. This will take some effort, but it might just help you land your next big job.

Dr. Benjamin Granger is Chief Workplace Psychologist and Head of EX Advisory Services at Qualtrics. He has over a decade of experience building Experience Management (XM) programs across the globe and leads EX thought leadership and research initiatives across Qualtrics and the XM Institute.

Granger is an instructor in CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview, which teaches 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. CNBC Make It readers can save 25% with discount code 25OFF.

How side hustles helped a 26-year-old earn $11,000 in just 100 days

Jackie Mitchell’s goal of saving up for a down payment on her first home might be a common money move, but her method of achieving it wasn’t nearly as conventional.

Mitchell challenged herself to make an extra $100 a day for 100 days, and documented her journey on TikTok.

When she wasn’t working her day job in the nonprofit sector, the 26-year-old turned to side hustles and passive income streams like surveys, focus groups and even playing online games to reach her goal. Over the course of the challenge, she tried more than a dozen different options.

Mitchell and her husband, who hail from Columbus, Ohio, were already saving up for their down payment when she chose $10,000 as a savings goal to tackle what was left. To make that number less daunting, she broke it down into a daily goal — $100 per day.

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

Not only did she succeed, but Mitchell ended up completing her challenge 11 days early and made an average of $110 a day, for a grand total of almost $11,000 in 100 days.

“It’s just been so surprising reminding myself that little bits of money make a big difference,” Mitchell tells CNBC Make It. “It’s kind of an encouragement to think that even if you make $5 a day, $5 is way better than $0.”

Here’s what Mitchell learned from her many side hustles, as well as tips and tricks on how to pick a hustle that’s right for you.

How to choose the right side hustle

If you have a specific amount of money you want to earn through a side hustle, the No. 1 thing Mitchell recommends is breaking a big goal down into a small one.

“If you’ve got a goal of paying off a car loan that’s $8,000, try to calculate how much you can reasonably do in six months,” she says. “What does that look like every month, every week, every day?”

While she began posting the challenge to hold herself accountable, Mitchell’s posts have inspired a number of her 125,000 TikTok followers to start their own challenges.

“I really do believe that at least some of the information I’ve been giving can be helpful to at least one person, one single mom, one stay-at-home mom or one college student,” she says. “And if I can help one person earn an extra $100 a month, why would I not post that?”

Find Mitchell’s three tips on how to snag a good side hustle below.

1. Consult side hustle communities

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the number of opportunities that are available to earn extra cash. For Mitchell, determining which side hustles were worth her time was “definitely trial and error.”

Sites like Reddit proved helpful for learning about other people’s experiences with different side hustles, from what they enjoyed and didn’t enjoy to any barriers to entry.

“There’s a really good Reddit called r/beermoney and it’s just what it sounds like — it’s not going to be anything like a remote work from home job that’s going to pay the full-time bills, but it is going to give you a little bit of extra money on the side,” she says.

Through Reddit, Mitchell found survey site Prolific and focus group side hustles. She also used the platform to choose what game offers to use on Swagbucks, an app that pays you to play games.

2. Play to your strengths

Mitchell recommends taking other people’s experiences with a grain of salt. Users in her TikTok comments often hate side hustles she loves, or love the ones she hates. 

In many of her videos, Mitchell does data annotation as a side gig before or after her day job. While it pays well, she says it’s one of the more difficult hustles and might not be for everyone. Requirements include passing an assessment that Mitchell says screens many people out and then editing, tagging and comprehending large sets of data.

“Understanding that everyone is different is really helpful when you get into things like side hustles, because it’s not one size fits all,” she says. “Otherwise, everyone would be earning the same amount at the same rate.”

If you have strong grammar and writing skills, data annotation could be for you. But other side hustles Mitchell used aren’t as demanding, like Swagbucks. She credits her Swagbucks earnings with helping pay for her and her husband’s flights to and from Paris last March. 

“I can do it laying in bed while I hang out, watch TV, do whatever. I think it’s just so easy,” she says. “If you’re going to play a game, why not get paid a little bit for it?” 

3. Be realistic with your time

Making nearly $11,000 in 100 days might sound amazing, but the challenge didn’t come without sacrifices. Mitchell says she was often working on her side hustles an extra three to four hours each day — time that she could have spent with friends or relaxing.

Committing to making side hustle income requires getting serious about how much time you’re willing to put in, she says. If you’ve only got one hour a day, you probably won’t be able to make $100 in extra income, and that’s OK.

“Understand that the trade-off is always either time or money and you can’t always get both,” Mitchell says. “It’s really not bad to value your time over money. Finances are a part of life, but they’re not the point of life.”

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.