NEW YORK (Reuters) – If Petra Nemcova’s life were a movie plot, nobody would believe it.
Girl grows up under Communism in the former Czechoslovakia, climbs to the top of the fashion world as one of the most famous models on the planet, and nearly has it all taken away as a victim of the 2004 tsunami in southeast Asia.
But Nemcova, 38, survived and she now heads a foundation called All Hands and Hearts (www.allhandsandhearts.org), to help victims of natural disasters around the world rebuild their schools and communities.
For the latest in Reuters’ “Life Lessons” series, Nemcova sat down to talk about how to transform tragedy into joy.
Q: You grew up under Communism, so what was that experience like?
A: You were part of a system. So my dad was a bricklayer, my mom was a teacher and we grew up with very little, picking up pennies to help put food on the table. Our staple diet was lentils and eggs, and maybe we could afford meat once a week. Once I wore the same pair of winter shoes for seven years.
Q: How did you handle the transition to modeling?
A: Communism fell when I was 11 years old, so at that point my generation got to follow their dreams. I grabbed opportunities in modeling, because I knew that would get me out of the Czech Republic, and I could take care of my parents, who had always taken food out of their own mouths to feed us.
I entered the “Look of the Year” competition, won it, and started traveling to places like Milan, Paris, London and New York.
Q: Coming from that experience, how did you handle the money that started coming in?
A: In those early days there were lots of situations where I was misled because I was young and naive, and I didn’t know anything about the financial world.
After that, I started investing in real estate, which seemed like a much solid and safer choice for me. My first was an investment property in Paris, and then I bought places in New York. I have invested in real estate ever since.
Q: Working with famed designers so closely, did you learn from any of them?
A: I learned by observing them, how passionate and dedicated they are – in particular, Giorgio Armani, his work ethic and how particular he is.
Another role model, when Communism fell and I got exposed to Western culture for the first time, was Audrey Hepburn. Not only her incredible grace, but how she used her platform to put a spotlight on those suffering.
Marc Benioff, (CEO) of Salesforce, is one of the most powerful business leaders in world, but I have never met anyone who takes so much time to help others.
Q: Are you able to talk about your traumatic tsunami experience, and what you learned from it?
A: Life has a way of teaching you its lessons. I was extremely successful. I was happy with my partner, and we were on a romantic vacation. In a few seconds, we went from a beautiful walk on the beach to something that shattered everyone’s lives.
My pelvis was crushed in four places, and for eight hours, I clung to a palm tree in the waters. What I learned from that is that anything can happen at any time. Nobody knows what will happen next, and every moment is a gift.
Even when you are going through tragedies, you can still focus on the positive. When I was in the hospital and didn’t know if I would ever walk again, I told myself: ‘Well, I still have my eyes and ears.’ I lost my partner, but I still had my family. You deal with hopelessness by being grateful.
Q: How did that experience inspire you with your foundation?
A: After natural disasters, when first responders leave, there is a gap where communities have no support. In particular, children would wait for years for schools to be rebuilt. We have focused on rebuilding schools after natural disasters – 171 of them in 10 countries around the world.
Q: What life lessons do you try to pass on to others?
A: Take the time to really experience giving and not just write a check. Go to the places you are helping, because it will give you a different understanding of life, and a new dimension of joy and gratitude. If you don’t do that, you are missing out on what life has to offer.
Editing by Lauren Young and G Crosse
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What are the Benefits of Availing Laundry Services?
This is the most normal consideration why people choose laundry services. They do not have time to spend to clean their own clothing. Utilizing laundry services lets them have their time invested in better things like investing quality time with family or to capture up on some zzz’s and on a few of the other factors discussed about previously.
You can also use the time conserved to be more efficient specifically if you have some part-time work throughout the weekend. If you believe you can make more money throughout that time, then it is smart to get laundry services.
Why tire yourself doing laundry when you can simply pay and have your laundry issues fixed in an instant? Or perhaps you simply do not know the best ways to clean your clothing effectively. And possibly you have those large garments and you do not have enough laundry space. Or possibly you’re in a rush. Getting a laundry service is an option.
There are also circumstances that one may have an allergic reaction on cleaning agents or material conditioners. In addition, fibers from unclean clothing may also trigger breathing issues. Why not go to your nearby laundry service provider and let them clean your clothing?
Laundry stores focus on cleaning clothing so they have more knowledge about the different kinds of materials and the best ways to treat them correctly. Most of the time, they have a benefit over you in cleaning clothing.
Socks and handkerchiefs really get lost. Even if you clean your very own clothing, there will still come a time that you lost a sock or a handkerchief. Good idea about laundry stores is that they offer a guarantee that if they harm or lost your clothing, they will repair or change them.
Aim to analyze your expenditures when you clean your very own laundry. Think about the cleaning agent, material conditioner, electricity and water intake plus your effort and time.
Maybe you find doing your very own laundry relaxing, a zen experience, where case a laundry service may be something that you would not think about regularly. However it might offer important back-up for those times when life gets busy and hectic weekends combine into weeks filled with conferences and late-night work. Knowing that you might simply drop off a package of shirts for the expert 48 hour shirt laundry service, or perhaps unload the entire week’s family laundry, provides you assurance in the middle of the mayhem.
Whether you depend on a laundry service as a vital part of a hectic way of life or rely on one simply when life gets busy, it is an extremely effective way of leveraging your time and minimizing the tension of life, and your shirts will be ironed more perfectly than they ever have been before!
Yes, truthfully, that’s simply benefits to get laundry services! It’s not that choosing laundry services is bad, however you may wish to think about these points.
10 Must-Known Facts about PPF Accounts
Public Provident Fund, popularly referred to as PPF, is an excellent way to start saving money because PPF accounts are tax-free. As a systematic saving investment, it encourages individuals to set aside some money every month towards savings for the future.
Even Though PPF accounts are popular but not many people know about PPF accounts banks benefits for investors. Here are 10 must-known facts that investors need to make note of in order to maximize their benefits.
What is the Minimum Amount Required to Open PPF Accounts?
The minimum amount to start a PPF account is Rs 100 that can be opened by salaried employees, self-employed individuals, and other individuals. PPF accounts onlinebanks can be opened at any SBI or affiliated banks like Bank of Baroda or Central Bank of India.
Another option available to investors must know about PPF accounts that it can be opened at the post office. Additionally, in case of a minor, an individual can open an account on their behalf by the guardian.
What is the Maturity Period of PPF Account?
Also, what most people don’t know about PPF accounts banks mature after 15 years and hence are an excellent way to systematically invest in this plan which is tax-free as well.
What are the Minimum and Maximum Deposit Limit for PPF Accounts?
The minimum deposit limit for PPF accounts banks are Rs 500 to make over the course of a year and the maximum amount is 1 lakh in one financial year.
Deposits can be made in one go or installments in multiples of Rs 10. However, only 12 installments can be made each fiscal year.
Failure to deposit the minimum balance will lead to the PPF accounts banks being discontinued. However, note that the interest will accrue and once the payments are regularized and the prescribed default fee is paid, the account can be operated as usual.
How is Interest Calculated for PPF Accounts?
It is important that investors are aware of PPF accounts interest calculation method. This way, they will be able to calculate the interest and take a call on how much to save each month.
The first important point to note about PPF accounts banks is that the interest is based on the lowest balance between 5th of the month and the last day of the month. To maximize savings deposits should be made between 1st and 5th each month.
Note that the PPF interest amount is compounded annually and it is credited on 31st March every year.
What happens if Premature Withdrawals are made from PPF Accounts?
In the case of premature withdrawals are allowed from the 7th year onwards and it cannot exceed 50 percent of the balance amount at the end of the 4th year. However, the account can be closed prematurely permanently in case of death.
What is the Tax Benefits Extended by PPF Accounts Banks?
The tax benefits extended by PPF account back are as follows:
- Qualify for deductions under Section 80C
- The entire amount of maturity is tax-free
- Deposits exempted from wealth tax
Whatis the Terms You Should Know about PPF Accounts Regarding Loans?
Another question that most people are unaware of PPF accounts is that a loan can be taken against PPF accounts banks but under certain conditions. The terms under which a loan can be taken are as follows:
- The loan can be availed between 3rd and 6th year
- Maximum of 25 percent balance must be maintained at the end of 2nd year
- The interest rate charged on the loan will be more than 2 percent of the PPF interest rate at that time
- Withdrawals must be repaired in a period of 24 months
Being aware of these terms and conditions about PPF accounts will help give respite to investors.
Can a Second Loan be taken on PPF Accounts Banks?
Something about PPF accounts that people need to know about is that a second loan can be taken up by investors between the 3rd and 6th year only if the previous loan has been prepaid in full. Once the account holders become eligible for withdrawals they will no longer be eligible for taking up loans.
Can the PPF Accounts Banks Subscription Period be Extended?
Another aspect that most people are unaware ofPPF accounts subscription period. After the 15 year period, account holders have an option to extend the period by 5 years.
However, it should be noted that the same rate of interest will be levied on the account. In case, despite the extension, regular contributions are not made then the withdrawals will be restricted and allowed only once a year.
Can NRIs Open PPF Accounts?
Another question that people have about PPF accounts is whether NRIs can open PPF accounts banks. No, NRIs are not eligible to open PPF accounts banks.
In cases where an account holder settles abroad then existing accounts are allowed and can contribute to it till the maturity period.
The pros outweigh the cons when talking about PPF accounts. Hence, as a systematic investment plan, it presents several advantages that investors should take up and capitalize on by deriving the maximum benefit extended.
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