Simplify your L.I.F.E

It would be an understatement to say that we are all not busy.  From the busy mom who takes her kids to school and picks them up every afternoon.  Helping the kids with their homework while still making time to do her studies.  The Father who wakes up at 4am to prep all his stuff for his weekly business trip.  The grandparents who work after retiring from a long and meaningful career, decides to take on a small business that works them 7 days a week.

Its easy for all of us to get side tracked because we are trying to define meaning to our surroundings.  These are a few things you can do for yourself to help simplify life so it doesn’t cause you to break down.

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  • Exercising – It’s been said that exercising with decreased weight, not only reduces stress and improve better overall health, but it can help you clear your mind, sharpen your brain and decrease health problems in later years.
  • Clean the Clutter – The last thing we want to do when we are dead beat tired is to trip on something in our house and get injured.  Take a few afternoons to clean up your house (in sections if needed) to ensure that you minimize any potential hazard zones.
  • Grow a simple garden – Start small, like lettuce or tomatoes.  This will not only divert your energy to something positive but also the sense of accomplishment you get without the worries of being over burden with growing a full garden at the early stages.
  • Get Help – If you’re the type of person who runs the world around you at the speed of 200 mph, then its time to get an assistant.  Getting help is a great way to ensure that you don’t shoulder all the work on your own.  Or at least have someone spot check and pick up things you may have dropped or forgotten along the way.
  • Make use of technology – I’ve said this over and over. Technology allows our lives to be a bit simpler by tracking, alerting, notifying us on different stages of our day to day lives.  Take a small amount of time to have someone teach you so you can be more efficient with your day.
    • Focus on the positives aspects of your life – Stay away from negative people and environments. They will only further put you down and prolong your happiness. The positive people can benefit your outlook and health, and keep life in the right mindset.

Source: http://healthyliving.msn.com/health-wellness/life-made-simple/15-ways-to-simplify-your-life

The 60% Solution to Saving & Spending your $$$

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Unless you’re born into money, society has taught us as adult that the name of the game is spending within your budget.  However the hardest part is figuring out how to set your finances to allow you to use just 60% vs. the full amount. Below are the committed expenses that is unavoidable; if the 40% is unrealistic, then you can raise it to 70%-80% to better fit your lifestyle.

  • Basic food and clothing needs.
  • Essential household expenses.
  • Insurance premiums.
  • Charitable contributions.
  • All of our bills — even such nonessentials as our satellite TV service.
  • All of our taxes.

So now depending on if you chose 60% as your median, there are 4 sections that you can use disperse your savings.

401 K – This can/should be automatically pulled out.  Remember that this is your retirement savings plan so unless it’s an emergency, don’t pull the money out early (i.e. before 59 ½).  Most companies does offer a matching program from at least 1%-5% with some matching at a higher percentage.

IRA/Roth IRA/Mutual Funds – Like our SSN funds, it’s hard to just rely on one asset when you retire.  Setting another form of investment that gains decent interest in the next 20-30 years can essentially give you the better than average lifestyle.  If you are not an expert at managing any of the 3, then I would recommend seeking a professional through your bank, or financial experts from a well known organization in your area.

Emergency/Vacation Plan – While saving for the long term is very important, don’t forget that things around your house may need repairs or replacement.  Going on vacation is also a great way to save your sanity.  All work and no play makes for a very long year, and treating yourself and your loved ones is a good way to strengthen your bonds.  Just have this pulled directly to another account from your check so you don’t see it until the monthly balance after 30-90 days.

Spending Money – The great part about this last one is you can spend it on anything as long as it doesn’t go past the 10% you set (depending on the amount you are setting this can vary).

Now if you’re asking yourself the question “Well I can’t just put away 40% of my check, we won’t be able to survive.” Below are potentially some factors that may hold you back:

  • You have a more expensive home than you can afford.
  • You’ve committed to car or boat payments that are larger than you can afford.
  • Your children are in a private school that you can’t really afford.
  • There’s just a big, ugly gap between your income and your lifestyle.

My recommendation is to try it at 70%-80% (Giving yourself 20%30 savings money to start) at first until you are able to lower your expenses.  It may not seem easy at first, but by making the necessary adjustments it will pay off in the long run.  Making the necessary adjustments will allow you to put a cap on your unnecessary expenses.

The real secret to building a budget that works isn’t tracking what you spend, but creating a sustainable structure for your finances. Balancing your spending and income and that leaves enough room to handle the unexpected things that life throws our way.

Source:

http://web.utah.edu/basford/personalfinance/handouts/budgeting/The60Solution.htm

The Value of Marketing to your Business Sales

In any Industry, marketing plays an essential piece to informing your consumers that you are here.

An article written by Scott Gillum “How Marketing Impact Sales Performance” states that some of the key functions of Marketing are:

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Increased opportunities in sales due to marketing support – In short, by having effective marketing support, it will aid in consumer’s awareness of the product or service available.

Sales Coverage – Consumers are often asked where they saw the ad within a set range of time (90 days). With effective marketing activity, sales will increases the larger perception range of the product or service.  In return, it allows the sales to understand where the market trend is and who is responding to their efforts.

Sales enablement – Finally, marketing identifies any shifting in the consumer’s buying patterns.  Effective marketing strategy can classify consumers based on competitor pricing and target market.  This give any industry leader the ability to review their own products/service and see if they can match or beat out everyone else in their vertical.

Source:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/gyro/2013/02/25/how-marketing-impacts-sales-performance/

Is it time to change out your wardrobe?

With daylight savings time (DST) right around the corner, it’s time once again to swap out our wardrobe to fit the season.  Away with the winter coats and heavy sweaters for a lighter tops and bottoms.  Storefronts and online retail stores piling up thousands of styles to match your every day consumer.  I am no fashion guru, I leave that to all the experts who writes articles for those magazines.  But what I do know is that we are at the age where your clothes help define the kind of person you are representing to the world.  Regardless of what you’re into, having the right apparel can motivate you to do great things.  From finding the next great career to becoming a cross fit  athlete, we feel better when we are in the right state of mind.  That’s what this article is really about.  I am not telling you to buy $500 worth of new clothes, but making minor additions to your closet can be a wonderful way to jump start that thought of pursuing your goal.Image

From sports clothing to work wear and everything in between, the internet has provide us a great way to view everything we need in a click of a button.  Below are my recommended sites to checkout for all sorts of wardrobe replacement if you have not already done so.

  • Amazon.com – This is your one stop shop for everything from comfortable house wear to James Bond 007
  • Trunkclub.com – Great place for guys to shop clothes for newest trends
  • AKBeloved.com – a great stylish place for the average girl/woman
  • REI.com – Go here if you live life outdoors. Free shipping for purchases over $50
  • Zappos.com – Free shipping & Free returns on all purchases with a variety of apparel/shoes from A-Z

Sources:

http://www.amazon.com; http://www.trunkclub.com; http://www.akbeloved.com; http://www.rei.com; http://www.zappos.com

JP Morgan announces 4000 Jobs cut to reduce expenses

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It’s sad news for employees of the biggest US bank, JP Morgan when they announce on Tuesday that they are cutting 4,000 jobs this year to reduce their expense by $1 billion dollars. In addition, Marianne Lake, the bank’s new chief financial officer, stated that the company will also be raising its interest rates by 1 percentage point, and conclusion of expensive litigation related to the mortgage crisis – would boost the bank’s net income to their goal of $27.5 billion over time.

Though there have been progress made to slowly boost their bottom line, The company must still be wary after recently laying to rest the $6bn in trading losses racked up by a London-based trader nicknamed “the whale” from the prior year.

It’s understandable that business is business.  Shareholders must be paid and the company (JP Morgan) must always look to their best interest, however think about those who had no options to find a better solution due to the results of poor investments.  How will we as a community judge big banks like this ethically?

Source:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/40312068-7f6b-11e2-8d96-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2M1adGzUO

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