Are You Paying Too Much For Your Lifestyle?

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Right now, it’s far too easy to get wrapped up in an ideal. You know that you want to live well. You see your friends living big, you see celebrities living big, and you want to live big too. So, you go for it. You spend more. You get those possessions that you think you need to feel good about yourself. But then you’re left feeling nothing short of empty – in every sense of the word. Because your bank account is empty and you’re feeling stuck financially. It’s okay to have a nice car and lead a lovely lifestyle, but only if it’s within your reach. Having extortionate car payments, a hefty mortgage, and ridiculous monthly expenses is only ever going to leave you feeling sick and stressed out. If you feel like you’re paying way too much for your lifestyle, now’s the time to make a change.

If you’re in debt, you’re overspending, and you really don’t feel financially free, the chances are that you’re not happy either. No matter how much stuff you have around you, you will feel in a bad place. The worries and financial burden that you have just isn’t worth it. Instead, you have to think about the kind of lifestyle that you should be living – the one that you can afford. And, at the same time, working to get yourself into a better financial position so that, one day in the future, you will have the life you want. So let’s take a look at what you need to do to get yourself into a better place.

Break Down Your Income

To get you started, you need to be really aware of what you earn. So right now, you think you earn a set salary each year. But how much do you really earn? After taxes and benefits and different payments, you may earn less than you think. So the first thing to do is really break it all down. Ideally, you’ll do this with both yours and your spouse’s incomes. That way, you’ll be able to work out what comes into the household each month.

Write Down Your Expenses

Next, you need to be really transparent with the monthly bills that you have. So write them down. Really dig deep and work out what bills you pay each month. From your mortgage to your water bill, include it all. Anything that goes out to pay for the house or your personal lifestyles should be included here. Even if you have regular purchases, such as salon visits or a members club, this all needs to be written down.

Cull, Cull, Cull!

Now, you’re probably going to be incredibly shocked by what you see. And that’s normal. Because we never really know how much we spend each month until we see it in front of us. You may even realize that you’re spending way more than you bring in, and it’s going to stress you out.But only for a second. Because now you’re going to slash it all in half! You’re going to be drastic and cut your expenses so much, removing anything that’s not a necessity, so that things are looking a little more flattering.

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Create A Budget

The next step is to set up a budget online or in a spreadsheet. And be tough. Doing this is the only way that you can have any kind of control over your money. Allocate portions of money to your bills and different spending areas, then stick to it.

Track Your Spending

To complement your budget, you then need to track your spending. Keep your receipts and log them. If you can plug something into your bank account, then do it. But just make sure that you are honest and you’re tracking things accurately. This is the best way to make sure that you’re bringing the cost of your lifestyle down.

Shop Around

From here, you’re then going to want to work on bringing your monthly bills down. Shop around and use a site such as moneypug to save money. Compare energy options, get a better deal on your broadband, and reduce your insurance premiums. Do what you can to really reduce what you’re paying to keep your home running.

Downgrade

Next, you need to think about how you can control some of the payments that it’s not so easy to shop around for. If you know that you have a huge mortgage on a house that is probably a bit too aspirational for you now, downgrade. Find something more affordable and move. As drastic as this may seem, you know it’s what you need to do. And do the same with your car lease. Change what you have for something more practical and affordable.

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Change Your Circles

If you’re worried about what people will think of your drastic lifestyle change, then it’s time to change your circles. When you change your friends, you change your life. If the people you socialize with are bad influences, they put pressure on you, and you feel like you need to keep up with the Joneses, it’s time to let them go. True friends won’t care what you have, they’ll only care about the kind of people that you are! This will also help you to stay on track with your new frugal lifestyle.

Think About The Future

Now, you’re then going to want to start thinking ahead. You need to be sure that you are able to put a plan in place for where you want to be in five or ten years time. Right now, you don’t have the lifestyle that you want. You may have faked it and felt like you had it, but it was damaging you financially. So now you need to work out what you need to do to actually get there.

Go All In

Finally, to help you do that, you need to make sure that you’re going all in with an actionable career plan. You have to work out what you can do with your career to increase your income and really create that style of life that you want. It will take work, and you’ll need to make sacrifices, but if you give it your all, you know you can make it work.

The Incredible Growth of Fintech (infographic)

The name Fintech was coined by merging two words: finance and technology. With the evolution of every aspect of society, it wasn’t a surprise that modern technology would find its way in finance as well. The latest technological breakthroughs are used in banking, investing and cryptocurrencies.

The financial crisis in 2008 opened the doors for novel ways of providing financial services. The investment in Fintech in the same year was $930 million and in the next 7 years it increased to more than $22 billion. This shows the huge growth of the new financial industry which specializes in areas such as insurance, trading, and risk management.
The major characteristic which attracts customers is that the products and services that these firms offer are cheaper and more innovate that those by traditional banks.

One of the innovations is that many of the companies have shown interest in cryptocurrencies in the past years. Fintech uses software because it is mainly based of digital information. In turn, this makes it vulnerable to hacking attacks, which is why the leading companies opted to using cloud computing as a new solution for data security. Such example is Expedia which was one of the first to adopt Bitcoin when it partnered with Affirm.

Even though Fintech companies experience a rapid growth, it is unlikely that in the foreseeable future they will be able to “kill off” traditional banks. At the very least, the banks are trying to stay in touch with modern technologies, despite their rigid structures.
Take a look at the infographic below which has many statistics that will help you understand the incredible growth of Fintech.

Growth of fintech infographic

Love Money? 4 Careers Where You Can Make Money From Money!

For most people, dealing with money and paying bills is a total drag. Everything in life costs money if you hope to survive it, and so it makes sense to learn everything you can about money management and budgeting, so that you don’t land in a sticky situation. While you’re learning about money management, you may develop a total love for dealing with money and find you have a knack for mathematics that makes learning about money easy.

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There are many careers out there that are considered by people in all walks of life, but finance is often one of them. The thing is, jobs such as accountancy and banking often come with a stigma of being boring – which is definitely not the case! There is so much more to working in finance that the Ebenezer Scrooge character of Dickens novels conjures, and you don’t have to be bored when it comes to your job in finance. The career progression and educational opportunities, such as an online MBA program in finance, can take you far further than a basic position in the finance industry. With the wealth of opportunities before you, it makes a lot of sense to begin researching which awesome careers you can gain in the money sector. After all, what better way to make money, than by working with money!?

If you want a job that is interesting, financially flush and can take you places in the business world, check out the careers options ahead for you!

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  1. Investment Banker. You’ve seen them in their suits rushing from the commute in the city. Sharp and focused, investment bankers work with people and organizations to help raise a lot of money by selling equity and sometimes bonds. The firm you are with will depend on whether you are working in an advisory capacity to your clients, or whether you work in a more niche role. Either way, it’s a day job that comes with a lot of surprises!
  2. Financial Analyst. Those who love a puzzle will love this one, as the job involves determining the best investment strategies for the company you work for. Financial analysis is a skill that is in high demand and the salaries that can be commanded are attractive – you can read more about those here.
  3. Chief Financial Officer. Being in charge in a management position is something that most people aspire to get to, and a CFO leads and manages the financial dealings of a large company. It’s a position of trust where you have to track the company profit and loss and have an opinion on what can make the company more profitable.
  4. Accountant. This is a very common and very popular financial position that can be targeted toward your specific interests. It’s a brilliant skill to have, even if you don’t work in the financial sector and you have a wide range of opportunities in front of you with this one.

Ultimately, you have to choose a career that’s going to get your juices flowing – make it a good one!

How To Prepare for a Disaster

We all hope it wont happen to us, but every year thousands of people are affected by natural and man made disasters. This article explores some great advice about how you can be prepared.

If you are a senior or care for a senior, a disaster is one of your worst fears. Whether it’s a natural disaster like a hurricane or flood, or man-made disaster like a nuclear disaster, it’s a terrifying experience.

So many things to think about. Who needs to be contacted? If you need to evacuate, where do you go? How do you remember everything to bring? What about emergency medical needs? It can feel overwhelming, leading you to not do anything.

It doesn’t need to be that way. By following a simple set of instructions, you can be prepared for almost any disaster. It won’t necessarily make things easier, but it will make it safer and set your mind at ease.

Here are 11 ways for seniors to prepare for disasters. These steps will help you be ready for anything you may confront.

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#1 – Learn In Advance

Long before any disaster occurs, you need to know the possibilities. First, do some research about natural disasters that could occur in your area. For example, if you live on the west coast, earthquakes are a distinct possibility. If you live on the Gulf Coast, hurricanes are a semi-regular occurrence. If you live in the midwest, you’re vulnerable to tornadoes. If you live in the far north, snowstorms can be a problem.

If you or a family member has a particular medical condition, that should be taken into account as well. If you live in an older home, consider things like house fires and gas leaks.

Knowing what may happen allows you to prepare effectively.

#2 – Create An Escape Route

If a disaster occurs or is going to occur, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll need to escape the area quickly to prevent injury. If you don’t know the route you’ll take in advance, there’s a chance you could get caught in long traffic lines or use roads that aren’t available. If your community has a prepared escape route, familiarize yourself with that.

The same goes for the home. In the event of a fire or other home emergency, every family member needs to know the proper escape route. If you can’t move without help or are caring for someone in that position, that also must be accounted for. The last thing you want to happen is for someone to be trapped inside a burning house or left behind.

Finally, there should be an established meeting place for everyone once they escape the house to ensure that all are safe.

You may want to consider buying the appropriate equipment, such as ladders or instruments for breaking windows.

#3 – Get To Know The Community

In addition to knowing potential disasters that could strike your area, you should also know ways your community is prepared for disaster. Ask for information regarding:

  • The local radio station where emergency information will be broadcast.
  • The locations of local disaster shelters.
  • The community warning systems, such as sirens.
  • Transportation methods for those without vehicles.

This information is especially important if you live alone and don’t have anyone nearby to care for you in the event of a disaster.

#4 – Establish Points Of Communication

In the event of a disaster, you want to know who will be checking in on you. If you’re caring for someone, you want them to have the knowledge that you will make sure they’re okay. The worst case scenario is you or someone you love being trapped or in danger and no one knowing it.

Create a check-in plan that will keep everyone in regular communication. Establish times when contact will be made. Also, create a plan in the event that someone fails to check in. This will ensure that everyone knows all essential information in the event of a disaster.

#5 – Prepare An Emergency Kit

An emergency kit contains all that you need to survive during and after a disaster. This kit should be assembled well in advance and contain all the necessary items to ensure survival and treat medical emergencies. Everyone should know where the kit is.

At a minimum, the kit should include:

  • A three day supply of water, assuming one gallon per person per day
  • A three day supply of non-perishable food.
  • A flashlight and batteries
  • A first aid kit
  • Basic hygiene items
  • Waterproof matches
  • Blanket
  • Copies of all essential information, such as identification and credit cards
  • Cash and coins
  • Basic cooking utensils
  • A multi-purpose tool
  • A cell phone charger
  • A whistle
  • Any special items, such as medication, glasses, hearing aid batteries, etc.

This kit should regularly maintained. Batteries should be replaced once per year, cell phone chargers should be updated to the current model, photocopies should be updated when new cards are acquired. Throw out damaged cans and place boxes in tight containers. If possible, the entire kit should be stored in an airtight, waterproof container.

Forgetting to keep your kit updated can render some items useless.

#6 – Create Emergency Contact Cards

Every person in the family should have an emergency contact card. The card should be kept in an easily accessible place, like a wallet or purse, and should contain the following information:

  • Medications
  • Allergies
  • Blood type
  • Immunizations
  • Adaptive equipment (pacemaker, etc.)
  • Communication difficulties
  • Emergency contact information

If you or the person you’re caring for gets hurt, this will allow strangers to effectively care for them.

#7 – Take A Home Inventory

If your home is damaged or destroyed, you’ll need to file insurance claims. The insurance company will want to know what was damaged and will then recompense you accordingly. Without some sort of formal home inventory, there’s no way to remember all the items in your home.

Create a home inventory list, print it out, and then store it in a safe place. If you are tech savvy, you can also take photos and then use an online service to store them.

#8 – Know CPR

Disasters can result in a variety of literally heart-stopping conditions, whether that’s a heart attack or an injury. In these cases, it’s essential that someone in the house know the proper way to perform CPR. Ideally, you should also have an automated external defibrillator (AED) and have at least one person who knows how to use it. Both of these things can be absolutely lifesaving.

#9 – Check and Maintain Fire Extinguishers

In the event of a house fire, fire extinguishers will be the first line of defense. However, it’s not enough to just purchase them – they need to be regularly checked. Pay careful attention to the expiration dates and test them once per year to ensure they’re still working properly.

If you don’t feel comfortable performing this task, considering hiring a professional safety company to maintain all your extinguishers.

#10 – Copy Essential Documents

Important documents like your driver’s license, SSN card, passport, will, deeds, financial statements, and insurance information should be copied and then put in a safe, offsite location. Consider using a safe deposit box or someone you trust with such information.

#11 – Take Note Of Any Special Needs

If you or someone you are caring for has disabilities or special needs, these need to be carefully considered. These special needs include:

  • Wheelchairs – You’ll need a special route to evacuate with a wheelchair, as well a way to transport the wheelchair. If you use a motorized wheelchair, you’ll need to think about backup batteries or a backup wheelchair.
  • Visual difficulties – If you’re blind or visually impaired, keep a cane with a whistle attached to it close by. Also, remember that your escape route from your home or building may have become blocked or littered with debris.
  • Hearing impaired – Those with hearing challenges need to include extra hearing aid batteries in the emergency kit. They must be able to be located quickly after a disaster occurs.

Conclusion

A disaster may be your worst nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. The key is to prepare well in advance, and then stay prepared as a disaster approaches. Don’t panic, but stay calm. Trust your preparation, trust your emergency kit, and trust those on your contact list.

Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Thankfully, this won’t be the case for you. By preparing, you are preventing yourself from failing. The worst may come, but you’re ready for the worst. That makes all the difference.

Reproduced with permission from John Hawthorn from his original post at https://burialinsurancecoverage.com/11-critical-ways-seniors-can-prepare-for-disaster/

Don’t Apply For That Job Just Yet

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Hunting for a job is one of the testing and trying times of any person’s professional career. It takes persistence, concentration, and steadfast optimism, and that is because you are going to trawl through pages and pages on job sites and receive rejection and rejection. It takes serious courage and determination to keep your chin up.

But eventually you’ll find a job pop-up, and you’ll wonder how you didn’t find it before now. It is a company you’d absolutely love to work for. You seem to tick all the requirements they are looking for in a candidate. It is within the right salary range. Everything seems to be a great fit and you suddenly feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

However, before you jump the gun and send an application off without being ready, here are a few things you need to do first:

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Improve Your Online Profile

It is common knowledge that, when you apply for a job, the first thing the hiring manager and HR department is going to Google your name. They are going to look at your LinkedIn page, your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and why wouldn’t they? You would do the same thing. This isn’t to assess whether you drink occasionally, it is more to see if there is anything they should be wary of. It means looking at how up to date your profiles are and about how seriously you’ll take the role. It is about whether your personality will be a good fit.

Do Your Own Googling

Do not apply for a job without swatting up on everything there is to know about the company you are applying to. You’ve spend ages searching for a job, so you may as well spend ages making sure you know all you can about the job. It may be that you don’t need to exercise your newly gathered knowledge. However, it might be that you do, and you don’t want to seem unprepared. Pay special attention to the company’s career page so that you can see what they are looking for and what their ethos is. Look at their blog. Read any news articles you can find. Look at who is on the board. Check out the company’s journey. The more you can arm yourself with – the more you seem like you care – the better your chances of succeeding.

Do A Background Check On You

Any respectable and thorough employer will do a background check on you, so make sure there is nothing out there that could come back and sting you unexpectedly. If there is any niggling feeling at the back of your skull or a quiet whisper in your head that keeps asking do I really have a warrant out on me, then make sure you get it checked out so that you know for sure. You don’t want to find out during the interview process that there is a problem with your history, especially one you can’t explain.

Bespoke Your Application

A generic application is so obvious to anyone that has looked at more than 5 CVs. So make sure you tailor your entire application to the job role at hand. You don’t want to find your dream job, but miss out because of laziness. Yes, it is hard work tailoring each and every cover letter, and each and every CV, but it will be worth it in the end.