Battling Stress when Moving to a New Country like Mexico


Battling Stress when Moving to a New Country like Mexico

The U.S. Department calculates that there are around nine million Americans living abroad, a significant increase from just four million in 1999. Meanwhile, a recent survey by money transfer company, TransferWise, stated that 35% of Americans said they would consider leaving the U.S., for three main reasons: better quality of life, a lower cost of living, and the chance to gain new experiences. Moving is seen by many as an opportunity to attain a more affordable education, lower taxes, and more affordable health care, but what many don’t realize is that a move can be a stressful life experience – and could potentially cost more than they had originally budgeted for.

Why is Moving so Stressful?

Moving to a new country is a source of stress for many reasons. It involves building brand new social networks and researching everything from healthcare to schools for children, neighborhoods, customs and etiquette, and the like. Moving to a country like Mexico may also necessitate learning a new language – which can be as entertaining as it is stressful if you aren’t learning at the pace you hoped. The practical aspects of a move can also cause anxiety. For instance, you may wonder whether or not to move your furniture or simply buy new items in Mexico. Moving with family pets and little children may also add extra stress into the equation, since you may need to take special precautions or measures to ensure all goes smoothly.

Facing Financial Stressors

The cost of living is considerably lower in Mexico, which is great news for your finances long-term. However, immigration costs alone will set you back around $1,500. As far as moving is concerned, there are firms which specialize in moving appliances and furniture to Mexico though you will need to set aside around $5,000 for this service. Stressors go beyond the actual cost of moving and extend the need to possibly sell property, cancel insurance plans, and the like. Take your time and make financial decisions slowly. Conduct all the research you need to, seek advice from a trusted financial advisor, and carefully weigh up all the pros and cons of moving.

Reducing Health Stressors

If you have either a temporary or permanent residence in Mexico, you can apply for the Mexican public healthcare system (the Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social or IMSS), but you will still need to ensure you are covered or be prepared to pay out-of-pocket for necessary services such as dental care, preventive care, and maternity care. The good news is that dentistry costs significantly less than in the U.S., which is one of the reasons why many Americans travel south of the border. Even if you are enrolled in the public healthcare system, you will still need to pay upfront for services, though you will be reimbursed for up to 80% of what you have paid out. Be aware that your IMSS coverage will need to be renewed annually for a fee of around $400 per year. Also, note that the IMSS does not cover pre-existing conditions. Many expats in Mexico have private insurance despite being enrolled in the IMSS, to reduce waiting periods and to have easier access to specialists. The amount you will have to pay very much depends on your age and health risks. Expect to pay between around $1,500 and $20,000. Before making a decision, obtain quotes from various insurance companies, to ensure you obtain as wide a coverage as possible for your dollar.

Building New Social Networks

Once financial and practical considerations are underway and you have arrived in Mexico, find local expat groups in your local area. Those who have moved before you will give you all the vital information you need, including information on interesting areas to live in, schools, sports installations for adults and kids, etc. Expats will also provide an opportunity for new friendships that will undoubtedly prove to be a vital source of support when you most miss home.

Fighting Stress Proactively

There are many steps you can take from a health stance to reduce stress. A sound Mediterranean-style diet comprising healthy proteins, Omega-3 fats, seasonal produce, and nuts, will go a long way towards keeping your immune system in good working order. Exercise is also key, with a bevy of studies showing the important role it plays in stress reduction. Finally, holistic activities such as yoga and meditation have been found to reduce (stress hormone) cortisol levels in a host of studies.
Any big move is exciting yet stressful all at once. Once research is conducted, and financial decisions are made, it is vital to make  stress reduction a priority. Sleep well, exercise regularly and take part in holistic, mindfulness-based practices to improve mood and vitality and to keep illness at bay. Finally, try to be sociable and meet other expats, whose knowledge and experience will be invaluable when it comes to setting you on the right path.

Jenny Holt <>

Why No Credit Check Payday Loans Are Popular

One of the best features about payday loans is that they are no credit check payday loans.  This opens up borrowing cash to just about anyone, regardless of past credit history.  It is a good option for those who have had previous credit problems or who have a poor credit history.  It is necessary for most people who want to get payday loans to have an active bank account, show proof of regular income, and be an adult. 

The payday loan industry is not regulated by the government in the same manner as regular financial institutions like banks or credit unions.  They can charge extremely high interest rates, virtually whatever they want to charge.  This does not matter to someone who needs money fast for an emergency medical bill or car repair.  On a typical loan until a next payday, the interest fee runs between 15% and 25% on average for a cash advance payday loan. Looked at on an annual basis, this could be in the hundreds to thousands of percent for the loan. 

There is no credit check, but the payday loan industry does have their industry check system.  If you have previously defaulted on a payday loan, you most likely will be denied another.  At some lenders, if you had to make a payment plan to settle out and pay off a previous payday loan, they keep records and will not extend you another loan.  This makes sense because the types of loans they make are high-risk loans that are taken out by people who have a history of not making payments.  For the higher risk they take, payday loan businesses charge very high interest rates. 

This industry is obviously thriving and popular; there are payday loan stores everywhere around the country.  Millions of no credit check payday loans are made each day, 24/7, including over the Internet.  Many who use payday loans find that they must continue to use payday loans every month.  A poor money manager, someone who is experiencing a work shortage, or those who cannot budget or pay bills in a timely manner continue the bad habit of taking out repeat loans again and again.  This can be a difficult trap to get out of, and for this reason the government has placed some limitations on the number of concurrent payday loans people may take out in some states. 

No credit check payday loans do serve a welcome purpose to many borrowers.  It is a money maker that is backed by some of the same financial institutions who are unable to charge high interest fees for the loans they make in their regular banks or credit unions.  Those who use this service enjoy having it available, especially in an emergency.  There are positives and negatives to no credit check payday loans; the borrower must decide if the fees are worth the expense.  The other option for those borrowers is to either locate additional income to pay their bills, learn to manage their money better, or to find loans at a better rate. 

Fast Personal Loan


Millions of people every day are getting a fast personal loan. Local payday lender stores and online cash advance websites offer this type of loan at reasonable prices. Most begin at $100 and loans are as high as $1500. A fast personal loan is also known as a payday loan, a cash advance loan, quick cash loan, no fax loan, overnight loan, bad credit loans, and several other terms.


All refer to a small, short-term loan for a small amount of cash. The borrower has a short time until repayment is due, usually at their next pay date. 
Banks, credit unions, and other larger financial institutions do not, or cannot, make small loans under about $500, because they are unable to turn a profit. The government restricts the amount of interest they can charge to around 36%. The payday and cash advance lenders have no restrictions. A common beginning interest rate for these lenders is around 456% and can go over 2000%. While this sounds sky-high, the actual fee is just $15 to $25 for every $100 that is borrowed. On a small $100 loan, this is much less than a fee a bank would charge for an overdrawn check. If you are in danger of a check bouncing, getting a small payday loan can save you some money. 


Many short-term lenders will begin with a small fast personal loan limit, such as $100 to $300, based on the borrower’s income level. Monthly income requirements are around $1000 per month, varying with each lender. Active members of the military are prohibited from taking out payday loans. Having a job with adequate income, or some other source of regular income is mandatory. 


The lenders use the banking system for their backup. At a land-based store, you will be asked to write out a check for your loan amount plus fee, and leave it with them. When you return to pay your loan in cash, they return your check. If you want them to shred the check, just ask. If you decide to use an online payday lender for your fast personal loan, you will approve an ACH withdrawal, which means they will automatically take the repayment amount directly out of your bank account on the due date. 

These loans are true loans, with no collateral. There is no need to fax information to the online lenders in most situations. No credit history is required, there is no reporting of your activity to credit bureaus, and no one checks your credit. Your loan is backed by your check, or the ACH withdrawal approval. If you default on your loan, it will be treated just like a bad check. This will also probably prevent you from getting any future loans. 

The fast personal loan is a financial convenience, and you can use the money for anything you wish. Some online loans are processed and delivered within one hour. At a loan store, you walk out with cash immediately. No questions are asked about why you need money, or what you will do with the loan. The loan process is short and fast, and approvals come in minutes.
Online lenders direct deposit the loan money in an hour, to same or next day. Usually, the states limit you to having just two of these loans active at any one time. The short-term loan is great for emergencies, unexpected bills, repair work, travel, or just for fun. A fast personal loan is not, however, meant to become a lifestyle or source of income. 

The steps in preparing a budget

A budget is a financial blueprint for achieving business goals. Your unit’s budget is part of the company’s overall strategy, so you need to understand the company’s strategy in order to create a useful budget. There are several steps you can take to increase your strategic understanding: The audience, not the presenter, is the heart of any presentation. To figure out what makes it tick, answer these questions:

• Pay attention to communications from senior management. Most companies try to communicate at least the basics of their strategy to the entire organization.

• Watch the overall economic picture. A company’s strategy during a recession will differ from its strategy in a booming economy. Listen to your manager’s and colleagues’ views on sales and the economy, and make your own observations as well. Are you deluged by résumés, or is good help hard to find? Are prices rising or falling?

• Stay on top of industry trends. Even when the economy is booming, some sectors may be in trouble. Your budget should reflect realities in your own industry.

• Steep yourself in company values. Every company has values, sometimes formalized and sometimes just “the way we do things around here.” Savvy managers factor those values into their decisions. Say your budget calls for layoffs. If the company views layoffs as counterproductive, your proposal will be dead on arrival.

• Conduct SWOT analyses. What are your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? Keep them in mind as you build your budget. All these techniques should help you understand the context in which you’ll develop your budget.

Top-down versus bottom-up budgeting

In top-down budgeting, senior management sets specific goals for such items as net income, profit margins, and expenses. Each department may be told, for example, to limit expense increases to 6% above the previous year’s levels. As you prepare your budget, observe such parameters and look at the company’s overall plans for sales and marketing and for costs and expenses. Those objectives provide the framework within which you must operate. For instance, many companies strive to improve profitability every year by reducing expenses as a percentage of revenue.

In bottom-up budgeting, managers aren’t given specific targets. Instead, they put together budgets that they feel will meet the strategic needs and goals of their respective departments. These budgets are “rolled up” into an overall company budget. The company budget is then adjusted, with requests for changes sent back down to individual departments. This process can go through multiple iterations. Often it means working closely with departments that may be competing against yours for limited resources. It’s good to be as cooperative as you can during this process, but don’t hesitate to lobby aggressively for your own unit’s needs.

Getting started

Budgets should be ambitious but realistic. Don’t map out a budget that you can’t meet?—?but don’t underestimate the possibilities. Here’s how to begin. First, list three to five goals that you hope to achieve during the period for which you are budgeting.

For example:

• Increase gross sales by 5%.

• Decrease administrative costs as a percentage of revenue by 3 points.

• Reduce inventories by 2% by the end of the fiscal year.

Make sure those goals line up with the organization’s strategic priorities. Next, figure out how you’ll achieve them. (Remember that a budget is just a plan with numbers.) How can you generate more revenue? Will you need more sales representatives? Where can you cut costs or reduce inventories? The smaller the unit you’re focusing on, the more detail you need.

If you’re creating a budget for a 12- person sales office, you typically won’t have to worry about capital expenditures such as major upgrades to the building. But you should include detailed estimates for travel costs, telephones and utilities, and office supplies. As you move up in the organization, the scope of your budget will broaden.

You can assume that the head of the 12-person office has thought about printer cartridges and gasoline for the sales reps’ cars. Your job now is to look at big-picture items such as computer systems and to determine how all the smaller-scale budgets fit together. Other issues to consider when you’re preparing a budget:

• Term. Is the budget just for this year, or is it for the next five years? Most budgets apply only to the upcoming year and are reviewed every month or every quarter.

• Assumptions. At its simplest, a budget creates projections by adding assumptions to current data. Look hard at the assumptions you’re making. Let’s suppose you think sales will rise by 10% in the coming year if you add two more people to your unit.

Explain what you’re basing that assumption on, and show a clear connection to at least one strategic goal (in this case, it’s probably to increase sales by a certain percentage).

Role-playing may help you here. Put yourself in the position of a division manager with limited resources and many requests for funding: Under those circumstances, what would persuade you to grant a request for two additional staff members


As you put your budget into the required format, document your assumptions. It’s easy to lose track of them during the budgeting process, and you’ll need to explain them?—?and revise them. Don’t look only at specific revenue or cost line items, because revenue and costs are closely linked. Instead, ask yourself what the budget shows about last year’s operations. As the table shows, the Standard Upright and the Moose Antler Standard exceeded sales expectations in 2013.

Perhaps it would make sense to increase your sales projections for those products, particularly if your sales reps are optimistic about the prospects for more sales. The Standard Upright might be a particularly good choice since it beat its 2013 projection by 9%.

Could you increase the anticipated sales for this model by 5% or 10% in 2014? How much more would you have to spend on sales or marketing to achieve this increase? To make the decision, you’ll need as much data as you can get about pricing, competitors, new sales channels, and other relevant issues. Alternatively, you might plan to eliminate some products.

The Electro-Revolving model, for example, is faring poorly. Would it be better to cut

this line and promote the newer Hall/Wall model? That would eliminate $81,250 in sales, but the Electro-Revolving is expensive to produce, so discontinuation might not have much impact on the bottom line. Other questions to ask yourself:

• Will you keep prices the same, lower them, or raise them? A price increase of 3% might offset the budget’s 2013 sales shortfall, provided that it doesn’t dampen demand.

• Do you plan to enter new markets, target new customers, or use new sales strategies? How much additional revenue do you expect these efforts to bring in? How much will these initiatives cost? • Will your cost of goods change? For example, perhaps you plan to cut down on temporary help and add full-time employees in the plant. Or perhaps you hope to reduce wage costs through automation. If so, how much will it cost to automate?

• Are your suppliers likely to raise or lower prices? Are you planning to switch to lowercost suppliers? Will quality suffer as a result? If so, how much will that affect your sales?

• Do you need to enhance your product to keep your current customers? • Does your staff need further training? • Are you planning to pursue other special projects or initiatives? Articulating your answers to questions like these ensures that your assumptions won’t go unexamined.

It will help you create budget numbers that are as realistic as possible.

Calculating Return on Investment

Imagine that Amalgamated Hat Rack is considering two investment options: buying a new piece of machinery and creating a new product line.

The new machine is a plastic extruder with a price tag of $100,000. Amalgamated hopes it will save time and money over the long term, and that it will be safer than the current equipment. The second possibility, launching a line of coatracks, will require a $250,000 investment in design, production equipment, and marketing.

How will Amalgamated decide whether these options make economic sense? And if it can afford only one of them, how will it decide which to choose?

By figuring out the return on investment, or ROI. This means evaluating how much money the investment will generate compared with its cost. Before you begin any ROI analysis, it’s important to understand the costs and benefits of the status quo. You want to weigh the relative merits of each investment against the consequences, if any, of not proceeding with it.

Don’t assume that the costs of doing nothing are always high. Even if the new investment promises a significant benefit, it still carries risk. The short-term cost?—?and the short-term risk?—?of doing nothing is usually close to zero. Of course, the benefits, too, are close to zero.

Costs and benefits

ROI calculations always involve the following steps: 1. Identify all the costs of the new purchase or business opportunity. 2. Estimate the savings to be realized. 3. Estimate how much cash the proposed investment will generate. 4. Map out a time line for expected costs, savings, and cash flows, and use sensitivity analysis to challenge your assumptions. 5. Evaluate the unquantifiable costs and benefits. The first three steps are fairly straightforward in theory, though they may be complicated in practice.

When calculating the costs of an investment, you include up-front costs (the purchase price of a machine, say) and also costs to be incurred in subsequent years (maintenance and upgrades for the new machine). Savings may come from a variety of sources, such as greater throughput per hour, higher quality (and thus less rework), or a decrease in labor requirements. The cash generated typically comes from new sales. If you are calculating the ROI of a marketing campaign, for instance, you will need to estimate the campaign’s effect on the company’s revenue.

It can be tricky to create a time line for your costs, savings, and increased cash flow, so you may want to turn to your finance department for help with this. Step five is really just a check on the other four: Which costs or benefits can’t you quantify, and how will they affect your decision? For example, would a particular investment help or harm your company’s reputation in the community or with prospective employees?

Once you have completed these steps, you are ready to use one or more of the analytical tools described in this chapter: payback period, net present value, internal rate of return, break-even analysis, or sensitivity analysis. We’ll look at the strengths and weaknesses of each tool to give you a basic understanding. But you may want a colleague from the finance department to assist with the calculations.

You Are Moving – But Can You Bring The Pool?

You Are Moving - But Can You Bring The Pool?

You Are Moving – But Can You Bring The Pool?

Depending on where you live, a swimming pool can be a necessity, not a luxury, but that doesn’t mean they won’t eat up your cash. Swimming pools cost $21,000 on average, according to Fixr, but don’t necessarily repay the cost. According to Time, it’s likely that in pool-building communities, most other houses will have one too. That means it’s not entirely likely you’ll see a big boost in your home value.

What happens when you move, then? Do you abandon the multiple thousands of dollars you invested in your back garden? Many Americans are looking to be money savvy after purchasing a home, given the squeeze on the cost of living going on right now. Rather than abandoning your pool and losing cash, take it with you.

You Are Moving – But Can You Bring The Pool? Consider the logistical side

Before you look at upending and moving your pool along with your house, consider the area you’re moving to. As reported by City AM, zoning laws can be restrictive and very specific to the area you’re aiming for. It can be difficult and time-consuming to obtain planning permissions that runs counter to local government aims, so be wary of any regulatory barriers. Before shifting your pool, think about improvements you make, too. Pools are generally a challenge in environmental terms – consider adapting your swimming bath to make it geared towards the future. Many of the improvements that ‘going green’  bring also bring money back into your pocket, particularly where water is concerned – up to .25 of an inch of water is lost every day that you have to pay to refill.

Tips and tricks for the move itself

When it comes to the moving process, treat your pool like furniture. Take photographs to ensure you know the layout, and if required create instructions. That way you will know exactly where each brick, tile and railing nut should lie. Be wary of damaging materials – pool maintenance is expensive without the cost of damaged materials such as a torn pool lining. While lining changes are one of the most common repair types, according to HomeAdvisor, pool lining can cost up to $1,700 for full replacement.

Moving an entire swimming pool sounds unfeasible – perhaps akin to moving an entire house. However, you may make a wise financial decision by moving a pool, given the high cost of building a pool and the fact it might not have that much impact on house prices. With careful planning and execution, it’s absolutely doable, and you might find ways to save money along the way.

Using the Statements to Measure Financial Health

The financial statements tell different but related stories about how well your company is doing financially:

• The income statement shows the bottom line. Using the rules of accounting, it indicates how much profit or loss a company generated over a period of time — a month, a quarter, or a year.

• The balance sheet shows whether a company is solvent. It provides a snapshot of the company’s assets, liabilities, and equity on a given day.

• The cash flow statement shows how much cash a company is generating. It also tracks, in broad terms, where that cash came from and what it is being used for. Now you’re ready to take the next step: interpreting the numbers these statements provide.

For example, is the company’s profit large or small? Is its level of debt healthy or unhealthy? You can answer such questions through ratio analysis. A financial ratio is just two numbers from the financial statements expressed in relation to each other. The ratios that follow are useful for almost any industry. But if you want to gauge your own company’s performance, the most meaningful comparison is usually with other companies in the same industry.

Profitability ratios

Profitability ratios help you evaluate a company’s profitability by expressing its profit as a percentage of something else. They include:

• Return on sales (ROS), or net income divided by revenue. (Remember that net income on the income statement just means profit.) Also known as net profit margin, ROS measures how much profit the company earns as a percentage of every sales dollar. For example, if a company makes a profit of $10 for every $100 in sales, the ROS is 10/100, or 10%.

• Return on assets (ROA), or net income divided by total assets. (You can find total assets on the balance sheet.) ROA indicates how efficiently the company is using its assets to generate profit.

• Return on equity (ROE), or net income divided by owners’ equity. ROE shows how much profit the company is generating as a percentage of the owners’ investment.

• Gross profit margin, or gross profit divided by revenue. This ratio reflects the profitability of the company’s products or services without considering overhead or other expenses.

• Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) margin, or operating profit divided by revenue. Many analysts use this indicator, also known as operating margin, to see how profitable a company’s operating activities are.

You can use these ratios to compare one company with another and to track your own company’s performance over time. A profitability ratio that is headed in the wrong direction is usually a sign of trouble.

Efficiency ratios

Efficiency ratios show you how efficiently a company is managing its assets and liabilities. They include:

• Asset turnover, or revenue divided by total assets. The higher the number, the better a company is at employing assets to generate revenue.

• Days sales outstanding, or ending accounts receivable (from the balance sheet) divided by revenue per day (annual revenue divided by 360). This ratio tells you how long (on average) it takes a company to collect what it’s owed. A company that takes 45 days to collect its receivables needs significantly more working capital than one that takes 20 days to collect.

• Days payable outstanding, or ending accounts payable divided by cost of goods sold per day. This measure tells you how many days it takes a company to pay its suppliers.

The more days it takes, the longer a company can use the cash. Of course, the desire for more cash has to be balanced against maintaining good relationships with suppliers.

• Inventory days, or average inventory divided by cost of goods sold per day. This ratio indicates how long it takes a company to sell the average amount of inventory on hand during a given period of time.

The longer it takes, the more cash the company has tied up and the greater the likelihood that the inventory will not be sold at full value. Again, it’s often helpful to compare changes in these ratios from one period to the next, and to track trends in the ratios over three years or more.

Liquidity ratios

Liquidity ratios tell you about a company’s ability to meet current financial obligations such as debt payments, payroll, and vendor payments.

They include:

• Current ratio, or total current assets divided by total current liabilities. This is a prime measure of a company’s ability to pay its bills. It’s so popular with lenders that it’s sometimes called the banker’s ratio. Generally speaking, a higher ratio indicates greater financial strength than a lower one.

• Quick ratio, or current assets minus inventory, with the result divided by current liabilities. This ratio is sometimes called the acid test. It measures a company’s ability to deal with its liabilities quickly without having to liquidate its inventory. Lenders aren’t the only stakeholders who scrutinize liquidity ratios. Suppliers, too, are likely to inspect them before offering credit terms.

Leverage ratios

Leverage ratios tell you how, and how extensively, a company relies on debt. (The word leverage in this context means using debt to finance a business or an investment.)

• Interest coverage, or earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) divided by interest expense. This measures a company’s margin of safety: It shows how many times over the company could make its interest payments from its operating profit.

• Debt to equity, or total liabilities divided by owners’ equity. This shows how much a company has borrowed compared with the money its owners have invested.

A high debt-to-equity ratio (relative to other companies in the industry) is sometimes a reason for concern; the company is said to be highly leveraged.

Nearly every company borrows money at some point in its life. Like a household with a mortgage, a company can use debt to finance investments that it otherwise couldn’t afford. The debt becomes a problem only when it’s too high to be supported.

Other ways to measure financial health

Other methods of assessing a company’s financial health include valuation, Economic Value Added (EVA), and measurements of growth and productivity. Like the ratios just discussed, these measures are most meaningful when you are comparing companies in the same industry or looking at one company’s performance over time.

Valuation usually refers to the process for determining the total value of a company. The book value is simply the owners’ equity figure on the balance sheet. But the market value of the business — what an acquirer would pay for it — may be quite different.

Publicly traded companies can measure their market value every day: They just multiply the daily stock price by the number of shares outstanding. A privately held company — or someone who is considering buying one — must estimate its market value. One method is to estimate future cash flows and then use some interest rate to determine how much that stream of cash is worth right now.

A second method is to evaluate the company’s assets — both physical assets and intangible assets such as patents or customer lists.

A third is to look at the market value of publicly traded companies that are similar to the company being evaluated. Of course, a company may be worth different amounts to different buyers. If your employer owns a unique technology, for instance, an acquirer that wants that technology for its operations may be willing to pay a premium for the business.

Valuation also refers to the process by which Wall Street investors and stock analysts determine what a publicly traded company “ought” to be selling for (in their view). That helps them decide whether the current market price of the stock is a good deal or a bad one. Analysts and investors use various gauges in this process, including:

Earnings per share (EPS), or net income divided by the number of shares outstanding. This is one of the most commonly watched indicators of a company’s financial performance. If it falls, it will most likely take the stock’s price down with it.

Price-to-earnings ratio (P/E), or the current price of a share of stock divided by the previous 12 months’ earnings per share. • Growth indicators, such as the increase in revenue, earnings, or earnings per share from one year to the next. A company that is growing will probably provide increasing returns to its shareholders over time.

Economic Value Added (EVA). A registered trademark of the consulting firm Stern, Stewart, EVA indicates a company’s profitability after a charge for the cost of capital is deducted. The calculation is quite technical.

Productivity measures. Sales per employee and net income per employee are two measures that link revenue and profit to workforce data. Trend lines in these numbers may suggest greater or lesser operating efficiency over time. Wall Street loves statistics, and these are just a few of the indicators that the professionals use. But they are among the most common.

Padding Your Retirement Account with Freelance Work

Padding Your Retirement Account with Freelance Work

What is Freelancing?

The freelance market, also known as the “gig economy,” is vastly different than the job market than the one with which most seniors grew up. Instead of interviewing and accepting a position within a company, you approach clients directly for work. Most freelancers are hired as independent contractors and paid on a project-by-project basis. This gives you the flexibility to set your own hours and take time off whenever necessary.

While freelancing is a great way to make money while working from home, there are a couple of things that seniors should keep in mind. Freelancers usually receive no benefits, which means no medical coverage. Contractors are also responsible for their own taxes.

The Benefits of Freelancing

One of the biggest benefits of online freelancing for many seniors is the lack of a commute. This means that job openings and gigs aren’t just limited to adults with a car or a bus pass. Those who are legally blind, mobility impaired, or who can’t find transportation for whatever other reason can still conduct a freelance business from the comfort and convenience of their living room. You can also set your own hours and work as your own boss.

Freelancing Opportunities for Seniors

It’s not hard to find online gigs if you know where to look. Skilled freelancers can find postings on community sites such as Craigslist, or they can go to a specific hiring website. There are several sites designed to connect freelancers to jobs both in and outside of their area, including:

  • Upwork
  • Guru
  • Fiverr
  • Freelancer
  • iFreelance

With the advent of the Internet, it’s become easier than ever to earn money from home. No matter what your field, you can find exciting freelance gigs online that can help you to pad your retirement account. What’s more, you have the freedom to be your own boss and run your business your way.

Jenny Holt

In addition to the sites mentioned, here are a few freelance sites that are priced fairly, and offer the best talent and innovative platforms with excellent features.


What is 5G and What Does the G mean?

I’ve been reading about 5G coming to the US in late 2018 starting with 10 to 11 cities. Sacramento will be the first installation by Verizon and Waco will be the first location by AT&T. I’m told that people who invested in 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G made fortunes. Now we have the opportunity to get in on 5G.

What is 5G and what does the G mean? 

The G stands for Generation. So 5G is the fifth generation. Why should we be interested in 5G? The average user on the internet either uses 3G or 4G, and download speeds average 17.2 mbps download speed. 5G offers speeds of 1gbps or 1000mbps. That is 50 to 60 times faster and may even reach 3+gbps or gigabits per second. That is a huge difference and may put cable out of business. I’ve come across several companies that will be big in 5G?

Reuters writes, “Before the new technology becomes a reality for consumers, two transitions need to take place.”

“Mobile operators have to upgrade their networks with 5G gear made by the likes of Huawei [HWT.UL] and ZTE 0000630.SZ of China, Sweden’s Ericsson (ERICb.ST) and Finland’s Nokia (NOKIA.HE). And phone makers need to make handsets with built-in 5G radios ready to hook up to networks.”

Kiplinger writes, “5G is the fifth generation of mobile wireless technology and a major step up from previous versions. 5G will greatly accelerate download speeds, improve response times and enable networks to connect to many more types of devices.  “Wide-ranging applications for 5G in new markets such as video streaming, smart manufacturing and driverless cars will fuel revenue gains for companies providing 5G service and technology. Networking giant Ericsson (ERIC) predicts a 5G market surpassing $1.2 trillion within 10 years. Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg envisions “killer applications” for 5G in virtual reality games, and other techies think 5G will drive major advances in telemedicine and robotics.”

Kiplinger says there are six companies that will be big in 5G: AT&T, Verizon, Qualcomm, Nokia, Cisco Systems, and Vodaphone.

I’ve come across phrases that mean little to me now, but will in the near future:

Small Cell or Metrocell

Metrocells or small cell are compact and discrete mobile phone basestations, unobtrusively located in urban or rural areas. They can be mounted on lampposts, positioned on the sides of buildings or found indoors in stadiums, transport hubs, and other public areas.

Small Cell Backhaul

Small Cell Backhaul. Small Cell backhaul is the transmission link between the small cell and the mobile network operator’s core network.


In telecommunications, a femtocell is a small, low-power cellular base station, typically designed for use in a home or small business. A broader term which is more widespread in the industry is small cell, with femtocell as a subset. It is also called femto AccessPoint (AP).

I’m excited by the prospects of 5G. It seems computers are never fast enough or downloading a movie takes too long. That’s about to change with 5G

Mike Landfair (landfair3554@gmail(dot)com


Top Ways To Protect Your Finances When Buying Online

Top Ways To Protect Your Finances When Buying Online

Buying and selling online is big business across the world. In 2017, 1.66 billion individuals purchased products on the net and this figure is expected to increase further in 2018. However, numerous fraudulent practices are targeting e-commerce businesses, and are risking the finances of individuals up and down the country. With many seeking out the American dream, losing your cash after innocently shopping on the net is a devastating blow. Thankfully, there’s no need to worry if you take onboard these top buying tips when you next shop online.

Be vigilant

South America is currently emerging as a hotspot for identity fraud as a result of cyber criminals hacking into e-commerce systems and stealing the personal data of online shoppers. Most people don’t think twice about entering their date of birth, address and bank account details when shopping online, but have you ever stopped to think about what happens to this data once your parcel has been dispatched? You should choose the sites you purchase from and provide your personal details to wisely, even if it sometimes means you have to pay a few more dollars for your goods.  Always be on the lookout for signs that something isn’t legit with the company, such as no reviews or feedback.

Check the site’s security status

It would be fair to say that a large proportion of people don’t stop to check that the e-commerce site they’re purchasing from is secure before proceeding to make a purchase, but if you want to protect your finances from criminals you need to avoid getting over excited and rushing ahead to the checkout. A secure website will start with https rather than http and your browser bar will confirm the security of the site by showing a padlock. Consider using Chrome as your browser when shopping online as from July 2018, all http websites will be marked as ‘not secure’, making it easier for you to identify that the online shop is one to steer clear of.

Know your rights

As you don’t get to physically see or hold an item before you buy it online, consumers usually have better rights. You should always take the time to read the e-commerce site’s terms of sale including their refund policy before you buy any goods and it’s always worth making online purchases with a credit card as, if a problem occurs, you can dispute the charge. It’s wise to utilize an e-commerce site that has a reputation for providing good customer service and support, both before and after the sale, as these are the sites that care and appreciate you as a customer. It is a sign that they will do their utmost to protect the data they hold on you, including your bank account information.

Buying goods online is an efficient and convenient way of shopping for billions of people each year. However, many consumers need to put more effort into keeping their data and financial information secure when on the net. Being vigilant about who you buy from and what personal data you’re giving out is vital while checking the security status of every site you visit is a must. Take the time to read up on your rights, too, before checking out and freely handing over your personal data as this will provide you and your finances with ultimate protection.

 Jenny Holt

Engaging Workers To Boost Productivity: Tips For Small Businesses

Engaging Workers To Boost Productivity: Tips For Small Businesses

The U.S.economy loses up to $550 billion a year because of unhappy employees. While workers still labor in pursuit of the American Dream, it seems they’re not entirely engaged doing so. Across the globe, as much as 85 percent of employees are disengaged or actively disengaged. Owners are increasingly striving to improve company culture so that staff disengagement doesn’t drag down the workplace, and ultimately, the bottom line.

Identifying a disconnected worker

When an employee doesn’t enjoy their work and scrapes by achieving the bare minimum of what is required, it’s likely they are disengaged. These employees often don’t feel challenged, emotionally attached, or optimistic about career advancement. As a result, they don’t extend themselves or have the drive to deliver better outcomes. A disengaged worker won’t always create problems, and can even be reluctant to quit their job. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for negativity to spread and damage the collective employee morale.

Early signs of disengagement include lacking motivation and avoiding fun or social activities with co-workers, being apathetic about learning opportunities, and not celebrating the company’s achievements. A disengaged employee is also more likely to take sick days and be less enthusiastic about growing the business’s reputation.

How disengagement happens

It’s estimated that more than half of all employees are unfamiliar with their company’s mission or vision. Also, management’s ability to communicate well and be transparent can have a major influence on employee happiness. Your staff wants to be valued, heard and included. If an owner isn’t interested in certain elements of the business; for example, if they ignore feedback or don’t prioritize performance reviews, it’s possible that employees will become disconnected. In fact, this is the case for seven out of every ten Americans at work.

The cost to small businesses

For small to medium businesses, a disengaged employee can cost about $10,000. Reduced productivity and customer satisfaction, high staff turnover, and increased absenteeism all have a bearing on the actual price of disengagement. Disengaged workers put in the time but not the zeal, which tends to weigh down the motivation and ambition of those who are actively industrious. Also, a company is at risk of losing engaged, productive workers who are exposed to pessimistic colleagues. And there’s your business brand to consider. Having a strong, positive reputation is always in the best interests of a growing company.

Ways to enhance engagement

While the cost of disengaged staff can be startlingly high, solutions are attainable. Leaders are capable of cultivating a dynamic workforce by setting clear expectations and demonstrating the importance of engagement themselves. Additionally, organizations should ask for and accept feedback, devise and stick to an engagement plan, and introduce team-building activities. The disconnectedness of workers may have never been a salient issue for your business. But for your company to prosper in a competitive marketplace, you should be aware of the signs of disengagement and take pre-emptive measures to ensure your staff is – and remains – engaged.

Jenny Holt <>

Top Ways To Boost Your Finances After Buying A Home

Top Ways To Boost Your Finances After Buying A Home

Top Ways To Boost Your Finances After Buying A Home

Owning a home is the dream scenario for millions of people around the world. However, with the average American property costing $241,700, it can be hard enough scraping together a sizeable deposit, let alone ensuring you’ve got enough put by to truly put your stamp on your new abode. So, when you’re preparing for a house move, be sure to take into consideration these top tips to enable you to boost your finances and your bank balance.

Take your time & plan

It goes without saying that you’ll be excited at the prospect of moving into your own property and will want to make changes as soon as possible so that it truly feels like it’s all yours. It is tempting to splash out on items before you’ve made a definitive plan, though, as you’ll likely end up throwing away money. Once you’re settled in your new place, take the time to sit down and decide what work needs doing and what changes you would like to make. This will give you a good starting point to work from and from here you can determine an order of priority.

Bills & expenses

When you move into a new home, it’s easy to forget to contact businesses such as your energy supplier and water provider to give them your details. It’s essential you make contact with them as soon as possible though to avoid falling into debt. This also gives you the perfect opportunity to ask for any special deals plans or discounts which will help keep your bank balance looking healthy. Now is also the time to seriously review your outgoings. Some top ways to cut your expenses is to opt for a cheaper cell phone contract, ditch the takeout coffees and walk instead of using public transport.

Make cash from your home

Your new property could be the perfect way to help boost your finances and build your personal wealth. If you’ve got a spare room, you could rent it out to a lodger or, for those conveniently located near to cities, towns and local businesses, renting out your driveway to commuters is a great way to bring in some additional cash. Another option is to rent out your home to TV and movie directors looking to film in lived in properties rather than fake sets.

Buying a home is a costly expense

Therefore, buyers should ensure they find ways to enhance their income and keep their finances healthy. It’s important to plan and budget for any projects before proceeding with them, take time to review all bills and expenses and consider using your new residency to make some cash.

Jenny Holt <>

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