4 Ways to Minimize the Stress of Business Trips

business planThe excitement of an all-expenses paid work trip, staying at top hotels, eating long lunches and taking advantage of a range of other perks on the business credit card tell only half of the story of business travel. The truth is that traveling for work is worlds apart from a leisure trip: tight schedules and long days mean business trips are often stressful. Fortunately, these four tips will minimise the stress on your next business trip so you can be ready to face whatever is thrown your way.

1. Beat Jet Lag

Jet lag can be major buzz kill, and arriving in a different time zone with a lack of sleep and then having to back it up with all-day meetings is enough to get anyone’s stress levels to rise. That’s why doing whatever you canto beat jet lag should be part of your business-trip planning. Business travel providers such as Corporate Traveller can book overnight flights to help you arrive feeling fresher; they can also book sleeper suites in first class. First and business class tickets also include space to work as well as complimentary airport lounge access that can help you to relax before or between flights. Once you arrive, getting onto the local schedule by eating at normal meal times and taking a walk outside can all help to beat the jet lag blues: you’ll soon feel more rested and less strung out and stressed. [Read more…]

How To Choose A Family Car – Without Breaking The Bank

choosing family carIf our personal circumstances are changing – maybe baby’s on the way or baby’s getting another brother or sister – the way we get around needs a rethink too. It’s sometimes baffling, tiresome and just one big bother. It makes sense to systematise your family car purchase from thinking about it, to purchase, to reduce that burden when it comes down to the crunch.

Tips For Choosing A Family Car

Deciding What You Need vs What You Want

Do you want to slash a whole heap of possibilities from your list? Get your red pen out and set a budget. With baby (or baby number two or three) on the way, your finances will be thrown up in the air and may take time to settle. You settle on what you absolutely need, rather than want. There’s no use buying a people mover if all you really require is back seats. [Read more…]

Moments In Your Financial Life When It’s OK To Splurge

money management skillsThere are a lot of us who have been taught financial conservatism. Being careful with your money isn’t a bad thing. But if you’re never willing to take a risk, you’ll never get anywhere in your financial life. This has long-reaching implications.

  • It will determine where and how you’ll live for the rest of your life.
  • It will have a big impact on your future health and happiness.
  • It will affect the way your children grow up.

Unchecked, financial conservatism can be almost as bad as financial wastefulness. In order to get ahead, you’ve got to be able to control debt and build savings. But you’ve also got to be willing to take on good debt and use your savings for purposes that will build you more wealth in the future. So how do you do this? [Read more…]

Using Scholarships To Avoid Student Loan Debt

scholarships to avoid student loan debtPlanning for college can be difficult. You need to select a school that will suit your goals, and be accepted into it. Then comes a harder part – paying for your schooling. The rising costs of higher education have made affording college extremely difficult for students and parent. That being said, if you use time wisely to research scholarships, you’ll be able to attend the college of your dreams without falling into a nightmare of student loan debt. Below are 6 tips for using scholarships to avoid student loan debt.

6 Tips For Using Scholarships To Avoid Student Loan Debt

Use Scholarship Search Engines

If you follow the example of savvy scholarship researchers, you can use scholarships to avoid the pitfall of student debt. You have to be dedicated to finding the resources that will pay for your education. [Read more…]

3 Ways To Start Paying Off Your Debt Today

paying off your debt todayHappy Wednesday!! Please welcome Tahnya, who will be sharing stories with us every other Wednesday. She got herself into debt trouble and dug herself out – all while being a financial planner. Learn from her debt experience so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes she did. Be sure also to check out her site, Tahyna Kristina.

I’m 35 and living debt free, but that wasn’t always the case. If you met me 10 years ago you wouldn’t even recognize me. I was recently unemployed, living well beyond my means and drowning in debt. It’s safe to say I’ve gone through quite a financial transformation over the last decade.

Becoming debt free wasn’t easy, there were a lot of sweat and tears that went into my lifestyle change. I don’t regret my debt because honestly it made me a better person, however I wouldn’t want to go through it again. If you need help getting out of debt I can tell you the three things I wish someone told me ten years ago. I probably wouldn’t have listened to the advice, but if I did I definitely wouldn’t have been in debt. [Read more…]

These 80 People Control Half The World’s Wealth

80 people control the world's wealthYou read that right. There are 80 people who are as rich as the 3.6 billion poorest. With 7 billion people on the Earth, that means these 80 people control half of the world’s wealth. Sit back and think about that for a minute. So who are these people and how did they make their money?

The Wealth Gap Is Expanding

Before we get into talking about these 80 people, I want to dive deeper into the numbers first. The numbers I cite come from Oxfam, a global non-profit organization working to fight poverty, hunger and injustice. Along with help from Credit Suisse, they found that 80 people control half the worlds wealth and that gap is growing faster by the year.

Just look at the chart below for proof. Back in 2010, it took close to 400 billionaires to equal half the world’s wealth. We are now down to just 80 billionaires. [Read more…]

Paying Bills On Time: 5 Bills NEVER To Automate

paying bills on timePaying bills on time has always been an issue for some people. Even the best of us have a month here and there where paying bills on times becomes difficult. With the introduction of online bill pay, many have found paying bills on time is easier, while others still find it difficult. According to a story from CBS MarketWatch, the following are five bills you should not set up for automatic payments. The reasoning for why follows the list.

Paying Bills On Time: Bills To NEVER Automate

  • Cell Phone
  • Insurance Payments
  • Utilities
  • Gym Memberships
  • Cable

I agree with all five and will explain why for each.

Cell Phones

There have been many articles about “cramming” (where a 3rd party company bills you for something you never agreed to). Because of this, you should always look over your monthly bill. If you set your bill up to be paid automatically, then odds are you will never catch these scams. You could end up paying hundreds or thousands of dollars that you never should have been billed for in the first place.

When you finally would catch the errors, good luck in getting your money back. You are going to be spending countless hours calling and arguing with your cell phone provider regarding the charges. After awhile, you will have to determine if the opportunity cost is worth it. In that I mean, are the headaches and the time spent trying to get your money back even worth it?

By not automating your cell phone bill, you will catch the error the first time and have a much easier time of getting your money back.

A second reason to not automate this bill is because your usage varies every month. If you are like many who automate, you never really look at your statement. So if you go over your data limit and get charged, you probably won’t realize it.

Insurance

You may have signed up with a new insurance provider because they offered you a super low rate. If you autopay, you will be guaranteed of paying your bills on time, but you may not catch the increase in price after that first year.

Even if you didn’t switch providers, it is good to look over your coverage and compare to your last bill to see how much your premiums increased or decreased. Remember, the cost of insurance tends to go up and not down.

Utilities

For this one, a little more detective work might be required. You may notice a spike in your electric bill and claim it’s from running the air conditioner. Which could be true. But it could be something else – something that is wrong with an appliance. It’s best to review your bill so you can catch spikes in your usage. If you notice a spike and haven’t done anything different, it’s time to do some digging around the house.

With that said, I like to look at my utility bill every month. When I get the bill, I pay it right away, so I know I’m paying my bills on time. But I like to see how much electricity I am using. There are plenty of ways to cut back on electricity use around your house in the winter and you can change out your light bulbs to save money as well. Of course, there are things you can do to boost the efficiency of your home as well.

Gym Memberships

Many people buy the annual membership in January, hit the gym for a month or two and forget it. If you are set up with a monthly payment that is automatically taken out of your bank account, you’ll end up paying for the year when you never go.

Even if there is a cancellation fee it still may be cheaper to pay the fee and be done with it. Additionally, there may be an auto-renew clause in your membership. You’ll be used to the $30 being taken out of your account that you won’t think about it even though you haven’t been to a gym in years. Think I’m crazy? I know of someone who paid for a gym membership for 3 years after they stopped going.

If you must use the auto pay feature to ensure you are paying bills on time (or the gym requires it), look into alternatives to the gym. Doing so will ensure that you aren’t paying for services you never use.

Cable

You buy into the special 12 month deal and set up auto-pay. Once the deal is over, the rates jump. Then in six months, the cable company increases rates again. You are feeling the squeeze in your bank account and don’t know why. You look into it and see that you used to be paying $100 for cable and now you are paying $175!

Or, if you are a lucky person like me who has Comcast, you get a different bill total every month even though you are on deal that guarantees your rate for two years. One month a phantom modem rental fee will show up. Then the next month a random add-on feature will somehow come off special pricing. Whether they do this on purpose of if it is truly a computer error doesn’t matter.

Final Thoughts

Automatic bill pay is a great thing for paying bills on time (I won’t get into how doing so helps us live in a payment plan society however). I encourage it for many people who have a hard time paying bills on time. But that does not mean you can simply ignore your monthly bills.

If you are going to keep auto paying everything, do yourself and your wallet a favor and review the monthly bills you get. Set up reminders on your phone, calendar or You Need A Budget plan, whatever it takes to remind you to run through them every month.

Taking 20 minutes to review your bills is worth it. Think of it this way: if you take 20 minutes to review your bills and end up saving yourself $50 from erroneous charges or cancelling some services, it is the equivalent of making $150 per hour at a job.

You’d take that job in a heartbeat, right? Well take the 20 minutes and save yourself some money.

Readers, what are your thoughts on this list?

How Much Money Do You Need For Retirement


how much money do you need for retirementI have come across a few blog posts and magazine articles answering the question ‘how much money do you need for retirement’. Sadly, most people have absolutely no idea how much they will need in order to retire. In order to know how much money you will need in retirement, you need to have an idea of how much you will spend in retirement.

Luckily there are a handful of options for you to figure this out. They range from manual calculations, to plugging some numbers into a program and it telling you just how much money you will need for retirement. Below are the various options for you to figure out your number. [Read more…]

How To Save Money On Moving Expenses

save on moving expensesMoving can be a drag – all the time and energy it consumes as you organize, stack, and pack, only to do it in reverse once you reach you destination. It is an exhausting experience. However, you shouldn’t allow all that heavy lifting exhaust your wallet. Here are some ways you can save money on moving expenses.

4 Tips To Save Money On Moving Expenses

Prepare A Budget

Not everyone recognizes the value of preparing a budget, and that’s because the thought of crunching numbers is daunting. However, the time you invest in creating a moving budget is time well spent. People who do not prepare a moving budget tend to pay more, leading to debt and frustration. Don’t neglect this valuable asset. Use it as your guide when it comes to the cost of moving. [Read more…]

FX Volatility Is Not A Risk Finance Professionals Want To Take

Risk is a large part of working in the financial industry, and risk is often associated with rewards. However, FX volatility is a risk that financial managers need to address on a regular basis. This risk has a negative impact on financial institutions that is measurable. In a recent online survey of 180 global finance professionals, a majority of them reported some impact from this type of risk. In fact, 47 percent of the survey’s responders stated that the impact on their firms from FX volatility has directly affected revenues.

The survey shows that FX risk is such a concern among finance professionals that more than half of the responses confirmed the need to improve FX management. To learn more about the survey’s insight on FX volatility and risk management initiatives, have a look at the infographic below.

Reval-Infographic-FX-Risk-Management-1060px