Monday, July 31, 2017

Deal Alert: How to Get 50% Off Spotify

If you have the or the (or were thinking of applying soon), this offer will be music to your ears! Capital One® and Spotify have teamed up to offer 50% off the popular music streaming service through April 2018. All you need to do is pay for your Premium subscription with either of those cards to get the discount.

Here’s how it works.

About this offer

What’s the deal?

Quicksilver® cardholders get 50% off any Spotify Premium subscription. The offer includes already-discounted subscriptions, like the Student Discount plan (reg. $4.99/month) and the Family plan (reg. $14.99/month). That means you’d pay just $2.50/month for the student plan and $7.5/month for a Family plan for up to 5 users. The standard Premium plan (reg. $9.99/month) is also eligible.

Whichever plan you choose, this discount gives Spotify an edge over competitors like Apple Music and Google Play.

What’s included?

Spotify Premium users can listen ad-free and can choose specific songs on mobile devices (rather than listening on shuffle). Premium plans also include unlimited skips and the ability to download songs for offline listening.

How does the discount work?

All you have to do is pay for your subscription with your or . Each month, you’ll receive a 50% statement credit within 1-2 billing cycles.

Who’s eligible for the discount?

Both new and existing cardmembers can get the discount, and you can get the deal even if you already have a Spotify Premium subscription!

Why we love the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

50% off Spotify membership is a serious cardmember benefit — but it’s only one of many benefits you’ll enjoy with the . It’s in the top 3 on our list of the best cash back credit cards of 2017 due to its solid rewards potential and $0 annual fee. If you choose to apply, you’ll get access to the Spotify promotion mentioned above, plus:

Straightforward rewards

This card makes earning cash back a breeze. With this card, you’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day. There are no rotating categories to watch or enroll in — just cash back on everything you buy.

A sweet signup bonus

If you spend $500 in your first 3 months, you’ll earn a $150 cash bonus. Some similar cards require you to spend $1,000 or more to earn a bonus of that size.

Other cardmember perks

As a cardmember, you’ll enjoy World Elite Mastercard® Benefits like complimentary concierge service, extended warranty, and price protection.

What if your credit isn’t perfect?

The is recommended for people with excellent credit. But here’s good news: if you have average credit, the has many of the same benefits, including the same rewards structure (unlimited 1.5% cash back!)

While the doesn’t come with a signup bonus, it does include unlimited access to CreditWise® from Capital One®, which can help you keep an eye on your score as you’re working to build positive credit. It also offers the opportunity to increase your credit line after you make your first 5 monthly payments on time.

Don’t have your card yet? Apply online in minutes, and start enjoying your discounted Spotify membership ASAP.

The post Deal Alert: How to Get 50% Off Spotify appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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Questions About Retirement Planning, Entertaining Children, Frugal Gift Cards, and More!

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to summaries of five or fewer words. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question.
1. Changing account fees
2. General advice for approaching retirement
3. Early retirement buyout
4. Health insurance options in retirement
5. Earning more money in retirement
6. Professional clothing advice follow-up
7. Reading philosophy
8. Long lasting item gift card
9. Notetaking strategies for online classes?
10. Entertaining children of friends cheaply
11. Convention frugality
12. Work travel without reimbursement

It’s funny how time passes by you. At the start of the summer, it feels like this giant block of time in front of you, like there are endless weeks and adventures coming up.

Then, it all flows by so quickly and you find yourself preparing for the fall while scarcely realizing where the summer has even gone.

Here are some questions!

Q1: Changing account fees

I read your article in which you compared Wealthfront and Betterment for your 401k rollover. I saw that you went with Betterment because of the reduction in fees to .15 for accounts holding over $100,000. I just noticed on Betterment’s website that they no longer offer that reduced fee. It appears that their fee is now .25 for accounts over $100,000. You might want to roll over to Wealthfront as your account would be slightly lower than .25 because of the friend referral system.
– Charles

Part of the challenge of writing about accounts as they currently exist is that the rates are changing constantly. An article lauding one account might be outdated in a week when that company drops that rate and another company bolsters their rate. It happens time and time again.

That’s why it makes far more sense for people to figure out the principles behind it rather than just following instructions on what account to use. An article might tout Betterment, for example, but what’s actually important is the reasoning for choosing Betterment. That way, when you decide to sign up for an account, you know how to compare them yourself.

Bedrock principles are the key part of personal finance. You’re far better off going to the various options and comparing them (and knowing how to compare them) than just following someone’s suggestion. This is a perfect example as to why.

Next, we’re going to hear from Dennis, who has a long story to tell, followed by several questions.

Q2: General advice for approaching retirement

I was raised in a family that was very money conscious and a savers mentality. At age, 23 when I started my teaching job, I read the book Millionaire Next Door which provided great motivation. My wife is definitely more on the spender’s side. Currently, I am 49 and my wife is 50. We just celebrated our 20th anniversary. Over the years, I have learned to lighten up and my wife has learned to tighten up to balance each other out.

When we got married, we lived in an apartment, my wife had $5,000 in credit card debt, and we had about $1500 in savings. Within 2 years we had the credit card debt paid, money saved for a down payment on a home, and about $7500 in savings. Both of us are teachers and our annual income at the time was around $70,000. We both had already started our 403b annuity plans before we were married. Long story short, 20 years later, our annual teaching salary is around $170,000 (both of us are still teachers) (not counting rent income) with a net worth of $1.1 million. We do have a trust and will in place.

Currently we have the following:
– $110,000 in Roth IRA
– $60,000 in a 457 plan
– $200,000 in our 403b annuity
– $60,000 in a brokerage account. ($40,000 was gifted to us and we invested $20,000 for each child and has matured for college expenses.)
– $50,000 in a Money market account for emergencies.
– $130,000 in large cap stocks (making an additional $2500 a year in dividends)
– $7500 we keep in our rental account for expenses.
– 2 rental homes in my home town in another state from an inheritance. One home is worth $30,000 and the other is about $70,000 in value. Both are mortgage free.
– The 1st home we purchased 2 years after marriage is also mortgage free and being rented as well. It is worth approximately $225,000.
– Our current home is worth about $400,000 with a mortgage of $190,000 remaining. Payment is $1350 a month.
– We receive $400, $675, and $1165 ($2240 total) per month when all is good. My sister is my property manager in the other state (yes, I pay her accordingly) and I do have a property manager locally due to our busy work and kid schedule.
– I have $1800 remaining on my car loan and within the last year we purchased a new car for my wife and owe $32,000. We do buy new, but keep the cars long after they are paid off. We still have my wife’s first car a 2001 4runner with 188,000 miles.
– We DO NOT have any credit card debt and pay our cards off monthly.
– Our credit score is consistently in the 825 range.

All told, $610,000 (cash, IRA, etc.) $725,00 in home values for $1,335,000 minus $224,000 puts our net worth around $1.1 million. I do not count the money that will be available from our teacher pensions when we retire because I do not feel as if this is money we could access until after retirement.

At the end of next year, I can take early retirement pension from teaching. I will have taught 27 years, but accrued 29.6 years in our pension. At 30 years, we max out and can’t receive any higher percentage. If I choose to “buyout” .4 tenths of a year for $11,000 dollars or I can work two more years and still get early retirement without paying for the .4 tenths. My estimated salary in retirement would be $63,000 (75% of original salary for life with cola increases starting the 4th year) and my wife would continue to be approximately $85,000. The plan is to take the full 75% of pension salary, but if I die my wife would receive $0 and vice versa if my wife retired and dies. Our reasoning for taking the full 75% is we have 3 life insurance policies ($150,000 term expiring around age 62, $375,000 term expiring around age 67, and 1 million term life expiring around age 72) as well as the other person is guaranteed a pension for our teaching service not counting the other assets mentioned.

Only my close friends have any idea of our financial success. We do take family vacations every year, eat at restaurants, etc. In other words we do enjoy life without being “cheap”. I like frugal. While we have nice “things”, we try to spend our money on “experiences” we will always remember.

I do have a financial advisor who assist with questions, Roth, 457, 403b and brokerage account. He has recently been assigned to us after our previous advisor left for another company. I really liked the previous advisor and the new advisor appears to be solid and trustworthy. In his opinion, we are in a very good situation. Yes, I am aware of the higher fees associated with the 403b and 457.

My current financial goals would be to pay off our current home in the next 15 years or less, help our kids with college, and continue to make sound financial decisions.

Overall, I think we have done an excellent job on teacher’s salaries. As my mom used to say it isn’t how much money you make, it is what you make of your money. I could explain more, but here are my questions:

1. As stated, I am always willing to learn and assess my financial situation. Given the information, how would you assess our financial situation and do you have any recommendations to consider?
– Dennis

Obviously, Dennis is offering a lot of specifics here. I have edited a few specifics in order to avoid Dennis’s identity from being discovered, but nothing that will materially change my response to his questions.

I think that you and your wife are in great financial shape, especially given that this was built on the back of teacher’s salaries. I don’t have any strong suggestions, other than some of the issues you touch on in the next few questions.

Here’s Dennis’s second question:

Q3: Early retirement buyout

Regarding the $11,000 to retire at the end of next year or work an additional year, what do you think I should consider? Anything I may not have thought about?
– Dennis

I think you’ve considered things well. My tendency would be to encourage you to work until your pension is fully funded, without paying in to cover that last fraction of a year.

By simply working for another year, you effectively get to keep that $11,000. That’s effectively a “bonus” for that additional year of work. It’s a pretty lucrative final year, in other words.

Once you and your wife both have fully funded pensions, then retirement probably makes sense, as that pension seems very nice from what you describe.

Here’s Dennis’s third question:

Q4: Health insurance options in retirement

Can you provide me with health insurance options that I may not be thinking about either now or 4 years from now when we both retire from teaching?
– Dennis

This is a hard question to answer because, as you’ve witnessed in the last few weeks/months/years, health care in America is changing rapidly. It is really hard to project what options will be available even a year down the road, let alone longer than that.

I assume that Medicare is probably a safe program, as I don’t think any politician sees it as viable to extensively cut it. I would consider that to be a fall back option.

Another thing I would do is talk to your human resources department for your school district and directly ask what their health insurance plan covers for retired teachers. Can they continue to participate? What are the options available? You may also want to consult with your union, should you have one. However, they may not have perfect answers, either.

I think that catastrophic health insurance in some form will be available to you, particularly when you reach Medicare age, but the specifics are really, really unclear right now.

Here’s Dennis’s fourth and final question:

Q5: Earning more money in retirement

I have considered the loss of salary if I (and my wife in 4 years) should retire. But, I also think the opportunity to make more money is a more optimistic outlook. Thoughts?
– Dennis

Have you spent some time seriously thinking about what you might do when you retire? If you retire in four years, that puts the two of you in your mid-fifties. What will you do at that point?

Are you going to get a different job? If so, is it a job that will be more fulfilling to the both of you than teaching? If you intend to work but can’t think of anything you’d strongly prefer to teaching, why not continue to teach until you want to do other things?

My feeling is this: if you intend to use part of your retirement years to earn more money, make sure that the money you’re going to earn is going to be more than what you would earn from continuing to teach versus “retiring” from teaching and receiving the pension and working elsewhere.

More than anything, I think your question is a personal call to really think about what exactly you want to do when you retire. You seem to want to “retire” in four years, yet you don’t have a clear vision of what you will do when you retire. Start fleshing out that vision. If you walk away from teaching at age 54 or so, what will you do with your days at that point? If you’re struggling to find an answer, then I wouldn’t retire yet. You don’t want to retire unless you’re stepping into something equally meaningful for you.

Good luck! I think your top concern is really figuring out what retirement means for you. I think your financial state is pretty good.

Q6: Professional clothing advice follow-up

Regarding “Upgrading your wardrobe to ‘professional’“, I think we don’t have enough information from the question asker to definitively answer her question. Professional/appropriate attire for women seems to be a bit more murky than for men.

There are a few things that could be wrong with her wardrobe:
1) Too trendy/casual
2) Too risque
3) Not risque enough
4) Doesn’t fit appropriately
5) Too worn or rumpled

I think all of these things can be remedied on a Target budget.

1) Too trendy/casual: Some business places are a bit more conservative in what they consider appropriate, especially for a customer facing role such as a receptionist. If this is the case, they may be asking you to wear button downs and slacks or a slightly above to slightly below knee-length skirt (or a dress…dresses are super easy!). Bodies are all different, and my arms either don’t fit a button down shirt or my bust and waist swim in it, so if the classic button down doesn’t work, look for a poly blend blouse. They might also expect covered shoulders so cardigans make a good staple.

They may look at trendier styles (as opposed to business staples) as “weekend clothing.” The key here is to avoid jersey knits, and stick to traditional silhouettes. If this is the scenario, jeans probably fall in the no-go territory. They might be acceptable for backroom positions, but not customer facing, or they might have a limited set of styles they find acceptable, and without a mentor in a similar role you might struggle to find the right pair.

You’re looking to strike a balance between form fitting and boxy. Stick to solids and a very limited number of classic prints (stripes, checks, houndstooth, not paisley or florals). Avoid clothes that need dry cleaning and look for fabrics that don’t need ironing. An extra caveat if you have pets that shed: heathered solids hide the pet fun that creeps back on you after you’ve lint rolled very well.

2) Too risque: I mentioned a little bit above, but some offices have obnoxious expectations from professional women’s clothing. They might expect covered shoulders and close toed shoes. Do you think your pants or skirt could be too tight for your management? How about your blouse cut too low? Is perhaps an item or two of clothing too see through? While I think these kinds of dress codes are sexist in nature, that doesn’t deny that they still exist in many places.

3) Not risque enough: Unfortunately, certain female roles for certain employers expect a certain amount of “showing off your form” and receptionist could fall into this category. If you’re already dressed very professionally but do so in a conservative manner, are they trying to push you towards being eye candy for the customers that walk in? I’m hoping if this is the case and you weren’t expecting it you circulate your resume and get something else quickly.

4) Doesn’t fit appropriately: Do your clothes fit looser or baggier than the average person in your company? Perhaps they’re seeing poor fit in your clothing and calling it “unprofessional.”

If you’re experiencing weight change, perhaps you could do some thrift store shopping for nice pieces, and then sell them to a consignment store as you move to the next size. Clothing rental companies are great in a weigh change scenario, but it might be a bit beyond your budget. You could always circle around the different companies and take advantage of their intro pricing and cancel after the intro period ends to supplement your wardrobe until you reach a more steady weight.

5) Too worn or rumpled: I have a feeling this isn’t the problem OP is dealing with, but if your wardrobe has been around a while, take a look at your favorite and most worn items with a fresh eye. Do they come out of the dryer and need the iron taken to them? Are the elbows starting to look worn (this is my biggest offender). Are the knees of your slacks getting baggy because the elastic’s worn out? Are any hems frayed? Some people have a keen eye for this and others don’t see it until it’s explicitly shown to them.

Unless one of these scenarios stands out blatantly to the OP, I would suggest they have a follow up with one of her managers to discuss exactly what the expectations are and where she’s missing the mark. As an intern I was talked to about professional attire once. I followed up on it later and it boiled down to one dress that my stepmom had bought me for work had a see-through skirt that I couldn’t notice looking in the mirror. I remedied the situation by wearing a slip with that dress going forward.
– Irene

This is brilliant advice, far better than what I could articulate. Thank you, Irene.

I think the most valuable point of all comes in the last paragraph. If you are told that your wardrobe is unprofessional and can’t quickly identify why, ask for help. Get some indications of what the problems are, then act on those specific problems.

Never, ever be cautious about asking for help or for advice. I find that the biggest mistake people often make is to avoid doing so out of pride. Don’t. You’re not an expert at everything. Let others help you and you’ll be better off.

Q7: Reading philosophy

I took your earlier suggestion and tried reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius but I found it really hard to read. What do you suggest that’s maybe easier to read?
– Geoff

Many original writings in philosophy can be hard to read. You generally have to take them slowly and process what is being said one bite at a time. I almost always have a notebook open when I read philosophy and I read it very slowly, taking notes and trying to explain what they’re saying in a way that’s clear to me. I look up things I don’t understand and I don’t feel bad if I spent an hour processing one paragraph or even one sentence.

Having said that, such an approach isn’t necessarily something that everyone will enjoy. I suspect that Geoff is looking for an introduction to stoicism – which is what Meditations really is – that is written for a modern reader. I have three suggestions.

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William Irvine is probably the best single book I’ve read for applying stoicism to modern life. Irvine focuses on the sense of chronic dissatisfaction with modern life that many of us feel and really lays out how to deal with it using the teachings of stoicism.

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holliday and Stephen Hanselman uses much the same approach as the above book, but instead parcels it out as something of a daily devotional. Each page in the book features a quote from a stoic work along with a few paragraphs on how it applies to modern life. This is a great “bedside table” book for stoicism.

Stoicism and the Art of Happiness – Ancient Tips For Modern Challenges by Donald Robertson is probably the easiest of the three to read, but I also don’t feel it goes as in depth as the other two listed here. I’d suggest browsing the first two options first and if you find them overwhelming, try this one. It’s a very gentle introduction to stoicism, one that works wonderfully as a “first read” when it comes to learning about stoicism, but you’ll probably want to read additional books to follow this one.

Q8: Long lasting item gift card

Let’s say I wanted to buy someone a long lasting item but I don’t know exactly what to get them. What store should I buy them a gift card from?
– Andrew

Honestly, the best answer is Amazon. They have the widest selection and easiest availability of a wide assortment of buy it for life items.

If you want to get specific, though, you could just get an online gift card from retailers that really focus on high quality durable goods. Sites like Darn Tough Socks, Patagonia, Land’s End – basically, any store that has a legitimate full lifetime warranty on their product usually makes a good product that will last for a long time. Here’s a list of manufacturers with lifetime warranties.

Speaking as someone who really likes long-lasting items, you’d thrill me with gift certificates to Duluth Trading (casual clothing) or REI (outdoor gear) or any of the above mentioned places.

Q9: Notetaking strategies for online classes?

Do you have any recommendations for how to take good notes for an online class? I’m taking some classes on my own time for self-learning so I am invested in actually learning the material and not just getting a grade. Suggestions on how to do this optimally? I know you do this as a hobby so I want to know what works for you.
– Benjamin

When I take an online class, I watch or listen to the lectures while taking notes in a physical notebook. I pause the lecture whenever I need to catch up with something.

What I generally do is write down the key points as well as any facts I want to retain in my head. I usually have a second pen in a different color which I use to write down any questions that come up during the lecture, whether it’s just seeking clarity on a point or something I want to think about further.

Doing this usually doubles the time it takes to get through a lecture – I can get through a 30 minute audio or video file in about an hour. I then usually spend another hour going through and answering all of the questions, usually by starting a new section in my notebook, moving each question forward, and then writing down the answer to it.

It takes time, but I take online classes to actually learn things and absorb them into my thinking, and that’s the best way to do this. I use this approach when reading long essays or other such material, too. My “reading speed” for such things is a snail’s pace, but when I’m done, I really do feel like I thoroughly understand it.

Q10: Entertaining children of friends cheaply

My husband and I (childless) recently bought a four bedroom home. We intend to have children in the next 1-2 years and are already trying so this house was bought with children in mind in the future.

My best friend and her husband are coming to visit and stay with us for three nights over Labor Day weekend. They have a sixth grader, a third grader, and a preschooler. I have been told that they play well together and that they’ll be bringing some things to entertain themselves but I want to know what I can do to make our home more fun for them without spending a ton of money.

Ideas?
– Angie

The first thing I’d do is I’d ask your friend what her children’s hobbies are. What do those kids enjoy doing? Simply knowing their ages isn’t really enough here.

For example, if you wanted to make my kids feel welcome, having a sketchbook and some colored pencils would make my daughter love you dearly, but my two sons would just shrug their shoulders. If you want to make my oldest son thrilled, have a used soccer ball available and directions to the nearest soccer field (or a good sized backyard), and perhaps a good young adult book or two. For my youngest son, a box of used action figures would be the ticket to making him have a blast. You could find all of those things for $5-10 at (a) the dollar store, (b) a used sporting goods store or used bookstore, and (c) a secondhand toy store.

Kids of the age you describe have really developed their own personalities, so you should simply ask their mom (your friend) what they’re into and then simply find items related to those interests.

Q11: Convention frugality

My wife and I went to the National Homeberwer Convention in Minneapolis in June. We thought it would be fun to go there for a couple of days. Our idea was that we would just meet people who like home brewing and try lots of samples, but the main part of the convention was the Homebrew Expo which was just like going to a local brew supply store except 1000x bigger. We ended up spending way too much money.

Any strategies on avoiding spending so much money at a convention? Setting a budget seems smart. We want to go back next year but not spend so much.
– Terry

I almost attended this convention this year, but it ended up overlapping our family vacation too closely. Anyway, I believe this is the expo you speak of and, yes, anyone who enjoys home brewing would be tempted to spend money there.

You’re right that the first strategy is to simply have a budget. Plan out in advance how much you’re going to spend there, no matter what, and stick to it. The way I typically do this at conventions is to take a certain amount of cash with me and then never have my credit card leave my pocket, no matter what. I only spend the cash. I use this strategy in the dealer hall at Gencon. I usually put aside some of my hobby budget during each month of the late spring and summer to spend there, then I withdraw that amount in cash to spend at Gencon. If I bring any home, I just put it back in my hobby budget.

Another strategy – and something I do a lot at such conventions – is to just take pictures of stuff that’s really cool, or pick up promotional materials for it. This often sates my need to feel like I’m “taking action” on this cool thing without actually buying it. Then, I find that my desire to buy that cool thing fades over time unless it’s something truly exceptional. I can then budget for it later.

I’m probably going to go to the next National Homebrewers Conference that’s held in the Midwest. Next year is in Portland, which probably isn’t a realistic trip for me, but if it’s ever in Minneapolis or Chicago or Kansas City or Saint Louis in the next few years, I’ll probably be there! I love going to conventions and conferences related to my hobbies.

Q12: Work travel without reimbursement

My employer is opening a new branch in another city about two hours away. He is expecting several of us to spend time working there but he is not reimbursing us for any sort of travel expenses. He says we can commute if we want. Can he do this? Can I contact a lawyer?
– Jenna

Unless it specifies in your contract that travel must be reimbursed, he can most definitely do that.

There are some problems with your employer doing this, though. First, he’s going to irritate a lot of his best employees. He’s probably sending much of his best staff to the new location to help train people and this policy is not going to make them happy. Second, it’s not saving him as much as he thinks because he can essentially write off the reimbursement of your expenses.

I personally feel as though this is a practice that’s highly disrespectful of valuable employees. It’s likely that there are other forms of poor treatment either going on now or going on in the future if this is how you are valued. Keep that in mind when making employment decisions going forward. An employer who treats you unfairly and then sees that it will be accepted will likely do so again.

It’s worth noting that you may be able to deduct the expenses incurred from this travel on your taxes. Keep careful documentation of all of this.

Got any questions? The best way to ask is to follow me on Facebook and ask questions directly there. I’ll attempt to answer them in a future mailbag (which, by way of full disclosure, may also get re-posted on other websites that pick up my blog). However, I do receive many, many questions per week, so I may not necessarily be able to answer yours.

The post Questions About Retirement Planning, Entertaining Children, Frugal Gift Cards, and More! appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

These Are Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

You may already know that you have the right to claim a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. You might also know that you can dispute any errors appearing on your credit reports with the three credit reporting agencies (CRAs): Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Both of these rights are conferred to you under a federal law known as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Here are the various rights and protections that law grants to American consumers:

The Right to Free Credit Reports

As mentioned above, the FCRA gives you the right to a free credit report (aka file disclosure) from each of the three credit bureaus once every 12 months. To claim these free reports, simply visit AnnualCreditReport.com – you don’t need a credit card. You may also be entitled to additional free reports under any of the following circumstances:

  • You are an identity theft victim who has placed a fraud alert on your credit file.
  • You receive public assistance.
  • You’re unemployed but plan to apply for employment within the next two months.
  • Someone has taken adverse action against you (a credit denial, for example) as a result of information on your credit.

The Right to Dispute

You have the right under the FCRA to dispute information on your credit reports which you believe to be inaccurate.

When a CRA receives your dispute they have 30 days (sometimes 45 days) to investigate your claim.

At the end of the investigation the disputed information must be either (a) verified as accurate, (b) corrected, or (c) deleted. Regardless of the outcome, the CRA must inform you of the results of your dispute. Air Jordan 13 Uomo This entire process is free of charge if you handle the dispute process on your own.

Limits to How Long Negative Information Can Remain on Your Credit Reports

The FCRA places time limits that control how long negative information can remain on a consumer’s credit report. Though a few negative items are allowed to remain on your credit reports indefinitely (e.g., unpaid tax liens and unpaid Federal student loans), most derogatory credit entries must be purged from your credit after a period of 7 to 10 years.

The Right to Limit Access to Your Credit Reports

The FCRA also dictates who has “permissible purpose” to access your credit reports. Your reports cannot be legally accessed by the person you met on an internet dating site, for example, or your nosy next-door neighbor. Air Jordan 7 Donna However, permissible purpose to access credit reports can be granted in all the following circumstances. Nike Air Huarache damskie

  • You can access your own credit reports as often as you like. If you have exhausted all your freebies, then you might be charged a fee (or you could search for a free online credit report provider as well).
  • Your credit report can be accessed as part of a “credit related transaction.” In other words, if you apply for a loan, credit card, or new insurance policy, then a lender or insurance provider has the right to request your credit report.
  • Your credit report can be accessed if a court order has been issued.
  • Your credit report can be accessed for employment screening purposes.
  • ADIDAS Yeezy 350 Boost
  • However, your written consent is required.

  • If you have an account with a creditor, the FCRA also allows the account provider to access your credit reports as part of the account management process.

The Right to ‘Opt Out’ of Prescreened Offers

Have you ever checked your mail and discovered a pile of “you’re preapproved” credit card offers? If so, then there’s a good chance that at least a portion of your credit information was accessed by the company that sent you the offer. If you no longer want companies to have access to your credit information for prospecting purposes, then you have the right under the FCRA to “opt out.” You simply need to visit OptOutPrescreen.com if you wish to exercise this right.

This is also free of charge. Scarpe Nike Italia Related Articles:

John Ulzheimer is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring, and identity theft. He has written four books on the topic and has been interviewed and quoted thousands of times over the past 10 years. With time spent at Equifax and FICO, Ulzheimer is the only credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry.

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Using Negative Visualization to Reduce the Desire for More

What would my life be like if Sarah suddenly died? What if one of my children suddenly died? Those scenarios seem like horror stories to me – and, frankly, they still do. Those four people – my wife and my three kids – are really the cornerstones of my life right now. Nike Air Max 2016 Dames I invest more of my energy into being a good husband and a good father than I do into almost every other aspect of my life, yet I still feel that I get more value out of those relationships than I put into them. The thing is, there are still times when I essentially take them for granted. I assume that Sarah will always be there – beautiful, reliable Sarah. Canotte New Orleans I assume my kids will always be there. I don’t think about what they add to my life. When I begin to feel that way, I usually end up feeling dissatisfied with my life, not satisfied. I find myself reflecting on all of the things that I don’t have, and I get frustrated and upset. I want more, in other words. When I become complacent with the things I have in my life, my desire for more starts creeping up and I find myself becoming unhappy with what I have. I can’t even put into words how counterproductive that feeling is, yet it’s an incredibly common feeling. Almost everyone I’ve talked about this feeling with has had it at some point in their life. Their life seems great and they have almost everything they’ve ever wanted… and yet they’re unhappy. It’s not enough. Sometimes, when I’m not being too rational or thoughtful about things, I will try to quell that feeling by buying more stuff. For example, I’ll lose touch of the good things I have in my life a little bit, feel frustrated that I don’t have more time for my hobbies, and try to quell that feeling by buying something for that hobby. That purchase feels really good… in the very short term. Before long, however, the sense of not having enough creeps back in. I still want more. Nike Air Max 2017 Dames blauw Here’s the truth: If you listen to that voice, you’ll quickly realize that there will never be enough, that you will always desire more. And there is always more to desire. How do you fix that? In general, the solution is obvious: learn to appreciate what you have rather than lusting for what you don’t have. How do you do that practically, though? The solution is actually in that seemingly miserable pair of questions I stated at the top of this article. What would my life be like if Sarah suddenly died? What if one of my children suddenly died? Every once in a while – maybe twice a week or so – I spend some time seriously thinking about those questions, and a few other similar questions. What would my life be like if I suddenly lost some of the things that I care the most about? What if I lost Sarah? What if I lost my kids? What if I lost my vision? What if I lost my ability to walk? What if I lost my ability to creatively express myself? What if I lost my opportunity to write for a living? I think about those things and I try to imagine my life without them. My life without Sarah would feel pretty empty. I absolutely love the conversations we have literally every day. I love doing things with her and spending time with her. I have undying appreciation for her wisdom and for all of the things she quietly handles in our life. I love that absolutely warm smile she gets when she’s happy and that twinkle in her eye when she has one of her crazy ideas. My life without my children would feel pretty empty, too. I would miss my oldest son’s considerate and kind heart. Stanford Cardinal I would miss my daughter’s bursts of creativity. New Balance 009 hombre I would miss my youngest son’s humor and surprising compassion. I would miss our conversations and our games and the sheer joy of watching them grow up and develop into their own selves. My life without my vision… my life without my creative expression… my life without my meaningful career… my life without mobility… Javier Baez Jersey those things all seem so incredibly challenging. I could do them, of course, but they would represent such a drop and such a redirection from where I’m at right now. When I think about things like that, I can’t help but be flooded with appreciation for her and what I have. I want to rush over and embrace Sarah and hold her close and whisper in her ear. I want to go on some crazy adventure with my kids. I want to go on a long walk and feel soft grass underneath my feet with sunshine on my shoulders. I want to sit down and write and write and write until I’ve drained every ounce of creativity from my spirit. I want to curl up with a great book for an entire afternoon. I want to write some mythically great article that touches the soul of everyone who reads it.

In other words, when I really give into visualizing my life without the things that I have that I value the most, I suddenly desperately want what I already have. Realizing what I do have, and then diving deep into exactly what I love about it, brings me a ton of joy. I suddenly feel incredibly joyous because of the bounty in my life. Why do I ever need more than that? That simple thought experiment is the single most effective tool I’ve ever found for erasing my desire for “more” and building contentment and finding joy with what I have. It’s called “negative visualization,” and it’s one of the key tools taught by the Stoic life philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome. One of Stoicism’s foremost practitioners, Epictetus, once wrote the following in his great work, The Enchiridion: “Hold death and exile and all that seems dreadful before your eyes every day, but most of all death: and you will never think of anything bad or desire anything too much.” Imagine the loss of what you hold most dear and see how adversely your life is affected by it. If you do that simple thing regularly, you stop taking it for granted and begin appreciating what you have. Asics Whizłer damskie When that shift occurs, your desire for more quickly fades away. A final thought: isn’t a desire for “more” a good thing? Without that desire, wouldn’t it be difficult to motivate ourselves to do things? I’ll turn that back around: why, exactly, does a person work hard every day? Do you work hard so that you can accumulate more and more stuff that you don’t have time to use? Or do you work hard to preserve and protect the things you care about the most and to have truly meaningful experiences in life? Bringing about a contentment with your life and a drastic reduction in the desire for more doesn’t mean that you stop working for anything. I work hard to preserve and protect and genuinely enhance the things I care about the most, the things that I would be devastated to lose. I cultivate – or at least try to cultivate – the things I value the most in my life. I try to invest in my body and mind so that I can have the best chance at living a long life with a sound mind. In the end, I realize that a truly blessed and content life is one that is filled with the things I truly care about in their best state – my body, my mind, my relationship with my loved ones, their own sound body and mind, learning, and so on. That, to me, is the best life, and it’s really revealed to me when I consider what my life is like when those elements are taken away from it. If my life would be pained by the loss of something, then it is worth my time and effort to do what I can to preserve and protect and enhance that thing. Acquiring more stuff and being unhappy with what I have rarely helps that goal at all. Let me put it another way. I don’t work to have piles of stuff – in fact, when I do so, I’ve usually made a mistake. I work so that I have a strong relationship with my wife and a strong relationship with my kids and that they have fulfilling lives. Goedkoop Nike Air Max I work so that I have a strong body and a strong mind. adidas outlet shop I work so that I can have the freedom to enjoy a long hike in the woods on a sunny day without much worry on my shoulders. It’s when I move away from that, when I start to take all of that for granted and start desiring more and more and more, that I begin to be troubled. Negative visualization takes that endless empty desire and locks it away. It redirects me back to the things that I cherish most in my life and reminds me that those are the things worth working for, to protect them and to enhance them in a healthy way. Take some time to practice negative visualization, not as a constant tactic, but as an occasional one, to remind yourself of the bounty you have in life and to remind yourself that protecting and preserving and enhancing that bounty is a life’s work, indeed.

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10 Strategies for Standing Out During the Hiring Process

At any given time, there are millions of Americans out there seeking employment with some level of seriousness. Many of them are in your field, and some of them are likely applying for the same job. Most of those people follow the same exact pattern over and over again for their job search. They make a half-decent resume and cover letter, send the exact same document to many different organizations, and then wonder why they rarely get calls back. Then they repeat. And repeat. And repeat. On the other end of that picture is a hiring manager at an organization, someone whose job it is to figure out who to interview and who to hire for a specific position. That person gets dozens if not hundreds of these kinds of applications and resumes every week. They’re all pretty similar – some are more polished than others, but nothing exceptionally stands out from the pile. Somehow, a few of those resumes get selected for interviews.

People show up. Canotte New York Knicks They answer questions. They go home. Fjallraven Kanken Sverige The hiring manager has to pick from among those few or else hire a few more. So, how does that hiring manager make that choice? Who goes to the top of that pile of resumes? Who gets the interview? Who gets the job from that interview? It’s the applicants that stand out in a positive way at each step in the chain. I’ve been through this process on both ends of the equation. I’ve applied for very competitive jobs and actually secured a couple of them. At the same time, I’ve served on hiring committees for very competitive jobs and watched the sausage get made. There are quite a few tricks that really stood out to me on both sides of the coin that really made the difference. Here are the ten best among those strategies.

Strategy #1: Strongly prioritize applying to organizations where you have a connection.

One of the easiest ways to get your application to the top of the stack is to have someone within that organization with a good reputation that can vouch for you. Trust me – if a person with a good track record sticks their head into a hiring manager’s office and puts in a good word for you, your application is going to zoom right to the top of that stack. It’s not a guarantee of an interview, but it’s a huge positive attribute.

Thus, one great strategy for getting a great job is to simply start by focusing strongly on organizations where you already know someone. Of course, this starts by having a pile of strong professional relationships, which is something you should start building and maintaining immediately. You do this by being active professionally with your peers on social media, attending professional meetings, and engaging people in your profession inside and outside of your workplace as often as you meaningfully can. Having said that, a dozen good strong positive relationships are worth a thousand very flimsy ones, so prioritize building good relationships over collecting tenuous ones. If you do know someone at an organization with an opening, talk to that person and ask them to take some time to put in a good word for you. If your relationship with that person is positive and you’ve helped that person in the past, it’s very likely that they’ll help you out, and a quick email or quick conversation with the hiring manager will help push that application of yours right to the top.

Strategy #2: Craft your materials to specifically target the job and company.

The vast majority of resumes and cover letters that a company receives are pretty generic. They’re obviously created and designed to be able to be sent out almost thoughtlessly by the applicant, as though making one good ready-made resume and cover letter is all that’s needed. The thing is, each position is different. Each company is different. When your cover letter and resume reflect what’s unique about that position and company, it looks a lot better than an ordinary resume. Nike New York Giants jerseys Before you send a resume and cover letter to an organization, stop and take some time to do your homework on the position itself and the company you’re applying to. Ask yourself what exactly that organization is really looking for in terms of the skills and characteristics you have to offer and then customize your cover letter and resume to focus on those things. This strategy takes a lot of work, but it really pays off. You have to spend some time really researching the company and the position itself to really get a bead on what that company is all about and what they’re really looking for, but a cover letter and resume crafted to maximize that is going to hit a home run.

Strategy #3: Focus your cover letter on a challenge the company is facing and how you can solve it.

To expand upon the previous strategy, one powerful step you can take is to turn your cover letter into a pitch to solve a specific problem the company is facing. Again, this takes a great deal of work and some careful thinking, but it can really pay off. Rather than just looking at the skills you have and merely listing them out, instead look at what the company actually needs here. What are they hiring you to do? What need does the company really have to even offer this position? Write your cover letter from that perspective. The company has a problem of some kind or else they wouldn’t have this position open. What is that challenge they’re facing? What do you have to offer that will answer that challenge? Remember, the organization doesn’t really care that much about you personally. What the organization cares about is solving this problem that they have, and they want to put the best person possible into that position so that the problem can be solved. They want to move forward on their mission, whether it’s providing some kind of service or solving some kind of large problem or simply making as much money as possible. Ask not what the organization can do for you, but what you can do for the organization.

Strategy #4: Build an online portfolio of your best work

Your resume is going to usually include mentions of the work that you’ve done, but by the nature of a resume, it can’t really include that material. You can’t include art or lesson plans or code or interfaces or certifications in a resume. What you can do, however, is create a website for yourself that houses all of those things. It can show off code you’ve written or designs you’ve created. It can list your certifications and the self-education you’ve completed (with links to your Coursera profile, for example). Your online portfolio can basically be an expansion of your resume, including examples of your work that just do not really fit into the dimensions of a typical resume. Make such a portfolio. I recommend using a service like Squarespace, which makes it pretty easy to set up this kind of online portfolio for yourself. Fill it with examples of your work and your efforts to become a better professional. Include a link to this material in your cover letter and resume so that hiring managers can take a look at that material when deciding whether to interview you or not. Often, the presence of a solid online portfolio can be a difference maker.

Strategy #5: Call the hiring manager before the interview.

Shortly after the application deadline, take the time to call the organization and see if you can talk to the hiring manager. Many job applications provide some method for contacting the organization, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of it. When you get the hiring manager on the phone, simply ask about the status of choosing interviewees for that position. Make it clear that you’re very interested in the position and that you think you’re a great fit. This is a great time to look at your notes about the company and the position and hit a few of the high points in the conversation that explains why you, specifically, are a great fit for solving that organization’s specific problem. Don’t overdo it. The hiring manager is busy, so keep the conversation short. Just make it clear in a very brief way – less than a minute – that you’re very interested in the position, that you think you’re a great fit for it, and that you’re wanting to know what the next step is. Often, if you do this in the day or two following the close of an application period, you’re going to hit that hiring manager very close to the time in which he or she is sifting through those applications. A quick phone call like this sticks your name in their mind and can often cause them to pull your application to the top of the stack.

Again, don’t overdo it – keep the call really brief and really positive. You just want to do enough to get your name in the hiring manager’s mind in a positive way, not an annoyed way. Now, let’s move onto great strategies for when you do get that interview!

Strategy #6: Prepare for the interview by asking questions.

The hiring manager calls you and sets up an interview. Great! Your foot is in the door! Now what? Yes, there are the obvious steps of showing up punctually (even early) and dressing well and being well groomed and so on, but those are expected basics. The question is, how do you stand out? The first thing you can do is practice the interview. Go through lots and lots of questions that you might be potentially asked and practice how you’ll answer them. The goal of this is not to memorize a bunch of stock answers to recite, but to be so comfortable with the things you might be asked that you can craft a genuine good answer on the fly. If the organization is a large one, there may be some advice online for the kinds of questions that you might be asked, so tap that first. If it’s not large, look online for questions that are typically asked during interviews for positions like yours. The internet is loaded with these kinds of questions, and those resources are being used by the people who succeed at interviews. Soldes Chaussures Nike Practice those questions. Get your partner or a close friend to come over and “interview” you by asking those questions (and variations on them). Have them take notes on how you did, intentionally looking for ways to make your answers better. Remember, this kind of activity is meant as an improvement activity and you need criticism to know what to work on and improve. Don’t allow this practice to make you nervous. Recognize that when you do improve, you’re just making it more likely that you get the job. Treat it as a confidence builder. You’re just increasing the likelihood that you’re going to get this job.

Strategy #7: Optimize your mind and body before the interview.

All of the grooming and proper dressing techniques apply here, but you should really go beyond that. Do everything you can to ensure that you’re in the best possible mind and body when you walk in that door. Some suggestions from my own life that I follow when I have to be primed for a key moment: I get some exercise the day before. The day before a big presentation or something like that, I get a ton of vigorous exercise. I don’t do anything that’s going to leave me really sore, but I definitely get a workout of some kind. If you’re not much of an exerciser, just take a nice brisk fairly long walk. The reason for this is that it primes your body and mind for a great night of sleep. Eat a healthy dinner the night before. Don’t eat something unhealthy and heavy in your gut. Eat something that’s enjoyable, but pretty healthy, and don’t eat until you’re stuffed. Don’t down a bunch of junk food in the evening, either. Again, the goal is to feel as good as possible the following day. Get a great night of sleep. Go to bed early so that you can likely sleep until you naturally awaken without an alarm. A good night of sleep the night before a big event is one of the best things you can possibly do for yourself. Eat a healthy breakfast with both protein and carbs. My usual go-to “power breakfast” is two hard boiled eggs, a little oatmeal, and a piece of fruit (like a banana or an orange). Nothing beats it for making me feel good all morning long. Get a little bit of intense exercise. Don’t do a full workout, but do something to really get your blood pumping just before you take a shower. I usually go on a really brisk walk and then do a bunch of squats and planks and other body weight exercises. Do the normal pre-interview stuff: shower, dress well, groom yourself, show up early. This is all obvious stuff, but it’s still important. Listen to something mentally engaging but on a different topic on your way to the interview. Listen to a podcast or an audiobook that will get your brain moving, but choose a topic that’s actually different than your interview.

You want your brain to be bopping along, but you don’t want to get yourself all keyed up before the interview. Think about other things, but think. That’s my routine before any big event and it works really well for me. I feel like my mind and body is ready to go.

Strategy #8: Ask thoughtful questions about the company during the interview.

One of the best things you can do for your case during an interview is ask questions. That might seem crazy at first, but it serves a bunch of purposes all at once. First, it reinforces the idea that you’re intellectually curious and are an active gatherer of information. That’s becoming more and more and more important for almost every workplace. Employers want intellectually curious information gatherers because those people tend to prepare well and solve problems on their own. Second, it helps you learn more about the organization and whether you actually want to work there. Is this a place you really want to work? Is this a place where you’ll fit in well? What are the quirks of the organization’s culture? By asking questions about the organization and the people that work there, you’re satisfying those internal questions. Finally, the answers to those questions might give you strong clues about what to mention going forward. One of the best things that a person can do during an interview in my experience is to take something they just learned about an organization and integrate it well into their own answers about why they’re a good fit for the organization. That, to me, is almost always a sign of a top candidate. It exhibits almost everything an organization looks for in a candidate. Remember, you’re learning about them as much as they’re learning about you.

Strategy #9: Take notes during the interview, especially names of people you have significant interaction with.

Don’t do this in an ostentatious or detailed way. One great thing to do is to just take a small pocket notebook with you and then use it to just jot down names and other really key pieces of information as you go. Gather business cards and slip them inside the pocket notebook along the way. My favorite strategy is to collect business cards throughout the meeting, then when I have a moment or two of downtime, I jot down a specific thing or two to follow up on on the back of that person’s card. If no card is available, I’ll just jot down their name and a follow-up avenue or two. Similarly, jot down anything that you’re asked about that you’re not perfectly familiar with. Not being familiar with everything is perfectly okay. Nike Air Max 2016 Heren wit The real question is how you handle unfamiliarity. If you handle it with curiosity and grace, and you do this by not getting upset and writing down the thing you’re unfamiliar with, then that’s a good sign. You should also record anything important that you want to remember about this interview going forward, including immediate thoughts about the company and position. Obviously, don’t record anything that shouldn’t be disclosed. They may ask you to share what you’ve written and don’t hesitate to do so.

Strategy #10: Follow up with an email and a handwritten note.

Here’s a secret: When you walk out of an interview, you’re not done with the interview. Over the next few days, you have your real chance to close out the interview. The first thing you should do, within a day or so of returning home, is to send a handwritten thank you note to anyone you interacted with in a significant way during the interview. You should have written down their names during your note-taking process, as alluded to above. Send individual notes. Thank that person for the opportunity to interview. Then, if you’ve noted something to follow up on, do it in a general fashion. For example, if they’re facing an upcoming challenge, wish them well on that challenge. If you don’t have anything like that, state something that you really took away from interacting with them that reflects on that person positively, like how you appreciated their explanation of the intellectual challenge of the job. Wait a day or two after sending those notes, then follow up by email. Again, thank the person for taking the time to interview you. This is the time to really follow up on everything that was mentioned in the interview that you noted. Show that you actually followed up and self-educated on a topic that someone raised during your interview that you didn’t know. Touch base with that person on the things you noted for follow-up. Set it up so that they’re motivated to email you back, so that you can exchange a few emails with that person. Be very positive and thankful here. New Balance 530 damskie Don’t go any further than that. Don’t be pushy. Don’t stalk them. Don’t friend them on Facebook. You might follow them on Twitter, but do so only if there is mutual professional interest and you might want to genuinely add that person to your professional network. These steps reinforce your name in a very, very positive way in the days leading up to that person helping decide whether you’re the right person for the job. Some non-pushy positive interactions in the days between the interview and the hiring decision is going to help.

Final Thoughts

One final point that’s extremely important here – even if these steps don’t net you the job, they’re still incredibly worthwhile. Why? By doing these things, you’ve put your name in a positive place in the minds of the people who are doing the hiring. You’ve basically turned a lot of those people into positive professional contacts, and when another opportunity comes around, the value of those contacts is going to immediately elevate you. I speak from experience here. I was once involved with a hiring process where there were two very good candidates. One of them was just absolutely perfect for the position and she got that job, but another candidate who wasn’t nearly as perfect for that position wowed us by going through most of these steps. He made every possible effort to show that he really wanted to work for us, and we remembered it. Guess what? That guy was hired for a very similar position (that I believe was newly created) within just a few months. The person in charge of hiring actually reached out to this candidate to apply for the second position, just because of the impression he made with the first one. Remember, you’re selling yourself. Selling yourself isn’t easy for a lot of people – myself included – but when you take the time and effort to actually do it, it really makes you stand out from the crowd, and standing out from the crowd in a positive way is how people get the jobs they want.

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Questions About Moving, Apartment Babies, Weight Loss, Denim, and More!

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to summaries of five or fewer words. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Arguing over frugality 2. Selling possessions before big move 3. Maximizing lifespan of blue jeans 4. Cheap deep fat fryer setup 5. Cracked tablet screen 6. Resolving debts to family members 7. Clothes during weight loss 8. Baby advice in tiny apartment 9. Car downsizing as a parent 10. Subscription service as gift 11. Roth TSP or normal TSP? 12. Basics of learning about money Over the past few days, I took a trip out to Denver by myself to visit a family member and several friends. I had been intending to see them for a long time but had never really made the time to do so, but Memorial Day weekend offered that opportunity. I drove out there and the thing that sticks in my mind about the entire drive is how the landscape slowly changed from the flatness of Nebraska and Kansas into the rise in altitude and the mountains on the horizon in Denver. The shift is gradual, but if you drive 100 miles or so from the western end of Nebraska well into Colorado, the change is really noticeable. It’s funny – I can travel for several days and the things I remember about the trip are all about the landscapes and about the people I was with. Expensive meals fade quickly. So do expensive hotels. What I remember are the people and the scenery. To me, that’s a hint as to how I should plan vacations.

Q1: Arguing over frugality

My hubby and I sometimes argue about my cheapness. Whenever we have date nights I usually suggest doing something cheap and I buy store brands at the store and stuff. Sometimes he gets really frustrated and says that we don’t have to live like this and gives me the cold shoulder for a while. I don’t see anything wrong with how we live and we have no debt and plenty of money in the bank. Had a big blowup the other night. Not sure what to do and hope you have some good advice! – Monique Marriages work when you communicate and compromise with each other. Air Jordan 12 It sounds to me like there are some areas of your spending choices that are bothering your husband. What I’d suggest is sitting down sometime when he’s not angry and discuss things. Ask him specifically what things he’s bothered by, figure out which things bother him the most, and give a little in those areas. It may be that a certain brand of product has a strong sentimental value to him, so it’s worth buying it instead of the store brand that you buy, or maybe you can agree to his more expensive date night ideas sometimes. At the same time, make sure he appreciates the strong financial state that you’re in and that you’re deeply worried about falling into a pattern of overspending that will undo that great financial state. There’s a happy medium between the two things you’re both wanting here. The trick is finding it together in a peaceful way.

Q2: Selling possessions before big move

I currently live in a 1BR apartment in Sacramento. I accepted a job in Boston with a nice pay raise and am moving there in a month. My employer is paying for some moving expenses. I am considering what items it makes sense to move to Boston and what to sell off. Part of me wants to sell everything and move with basically two or three bags of stuff and then use the moving money and the sale money to buy new stuff when I arrive. I will pay a markup to replace a lot of this stuff though. Which is the smarter route? – Jim If I were single and moving across the country, I would probably lean toward selling off the vast majority of my possessions before the big move. I would not want to deal with the effort of moving so much stuff and, honestly, having less stuff means you have more flexibility. Air Max Pas Cher To tell you the honest truth, if I were single, I’d mostly live out of a bag or two. I might have a small apartment somewhere, but it would be basically a place to rest my head and prepare a bit of food, not a place to spend my time. I’d spend a lot of time at community events, at the library, at Meetup events, and so on. I’d barely be home, so why have a bunch of stuff at home? In your shoes, yes, I’d lean toward a big selloff. Unless your apartment is loaded with incredibly expensive decor and you plan to decorate it with similarly expensive stuff upon arriving in Boston, transporting your possessions will probably cost more than they’re worth, especially when you include the sale value of the items.

Q3: Maximizing lifespan of blue jeans

Do you have any suggestions for making jeans last as long as possible? Do they last longer if you wear them several times between washings? I wear jeans pretty much any time I’m not in the office and so I wear out a lot of jeans and I want them to last as long as I can. My jeans usually wear out at the ankles first. – Roger Jeans most certainly do not need to be washed after every wearing. Inspect them when you’re done wearing them and if they’re actually dirty, wash them. If not, then don’t wash them. Your instinct regarding the fact that washing jeans puts a lot of wear and tear on them is absolutely right. Washing machines are the primary source of damage to a lot of garments over time, and jeans are no different. If you’re noticing a lot of wear on your jeans near the ankles, consider wearing slightly shorter jeans or “boot fit” jeans. This used to be a problem for me until I realized I was choosing jeans that were perhaps an inch or so longer than they needed to be, so now I get jeans with a shorter inseam and I rarely have this problem.

Q4: Cheap deep fat fryer setup

We often have fish fries where we will fry up a bunch of fish filets and whole fish and some onion rings and fries in a deep fat fryer that’s basically a big kettle of oil with a basket on top of a propane burner. We have to replace the burner every 2-3 years and the cost of all of the propane and oil adds up. Suggestions on keeping costs down? – Dylan I talked to an avid fisherman who often hosts fish fries in order to answer your question and he suggested three things. First, if you’re just using the oil to cook fish and onion rings and fries, you can probably reuse the oil a few times. He suggests saving the oil in a big resealable container in the refrigerator between uses. At some point after it cools, strain the oil through several layers of cheesecloth at once to get out all of the tiny particle matter. nike air max pas cher He says you should be able to use the oil three times using this method before you should throw it out. Second, he strongly encourages you to thoroughly clean your propane burner every few months because, according to him, propane burners don’t usually go bad that quick and there’s probably some clogging involved due to not cleaning it. He suggested using a cleaning brush and cleaning it thoroughly inside and out and to look up a guide on how to do it for your model if you’re not sure. Finally, he says that if you’ve got the oil heated up, you should cook plenty of fish filets because they’re quite good when reheated and you can eat leftovers. This reduces the propane cost per piece of fish. Just store them in a container with paper towels separating the layers. If you’re making fries that are just sliced potatoes dropped in the fryer, I recommend making extras of those, too, as those are good reheated as well in my experience.

Q5: Cracked tablet screen

I have an iPad Pro which I use so much that it’s now my main/only computer. I have a keyboard case for it and use it for email and writing and then I take off the case for lap use and reading. A few months ago, I cracked the edge of it. There’s a crack that extends into the screen area. When you’re using it, you definitely notice the crack. It’s visible when you’re watching or reading something. However, the touch interface is just dead around the crack and it makes it hard to open the app that’s in that area of the screen and can sometimes mess up other interface issues. When do I make the leap and just replace the thing? It still works, mostly, but the cracked part is a constant annoyance. – Connie The first thing I’d do is look into the cost of getting the screen repaired. Is it under any kind of warranty? Did you get a protection plan for it that might cover it? I’d take the device to an Apple Store and have them look at it and provide an estimate for repair. If it’s high, you can also talk to independent phone and tablet repair shops, who may be able to repair it at a nice price. You may find that it is far less expensive to repair the screen than it is to buy a replacement. If you do need to go for a replacement, do your homework first and take your time. nike air max 90 femme pas cher Evaluate your needs very carefully. What does your tablet actually do for you? Are there other devices that could do all of those things at a lower price? Do you need the most current version of that tablet, or would an older one suffice?

Q6: Resolving debts to family members

I am a former meth user who has been clean for three years. During that time I borrowed a lot of money from family members to feed my habit. I kept track of those debts in a notebook. Now that I have a good job I am starting to try to pay them back but all of them keep telling me no and that it is forgiven and that I have repaid them by getting clean. But I am still feeling really guilty about taking their money and using it for drugs and stupid things. I borrowed money from my older brother, my uncle, and my mom. For my brother I am going to pay him back by putting money in a college savings plan for my nephew and for my uncle I am going to do the same for his daughter. For my mom, I am going to put money in a savings account and buy her a car to replace her old beater. What is the best way to do these things? – David David, first of all, I have a ton of respect for your character, not just for getting yourself clean, but for wanting to make things right. Your family is full of awesome people, too, as they seem to have just forgiven this debt that you owe to them. If these moves will make your conscience clear, then you should absolutely do so, but you shouldn’t feel like you have to. Consider this not a repayment of debt, but a gift back to them. It’s pretty easy to start a 529 college savings plan with a relative as a beneficiary. Just look up the 529 system in your state and start plans for each of those two children and start socking away money in there when you can until you feel things are right. If I were you, I’d keep quiet with the account until they start to move toward making plans for their post-high school lives, then I’d tell their parents first. It’s pretty hard for a parent to refuse a 529 with their kid on it as a beneficiary. As for your mother, I’d simply sock money away in a savings account, and do it as quickly as you reasonably can so that you can replace that old car that sounds like it might be on its last legs. Just get a savings account at your local bank and start socking money away in there. You’re making great moves here and it sounds like you have a good family around you. You’ll be just fine.

Q7: Clothes during weight loss

In November I weighed 415 lbs and now I’m down to 355 and I don’t intend to stop. I’ve figured out a rhythm that really works for me and I can stick with it for the rest of my life. I mostly eat what I like for supper with some portion control in mind and eat healthy stuff for other meals. My problem is that a lot of my clothes aren’t fitting well any more – they are really clown sized on me. I intend to lose another 100 pounds in the next year, so if I buy anything that fits well right now, it will be too big in a few months too. What’s the cost effective approach to clothes that you will only wear for a while? – Tim The best approach you can take is to shop for your entire wardrobe (sans underwear and socks) at Goodwill and other secondhand stores for now and only switch to buying other garments when you start to get really close to your target weight. I highly recommend going to secondhand clothing stores that are fairly near wealthy neighborhoods, because you’ll often find that such stores are loaded with items that are high quality and practically new. I am amazed at the clothes items that can be found at secondhand stores near the pricier neighborhoods in Des Moines, for example. Just buy whatever you like that fits. Since all of it is pretty inexpensive, you don’t have to worry about it too much. Then, in six months, when those clothes don’t fit well any more, take the whole bundle back to a secondhand store. You’re effectively renting those clothes for pennies per use.

Q8: Baby advice in tiny apartment

My wife and I share a 400 square foot studio apartment. We currently are expecting a baby in early October. We considered moving but the cost of everything around here is so high that we just can’t make a larger apartment work and a house is just out of the question. I came across some of your early articles where you describe living in a small apartment with a baby. Do you have any advice on making it work? – Stephen To back up a bit, in 2005, my wife and I welcomed our first child into the world. From 2005 to 2007, we lived in a roughly 600 square foot apartment with that baby and didn’t move until a second one was on its way. The best trick you can use is to recognize that, besides a crib of some kind, you really don’t need much large stuff devoted just to your baby. You don’t need a changing table, as you can basically turn any surface into a changing table with a towel.

  • Nike Air Max Pas Cher You don’t need lots of big toys or anything like that. A baby needs love, food, clean clothes, closeness, and soft words. You can provide all of that with very little stuff.
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Just focus on what you need for the baby, not what you think you should have. Quite often, a baby’s actual needs are much less than the stuff that parents are tempted to buy during the “nesting” period, where hormones are telling people to prepare their home for a baby and marketers manipulate that emotion like crazy. Remember what a baby needs. A baby needs love, food, clean clothes, closeness, warmth, and soft words. Arizona State Sun Devils That’s it. You don’t need a ton of space or a ton of stuff to provide those things.

Q9: Car downsizing as a parent

The argument I’ve always made about getting rid of a vehicle is that it means our children would have to drop out of activities they enjoy. Our two oldest children are both on soccer teams for example and there are just times where it is impossible to get them both to their practices or games without two cars. One of them at least would have to drop out of soccer if we downsized a car. – Anna There are definitely life situations where downsizing a car isn’t the best move for you or your family. The thing that really matters is whether the question is even being considered or not, and if it is, whether it’s being considered seriously or not. If you can point to routine things – things that actually happen on a regular basis in your life – where your current vehicle count is necessary or provides a tremendous time savings, then it probably doesn’t make sense to downsize. It sounds like you’re in that very situation when it comes to soccer practices. For us, the real challenge would be situations where our children are sick at school, which happens every few months. I am at a loss as to how we would handle that situation. Normally, given my job flexibility, I simply go get sick children and take care of them, but if I were without a car, I couldn’t do that. We’ve brainstormed many times to try to come up with realistic solutions to this problem (and a few other similar ones) and we haven’t figured it out. So, for now, we remain a two vehicle household.

Q10: Subscription service as gift

What do you think of giving someone a subscription to a service that delivers boxes of goodies each month? Are these good gifts? – Tammy I think the idea behind it is good. If you put in the time to choose a service that really matches their interest, then it’s worthwhile. However, the vast majority of the time, the contents of the crate simply don’t add up in value to make the sticker price worth it. It just doesn’t add up. Most of the time, you’re better off finding a hobby store that the person you love is really into and buying them a gift certificate to that hobby store. Figure out what they like, figure out a really good retailer that caters to that hobby with really good prices, and give them a gift certificate to that store equal to what you would have spent on the crate subscription. The recipient will then get a lot of stuff he or she really wants from that certificate rather than the mixed bag that comes in a crate.

Q11: Roth TSP or normal TSP?

I am a federal employee and want to start contributing to my TSP but I do not understand the difference between Roth TSP and regular TSP. The guy at work that tried to explain it just left me more confused. Which one should I pick? – Brenda So, you’ve gathered that TSP is the Thrift Savings Plan, which is a program for government employees to put aside money for their retirement. The way both TSP plans work is that they take money directly out of your paycheck and put it into your TSP account. Once it’s in there, there are restrictions on how you can use it, but in general, if you wait until retirement, you can use it more or less however you wish. To understand the difference between the two, you need to step back and think about your paycheck before TSP. As it is now, you get paid a certain amount, income taxes are taken out of that amount, and you receive a paycheck after those taxes are removed. With a traditional TSP plan, you get paid a certain amount, then the TSP money is taken out, THEN taxes are taken out, then you receive a check out of what’s left. With a Roth TSP plan, you get paid a certain amount, then taxes are taken out, THEN your money for your Roth TSP is taken out, then you receive a check out of what’s left. Imagine, for example, that you’re paying 20% of your salary in income taxes and you’re contributing $100 per paycheck to your TSP plan. You make $1,000 per paycheck before anything is taken out. With a traditional TSP, you get paid $1,000, you put $100 of that into TSP leaving you with $900, and then you pay 20% income tax on that $900, which is $180. You thus bring home $720 each paycheck. With a Roth TSP, you get paid $1,000, you pay 20% income tax on that $1,000, which is $200, which leaves you with $800. You then put $100 into your Roth TSP, which means you bring home $700 each paycheck. So why would a person ever use the Roth TSP? Well, the Roth TSP has a really big advantage when you retire: the money you take out of that account is tax free. You don’t have to pay income taxes on it in retirement. On the other hand, when you take money out of your regular TSP in retirement, you will have to pay income taxes on that money. Which is better? It depends really on how flush you expect your retirement to be. If you’re young and plan on contributing for a lot of years, having at least some of your money in the Roth TSP is a good idea. If you’re older and won’t have a whole lot of years to contribute and don’t have other retirement savings, then you won’t save much in retirement with a Roth TSP and the other way is the right way to go. Honestly, though, the fact that you’re saving at all blows away the relative advantages of each plan. One might cost you a little more than the other in taxes over the course of your life, but the difference won’t be enormous unless you’re saving a ton of money. With all else being equal, I tend to lean toward the Roth option, simply because I don’t believe tax rates will remain this low forever and I’d rather pay lower rates now. I believe rates will go up, and thus they’ll be higher in retirement, and I’ll be glad to have money in a Roth so I won’t have to pay it then.

Q12: Basics of learning about money

Where should a person go to learn the basics about money? Like how to invest money and how to plan ahead for the future? – Terry If you’re looking for a good starting point, I’d suggest one of several personal finance books out there. My own book, The Simple Dollar, is one good entry point. It’s kind of a mix of memoir and personal finance advice. For my own self-education on money, the most valuable books I picked up were Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, and The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer, and Michael LeBoeuf. You can get any of those books at your local library for free. Just head down there, get a library card if you don’t have one, and borrow them for a few weeks! If you find one is really useful as a reference, then consider buying it! For online reading, a great place to start would be my own book-length series, 31 Days to Financial Independence, which is entirely free. Got any questions? The best way to ask is to follow me on Facebook and ask questions directly there. I’ll attempt to answer them in a future mailbag (which, by way of full disclosure, may also get re-posted on other websites that pick up my blog).

The post Questions About Moving, Apartment Babies, Weight Loss, Denim, and More! appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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Halfway There: Nine Ways to Assess Your Year-Long Goals at the Midpoint

Many, many people set year-long goals for themselves. I do it myself – for me, this year is a year of downsizing in various ways. For others, the goals might be specific – I want to eliminate half of my debt in the coming year – or they might be vague – I want to get in better shape. No matter what your goal is, though, a key part of success with that goal is reassessment and accountability to yourself, and there is no better time to reassess a goal than at the midway point. Right now, you’re halfway there (or very close to it). You’ve probably seen some successes and some setbacks. You also probably have a much more realistic understanding of the goal and what it takes – and will take – to get to where you want to be. Here are nine strategies you can use at this halfway point to assess your big goals for the year. Take a few moments to pause in the next few days and go through these techniques with your big initiatives for the year. You very well might find that these strategies bring forth a renewed energy and new directions for your goals. Strategy #1: Look at your overall progress Most good goals are measurable goals, in that they offer some very clear way to count your progress going forward. It might be an account balance. It might be your weight. It might be your step count. It might be your total debt. It might be your net worth. However you measure your goal, step back for a moment and look at that measurement in three places. Where did you start? Where are you now? Where do you hope to finish? Ideally, of course, you should be somewhere around halfway to your goal at the midway point. It doesn’t have to be exactly halfway – you might be more than halfway or a little less and it’s all fine. As long as you’ve made some significant progress, you’re in good shape. The thing to really note here is whether you’re actually tracking along for a realistic shot at achieving your goal by the end of the year. Mochilas Kanken Mini Do you need to step it up to make it? If you step it up, can you actually exceed your goal? I find that I’m usually most successful with yearlong goals if I’m at about 40% of where I want to be at the halfway point, for several reasons. One, 40% is enough to show me that I’m making real progress and that the goal is achievable, but that I need to keep going forward. It also gives me a lot of incentive to step back and reassess my tactics, which is the real focus of the next few strategies. Strategy #2: Assess which tactics worked the best During the first half of the year, you likely tried a bunch of different tactics to achieve your goal. If your goal was debt repayment, for example, it’s very likely that you used a bunch of frugal tactics to cut your spending and maybe did a few things to earn some extra cash. The same is probably true for improving your net worth. If your goal was career oriented, you probably pushed yourself to make yourself more attractive to employers by taking on big projects and building skills. Now is the time to step back and assess the individual tactics you tried. Which ones really seemed to take hold and provide great results for you? Don’t worry about the failures at the moment.

Instead, look at what really worked the best. For example, you may have found that buying store brand products worked really well because your grocery expenses dropped significantly without any real negative impact on your life. Matt Holliday Authentic Jersey You might have done some energy improvements and you can really see the year-over-year difference in your energy bill. Maybe you found some success in selling off unwanted stuff on Craigslist and flipping some yard sale and thrift store finds. Try to find five specific things that you did that were really successful in terms of providing positive results without a whole lot of negative impact. These are your big successes and they should be a big source of inspiration – and a source for ideas – in the coming months. Strategy #3: Figure out ways to maximize those tactics going forward Now, look at those five specific successful tactics. How many of them can you directly continue in the coming months? How many of them could you actually expand a little in the coming months? Those are ones you should really bear down on in the future. Let’s say, for example, that you’ve found a ton of success in cutting food costs by making meals at home. Going forward, emphasize this even more. You’ve seen that it works, that you can do this, that you can produce great meals at home at a low cost. Double down on this line of attack. What can you do to prepare even more meals at home? Will bulk meal preparation help you? What if you’ve found a lot of success selling stuff on Craigslist? Do you have anything else that you can sell on there? Maybe you can hit more thrift stores for things to flip onto Craigslist. Maybe you can hit more summer yard sales. Maybe there’s another closet or two you can pillage. Maybe you’ve found success with improving energy efficiency. It’s likely that there are even more things you can do to improve energy efficiency at home. Are you running your ceiling fans in the right direction for the season? Is your home well insulated? Do you have weatherstripping? The goal here is to get all of the value you can out of the strategies that really click with you, because that probably means (a) that tactic is successful and (b) you find it pleasant and repeatable. If it works, stick with it. Strategy #4: Assess which tactics didn’t work At the same time, you’ve probably thrown some tactics at this challenge that just didn’t work at all. Maybe you decided you would “spend less” on hobbies but your hobby spending hasn’t really declined. Air Max 2016 Goedkoop Maybe you decided to “cut down” on sweets but you’re still knocking back a bunch of sugary treats. Maybe you committed to walking 10,000 steps a day but are only averaging 4,000. Right now is the time to look at your tactics and simply accept that some of them just aren’t working for some reason or another. It may be that you simply can’t follow through with what needs to be done with a specific tactic in its current form. It may be that other elements of your life are making it difficult for you to succeed, like a busy family that struggles to wean itself from ordering constant takeout. Whatever it is, accept that at least a few of the things you’re doing right now aren’t working. It can be really hard to accept that you’re pouring effort and time into tactics that simply aren’t producing results, especially when on the surface you believe that they should be producing results. The reality is that there probably is a way to find success with that particular tactic, but not in the way you’re approaching it. In other words, you simply need to dump bad approaches. Wherever you’re investing time, effort, energy, focus, or money into progress toward a goal and you’re not seeing any significant progress, that’s a place where you need to accept that a new approach is needed and that your time, effort, energy, focus, and money can and should be used in a better way. Goedkope Nike Air Max 90 Strategy #5: Eliminate or refactor those tactics for the second half These bad approaches, as well-intentioned as they might be, simply aren’t working. So drop them. New Balance 990 damskie Don’t keep throwing effort and energy and focus behind tactics that simply aren’t doing what you want them to do. It’s a waste of valuable energy, focus, and time, all of which could be used to find success with other tactics. Dump those bad tactics and don’t lament that they didn’t work. Instead, be glad that you have given yourself permission to use your focus, energy, time, and effort in better ways that will produce more useful results. That doesn’t mean that these experiences were useless. In examining your failed tactics with this kind of critical eye, you may see a new approach that might work much better for you. For example, if you’re finding it hard to hit a daily step goal of 10,000 steps and you’re not even coming close to it, perhaps resetting the goal to 5,000 steps might work. A simple readjustment of a daily or weekly goal into a range that’s actually achievable will produce positive results, even if it’s not the high threshold you once had. You’re better off pushing yourself to do a little more and succeeding than pushing yourself to do a lot more and failing. At the same time, re-evaluation of a failed tactic might point you in a completely different direction for success. For example, you might realize that, although a particular class didn’t work for you as you try to earn a certification, you realized that hands-on learning really excites you, so seeking out hands-on learning opportunities could be a great tactic to use going forward in terms of bolstering your career. Alternately, you may find that, although you like cooking and eating homemade food, you don’t like having to do it in the evening after a ten hour day, so having a weekly “meal prep day” might be a really good strategy to try. Dump bad tactics, but at the same time, try to learn from them. Adjust the tactics to match your reality, or use the ashes of a failed tactic to give birth to a new approach. Strategy #6: Look for new tactics to try in the second half Since you’re dropping some tactics, right now is a great time to look for some new tactics to replace them. Reworking your game plan doesn’t mean just dropping what doesn’t work and “doing more” of what does work. It means bringing new things online that may help the cause. If you’re lining up for a promotion at work, take a fresh look at the job requirements of what you’re shooting for and start applying tactics to achieve all of those things.

If you’re trying to spend less money, browse through some frugality strategies and pull out some new ones you haven’t tried before. If you’re trying to launch a side business, do some brainstorming of new directions to take on. Just like the start of the year, some of these will work and some of these won’t. However, you’ve dumped a bunch of tactics that you know don’t work and you’re retaining a bunch that do work, so use that insight when collecting new tactics. You may be able to draw some general conclusions about things that will click and things that won’t click, and you can use that sense of what works to make smarter tactical choices. In general, I find that thirty day challenges work really well for trying new tactics on the road to a big goal. Focus intensely on one tactic for thirty days and see what the true impact of that tactic is. Does it click? Does it give big results? If it does, keep it around. If not, drop it and move on to the next tactic. Strategy #7: Look for unexpected problems that cropped up in the first half No significant goal, and no significant stretch in life, is completely smooth. You’re not going to travel in a straight line from point A to point B if there’s any significant distance at all between the two. Unexpected events – things you can’t possibly see when you depart – are going to move you in unexpected ways and cause unexpected problems. What unexpected problems happened for you in the first half of the year? Did you find yourself with a bunch of unexpected expensive travel? Did you find yourself in situations where you couldn’t count calories very easily? Did you get sick? Did you lose your job? Did you find yourself stretched way too thin in terms of time commitments? Try to identify at least three problems that came up during the first half of the year that you didn’t expect that caused your progress toward the goal to be slowed or blocked in some way. What things happened unexpectedly in your life that caused you to not drift straight toward your goal? Simply being aware that these problems exist can be an eye-opener, because it means that in the future you will plan for some unexpected events and you also have some idea of the impact they can have on even the best laid personal plans. However, you can also take direct advantage of what you now know and plot a better path going forward… Strategy #8: Develop specific solutions to those new problems If you followed the last strategy, you should have identified three problems that popped up unexpectedly as you marched toward your goal. Likely, you kludged together some sort of a quick solution for those problems and kept on marching. You paid for the travel with a credit card and a sigh. You nursed your broken ankle. You dropped all of your savings plans and started searching urgently for new work. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, ask yourself what you could have been doing differently to minimize the negative impact of those unexpected events. What could you have done to be more prepared for a job loss? What could you have done to be more prepared for unexpected travel? What could you have done to be more prepared for unexpected interruptions to your workout routines? These types of evaluations will often push you toward what I would describe as “transferable” life choices. In other words, when you start looking at how life has interfered with your goals and start looking at solutions to those different interferences, what you’re really doing is looking to make your overall life less susceptible to interference. It will actually help all of your goals. For example, if you found that your debt repayment plan was slowed drastically by your car breaking down in March, you’ll quickly see that having an emergency fund in place would have done a great deal to keep that from happening, so you’ll make an emergency fund into a higher priority. However, an emergency fund is going to be helpful in terms of preventing interference with many different goals, not just your current one. It might keep you from having to miss a day or two of work to take care of a life problem, which can hurt your standing at work. It might enable you to take a trip to be with an ailing friend when you might not have been able to otherwise pull it off, which can help your social and spiritual life. Emergency funds are just helpful. The same exact thing is true with almost every solution you implement to these problems. Efforts to improve your employability makes it easy to handle all kinds of unexpected career events and many personal events, all of which can impact both the flow of ordinary life and your progress toward a myriad of goals. Having a side gig improves your professional options and, eventually, improves your personal options, too. Evaluating the unexpected problems in your life and coming up with lasting solutions for them is always a good strategy, but it’s particularly good at helping you keep marching toward big goals. Strategy #9: Restate your goal as a six month goal This is a strategy that works really well for me when it comes to big goals. At the halfway point, I actually cut the goal in half and restart. So, let’s say my goal was to pay down $10,000 in debt this year. At the halfway point, I’ve dropped that debt down to $5,500. So, right now, my goal changes. I don’t worry about the “year long” goal any more. Scarpe Nike Store Italia Instead, I have a six month goal – I need to pay off $5,500 in debt in the next six months. I find this strategy to be very powerful because it makes that goal feel more immediate. It’s no longer a year long goal. It’s a six month goal. It’s coming right up and I have to get on it now. A year makes me feel I have more breathing room than six months does. In truth, I tend to do quarterly reviews of all of my goals and I tend to refactor my goals in this way at each review. So, three months from now, this will become a three month goal and I’m going to have to hammer down even harder. Basically, this is an excuse to feel like I’m starting from scratch with the goal, with two advantages. One, I learned a lot from the first half of the previous goal, which I can apply going forward. Second, the reduced time frame adds a strong sense of urgency. Final Thoughts The real purpose behind all of these strategies is to step back for a moment, look at your goal and your progress with a critical eye, and make some alterations to ensure that you finish out your goal with great success. You’re tossing out what doesn’t work, emphasizing what does work, bringing in a few new techniques, and shoring up your protections against unexpected events so you can shoot right to your destination. These techniques all work for goals of almost any length. I tend to do a “quarterly review” of all of my goals and use these tools with each goal (and, yes, it does take a while, but it’s incredibly rewarding and has really improved my success with goals as of late). This weekend, step back with your yearlong goals and use these strategies to re-evaluate them. See if you can streamline your tactics and put yourself in the best possible position to succeed, regardless of what your specific goal is.

The post Halfway There: Nine Ways to Assess Your Year-Long Goals at the Midpoint appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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