Always on the line…is social media bad for your health?

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This week has seen a resurgence in discussion about the effect mobile phones are having on our health, with a large international study receiving widespread media coverage. Suggestions about the health impact of our mobile phone habits are a popular topic, so it may be worthwhile considering the impact the so-called ‘digital age’ and the resulting constant connectivity has on our health.

Our very smart phones allow us to stay connected, longer. But next time you are getting through the flurry of work emails on your Blackberry/iPhone while in traffic or on the bus, or even at home in front of the telly, consider this: a recent study has linked working overtime to an increased risk of heart disease.

This is worrying, considering a survey found nearly one third of Americans feel they need to stay connected to work 24/7, even during weekends and holidays. With Australians working the longest hours of any other country, we must be batting a similar average.

And with almost a third of us now using our mobiles to tweet and update our Facebook accounts, is it any wonder there are suggestions some are becoming addicted? In light of this, Facebook apps like this are eerily ironic.

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Has anyone seen my super? Start the search now…

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With yet another interest rate rise just announced by the Reserve Bank, many will be starting to feel increasing strain on their finances. Now could therefore be a good time to check whether you have any missing funds in lost superannuation!

Did you know the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has around $13 billion in lost superannuation – some of which could be yours? 

Have you changed your job, address or name? If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, chances are you could have ‘lost’ or ‘unclaimed’ super. With over six million lost super accounts, it’s estimated this represents one in two working Australians – so it definitely pays to check.  It’s quick, easy and free!

Start by visiting the ATO website and use SuperSeeker to help you locate any lost funds. To do this, you will need your date of birth and have your tax file number handy, or you can call the ATO on 132865 for assistance.

Do you have hidden treasure in lost super?

Do you have hidden treasure in lost super?

You can also search via Australia’s Unclaimed Super Fund – AUSfund. Just perform a free search online or call them on 1300 361 798.

Another alternative is to contact your previous employers and ask them which funds your contributions were paid into; you can then contact the fund directly and confirm your account details.

We live in a world that increasingly focuses on the ‘here and now’. While not true for everyone, many Australians don’t always give superannuation and retirement the priority and attention it has enjoyed with previous generations.

Taking the time to review your super will pay-off, especially now!  As you may have heard the Government has given super a greater priority and will seek to introduce an increase of employer super contributions from nine to 12 percent over the coming years as recommended in The Henry Tax Review.

Start your super search now – happy hunting!

Ann Patrick is Finance Manager at Cube and a Certified Practising Accountant.

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Battling the cold war

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Flu season looming On a dreary day like today, there is nothing worse than travelling in cramped public transport with someone sneezing, wheezing and coughing all over you. As the chilliness approaches, the cold and flu bug is literally ‘breathing down our backs’.

With swine flu making headlines last year, what lessons did we learn? And at a time of significant discussion about vaccinations, how will we combat the inevitable germs we will be exposed to this winter?

Our own mini poll conducted almost two weeks ago provides a snapshot of 100 Australians’ experience with the winter woes last year – 80% were hit with a cold, almost half took time off work and one-in-five saw a GP as a result.

Of those that visited their GP, the most common diagnosis was a viral infection – very few were diagnosed with influenza.

The poll offers clues to our likely behaviour this year. We asked all participants if they expected to catch a cold this winter and only 21% feel that they won’t get struck down. So what will the rest of us do to fight the dreaded lurgy?

We discovered almost one-third is planning to have a flu vaccination, which is similar to the number of survey respondents who had the jab a year ago.

When asked about cold treatment strategies, short of packing up and moving to a tropical island, heading to a pharmacy for cold and flu medication was the number one remedy by far, followed by resting and taking it easy. Only a small number feel they will need to trouble their GP.

With Australians now urged more than ever to take greater responsibility for managing their own health, these results are encouraging to see. We must be listening. Well at least Cube’s friends and colleagues are! Thank you to everyone who participated in our poll.

So what will you do to contest the cold and flu crusade this year?

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