Tag: Thats

After months quarantine at home, everything becomes slower. Spending priorities only range from 4 important things, food, hygiene kits, medicine and supplements, transportation. Everything revolves around survival during quarantine at home.Some folks will be getting out of quarantine faster than others, but most states have already reopened or plan to start lifting some of those restrictions put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. Now what should you do after this quarantine period is over. You need to know that in order to re-arrange your financial life after ‘sleeping’ for weeks.

Here we adapt from Dave Ramsey’s blog, American radio show host, author and businessman, how to restructure your finances after quarantine ends.

1. Reassess your current situation.

When this crisis began, you might have gone into “survival mode” and focused on taking care of the Four Walls—that’s food, utilities, shelter, and transportation—and nothing else. You canceled your Netflix account, told the credit card companies to wait their turn, and called off that vacation you had on the books for months. It was tough, but you did what you had to do! And now as the quarantine winds down, it’s time to take a step back and look at your current situation with a fresh pair of eyes. That way, you can make decisions that make sense for your situation!

Are you still out of work, or feel like your income isn’t very stable? Then you might need to stick with the Four Walls for a little longer—at least until you can get your income situation sorted out.

But if you still have your job (or got a new one) and feel like you’re in a secure situation, it might be time to start attacking your financial goals again—whether that’s getting out of debt or saving for a down payment on a house.

2. Revisit your monthly budget.

Working from your living room with nowhere else to go, you probably went weeks without having to fill up on gas. On the flip side, you probably spent more on toilet paper and hand sanitizer in the last two months than you have in your entire life!  

Now as things slowly shift back to “normal,” whatever that looks like, you might need to start adjusting your budget back to where it was pre-coronavirus as you start driving more and getting back into the swing of things.

But maybe this quarantine has helped you realize that some things shouldn’t go back to normal. Maybe all those banana bread recipes you baked during the quarantine have inspired you to avoid eating out as much as you did before. The point is that you have a chance to pick and choose what comes back into your monthly budget and what stays out—don’t waste it! 

3. Get back on the Baby Steps.

No matter where you were on the Baby Steps when things shut down, you probably needed some time to pause as you navigated through life in the land of COVID-19. If you’ve been chomping at the bit to get back to attacking your debt snowball with gazelle intensity or saving for retirement again, now might be the time to get on it—especially if you still have your job and feel like your income is stable, better you to try 7 baby steps again. You can read it fully on Dave Ramsey website.

4. Make a plan for action items you put off.

Maybe you had plans to put new tires on your car, take your kids to the dentist or install a new HVAC system earlier this year. But then the pandemic happened and, all of a sudden, those things on your to-do list couldn’t get crossed off just yet. But as businesses start opening up again with social distancing measures in place, you might be thinking about pulling the trigger on some of those action items you’ve been putting off. Just make sure you have them accounted for in the post-quarantine budget.

5. Keep a lot of cash on hand (just in case).

If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s that we need to be prepared for whatever life throws our way. Today, it’s a global pandemic. Tomorrow, it might be an invasion of murder hornets (look it up).

6. Check in with your financial advisor.

With emotions running high on social media and even within your own circle of family and friends, it can be hard not to get swept up in a tidal wave of fear and panic. And when you’re freaked out, that’s when you’re most likely to make some terrible financial mistakes that could set you back big time—like cashing out your 401(k) or racking up credit card debt. That’s why it’s so important to have a financial advisor you can turn to for guidance, someone who can help you take a step back and look at the big picture.

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Summer is here and now is the perfect time to evaluate progress on those resolutions that kicked off the New Year. Just as we make fitness commitments and resolutions – often with summer as a target goal – getting financial fitness goals into shape is also an important and timely exercise!

First, focus on your larger financial muscle groups. In other words, look at where you spend the most money as that is where your changes can have the biggest impact. For many families, the three largest monthly expenses are housing, childcare, and food. (In fact, these may comprise 80% of your entire spending plan!) If you’re trying to save money, I always recommend that you seek ways to reduce your spending without making big changes in your lifestyle. Reducing your housing costs is a great example of this, and mortgage rates continue to be near historical lows, so if you have not (or have not been able to) refinance, be sure to take another look at any options that may be available to you.

Next, it’s time for some interval training. Getting your finances in order can feel overwhelming, so break goals and tasks down into manageable pieces and dedicate an hour each week to getting on track. For example, if you want to transition to an online money management tool, it’s easy to procrastinate gathering all of your statements and bills together. Instead, just take what arrives in the mail each week and set those items up in a new account. Put in just a little time each week, and in just over a month, you’ll be fully up and running.

Next, remember to take regular breaks to recuperate and recharge. Taking control of your finances is like exercise, and sometimes we all need to take a day off from the gym. You need to give yourself a break in order to stay focused and feel ready for the next steps. Schedule rewards for steps taken and goals reached – a dinner out or a local day trip that doesn’t break the budget. Create incentive to stay on track, and your finances will be in much better shape by summer, fall or whatever your timeframe is!

Some financial areas – like education and retirement planning – require more exertion and can be easy to avoid because of that. That’s why you really need to give these your best effort and take care of them before you run out of energy. If you start by funding these goals first with automatic paycheck deductions or bank account transfers, you’ll have the harder exercise out of the way when you have the most energy. Decide what your targets are and make savings the foundation of your financial fitness routine.

Finally, work with a professional to help you achieve your goals by hiring a personal (financial) trainer! Just like a fitness trainer, a financial planner can design the right program for you, make sure you are taking the right steps, and help you achieve your goals.

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Bankruptcy. Debt collections. Foreclosures. These things can do serious damage to a person’s credit score. The damage can be long-lasting. But it’s not always permanent.

There are certain things you can do to repair the damage caused by a negative event, such as bankruptcy. In this article, you’ll learn the best ways to improve a credit score quickly.

7 Things That Can Ruin Your Credit

Before we go any further, we need to discuss the reasons your score might have dropped in the first place. Here’s a quick rundown of the most harmful items:

Filing for personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 or 13)
Having your home foreclosed upon
Missing payments, or making late payments, on a credit card or loan
Having an account “charged off” by a creditor or lender
Defaulting on a loan
Having a debt sent to a collection agency
Maxing out your credit card limits

Below, you’ll learn the best ways to improve a credit score after any of these negative events. The damage done by these things will vary, depending on several factors. For example, a single late payment on a credit account could lower your FICO score anywhere from 50 to 100 points. So it’s hard to assign exact numbers to these events. Just know that the steps outlined below have the potential to restore your credit quickly.

The Best Ways to Improve Your Score

No matter how bad your credit is right now, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t say exactly how long it will take you to rebuild your credit rating — nobody can. There are too many variables for such a prediction. But I can tell you the even that most significant damage can be ameliorated over time. I have personally seen someone go from a 550 FICO score to a 720 in just over a year’s time. Below, we will discuss some of the steps she took to improve her credit rating so quickly.

Let’s take a look at the five primary factors that influence your FICO score. We also need to talk about the relative strength they have, in terms of helping or harming your credit.

This chart shows five categories of information that can affect your FICO credit score. But I want to direct your attention to two of the categories in particular. You’ll notice that the dark-blue and red slices of the pie, when combined, account for 65% of your score. You’ll also notice that the next-largest slice (yellow) is determined by the length of your credit history, which is something you can’t really control.

What does all of this mean? It means that if you want to see quick results, you should focus your energy on the blue and red sections. Those are the best ways to improve your credit score quickly. So let’s talk more about those two areas:

1. Bill Payments — Steady as She Goes!

Your payment history can make or break your score, all on its own. Earlier I mentioned that a single late payment of 90 days could lower your FICO rating by more than 100 points. That’s a significant amount of damage for a single negative event. That’s why it’s critical that you make all of your payments on time.

In this context, I am primarily referring to the types of accounts that show up on your credit reports. These include retail charge cards, car loans, credit cards and the like. If you haven’t done so already, you should get copies of your reports. AnnualCreditReport.com is the official website for this purpose.

2. Amounts Owed — Pay Down Those Balances!

I know, it’s often easier said than done. But if you can pay down your credit card balances (or any other form of revolving debt that you have), you’ll be able to improve your score more quickly. It’s okay to have balances on one or more cards. In fact, this can help you improve your score over time. But the key is to maintain low balances, relative to the card’s limit.

This is referred to as your utilization ratio. A higher ratio will result in a lower FICO score. Create a payment plan that allows you to reduce your balances over time. It’s one of the best ways to improve your credit score quickly.

These are certainly not the only things that affect your rating. But they are two of the most important factors. You can clearly see this when you look at the pie chart presented above. Remember, this strategy is intended to help you rebuild your score as fast as possible.

If you want to see some significant changes in months, as opposed to years, you need to start with the “Big 2″ items described above. There is no getting around this. Stay on top of your bills — don’t let a single bill become delinquent. And do whatever you can to reduce the balances on your existing credit accounts.

I’d like to move on to talk about another strategy you can use to boost your credit rating. It actually piggybacks on the “payment history” concept mentioned earlier.
How Long Does it Take?

No one can tell you how long it will take to improve your credit score. If somebody claims to know this information, they are probably trying to sell you something. Even the people who developed the FICO scoring model admit that it’s impossible to make such predictions. Earlier, I said I knew someone who boosted her score from 550 to 720 in just over a year. This is true. But her situation may be much different from yours.

Here’s one thing we know: It generally takes longer to recover from a history of negative events, as opposed to an isolated event. If I have a bankruptcy filing on my credit record, but it’s the only negative entry on my reports, I’ll probably recover much faster than somebody with a dozen negative entries.

The speed with which you implement these strategies will also play a role. For instance, consider the reduction of credit card balances we talked about earlier. You’ll probably be able to rebuild your credit rating faster if you reduce your balances quickly, as opposed to “chipping away” at them over a period of months. In the latter scenario, you are improving your credit-utilization ratio much more slowly. So the results will also be more gradual in nature.

When you consider how long things can stay on your credit reports, you might be discouraged:

“Why should I even try to rebuild my credit history, if a single late payment can stay on my report for up to seven years? What’s the point? Can I make any improvements in the meantime?”

Yes, a negative entry can stay on your report for a long time. But you can actually boost your FICO score even while those negative items remain. They tend to have less impact over time. So it’s certainly worth the effort. Start with the strategies listed above — it’s the best way to improve your credit quickly.

In all honesty, it might take several years to fully recover from a catastrophic event such as bankruptcy. But you can still benefit from the incremental improvements you’ll make along the way. For instance, if you can boost your score by 50 points or so in the short term, you’ll qualify for better interest rates on loans, credit cards, etc. And the sooner you start your campaign to rebuild your credit, the sooner you’ll reach the finish line — regardless of how far away it might seem.

Important Notes: Every financial situation is different. The tips offered in this article applies to most credit situations. But there are exceptions to every rule. This information has been provided for educational purposes and should not be viewed as financial advice. I strongly encourage you to continue your research beyond this article.

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In the John Cusack movie “High Fidelity,” a business owner works through some angst about where he is in life. At one point in the movie he realizes one of his key problems is Bad Decisions. He can’t seem to stop doing stupid things. In one epic line, he turns to the camera and talks to the audience. He says:

“Well, I’ve been listening to my gut since I was 14 years old, and frankly speaking, I’ve come to the conclusion that my guts have s##t for brains.”

The quote, which originally comes from the book by Nick Hornby on which the movie is based, accurately describes epiphany moments. Far too many managers experience this well after they can stop the runaway train of chaos their “intuition” created. I’m not saying going by your instincts is always bad. But, statistically speaking, John and Nick are correct—trusting your gut can be a very bad business strategy.

You have an idea. Well, not really an idea, precisely, but the seed of an idea that gets you all excited. Okay so far, but circumstances can go bad quickly.

Many times the excitement generated by that “great idea” tempts you to just jump out and get started with no real plan, no budget and no concrete idea where you are really headed. It might sound romantic or adventurous, but, in business, there is no greater prescription for failure.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: “I’ll just get it going and deal with any issues as they come up.”

Yeah, that’s a terrible idea. First, you have no idea what problems may actually “come up.” Second, you don’t know which problems you will create yourself or bring with you, simply because you have no real idea what you are doing or what you will need to do next. That’s like planning a scuba diving trip and packing your mask and fins … but not bothering to decide where you are going. You can’t just get out in the boat and then decide how deep you want to dive or, worse, just jump in the water without any idea what might be down there.

Ever hear this one: “forget the obstacles, full speed ahead.” As far as business acumen goes, that ranks right up there with “hey, y’all, hold my beer and watch this!” Nothing good comes of a “ramming speed” approach to business management. If you haven’t considered how your idea will impact your other projects or the work of those you depend on in your business, then you are forging ahead with a serious handicap. And it will come back to bite you.

Finally … for those who choose to ignore this advice … when you find yourself in a mess of your own making, it can be tempting to “turtle up”, to hide or try to find someone else to blame. That’s stupid … and cowardly. It does nothing to help the problem and burns bridges to people and resources you probably need to extricate your idiot self. You can’t escape from quicksand by shooting the guy holding the rope.

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When it is time for you to choose one of the many corporate speakers your speakers’ agency presents to you, there is one simple question you should ask. How will the corporate speaker change the thinking of the people in the audience?

Remember that the audience can consist of a variety of groups. It could be the employees in a company, it could be an association with members working in a particular industry, or it could be simply the members of a particular department within your corporation or company. But the key is finding a speaker who will know exactly to whom they are speaking. The presentation depends a great deal on who is listening. So when you choose a speaker, having someone from outside the group is usually the best one to convey your message. Of course knowing what your message is can seriously improve your chances of finding the right speaker.

Just what is it you want to achieve?

Once you know the answer to that first question you’re well on the way to selecting the ideal corporate speaker. Knowing the message you want to get across, you then need to think what medium you will choose to do that. It could be using social media or it could be in a booklet or brochure which you produce. Or, as is the case in this situation about corporate speakers, it could be as a result of a meeting at which a prominent and well selected speaker puts across your message.

Lets face it; one of the best ways of inspiring and educating humans is by another human. When a group of people are looking at a film or reading a document, they don’t get the same message, they don’t have the same form of inspiration which comes from a fellow human being. That’s where the choice of a speaker is so important.

The speaker leaves but the message lingers

He or she will almost invariably be a guest at your function. They will arrive on the day of the event, deliver their presentation and then leave. But the best corporate speakers are the ones who leave behind those intangible yet highly valuable benefits.

The best way to get people to take action, to react to something is to have them be part of an activity where a speaker delivers an inspirational address. This is where your choice of speaker is so important. Of course they need to know the message you want to convey and the type of people who make up the audience, but they also need to inspire the listening audience. Work with a professional speakers’ agency and use their expertise to solve your problem.

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Raise the topic of superannuation next time you have a few friends around for a barbecue and you’ll get a range of reactions. Some people will look at their watches and ask “Is that the time?“, some will pour themselves extremely large drinks, some will slip into a type of coma, others will become completely absorbed by a spoon or salt shaker, and a few will say “I think super is okay because people keep telling me it is, but I’m not really sure why.” The majority will tell you that it is confusing, keeps changing and is all too hard.

Well, I’m one of those people who keeps saying super is okay, and what I am going to try to do here is explain why. And I hope as you read this your mind won’t drift off to a palm-fringed beach on a tropical island. Bring it back here if it does, because, confusing as super may be, it’s worth knowing about. Indeed, if you play your superannuation cards properly, you will actually be able to accompany your mind to that tropical paradise when you retire, as well as doing many other things you have only dream about during your working life.

What is superannuation?

Basically, superannuation is designed to provide for us financially in retirement. It’s built up over our working lives from contributions made by our employers and, hopefully, topped up out of our own pockets. It’s also taxed lightly – both to encourage our active contribution towards it and to increase the size of its pay-out at the end.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that it’s confusing, your money is locked away for a very long time, and the Federal Government continually fiddles with the rules. While this may bring us no joy, the fact is, we need super.

Consider this: in 2001 we have around six people in the work force for every person in retirement. That’s a large pool of taxpayers from which to fund the aged pension. But, because we are having longer and having fewer children, by 2030 there will be only there people working for every retired person.

Let’s look at it another way. Today we have around 8.267% aged 65 or more populations. In 19 years’ time, when I reach 65 there will be just under 10% of us! Already pensions are a major funding burden, accounting for more than 30% of the Federal Budget, so can you imagine what it’s going to be like then? Either taxpayers in  the future will have to be taxed to within an inch of their lives if the aged pension is to remain at its present (modest) real level, or (far more likely) the pension will fall.

But “What about the value of the family home?“, I hear you say. Who cares about a pension if you’re sitting on good real estate? Okay, but do you really want to find yourself at retirement with no option but to sell the home you’re perfectly happy living in and don’t wish to leave? And after you’ve sold and put aside sufficient proceeds to live off comfortably for the rest of your life, you will be faced with taking a very substantial downgrading in the type of housing or the location you can afford. No, relying on the value of your home is not the way to plan for your retirement.

A comfortable retirement can only be funded by a separate next egg of investments, which has been built up for that purpose during your working life. And your success in building up a suitably sized nest egg will depend on your success as a saver. The reason is very clear. If you don’t save, you don’t invest, and if you don’t invest you will have nothing (apart from your home) to retire on.

The problem is, however, that we are not good savers. Certainly earlier generation who lived through tougher times were much better at it than we are. That’s why, I am sure, the Government has decided to force us to save, and the way they have chosen to implement this is through compulsory superannuation.

The key word here is compulsory. If there was only voluntary superannuation there’s little chance we’d contribute enough for it to do what it supposed to do – provide for a comfortable retirement and head off a society increasingly burdened by taxation to pay for the aged.

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It is a generally accepted view that the services sector will continue to employ more people at the expense of other industry sectors.  And it’s not just the most likely scenario painted for  – developed, industrialised countries all over the world are moving towards being service-based economies.

So, from the point of view of job security, the service sector is where anyone planning their next career move really ought to look. However, there is more to career choice than job security. Don’t get me wrong – job security is important, but it shouldn’t be your sole motivator. Finding a vacation you like should be top priority. After all, you spend half of your walking life at work so you may as well enjoy it!

And the clincher is that finding a job you like will actually produce its own job security. How? Well, if you genuinely enjoy your work you are more likely to excel at it than someone who doesn’t – and that’s the best job security you can have. I also believe that people who like their work have a much better than average chance of making good money from it – again, because people who like their work generally do a better job than those who don’t

Personal qualities in employment

Listed below are some fundamental personal qualities that all employers value and will be particularly important in the future employment scene. The more endowed you are with them, the greater your chances of success in whatever area of employment you choose.

  • Creativity – the fountainhead of success and the one human characteristic that no amount of brilliant technology will ever be able to replace (at least I pray not!).
  • Adaptability – a willingness and ability to learn new skills and to adapt old skills to new situations.
  • The ability to communicate well, and to understand easily.
  • Commitment and a willingness to work hard.

If you had to distil all this, I think it would ultimately come down to having the right attitude towards the job – one that’s fundamentally and genuinely positive. Employers are more likely to be influenced and impressed by this than by any other attribute you might have.

Step to boost your employment prospects

  1. Present yourself professionally and be on time for your job interview. First impressions are critical.
  2. Forget ten-page resumes. Your resume needs to be concise and easy to read, while providing a snapshot of your achievements, not merely a list of all your jobs. It’s also crucial that you adapt your resume to match individual job descriptions and keep it brief, ideally no more than three pages. Be sure to explicitly deal with all selection criteria covered in the advertisement.
  3. Do your research on the company and the people interviewing you.
  4. Show prospective employers that you can use technology and send online job applications when email addresses are provided.
  5. Prepare yourself for any psychological tests that you are required to do. You can research the standard tests on the Internet or at your local library.
  6. Be prepared to showcase your skills in the interview, to market yourself effectively without lapsing into cheesy self-promotion.
  7. Persistence brings rewards when job hunting. But remember, there is a fine line between persistence and annoyance, so tread carefully.
  8. Rehearse for interviews. (Not The Sound of Music!)
  9. Be proactive and ask questions about the job. This shows that you’ve done your homework and are truly interested in the position.
  10. Be confident and personable. Make eye contact with the interviewer, offer a firm handshake, smile and speak clearly. Consider the start of an interview. Speak confidently and coherently, listen and resist the impulse to interject, and try to present a self assured, relaxed image.
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