Monthly Archives: March 2017

Life Triangle – Work, Life, and Salary – it is your job to balance it

In the connect world today everyone looks so busy to in connecting these three dots called Work, Life, and Salary. To have a good life you need good salary and for getting the good salary you need to have a good job, which demands loads of time at work. If you spend loads of time at work, then where is time for life? Are you in a similar situation? Are you still running every day to connect these three dots? Not able to balance? Confused?

Don’t worry you are not only one with this problem, most of us get into this problem. The main reason is we focus on one goal and forget other. The mantra to achieve balance is knowing you. Pause the run of the life for some time and do deep thinking on what makes you happy? Absolutely there is no one answer.  Once you know the key to your happiness, you can prioritize the three dots to get the right balance.

If you don’t achieve the right balance it will lead to poor work-life balance which results in stress, unhappiness, and even reduced productivity. Here is a quick tip for achieving happiness by creating the right balance.

  • Spend time to understand yourself: pause your busy life sometimes and write answers for the key question of life Who I am? Do I know myself? What makes me happy? who I want to be?. Keep scribbling until you land on the stable and self-convincing answer. Remember there is no right or wrong answer, every answer is right until you are convinced.
  • Priorities the key goals of life: Once you know who you are and what makes you happy, you will understand pathway for happiness? What is your number one priority in life?
  • If you can’t track you can’t progress: As now you have understood where you need to be, it is equally important to get the correct measurement of where you are today. Start measuring the time you spend on different aspects of life. If you can’t measure you can’t improve. This is not your exam result, so no pass or fail, measure genuinely
  • Analyze and reschedule your days: Now you understand where you spend more time, start planning your day and assign more time to activity in the path of your balanced life. Nothing changes in one day, have discipline and dedication.
  • Have personal time: have some time blocked for yourself. Spending time with yourself is most important. Keep revisiting your goals and reprioritizing tasks. Remember no multi-tasking during your personal time.
  • Influencers: Understanding yourself and measuring yourself will let you understand key influencers.
    • Example less sleep leads to less productivity and more stress. Less productivity means more time you spend in the office. This cyclic process leads to poor performance and fewer chances of promotions or higher salary.
    • Health, as everyone says health is wealth, poor health leads to poor performance and poor work-life balance.
  • Social life is important: Build good friends circle, family relationships and dedicate time for your social life. You need to draw energy from society, end of the day you live in society, positive circle creates positive energy.

Finally, it is your life; you live the way it makes you happy. Never forget it is all about Life balance.

Save for the Days It Rains

An emergency by its very nature will strike at the most inopportune of moments. And the greatest fear that tags along with an emergency are the lack of funds. It is to overcome and be prepared for such unforeseen challenges that one should have a substantial amount of savings in place.

Warren Buffet had once famously quoted: “Savings in not what is left after you spent on your needs but it is the first investment you make before you spend on anything else.”

In today’s time of financial uncertainty and extreme competition, health and wealth are both victims. And after a point in time, there comes a situation where falling back on reserves, however unwise that would be, become a necessity. Let us list a few of them to see why people need and emergency fund or in other words, a saving.

  1. A loss of a job is a reality. Companies will restructure, downsize or maybe right size and the first casualty will be you. What would you do in that case? Jobs will never come on a platter and hence expecting one soon after you have lost one is simply wishful thinking. Also, even if you get one, there is no guarantee the salary currently drawn will be as attractive as the previous one.
  2. You or a family member has an illness. A debilitating one at that too. Where do you think you will have the funds to help you or the member get treatment? Also being too sick can make you lose your job. You would then be in a situation explained in point number 1. In addition to which the cost of treatment will add up.
  3. That property tax which you knew was under control for a long time has suddenly been raised. While previously budgeting for the taxes, you had never ensured some extra buffer for the future and now the future strikes back. It is again the savings which will come handy.
  4. You have been downsized and your hours rolled back. You are now a part time employee with very little cash in hand.
  5. An accident is a rude shock. Can happen to anyone of us at any time. Hence we call it an accident. The money needed for treatment needs to be saved from the beginning.

There is a myriad of reasons for people to start saving. The list is long and exhaustive.

If you haven’t started saving, this is the time.

Start now.

Why Are People Scared to Have Multiple Credit Cards?

In the recent world, banking business has provided new technological facilities that are making our lives easier than ever. Starting from online banking transactions to payouts through cards, transferring money from world’s one end to other has become a regular exercise. The two basic types of cards, Credit and Debit cards have made the transaction a simple process. However, some people are yet not used to the system and some are afraid of using it for various purposes. Here, we will talk about why people are afraid of using credit and debit cards and how can these issues be solved.

Reasons to be Afraid of Multiple Credit Cards

People usually use multiple credit cards to earn more credit points which can benefit them in getting a loan, reducing insurance rate and even get themselves a job. But not everyone is familiar with these advantages. They mostly fear using multiple credit cards because –

  • They don’t like using banks for money transfer. They fear banks might loot them instead of saving their money. They think using a credit card will increase the chances of a bank trapping them with debt.
  • The idea of taking or borrowing money from a bank makes people feel indebted towards the bank. They don’t prefer to have such a risk which can become a serious issue if there is any problem with transactions.
  • Everyone does not have a fixed monthly salary. While using a credit card, the amount taken from the bank will be charged from your account on a monthly basis. Usually, depending on the salary these allowances are given which is not applicable in some people’s cases.
  • They fear to spend too much through credit cards and end up going to jail for not being to pay the debt back.

How to Get Over the Fear

These above fears are likely to come in mind of a novice in bank dealings. If you are a regular you know there is nothing to worry about. But for that, you must keep a few things in mind –

  • Build credit history by transacting through credit cards for future loans and insurance benefits.
  • Stay alerted about fraudulent websites and try to keep a check on your payments and debt rate. Your payments on the card should never exceed your income.
  • Have an insurance and cash coverage for unexpected situations.
  • Know the law and try to follow it to avoid legal issues.

What are the Pros and Cons of Home Ownership.

Home is where the heart is. So went the adage. It has always been drilled into our brain that growing up and buying a home was the smartest financial move ever. In fact, buying a home was and is considered as a very good investment opportunity. Sounds too good to be true, right?  Or is it?

Let us look at the pros and cons of home ownership.

  1. Yale economist and Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller debates about the feasibility of accepting home buying as an investment. He says, that the returns are just too small and that the premise of real estate appreciation does not always stand true. Calculated over the past 100 years, home prices have grown at a measly rate of 0.3%, after adjusted for inflation. Stocks and bonds have given, over the same period, an annual return of 6.5%. This difference is just big to ignore.
  2. Home buying should be kept as just that. An asset to protect you and your family against the vagaries of nature. As an investment vehicle, it simply does not stand up to the other instruments available in the market. What blunder most do is to make up more than 75% of their investment based on the price of their home. There is an inherent risk because of the lack of diversification.
  3. Owning a home is an absolute matter of pride. And beyond that, a recognition of all the hard work you have put in to buy that property. It is also a sign of prosperity.
  4. Owning a home is an excellent tax saver.
  5. The question of equity comes into play. Rent paid is gone forever. It never builds up your financial equity. However, with a mortgage payment, equity is built over a period in time.
  6. Owning home lets you beat inflation, even though by a very small percentage. According to Prof. Karl Case, long-term housing did have its moment when it went a wee bit ahead of inflation. Now, if you are young and thinking 30 to 40 years ahead, it is a very valuable insurance against inflation. Not a mean task at all.
  7. Contradicting to what I had said in point 1, the house is a risk capital. Again, as mentioned earlier, a home should never be viewed as a way to get rich, because it simply does not work that way. However, equity in a home can always be linked to your portfolio.

Home owning does have its fair share of pros and cons.  It totally depends on the individual and his or hers financial situations. But as the line goes, “Home sweet home”.

Best Features from Quicken Budgeting Software

Budgeting is an art. It takes a lot of imagination and decision-making skills to create a budget for oneself. In the past all one had to budget was a pen and their balance sheets. It was left primarily to brain power to come up with solutions. The arrival of the new age has seen an advent of newer tools. Tools which have more computational power and is able to calculate a long set of numbers in a jiffy. There are quite a few of them in the market today. Each comes with its own set of unique propositions and one must understand his or her own personal needs before selecting one.

In this long list of budgeting tools stands out one name: Quicken. And it should not be mistaken with Kraken, the monster of Norwegian folklore.

The former is quite a smart tool and the latter, a legend.

Quicken has the following features:

  • It saves every piece of financial transaction information and categorizes them
  • It has a robust data visualization capability
  • It helps you by comparing your investments with the other instruments currently available in the market
  • It’s 128-bit and 256-bit encryption ensures your information is beyond the reach of any wrongdoer.
  • The software creates separate heads for retail and small business and helps you put funds in the correct places.
  • It tracks all expenses like rental, leases, rates and deposits all in one place to give you firsthand information.
  • It also comes with a mobile app. Now, this would mean you can manage your money anywhere and at your convenience.

Hence, the question that now arises is why then Quicken is rarely suggested as a budgeting tool. With so many features to go for it, what pulls it back? We see the reasons are many.

The lack of a free trail especially for a budgeting tool is off-putting. When someone installs software to handle money, the trail period usually works like a charm. Quicken does not have one.

It has way more functionality than what a layman can handle and it does get intimidating for most while using it for the first time.

Over the past few years and versions, there have been complaining about the memory Quicken eats up. Also, reports of bugs causing trouble for the budgeting tool has been around for some time now

In spite of these shortcomings, Quicken does have its followers. However, to up the ante in the field of budgeting tools, it needs to get sharp.