Wednesday, December 1, 2021

4 Steps To A More Secure Financial Future

 

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No matter how you feel about money and the topic of finances, it’s a part of your everyday life and will continue to be. You need it to pay bills and for times when you want to participate in fun activities or take vacations.  

If you’re struggling currently then now is the time to re-evaluate and figure out what you can do to make some changes that will positively impact your situation. Learn four steps to a more secure financial future so you can get back on track and stop living paycheck to paycheck.

1. Set up A Budget

One step to a more secure financial future is to set up a budget. You should follow a budget so that you know what money you have and where it’s going. Planning out your expenses will ensure you can pay your bills on time and that you’re living within your means. It’s a concrete and realistic way for you to avoid overspending and using money that you don’t have on things you don’t need. Be sure to modify and adjust it each time there’s a change in your finances or lifestyle.

2. Know When to Consult with A Lawyer

There may come a time when you find yourself in a sticky or unfortunate situation and need some guidance. For example, maybe it’s that you get into a car accident or that you’re bitten by a dog while you’re out walking. You may not realize that animal attack victims are entitled to significant compensation. Instead of trying to handle the circumstances yourself or making assumptions about how to proceed, then it’s best to contact the experts at Mitch Grissim and Associates so they can review your case and offer advice.

3. Communicate with Your Spouse

Another step to a more secure financial future is to get on the same page as your spouse. You should be working as a team to get to a better place financially. Communicate with your partner and make sure your goals and aspirations are aligned. You want to avoid one of you spending a lot of money on unnecessary items while the other is trying to pay the bills and keep up with daily expenses. Together, you can plan out what you want to achieve with your money and where you see yourselves and your family five and ten years from now.

4. Get in the Habit of Saving Your Money

It’s always a wise move to save your money so that you can set yourself up for a secure financial future. There are many reasons to save your money such as for retirement or in case of an emergency and you need to access funds quickly. You don’t want to always be putting expenses on your credit card and racking up more debt over time. Therefore, put your money away now so that you have it when you need it. It might help to set up automatic deposits into certain accounts so that you don’t have to see or touch the money and can begin to build up your savings


Sunday, November 21, 2021

Taking Care of Your Freelance Business

 Freelance endeavors are often started either out of necessity, passion, or a drastic change in circumstances. 


Not everyone sets out to be a freelancer, and so it is a lot of learning as you go. While learning as you do is one of the most potent things about freelancing, it can lead to trial and error. 


Many freelancers don’t realize that they need to protect their business just as much as a multi-million dollar corporation - and sometimes more—freelancing lands pretty much everything on the shoulders of the person who does the work. 


Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash


So, for example, if you are having trouble with a client paying - which can happen often - you need to chase them personally. Until you take extra steps and take legal action. In the meantime, you have to cover the financial loss. 


Another example is that the client exactly specified the work you did; however, it appears to be plagiarized, or they get sued by another company. This often lands back on the shoulders of the freelancer, and you will find yourself in serious legal troubles. 


As you learn and grow, it is your job to look at how you can protect your freelancing career and what makes the most sense to you. 


Remember that protection for your business doesn’t just come in one form; there are many ways to protect your freelancing. 


Insurance

One of the scenarios above involved the freelancer potentially ending in a lawsuit. One of the most important and practical things that you can do to avoid this is to have the right insurance. 


While you may still end up in legal troubles, you will have your legal costs covered and have some level of protection for your reputation and business. 


A freelance business should have many different forms of insurance, and it is your job to make sure you have the right policies in place. 


As a minimum, you should be looking for the following insurances:


  • One of the most vital insurances you can have as a freelancer is professional liability indemnity. 

  • Insurance that covers your devices. 

  • General liability insurance to cover you for third-party damages or customer injuries. 

  • Cyber liability insurance

  • Health and disability insurance


Before you sign for any policy, make sure that it gives you the cover you think it does. It is often the case that freelancers will take out insurance policies without knowing what is in them. 


If you don’t know what your insurance covers, you will find yourself in a difficult position if your claim is denied. In the case of a rejected claim, your first course of action is to contact insurance claim attorneys.

Long-term clients

Part of the joy of freelancing is that you can have as many clients as you like. Taking on new exciting projects or taking long breaks. However, there is one truth when it comes to freelancing - a few long-term clients are one of the most profitable and stable ways to grow your freelancing career. 


A long-term client will usually be locked into six months or more extended contract, giving you financial stability for at least that long. The longer you work with the same client, the less onboarding you will need to do, less admin, little to no new introductions, and more cohesive service. 


Long-term clients are your safety-net, and they aren’t always easy to come by. You might need to change your business goals for a short amount of time to attract those longer-term clients. 


While you might want to focus on long-term clients, it is essential to find a balance. Ideally speaking, you will be looking for an 80/20 split between long-term clients and short-term clients. 

Services

Are you offering enough services? Most likely not. Often freelancers have one powerful skill that makes most of their income - however, their skill base typically grows over time. 


Freelancers who started by offering social media services will most likely learn how to create graphics from scratch; they’ll learn about branding, customer services, and more. 


Expanding your services over time will mean selling more services or creating appealing bundles for your clients. 


If you don’t feel like you can expand your services by learning on the job, then it is a good idea to take short courses that cover the direction you wish to expand into. 


LinkedIn offers a range of short courses covering a wide range of topics; they are usually accessible with a premium membership. Hubspot also offers a range of courses that can help you expand your services. 

Personal Branding

As you grow your freelancing business, you should look to expand your brand too. Gather testimonials and further cement your reputation in the industry. Ensure that you are taking part in discussions and attending industry networking and learning opportunities. 


Begin to see yourself as an expert and act accordingly. 


Keep a social profile outside of your business profiles so that potential clients can get a sense of your authenticity and decide if they wish to work together. 


Your brand can have a significant impact on the type of clients you can secure, and in most cases, will do a lot of the heavy lifting. 

Increase Prices

Legacy clients will usually have an issue raising your prices, but new clients will see your track record and be prepared to pay your rates. 


Increasing your rates will attract a higher caliber of business - and most often the ones that are interested in long-term contracts and working relationships. 


If you are yet to create contracts, ensure that you add something in that covers the fact that you may raise your prices at your discretion over the space of several years - or something else that suits you. 


As you gain more experience, it is expected that you will raise your prices to reflect your track record for success. 


And finally: don’t be afraid to end business relationships that aren’t good for your mental health or clients that don’t respect your boundaries. 


Are you still learning the ropes to running your freelance business? Don’t worry, here are some: Easy Business Mistakes To Avoid 






Friday, November 19, 2021

Bridging Financial Gaps When You Have To Take Time Off Work

 If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we never know what is around the corner. Many of us will face financial challenges, usually because our income drops, or we have to take time off work. If you are recovering from an illness or injury, or your hours have been reduced as part of a cost-cutting measure, this guide contains useful information to help you bridge the gaps. 


Image source: https://pixabay.com/photos/calculator-calculation-insurance-1680905/


Benefits and financial support

The first thing to do if you’ve had to take leave due to illness or an accident is to see if you are eligible for financial benefits or support. You may be able to claim payments to tide you over or help you out. You could also seek advice from nonprofits and charitable organizations if you’re struggling with issues, such as clearing debts or covering bills as a result of your income dropping substantially. There are ways to manage debts and steps you can take to prevent them from spiraling out of control. Many organizations offer free advice over the phone and video online chat services. If you think you may be entitled to financial assistance, research online and find out what you need to do to access your payment. 


If you are taking time out and you have a job, check the terms of your employment contract. You may be entitled to continue claiming your normal wage for a period and this may be followed by a reduced payment. Employers vary in terms of the conditions, so read your contract carefully. 


Legal advice

Accidents happen, but sometimes, they are avoidable. If you have been injured at work, or you had an accident in a public place due to somebody else’s negligence, you may wish to consider contacting a legal firm to see if you have a case for workers comp or slip, trip and fall compensation. If you were not at fault for the incident, you could make a claim. If your case is successful, you could use your compensation payout to cover medical or rehabilitation costs and ease financial pressure if you have bills and a mortgage to pay. It is worth noting that if you have lost income or had to stop working as a result of the incident, this will be taken into consideration when deciding whether to approve the claim and calculating the value of the compensation payment. 


Budgeting and reducing spending

If money is tight and the future looks uncertain, it’s wise to try to reduce spending and draw up a monthly budget. Analyze your most recent statements and go through your transactions and standing orders. Highlight areas where you can make cutbacks. If you have subscriptions or memberships you don’t use, for example, cancel these payments. You can also use your budget to set spending limits on groceries, going out and buying non-essential items. Shop around for the best deals to lower monthly spending and think about whether you need to buy items and products before adding them to your cart. Try to save as much as possible. If you tend to get tempted to splash out, transfer money to a savings account each month and put a limit on your credit card. 


If you’re not used to budgeting, it’s very easy to get started. You can use apps, a spreadsheet or a notepad. Create three columns and add your income, your regular payments and one-off charges for that specific month. Once you have all the figures, you can calculate your disposable income and decide how much you want to spend or save. Adjust and update your budget as you go and try to use exact figures, rather than estimates. 


Image from https://www.pexels.com/photo/bank-blur-business-buy-259200/


Alternative ways to earn money

If you’re not able to work, or your hours have been cut, it may be possible to use alternative sources of income to help you increase your earnings. There are jobs you can do from home if you’re not able to get out and about and you can also explore casual, part-time money-making opportunities. Examples include taking part in surveys, creating online courses, blogging and buying and selling online. You might also be able to utilize your skills and interests to set up a side hustle. From baking and making cards and gifts to tutoring and freelance consulting, there are endless options to consider. If you are looking into a different kind of work, it’s wise to check the terms of your employment first to make sure that you’re not breaking any rules. 


Borrowing

Many people choose to borrow money when their income falls and they have payments to cover. Borrowing can be beneficial, but there are risks attached. It’s crucial to make sure that you can afford the repayments and check the terms and conditions carefully before you take out a loan or put money on a credit card. Some loans have very high interest rates. Try to avoid these products, as you may find it difficult to keep up with the repayments. If you need a small amount of money to tide you over until your next payday, it may be better to ask a close friend or a relative for a loan rather than to apply to a lender. If you do take this route, make sure there is a clear deadline and don’t promise anything you can’t deliver. It’s best to be open and honest about how long it will take you to pay the money back. 


If you are in a situation where you are borrowing more money, or you are using credit cards more, seek advice. Debts can spiral very quickly when high-interest loans and cards are involved. 


Picture credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/crop-anonymous-financier-planning-budget-writing-numbers-in-notebook-4386339/




Staying in the black is difficult enough without having to worry about taking time off work or having your hours cut. If you are trying to bridge gaps, find out if you are eligible for support, read the terms of your employment contract and try to reduce spending. Seek legal advice if you think you might be eligible for compensation and consider other ways to boost your income. Borrowing may be an option, but it can be risky. Make sure you can afford the repayments and you understand the terms and conditions before applying for a loan. 


Thursday, November 18, 2021

Preparing Your House For Christmas Decorations

 Are you a big Christmas fan? Of course you are - it’s hard not to be! And we all know that Christmas planning starts months before the actual day comes along, but the one thing we can’t prepare in advance for is the decorations. After all, you don’t want them going up in July! 


So we have to wait until December rolls around before we deck the halls with bells and wreaths and tinsel and a bit of fake snow. But before you put up your decorations, you’ve got a bit of prep work to do to ensure your efforts look amazing. And to help you out with cleaning the home out for Christmas, here are a few tips to keep in mind. 


Pexels Image - CC0 Licence


Clearing Out the Tree Space


This is the first thing to do, of course, seeing as the tree is usually first to go up. However, in clearing this space out, you’ve got to find somewhere else for all the items to go. So the first thing to do is get yourself a storage box. 


Make sure it’s big enough to put small and medium items in, and then store this box where you’d usually keep the decorations. It’s a simple switch around for the month! You should also think about the tree size - get a tree that’s at least half a foot away from your ceiling for best tree topper results. 


Clean Your Windows


You’re going to be using your windows a lot during the Christmas season, simply because window decals, tinsel, and even festive drapes can be hung up for an extra special bit of decoration. However, before you do add any of these to your festive living space, you’re going to have to clean the windows! 


To make this easier on you, think about investing in a window cleaning robot that can do all the hard work for you, especially across the top floor. Not to mention that cleaning the windows should be a part of a winter cleaning checklist anyway, thanks to just how dirty they can get during this time of month. 


Decide Where String Lights Will Hang


And then we come to building the layout of your home’s decorations. But why do we start with the lights? Because they’re the frame of your Christmas decking plans, and the rest of your Christmas scene is designed around them. You’ll also need to account for the electricity they’re going to use up while they’re on. 


Of course, you’re going to be covering the tree in lights, but what about the top of your walls, and maybe even the base near the floorboards? What about across the ceiling, or draped up the stairs? Put together a little plan right now; the way the lights sparkle across the rest of your decorations makes a lot of difference in how impactful it all looks.


You’re feeling like your home is all ready for Christmas, but are you sure you’ve accounted for the decorations properly? 


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

How To Be Frugal Even in Your Later Years

 If you’ve been smart with your finances then there’s a good chance that you’ve built up a sizable amount of savings for your retirement. This is a fantastic financial decision to make, but that doesn’t mean you can just waste away your savings when you retire. Things are going to get harder even with savings because you don’t have additional income to help cover unexpected expenses, so here are a few ways to continue saving money even in your later years.


Keep in mind that many of these tips can still be practised now if you want. Nothing prevents you from being frugal even in your early years as it means more savings for the future.


Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/XFJLTYU-7vA (CC0)


Prioritizing your entertainment needs as a senior


Things like entertainment are nice to have, but it doesn't need to take up a lot of your money. You can definitely cut down entertainment costs by using things like video subscription services to help offset costs of buying films and going to the cinema. You can also explore low-cost hobbies that you might’ve forgotten about when you were still busy with work.


Take advantage of all the discounts that you can


Seniors are often given loads of discounts due to their age. You can take a look at websites like SeniorDiscountHub to find out where you can get discounts as a senior and you’ll save a surprising amount of money. This can also be a good way to find out about alternatives for expensive things, or even to look for new activities to get involved with.


Downsizing and getting rid of things you no longer need


There are lots of things that you might be able to get rid of because you’re no longer working. For instance, you could sell your car if you don’t plan to drive every day. You might also consider this if you’re able to get cheaper transportation because of your age. You could also consider downsizing to a different house or even moving to a different location outside of the city where things are considerably cheaper.


Remember that you can spend money to save money as well


Many people forget that spending money can definitely help you save money in many circumstances. For example, you may want to spend money on a slightly more expensive kitchen appliance if it means saving you from having to buy it again in the future. Similarly, you may want to spend more money on better services like healthcare so that medical bills will be lower in the future. In short, spend money to save money and don’t forget that this can apply to all stages of your life, not just seniorhood!


Should you ever consider getting out of retirement?


Some people might consider going back into the workforce for various reasons. Some people may want to because they’re bored of the retired life, and others may consider it because they need a bit more cash. While it might not be possible to return to your previous workplace, you can always find a little side project (such as starting a home business) to help supplement your income.


Monday, November 8, 2021

Moving House? Costs To Consider!

 One of the biggest expenses in life is owning a new house, but even renting one can rack up some costs and those costs come in the time between getting the house and living in it. Moving expenses can be huge for some areas, but they can also cause an awful lot of stress for you, too. 


There are some big costs associated with changing to a new house, and you have to be ready and prepared for them so that they don't catch you unawares when you don't have the money spare to make it work. From the cost of moving companies to the cost of packaging for packing your stuff up properly. You also need to consider the costs that we’ve outlined in this article. This way, you can be prepared for the costs and you’re not blind-sided.

Image Source: Pexels

  1. Movers. You already know that moving companies can cost you some cash, so it’s good to research the ones local to you and get to know their individual costs. If you implement these into a spreadsheet, you can then compare your costs better. Time is money so you want to hire efficient movers that meet your budget.

  2. Security deposits. Moving to a new property if you’re renting involves security deposits that will be heavier than you think. Every single property and landlord does things differently, but most of the time a security deposit is equal to a month’s rent or more. Making sure that you have six weeks at least will really help you to have everything ready to move into your new home. 

  3. First and last. If the property you’re moving into insists that you have the first and last month's rent, you need to make sure that you have these costs ready to go. You’re then covered for the month you move in and the month you move out.

  4. Pet costs. Some rental agencies insist on a deposit for your pets if you are heading into a rental. This will cover any scratches and damages caused by the pet on the carpets and furniture. It’s not always a high fee, but it’s one that you have to consider if you want to bring your pet with you. It might not apply to smaller animals, but it’s always worth being aware if there is a cost as you need to consider. 

  5. HOA fees. Are you moving somewhere that has a homeowners association, then you need to take into account any involved fees in the process. You might have to pay annual or monthly fees when you do, and this will take some time to get used to if you haven't been used to it so far.


Moving to a new property doesn't have to rinse you of every single penny you have, but it will take a lot of planning and cash if you haven't had to do it before. There are costs with moving and if you are prepared, you’ll manage your move effectively from day one!


Great Ways That Employers Can Show They Care For Their Employees


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As a company, it’s always a good idea to show your staff that you care about them. This is going to really help to keep employees motivated and productive. But also, it can really help with staff retention. If you want the best employees and you want them to do a great job for you, it’s important to look after them and treat them well.

It can be as simple as providing the basic benefits of flexible work hours, telecommuting options, healthcare coverage, and paid time off. But sometimes, you have to go further than that as it's not always about the money. You really need to show that you care so that your employees stick around and do a great job.

Why It’s Important to Show Your Employees That You Care

Employees need to feel appreciated and valued. When companies neglect this, they can create a toxic work environment that can impact their company's bottom line. This is why engagement is so important. Employee engagement is a measure of how engaged an individual is in his or her work life. It is measured by asking questions such as "How satisfied are you with your job?" and "How involved are you in decisions affecting your job?" But in order to boost that, it’s a great idea to implement measures that boost their satisfaction. Let’s take a look at how.

Key Ways Your Company Can Show That They Care About Employees

Employers can show that they care about their employees by providing benefits and other incentives, such as bonuses and fun days out. Some employers also provide healthcare and retirement plans. There are plenty of ways to show your employees that you care about them and the company as a whole, but the best way to do it is to work out what your staff would appreciate the most. This needs to be in addition to the basic benefits you can offer as standard.

Hosting an Effective Employee Appreciation Day

On an employee appreciation day, a company can show their appreciation for each employee in a unique way. These days have become more popular as companies try to engage their employees on a deeper level. It can be something really fun and exciting to plan. It could be as simple as having a day out together at a fun place or bringing a bit of a party or social occasion into the office. Research ideas and think about what would sit well with your brand and really engage your staff too.

Practical Ways Employers Can Show They Care about Their Employees

Many bosses feel they cannot show their appreciation for the work their employees do. This is why it's important for employers to acknowledge employees with small, yet meaningful gestures that show they care about them. Employers can also use an app like "Acknowledgement" to send out a message of thanks. The app allows employers to send personalized thank-you notes to their employees which are then sent by email or text. Or you can make sure that you foster an environment that recognizes good work and shows genuine appreciation all year long for the work put in.

Gift Ideas and Bonuses Companies Can Give To Employees During The Holidays

You could also think about what gifts and bonuses will be put out ahead of, and during, the holiday season. To help employees during the holidays, companies can give employees gifts for them and their loved ones. These include helping them save on taxes by offering a deduction or matching what they put into their 401k account.

A lot of companies give employees gift cards as a bonus during the holiday season too. It could even be something super relevant like turkey and ham gift certificates for employees from GThankYou or other food ideas. It shows that you care and that you’re looking out for them over the holiday season.

Employees do not expect to get anything special during the holidays, but some companies offer small bonuses to show appreciation for their hard work during the year even if it is just $20. It might be great to be sure that you have a bonus structure in place so that employees can work for an extra amount that is paid to them ahead of the holidays.

Tips for Keeping Employees Engaged and Happy at Work

Employee engagement is important in the workplace for productivity and retention. Employees are more productive if they are engaged in their work, while employers are able to save money on training to keep the employees they have. If you want too make this easier, just be a great place to work, offer a good benefits package, and look after your employees!




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