End of Toys R Us Leaving Glut of Vacant Space in Lower Quality Locations

The glut of vacant retail real estate space is only going to grow as consumers’ preference for the online versus brick-and-mortar shopping experience continues to claim victims. Toys R Us is the latest and not unexpected retailer demise, and its planned liquidation of as many as 700 stores across the United States is expected to leave millions of square feet of space vacant.

Nothing’s certain about the extent of the potential damage, though, as the company is still trying to negotiate possible rescues. One would combine its 200 top U.S. performers with its Canadian operations, for example.

Either way, there’s still going to be a lot of retail space available, even though landlords should have anticipated the closing given the chain’s long-standing issues. What will make the outlook murkier, though, is the patchwork strategy Toys R Us has used in choosing sites for its stores.

Many of the holes that will be created with the Toys R Us closing will be at strip shopping centers. A percentage of strip malls in the U.S. are in fact doing well – like those that have managed a solid tenant mix of Internet-resistant stores and other concerns like restaurants and specialized medical services like physical therapy services.

But over half of the Toys R Us locations in the U.S. are in what the real estate industry considers low quality, and that will be troublesome to landlords looking to fill their space at similar rates (if they are able to fill them at all).

And it’s not just the quality of the malls that’s an issue. The average Toys R Us space is around 30,000 square feet, when the biggest retail demand seems to be for 25,000 square feet or less. Retailers of a similar size to the chain that might otherwise be interested in the better locations are staying where they are and remodeling or refocusing on their digital capabilities. And while smaller stores are in Target’s sights, it’s eyeing cities and college towns for its expansion – not necessarily where Toys R Us has been situated.

Meanwhile, if the future of the chain’s Canadian operations seems appreciably brighter than in the U.S., it may be due to the “location, location, location” emphasis of the expansion strategy that started in the 1980s.

The Toys R Us Canadian footprint has been far different than in the U.S., with many in prime locations and a mix of big and smaller stores. While some of the properties may have below-market rents, landlord exposures would still be far less than they would be with such older retailers as Sears.

The slow demise of Toys R Us is a story that is still unfolding, and the impact on the commercial real estate market is just one of its various complications. It will be interesting to see how much creative use is made of the space – and how many and for how long lesser locations stay vacant.

Secondary Mortgage Market in GTA – Weighing the Pros and Cons

Home sales in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) have decreased this year compared to last. The Toronto Real Estate Board reported that sales were down almost 35 percent in February 2018 compared to February 2017. In addition, prices have dropped, with the average sales price falling 12.4 percent for all housing types.

As 2018 moves forward, buyers are getting used to the new mortgage rules and the government regulations that went into effect on January 1 of this year. Home buyers are adjusting to the new housing market measures and have had to recalibrate their plans because of the higher interest rates and new mortgage stress testing guidelines.

What that means is that realtors have to be creative if they’re going to make sales in this market.

For both buyers and realtors, the secondary mortgage market can provide an alternative to traditional bank mortgages, one that in many instances, should be considered. Obtaining a mortgage from an alternative lender is frequently easier and quicker than getting a traditional mortgage. While it is true that buyers often need to have a larger down payment, and the loans are generally more expensive, the secondary mortgage market can provide a solution for buyers who are looking for a different course of action and for realtors who want to help their clients.

One of the great advantages of the secondary mortgage market is that it can provide a short-term solution for buyers who can then, at a later date, make different arrangements, perhaps through a traditional bank mortgage.

For example, a GTA home might have been selling for $1.4million a year ago, and today that same home will likely go for $1.05 million. If a buyer is putting 25 percent down, they will carry a mortgage of $787,500. Most secondary mortgages have a duration of one year or less. So, at 8 percent per year, the buyer is paying in one year 4 percent extra on the mortgage, or $31,496. That means effectively that the property costs an extra $31,496. That’s not really significant since the buyer could close in a buyer’s market that’s discounted. In a year’s time, the buyers can investigate refinancing with a traditional bank mortgage, and will hopefully be in a much better situation.

Realtors who want to guide buyers towards the secondary mortgage market should exercise caution, however, and recommend alternative lenders only to those buyers who can carry such a mortgage and have the financial resources and income ability to refinance within a year.

I would also recommend that GTA realtors who are interested in offering advice about the secondary mortgage market establish direct relationships with alternative lenders rather than with mortgage brokers; brokers will often charge substantial fees, which can add to the costs incurred by the buyers.

Although sales in the GTA market have taken a downturn, there are still a number of ways for both buyers and realtors to take advantage of the market conditions.

Why More Canadians Are Retiring With Debt and What It Means

As Canadians, we live in a country where certain rights and freedoms are expected, hoped for and, some might say, taken for granted. The freedom to retire early is one many of us begin grappling with as we approach middle age. Ironically, many Canadians won’t be ready to retire until they are significantly older.

The reason? Debt.

Unfortunately, too many retired people – 34% — over 55 years old still carry consumer debt, according to Statistics Canada. In fact, a recent Equifax Canada report found that the debt load of seniors is outpacing that of their younger counterparts.

It’s not as though Canadians have always carried a heavy debt burden. In 2012, 42.5% of people over 65 still had debt, a jump of 55% when compared to seniors in 1999.

A number of economic, social and cultural factors are to blame, say experts. They point to divorce, illness and large mortgages as some of the culprits. Experts also explain that children, grandchildren and other family members may also be at fault, as they often look to their parents and grandparents to lend them hand. In fact, a 2015 survey showed that 18% of first-time home buyers are gifted their down payments thanks to relatives, typically parents.

But, children can’t shoulder all of the blame.

Low interest rates have made debt much more attractive. Further, cottages, pricey vacations, fancy cars and other expensive toys may be out of reach for the average pensioner. Paring down and cutting back in your sixties may not seem fair. After all, you’ve worked decades, aren’t you entitled to a little luxury? Your fixed retirement income simply may not support your lifestyle any more. Perhaps it’s time to downsize and sell your 3,000 square-foot home?

If selling isn’t an option, many house-rich, cash-poor seniors can look to their houses for equity. Often by the time a person retires, he or she has either paid off their mortgage or is only owing a small amount. Because house values have increased in recent years, in some markets quite significantly, tapping into a home’s equity may be something to consider.

Still, as a borrower, you need to be aware of how you are intending to pay back the loan. Is it possible to make monthly payments or would you prefer to have your estate pay off the loan after you die?

No matter how the money is borrowed, the process should be well planned out. Know what you need it for. Have a repayment plan in place. Don’t borrow more than you need – that often leads to trouble.

Dwayne Rettinger

Executive Financial Consultant

Investors Group Financial Services Inc.

Rettinger & Associates Private Wealth Management


This is a general source of information only. It is not intended to provide personalized tax, legal or investment advice, and is not intended as a solicitation to purchase securities. Dwayne Rettinger is solely responsible for its content. For more information on this topic or any other financial matter, please contact an Investors Group Consultant.

Living A Green Life Means Protecting Our Earth And So Much More

If necessity is truly the mother of invention, then looking for solutions to our environmental problems is something organizations and individuals should do on a regular basis.  Shortly before coming to this conclusion, Thomas Addaquay, the Founder and Creator of Green X Prize and author of the bestseller, Go Green, Get Rich, realized that the best way to demonstrate the importance of finding green-based solutions was to encourage and incentivize their very invention on a global scale.

The non-profit Green X Prize, (www.greenxprize.com), was founded with the goal of helping to capitalize and accelerate funding for people with great, sustainable ideas that have the power to shape and change our world.  With a monthly prize of $10,000 USD, Green X awards winners on the basis of global, trackable voting. According to Addaquay, “the goal behind the prize is to encourage winners to use their winnings to further develop and launch their ideas without the hassle or time-consuming practices of pitching venture capitalists.”  While the winners won’t typically be able to fully launch a business or product with $10,000, they can, in most cases, create a sustainable business plan and a prototype for their product(s).

Addaquay’s belief is that “everybody needs to take ownership of going green and preserving our environment.  By taking ownership individually, we extend the capitalist model because there are ample opportunities for everyone to make money.”  Going green isn’t just about making money, however; it is about preserving our earth and living longer, healthier lives as well. In fact, Green X sees the prize and the money that comes along with it as an incentive for anyone who wants to participate in improving their lives, their communities, and our world.

Essentially, Green X Prize is really a platform where people can talk about sustainability without being a fully educated environmentalist.  The prize enables people to exchange ideas and challenge the status quo, from across the street to the other side of the world. With an ongoing program and a significant following to date, anyone, of any age, background, or demographics may participate.  The contests begin anew each month, and there is no limit to the amount of times one can enter the contest.

The name of the company, Green X Prize, has its roots in the understanding that most people don’t know as much as they should about the environment, thus the “X” in the name.  The “X” denotes the unknown variable; and, when people post a brilliant idea on the site, it encourages others to think about them, develop an emotional attachment to, and participate in the growth of a given idea.  For everyone that participates, there is a greater understanding over time about what climate-related idea you’re posting about, as well as what others are posting about; and the ideas aren’t climate-limited. Whether an idea is about sustainability, climate change, food growth, or something else, the one thing all ideas in the contest have in common is that they are about sustainability and education.  

“Our goal is to ‘recycle our minds’, not just plastic, cans, paper bags, and other things of that nature,” says Addaquay.  “The interesting phenomenon we are seeing is that it is becoming more and more expensive to do things the old way. Organizations all over the world are now charging for plastic bags to discourage people from using plastics. While organizations all over the world are raising funds to harness new technologies and energies, it all begins with the notion that each of us has the power to create change.”  

At the end of the day, it is that change which Green X Prize is banking contestants will want to create, whether short-term or long-term. These ideas will have a significant impact on our world, one invention…and one month…at a time.  

Blockchain and Its Impact on Supply Chain Security

As our society has grown more digitized, there’s been an exponential increase in the complexity of our supply chains that makes security an even more pressing issue. Many believe that blockchain — the distributed ledger technology — holds substantial promise as a solution.

Cyber breaches cost the international community $2.1 trillion annually – and many subject matter experts believe those losses will only mount as hackers grow increasingly sophisticated in their capabilities.

Every link in the supply chain is susceptible to security issues. Cargo theft, for example, causes $30 billion in losses each year. But it’s in the growing importance of IT systems and interconnectedness where some of the most prominent dangers lie: With manufacturing systems linked to those for sales and operations that are in turn linked to transport management systems, if one is hacked, a lot of doors are likely to be opened.

Blockchain’s structure makes it an ideal platform for supply chains in a global digital economy where networks must be expanded to include more trusted partners – if success is to be scored. But the more players, the greater the security risks.

As a distributed ledger technology, blockchain mitigates much of that risk. It creates a shared and virtually unalterable record of events and transactions and gives real-time and trusted data to verified parties in the supply chain. This, in turn, enables more secure transactions that are less vulnerable to fraud and theft. And since data is distributed, residing on multiple PCs versus a centralized server, cyber attacks are virtually impossible to carry out.

Other security issues also stand to be mitigated with the blockchain solution.

Manufacturers, for example, expect reassurance that items used on their production lines have solid and traceable provenance and the products they ship out aren’t tampered with. Blockchain’s structure allows for precise and transparent product tracking, so that risk of fraudulent goods slipping into the system is reduced. Goods are registered on the ledger, providing a solid audit trail that also includes information like cost, location, date and production and transportation partners.

A variety of projects have been launched that show the various areas where blockchain could be beneficial in fixing some of the more persistent security issues on any number of fronts in the supply chain. IBM, for example, has a service where customers can track high-value items through complex supply chains via a cloud-based blockchain. The company had initially tested it for increased transparency in the diamond market – one that’s rife with criminal activity and violence.

These are exciting times — and challenging ones, too — for an increasingly vast and complex supply chain. Evolving technologies like blockchain promise a system that achieves higher levels of efficiency, transparency and security in the process.

Finding a Solution for ‘Unbankability’ through Blockchain

TORONTOFeb. 28, 2018 /CNW/ – A Change.org petition has been launched by Toronto’s Bo Zou as a means of securing buy-in and, ultimately, funding to counter an issue that plays a significant role in global poverty: a lack of access to banking services.

“Financial inclusion is critical in order to reduce poverty,” says Bo Zou, a specialist in customer experience strategy and design who has worked extensively in financial services. “This shouldn’t be happening in the 21st century. But technology may pave the way to effecting change.”

Lack of access to banking services puts the gap between the world’s haves and have-nots in sharp distinction, Zou points out. Most adults (94 percent) in OECD high income countries have bank accounts, but only 54 percent in developing countries do, with the lowest proportion in the Middle East at 14 percent, according to World Bank data.

The outcome is a reduced capacity for saving to create a cushion to help finance an education, business or home.

Read the full press release HERE.

TFSA or RRSP? Cutting through the Confusion

When it comes to choosing between a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), there are plenty of details to keep you up at night. It’s important to look at the pros and cons of each plan, so you can develop a financial plan that’s right for you.

Your personal Financial Plan should include the income per year you will need after you retire to have the retirement lifestyle you want. Your Plan should also calculate the amount you will need to contribute to TFSA or RRSP per year to achieve this.

This will help you determine the difference between your current tax bracket and the tax bracket you will experience after you retire. It’s easy to assume your income will be less, so your tax bracket will be less, but that is not necessarily accurate. Many government income programs allow clawback provisions that put many seniors in shockingly high tax brackets!

Clawbacks are just like a tax and they can be an unexpected cost. If you look at the breakdown of the three most common clawbacks, you can see the difference between having a TFSA or an RRSP. Here’s how the three clawbacks break down:

1.      Low income (less than $20,000) – 50% clawback on GIS

2.      Middle income ($35,000-$85,000) – 15% clawback on the age credit

3.      High income ($75,000-$120,000) – 15% clawback on OAS

You can own the same investments in your TFSA as your RRSP. The main difference is that RRSP contributions and withdrawals have tax consequences, while TFSA contributions and withdrawals don’t.

Therefore, the answer to TFSA vs. RRSP is primarily based on your marginal tax bracket today compared to when you withdraw after you retire.

Rule of Thumb

RRSP is better if:

  • You will be in a lower marginal tax bracket during retirement. Example: Today you’re making $100,000 and you will receive $35,000 during retirement, you can get a tax refund of 43% on your current deposits and pay only 20% tax on your retirement withdrawals, giving you a gain on the actual value of your RRSP of 23%.

TFSA is better if:

  • You will be in a higher marginal tax bracket during retirement. Example: Today you’re making $40,000 and you will receive $20,000 during retirement, you can get a tax refund of 20% on your current deposits and pay out 70% when you make retirement withdrawals. This figure includes lost GIS from the clawback. This saves you a 50% loss on your entire RRSP.

You can choose either an RRSP or a TFSA if:

  • You will be in the same marginal tax bracket during retirement.

Other Details to Consider

If you are still unsure if an RRSP or a TFSA is right for you, answer these two important questions:

1.      How will I use my tax refund?

  • TFSA is best if you plan on spending your RRSP tax refunds. Example: if you deposit $10,000 to either a TFSA or an RRSP and then spend the refund, the TFSA will give you a higher retirement income. You need to reinvest your tax refund for RRSPs to provide you the same after-tax retirement income as TFSAs.

2.      Is the withdrawal flexibility from my TFSA a pro or a con?

  • Flexibility is good, but if you are tempted to withdraw before retirement, RRSP might be a better choice.

Sound Financial Planning

It is advisable to plan on retiring with a taxable income in the low-to-mid level tax brackets. Since the cash that you live on can vary from your taxable income, it’s important to remember that TFSA withdrawals that are non-taxable. They can give you cash income that is not taxable income. Other tax deductions must be factored in to figure out the tax bracket you will be in.

Example: Basic government pensions are $20,000. OAS is $7,000 maximum, based on your number of years residing in Canada. CPP can range from $0 to $13,000, depending on how much you’ve deposited in the past. From here, calculate your income from your RRSP and TFSA and any other investments. You can generally withdraw 3-4% (depending on how you invest) of your RRSP or TFSA each year and have it last as long as you live.

This should help you determine which plan is right for you. You can plan to be in the right tax bracket. If you currently earn $80,000 and will retire with $50,000, you may be tempted to think TFSA is best since you will get a refund of 31% today but will pay 34% at withdrawal. However, with only $5,000 per year from non-taxed TFSA, your taxable amount is down to $45,000 which puts you in the 23% category, so RRSP is actually better. In this example, you need enough TFSA for the $5,000 per year but the rest should go into RRSP.

Important Note

Don’t forget to adjust for inflation! All of your retirement calculations need to factor in inflation. It will roughly double your cost of living in 20 or 25 years.

Forgetting to include inflation is the most common error many people and advisors make in estimating retirement income and how large of a nest egg you will need.

What about non-registered investments?

In some cases, non-registered investments may actually be better. Just maximizing TFSA and RRSP is not always the best answer. If your taxable income in retirement will be in a higher tax bracket than now, non-registered investments might be a smarter choice. If using your TFSA to the maximum will still leave you in higher tax brackets, non-registered investments will give you more cash at lower tax brackets than RRSP.

Example: Currently you make $80,000 and you plan to retire with $80,000, you get a 31% refund now but will have to pay as much as 44% when you withdraw because of the OAS clawback. Upon retirement, you can only get $45,000 at lower tax bracket rates than your current tax bracket.

If you plan on getting $20,000 from government pension, then you need to plan now for enough RRSP to give you $25,000 income. The rest should be in TFSAs. However, that won’t be enough. You will still need $35,000 more. That’s when non-registered investments might pan out better for you than RRSPs.

But don’t forget the taxes. Non-registered investments are not always tax free, depending on how they are invested, and the interest is always taxable. Capital gains, however, are only half taxable. Dividends are given preferred tax rates but they also get higher clawbacks because the income for determining clawbacks is the “grossed-up dividend”, which is 38% more than the dividend.

Let’s look at a worst-case scenario for non-registered investments: a senior making $20,000 gets a dividend of $1,000 which has a clawback of $690 (50% of $1,380). In this case, there is no income tax, but you still lose $690 out of the $1,000 in reduced GIS income.

If you sell a bit of your non-registered investments each month, you can get a nice, low tax rate on the cash. My term for this is “self-made dividends.” Since your cash income is made up of your capital gains and your original investment, the tax is very low, often only 10% of your withdrawal.

Bottom Line

1.      RRSP –

  • medium working income $50-80,000 and modest retirement savings
  • high working income over $90,000

2.      TFSA –

  • low working income under $45,000
  • medium to high working income with no retirement savings
  • medium to high working income with large retirement portfolio

How much should I save?

Generally speaking, a modest savings would be $500,000-$700,000 when you retire. Factoring in inflation, this would amount to approximately $1 million to $1.4 million if you plan to retire in two decades.

Plan in Place

Now is the time to prepare a Financial Plan that will help you sift through the options while understanding all the details such as tax brackets, clawbacks and inflation. In my experience, when my retired clients have a portfolio consisting of a good RRSP or pension, a strong TFSA and some non-registered investments, we can come up with a good plan for how much they can withdraw annually while minimizing the amount of taxes that are required.

With a mix of fully-taxed, low taxed and non-taxed sources of income, we can plan effectively for you to receive the cash for the retirement you want, while remaining in lower tax brackets.

A sound financial plan that cuts through the confusion of TFSAs and RRSPs set you up for a comfortable and worry-free retirement. It will have the optimal strategies that are right for you.

The Link Between Public Sector Reforms and a Thriving Private Sector

Creating and sustaining a public sector that is transparent, inclusive and accountable is the ultimate goal of government reform initiatives, both in developing nations and world powers. One area where this is particularly important, but where a fine line must be walked, is with the private sector.

There’s a push/pull force at work on this front.

Regulatory reform that touches the business sector must, on the one hand, be responsive and do the job of facilitating the interests and needs of the business community. Too much regulation – or regulations that are too onerous – will effectively make it harder to do business. That may stifle business spending, investment, employment and economic growth in total.

But those interests must be balanced against the public good. Regulations that may serve the financial interests of a particular sector but compromise the quality of life of a nation’s people – think air and water pollution, for example – will not measure up to world standards.

That balancing act has made business-oriented policies and regulations an ongoing focus of reform projects, and not just in developing countries. There are lessons to be learned on this front that are critical to any forward-thinking government. The World Bank has funded various such initiatives through the years. Three of the case studies it outlines in its Doing Business 2018 and 2017 reports provide helpful food for thought.

Information transparency at business registries

New regulations on the transparency of business information reflect growing concerns over how some take advantage of obscure company ownership structures to move money illicitly around the world. Allowing disclosure of beneficial business ownership (those who receive equity benefits even if they’re not legal owners), for example, makes it easier to identify suspected money launderers and potential sources of terrorist financing. Furthermore, greater transparency strengthens public confidence in businesses and institutions, helps to better manage financial exposure and makes for more stable markets, the report found.

Facilitating access to business credit

Modern secured transaction laws are being increasingly adopted by developing countries. It’s one way to help make the business environment more secure for smaller companies. Collateral-related reforms are key to the process. Expanding the scope of what small and mid-sized businesses can use as collateral also expands their access to finance. One reform approach is to establish a collateral registry for all sorts of movable assets – digitally-based, accessible to the public and searchable. Ghana opened the first such registry in Africa, where $1.3 billion was issued in financing for small businesses and $12 billion for businesses overall.

Reforming insolvency laws

When a viable business is in financial stress, if procedures for restructuring and reorganization aren’t efficient, the price can be steep – loss of the business itself, its contribution to the economy (like employment and taxes) and losses that creditors can’t recoup. A strengthened framework for insolvency policies, studies have shown, can result in reduced cost and level of credit and lower interest rates on large loans. One example is France, whose 2005 insolvency reforms featured a new restructuring tool – a “safeguard procedure.” This allowed struggling firms to apply for court protection while they negotiated a restructuring plan with creditors. This was refined in 2008 and again in 2011, eventually resulting in business survival in three out of four cases initiated.

Top 4 Attributes That You Want in a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Convictions for criminal offenses can lives. Once the initial shock of being accused of a crime passes, you need to engage the services of a criminal defense lawyer at once. As you consider who will defend you, it pays to make sure the counsel you choose has certain attributes. Here are a few that you should consider essential.


Up to Date Knowledge of Applicable Laws


In order to defend you in a court of law, the lawyer must have a grasp of more than basic court procedure. It’s also important to be fully cognizant of the laws that were in force at the time the alleged crime took lace. Knowing those laws and what sort of legal precedents have been set because of them will have an impact on how your defense is structured. By choosing to go with a legal team from a firm like MassTsang Toronto, you can rest assured that the knowledge needed to property evaluate every aspect of your case is present.


A Focus on the Details of Your Case


A lawyer who is devoted to evaluating every detail of your case is what you need at this time. The last thing you want is legal counsel that will take a broad look and arrive at a snap decision about how to defend you. A lawyer who wants to know everything, no matter how small a detail may be, is one who is committed to preparing the most thorough defense possible.


Keep in mind that the lawyer is not asking questions in order to satisfy personal curiosity or to make a judgment about the content of your character. The goal is to know and weigh every fact relevant to the case. This attention to detail will go a long way toward ensuring the direction of your defense has a chance of seeing justice is served.


Commitment to Defend You to the Full Extent of the Law


Criminal defense lawyers who take client situations seriously will always be looking for a way to protect that client and remain well within the limits of the law. That involves understanding how to structure the defense, whether it’s wise for the accused to take the stand, and quite a few other details. Since you are not in a position to know all there is to know about the laws that apply to your case, having a lawyer who is capable of defending you in every way the law allows is a major plus.


Honesty About Possible Outcomes


This is not a time when you need someone who will tell you everything will be fine. You need a defense lawyer who will be honest about what could happen in court. This is important, because you need to be realistic about how a conviction would change your life. Lawyers who take cases with the intent of doing all they legally can to defend a client will be hopeful but honest in what may come to pass. That honestly will help you fully grasp the reality of what you are facing.


If you are facing serious charges, it pays to learn more about criminal lawyers and what they can do to help you during this difficult time. Choose wisely and you increase the chances for the best possible outcome.

Natural Remedies to Improve Concentration and Reduce Anxiety

Are you finding it difficult to complete the work at hand? Does your mind wander easily? Do you usually feel lethargic and unable to keep out distracting thoughts? Do you forget things easily? You could be showing symptoms of lack of concentration and focus. The culprit could be one of various factors or a combination of them. Insufficient sleep, exhaustion, mental overload, overworking, lack of a balanced diet, absence of an exercise regimen, stress and various other factors could be at play.

According to Smart Pill Guide, a site that offers comprehensive, unbiased reviews of brain supplements for mental focus, Focus Formula could be an effective way to combat the lack of mental focus. Along with these focus pills, you should also learn how to improve focus on your own.

Eating More Brain Healthy Foods

Our eating habits determine the way our body functions. The mind and body should always be holistically connected. While eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is the key, one must avoid refined sugar. Sugar intake can temporarily cause a surge in brain activity, but it ultimately causes an imbalance in the blood sugar levels, which is always a cause for poor concentration. Sugar can actually cause changes in our brain wave patterns, which makes us unable to think clearly. One should include berries, green-leafy vegetables, nuts, dark-chocolate, coconut oil and fatty fish in their diet. These contain essential vitamins, minerals, fats and antioxidants, all of which help in promoting a healthy brain.

Keeping one’s caffeine intake in moderation is also essential to reduce anxiety, insomnia and panic attacks. Consuming high amounts of caffeine can result in increased stress hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine, in the body, both of which impair mental clarity.

Exercising and Meditation

Meditation is an ancient practise, highly beneficial for improving mental concentration. It is known to enhance brain wave patterns, improving one’s learning ability and thus improving overall focus. Our brain survives on a continual supply of oxygen. The breathing techniques associated with yoga can improve cognitive skills, increase attention span and also reduce stress and anxiety.

Exercises, particularly cardio workouts, also ensure continuous supply of oxygen to the brain, leading to its de-fogging. Regular exercising ensures the production of feel-good hormones, called endorphins, which help in reducing stress and lead to an improvement in mental prowess

Dietary Supplements

Lastly, brain supplements, made of effective natural ingredients, are also a good way to improve on mental focus. One such pill is Focus Formula, which has received positive reviews that show that it effectively increases the user’s attention span, while resolving memory issues and balancing the overall mood. Focus Formula works due to its list of natural ingredients, such as Nettle Extracts, Gingko Biloba and Chamomile. Chamomile is an effective ingredient known to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety, while Nettle extract helps in improving blood circulation.