Tuesday, July 31, 2018

59 Nepal-India border pillars reconstructed

Tulsipur, August 1

As many as 59 border pillars have been reconstructed along Nepal-India border line in Dang district.

A joint team of  officials from both the countries had initiated the rebuild of border pillars since three years back.

The reconstruction bid was initiated when the border pillars made up of bricks and cement started falling apart.

Chief District Officer of Dang, Gajendra Bahadur Shrestha shared the information that the broken border pillars were rebuilt on consensus of Nepal and India

“With this, only five border pillars remain to be reconstructed in the area”, he said, adding that Nepal reconstructed 14 main and 21 auxiliary border pillars.

“Nepal needs to erect other four main and one auxiliary border pillars”, said Armed Police Force official Tulsi Ram Dahal.

There are 37 main and 77 auxiliary border pillars along the 83-km Nepal-India area in Dang alone.

RSS

 

Continue Reading…

30 Ways to Show Your Love and Still Be Frugal

My wife and I have been married 15 years, and dated for six years prior to marriage. During that time, we’ve had three kids, lived through moves and career changes and great moments and tragedies, and yet we’d still rather spend time with each other than anyone else. I love her in more ways than I can possibly subscribe – best friend, romantic partner, mother to my children, participant and leader in the community… I could go on and on and on.

A big part of that feeling of continued love and closeness after all of these years is that we’ve managed to figure out how to show each other that we love each other in a variety of simple ways. She knows how to make me feel loved, I know how to make her feel loved, and we both do it regularly. Over time, we’ve figured out how to do it without buying gifts for each other or performing huge romantic gestures for each other.

So, why am I posting this almost at the opposite end of the year from Valentine’s Day, the “romantic” holiday? The simple truth is that being romantic and showing someone you love them is a tremendous “everyday” thing to do. There are few things that will solidify a relationship more than simple romantic gestures done unexpectedly but not infrequently.

Here are 30 of these free (or highly inexpensive) gestures that we’ve used throughout the years. I strongly encourage you to try several of these and see how your partner responds to them, as some types of gestures of love work better for some than for others.

Write your partner a note describing things you appreciate about them, then stick it in a place where they will find it soon. Just think of two or three things you really value about your partner and write a note listing those things, in your own handwriting. End it with a simple statement of love, sign it, and then put that note in their backpack or in their car or some other place where they’ll find it.

Hold your partner’s hand when you’re sitting near each other or walking somewhere together. Just reach over and interlace your finger with that person that you love and hold on for a little while. Not only is the handholding itself a nice thing to do, it also requires some general physical closeness.

Make your partner’s favorite dinner and then clean up everything, leaving the kitchen and dining area nicer than when you started. For me, that usually means making some kind of curry with rice or naan bread. I’ll often write something bland and generic on the meal plan and then prepare it so that the house smells like curry and is just about finished when she walks in the door from a day of teaching.

Look for the little things your partner likes, buy them (or even stock up on them) when they’re cheap, and give them out over time. What little things does your partner buy as little treats for themselves? What’s their favorite kind of candy or gum? Maybe your partner likes to buy a pack of Magic cards every once in a while, or maybe they’re into craft beer and you can buy a bomber of something unusual that they’ll like. Just get that little item spontaneously. Even better, if you see an opportunity, stock up on that item and hide the extras somewhere, and then slip one into your partner’s bag for the day every once in a while.

Block out a chunk of time that the two of you can spend together regularly, even if that means shouldering some extra tasks for a while, and alternate those chunks between things you each enjoy. The key is to wall off that time and make sure that other tasks aren’t interfering or distracting from it, which might mean taking a task or two you don’t otherwise want to do. My wife and I try to wall off a couple evenings a week for either binge-watching a series on Netflix together (her thing) or playing a board game together (my thing). Sometimes, we’ll mix that up – she’ll pick the board game, or I’ll pick the series to binge watch.

Look your partner straight in the eyes and say, “I love you.” It’s so simple, but it’s sometimes harder to do than you expect. Yet, when it’s done from the heart, it can really connect the two of you.

Lay close to your partner when falling asleep. Just cuddle up close for a little while as you’re drifting off. Yeah, sometimes it can get kind of warm, especially in the summer, but you don’t have to stay tightly cuddled for the whole night, just for a little while with your arm around your partner.

Handle your partner’s least favorite chore without asking. What does your partner do regularly around the house that they hate doing? Just do it for them. Take out that trash. Wash those dishes. Clean out the grease trap. Change that light bulb. Whatever the task is that your partner hates, do it for them without being asked.

Pick a bundle of wildflowers and give them to your partner. It’s generally legal to pick true wildflowers in open public areas such as roadsides, as indicated here. Just go pick some wildflowers with long stems and bring them home and put them in a vase for your partner. Just make sure the flowers are truly wild and that you’re not trespassing or violating traffic laws to do so.

Quietly trade some service for an evening of babysitting and plan an evening together without your partner expecting it. Find someone who would be willing to watch your kids for an evening (or overnight), and then work out some kind of swapping arrangement for a night of babysitting with them. Hold that night of free babysitting in your pocket and then plan a “date night” of some kind, all without your partner knowing about it at all.

Write a thoughtful appreciation of your partner and share it publicly, perhaps on social media. Think about the things you wish the whole world knew about your partner, put those things down in words, and share it with the world. Social media is a convenient place to do it, but be creative – maybe there’s another opportunity in your life for a public showing of this kind of appreciation. When I was in grade school, the spouse of one of my teachers did such an appreciation on an empty bulletin board near the teacher’s classroom.

Put your arms around your partner at unexpected moments, especially at home. Just walk up behind your partner, put your arms around your partner, and rest your head on their shoulder or back. It’s such a simple gesture, but it’s a deeply romantic one that just signifies pure love, especially for people who long for the human touch. My wife and I do this regularly and it always feels good for both of us.

Warm up your partner’s car on a cold winter morning. If it’s cold outside, just walk outside fifteen minutes or so before your partner is about to leave and start their car for them, turning on the heat so that it’s nice and toasty when they get inside. If there’s been snow or ice, clear it off for them. It’s a little gesture, but it’s one that shows a great deal of love because it saves them from getting cold and dealing with frosty windows.

Write your wedding vows carefully in marker or a thick pen on card stock, put them in an inexpensive frame, and hang it in your bedroom. Put it over your bed if there’s a spot on the wall. Those words will remind you every day of the commitment you made and they’ll remind your partner every day of the commitment you made to them.

Plan a “lunch date,” then pack a picnic and meet in a park. It can be really hard for two working adults, particularly parents, to find time for a “date,” so instead of searching through your evenings for a date night, look in the middle of your day. Pick a day to have lunch together, then pack a picnic lunch and share it together in a park before going back to work.

Think of something that you really appreciate about your partner, and then just say, “You know, you’re really amazing at…” and tell your partner about that thing you find amazing about them. It can be something small, like how amazing the meal they made was, or it can be something big, like how good they are at parenting. Just find something that your partner does well that you really appreciate, then voice that appreciation in sincere words.

Kiss your partner when your partner arrives home from work or from any extended period when they’re out of the house. Pull your partner close and just give them a quick kiss when you haven’t seen them for several hours or for longer. It’s a simple gesture that takes just a second, but it keeps those romantic fires burning in a marriage.

Take care of a responsibility for your partner and encourage your partner to use that suddenly-free time to enjoy one of their hobbies. If your partner has a responsibility or a task ahead of them, simply take care of it for them and encourage them to spend some time just relaxing or doing something fun that they value. Take care of the list of errands and let your partner spend s few hours curled up reading or doing something else they enjoy.

Make your partner a batch of their favorite cookies (or other snack) and handle all of the prep and cleanup yourself. Does your partner flip for your chocolate chip cookies? Does your partner go on and on about the breakfast burritos that you make? Maybe your partner absolutely loves from-scratch marshmallows. Whatever it is, make a big batch of that thing yourself and handle all of the prep work on your own.

Establish a regular frequent routine where it’s just the two of you together, even if it’s something as simple as a shared beverage on the back porch after the kids are in bed. Make this something that occurs every day or at least multiple times a week, just a simple moment that’s shared between the two of you. For us, when the weather is nice, it’s usually some time sitting on the porch together after the kids are in bed, or on the couch together if the weather is colder, with no real distractions around us, talking about whatever comes to mind.

Kiss your partner’s ear and whisper in it that you find your partner unbelievably attractive right now. This is another one of those five second bursts of romance and passion that you can slip into almost any moment quite easily. Just lean in to your partner, whisper in their ear a bit, and give them a kiss on their earlobe. Since the words are quiet and private, use your imagination regarding what you say, but make it exciting and flattering.

Pack a lunch that they can take to work tomorrow (and maybe leave a little positive note or other trinket in there). Just assemble a lunch for your partner to take to work the next day so that they can just grab it and go when they leave in the morning. In that lunch, slip in something surprising, like perhaps one of their favorite small treats or a positive and loving note for your partner to discover.

If you have children, plan days or blocks of quality family time where you’re all engaged in the same activity that inherently allows for conversation and direct interaction. This can be surprisingly romantic if you have children. Just find a project that everyone in the family can do together and work on it in a focused way, with lots of socializing and communication and conversation built in. A board game can be good, as can yard work or gardening. Fill it with some glances at your partner with a little smile on your face.

Take a deck of inexpensive playing cards and write a romantic appreciation on the face of each one, then play a two player card game with it. If you can’t think of romantic appreciations, riff on this idea a little and find things to write on each card that draw you together in some other fashion. Perhaps the deck of cards could contain nothing but the dates of important moments in your shared lives.

Apologize, from the heart, for something you did wrong in your relationship that still bothers you, and put the blame squarely on yourself and ask for forgiveness. We’ve all made mistakes, and we’ve all made them without adequately apologizing for them. Some of those mistakes wind up held in our heart, eating away at us over time, and they can sometimes eat away at the people we love, too. The best way to fix that and to truly show love is to genuinely apologize and put the fault on yourself. No excuses, no blame on anyone but you. It’s hard, but it’s incredibly worthwhile to actually do this.

Listen to their problems and concerns without interruption, and just give words of empathy and encouragement at the end, not solutions (unless you’re asked). If your partner has something on their mind, sit and listen to their problems. This doesn’t mean being distracted by your phone or not listening while thinking of the next thing to say. Listen. Ask questions only for clarification. Instead of offering solutions, offer words of empathy and encouragement.

If you’re in a long distance relationship, make an “overnight kit” for your partner in your bathroom so that they have the toiletries and other items that they need when visiting. Find out what your partner’s preferred toiletries are and stock up on them. Have them easily available, too, and don’t just hide them away. Having those things in hand makes them feel more comfortable where you live and, by extension, more loved.

Give your partner a lengthy, slow, and patient massage. Take your time with it and focus on the pleasure that your partner is getting out of the massage above all else. Pay attention to their tense and sore places and massage them gently to take away the discomfort and pain. Let them get completely relaxed. If they drift off to sleep, that’s completely fine, because it’s a sleep of comfort and peace and love.

When your partner is doing some task that’s helpful for both of you (such as mowing the lawn), bring your partner a refreshment in the middle of that task, like a cold drink. A simple gesture like this shows strong appreciation for the fact that they’re taking on a hard task, plus love and concern for the effort they’re putting in. Something as simple as a cold washcloth or a cold drink on a hot day in the middle of a hot task can have a huge impact and mean so much.

Set aside some time each day to “check in” with your partner, ideally face to face, but by phone if necessary. This is just a moment to check in and make sure the other person is doing all right and ensuring that things are going okay in their life and that you’re in touch with what’s happening in their life. That kind of constant awareness of your partner – and encouraging that kind of awareness in your partner – can bring people incredibly close. My wife and I do this face to face each evening, usually as we’re preparing dinner or right after the kids are in bed. We do it when either of us are traveling without the other as well.

These are all simple ways to show your partner that you love them without resorting to extravagance. Depending on how your partner feels love – touch, word, action, time, gifts – the strategies on this list will help them feel that love from you.

It is that constant sense of love in a romantic relationship that can keep the fires going for years and years. It’s all about finding ways to show that love and figuring out how your partner feels that love from you. When you figure it out, the romance sticks around forever, and it doesn’t have to involve going broke for expensive gifts or experiences.

Good luck!

Related Articles: 

The post 30 Ways to Show Your Love and Still Be Frugal appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

Continue Reading…

When You Should (and Shouldn’t) Use a Personal Loan

Deciding whether to take out a personal loan is a “personal” decision, but it’s also one that’s rife with risk. If you borrow money you cannot pay back, you can end up with all sorts of consequences that make your life more difficult. This could include ruined credit, additional fees and interest charges, and even bankruptcy.

But, that doesn’t mean personal loans are a bad deal all the time. Really, any loan can be a valuable financial tool if used wisely and responsibly — and with a plan in mind.

Still, it’s wise to consider when a personal loan would benefit you, when you should avoid borrowing money, and when a different financial product may just be a better deal.

When You Should Get a Personal Loan

Before you pull the trigger on a personal loan, you should make sure you understand how a loan could benefit you or hurt you. Here are some signs this financial product may be perfect for your needs:

You want to borrow money with a fixed interest rate and fixed monthly payment.

One of the biggest benefits of personal loans is the fact they offer a fixed repayment schedule and a fixed interest rate. This means you’ll be able to agree to a set monthly payment ahead of time, and you’ll never be surprised by a larger-than-usual bill.

If you need to borrow money but don’t want any surprises along the way, a personal loan may be exactly what you need.

You need to borrow money for a specific purpose and pay it down over time.

While you can use the funds from a personal loan to cover any expense you want, these loans are best for people who have a big expense they need time to pay off. This could include surprise medical bills, a new motor for your car, or a roof you had no idea you would need to replace this year.

With a personal loan, you can borrow a set amount of money then pay it back over several years. Most personal loans are offered in amounts up to $35,000, and your interest rate could be as low as 3%, depending on your creditworthiness.

You’ve used a personal loan calculator to figure your new monthly payment, and you’re sure you can afford it.

Just because you qualify for a personal loan, that doesn’t mean you can afford it. Before you take out a personal loan, you should use a loan calculator to find out your future monthly payment based on how much you want to borrow and the interest rate you can qualify for.

From there, you can take a look at your budget and expenses to see if the loan payment stretches you too thin. If it does, you should probably hold off on getting a personal loan — at least for now.

Your credit is in good shape, so you can qualify for a loan with an attractive rate and loan terms.

While it’s possible to qualify for a personal loan if you have poor credit or a thin credit profile, you’ll pay a much higher interest rate for the privilege of borrowing. How much? Some personal loans for people with bad credit come with an APR of over 35%!

If you have bad credit, you may want to put off your personal loan until you can take steps to boost your credit score. Start by getting any late bills you have up to date and make sure you make all your other monthly payments on time. Paying down debt and credit card balances can also have a marked effect on your credit, since your utilization makes up 30% of your FICO score.

If you need access to credit to improve your credit score, you can also consider a secured credit card or a credit builder loan.

You want to consolidate high-interest debt into a new loan with a lower rate.

One of the best uses of a personal loan comes into play when you have a lot of high-interest debt. Of course, this is mostly just true if your credit is good enough to qualify for a personal loan with a great APR.

If you consolidate high-interest debt into a new personal loan with a lower, fixed interest rate, you’ll start saving money right off the bat. Going from several payments to just one each month can also simplify your finances and make debt repayment that much easier to bear.

When You Should Skip a Personal Loan

While any of the reasons above are good ones if you want to take out a personal loan, there are plenty of reasons to skip personal loans — or any other type of loan — altogether. There are also scenarios where a different financial product would be more beneficial.

Some of the reasons a personal loan may not be for you include:

You’re struggling to keep up with your debts and need more cash to stay afloat.

If you’re struggling to make payments on credit cards, student loans, or other bills, chances are good borrowing more money will not help. In fact, borrowing more cash just to stay on top of your expenses could lead to a debt spiral in a hurry. After all, adding one more monthly payment to your life is probably a bad idea when you can’t keep up with the payments you already have.

If you’re truly struggling to keep the lights on as it is, it’s probably wise to take a holistic look at your finances before you borrow money. Consider where you could cut to improve your cash flow and whether you need to switch to a bare bones budget for a while.

If you can cut your spending in any way, you may be able to improve your financial situation without borrowing more.

You need money to fund college tuition.

While there’s nothing wrong with borrowing money for college, a personal loan is rarely the best deal. Most borrowers would be a lot better off taking out federal student loans to pay for school since they offer lower fixed interest rates and federal protections like deferment and forbearance.

Federal student loans also qualify for income-driven repayment plans that come with low monthly payments and, in some cases, eventual forgiveness of your loans after 20 to 25 years.

You want to splurge for a vacation or new furniture.

If you want to splurge for something expensive, borrowing money could leave you in a world of hurt. A vacation to Hawaii may sound like something you won’t regret borrowing for. However, paying off that trip for the next several years would surely change your tune three or four years afterward.

There’s nothing wrong with splurging, but you should try to save up the money to pay in cash if you want to treat yourself. Trust us; buying something you truly want is a lot more fun when you pay with money you already have.

You want to refinance a small amount of debt.

We already mentioned how a personal loan can be used to consolidate high-interest debts into a better financial product. However, this is mainly true when you have a lot of debt to refinance and need several years to pay it down.

If you only owe a small amount of debt you could pay down in a few years or less, you may be a lot better off with a balance transfer card. Balance transfer cards offer 0% APR on balance transfers for up to 21 months. Some even come without any balance transfer fees, which can help you pay down debt without any additional costs.

You want to remodel your home.

If you want to remodel your home, a personal loan can absolutely work. Still, you should also consider a home equity loan. These loans work similarly to personal loans in that they offer a fixed interest rate and a fixed monthly payment for a specific set of time. The difference is, home equity loans are secured — meaning your home acts as collateral, making it less risky for the lender — so they usually offer lower interest rates than you can get elsewhere.

Another option is a HELOC, or home equity line of credit. These loans work as a line of credit you can borrow against, and they tend to come with variable rates. Once again, rates on these loans tend to be lower since you’re using your home as collateral.

Fees for both home equity loans and HELOCs tend to be low, but you should watch out for origination fees and closing costs. Also keep in mind that some home equity loans and HELOCs are offered with no fees and extremely low rates.

The Bottom Line

A personal loan could help you achieve myriad financial goals, but it could also cause as many problems as it solves. Before you apply for a personal loan, take stock of your financial position and make sure you know what you’re getting into. Personal loans can be valuable financial tools, but they can also lead to years of stress and debt.

Holly Johnson is an award-winning personal finance writer and the author of Zero Down Your Debt. Johnson shares her obsession with frugality, budgeting, and travel at ClubThrifty.com.

Related Stories:

The post When You Should (and Shouldn’t) Use a Personal Loan appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

Continue Reading…

Thai Lion Air to launch Kathmandu-Bangkok flight from Wednesday

Kathmandu, July 31

Thai Lion Air says it is launching the regular Kathmandu-Bangkok flight service from Wednesday, August 1.

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation of the government of Nepal has issued a permit to the company, allowing it to operate seven flights every week. Of total seven flights, three flights will be regular.

The company says its regular flights will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The aircraft will land at the Tribhuvan International Airport at 12:45 pm and take off at 1:45 pm on these days.

The airline company will take passengers to its Bangkok-based hub, Don Mueang International Airport.

With the entry of the company into the business, the number of Thai airline companies operating Kathmandu-Dubai flight has reached two. Earlier, Thai Airways was providing the service.

Meanwhile, the number of foreign airline companies operating in Nepal has reached 30.

Continue Reading…

Recruitment agents object to the govt preparation to seek more collateral

Kathmandu, July 31

Recruitment agency operators of the country have objected to the preparation the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security is making to increase the amount of collateral that the they have to put up to run the business.

Earlier, media reports had said the government was preparing to increase the value to Rs 60 million. Currently, the businesspersons have to pay Rs 700,000 in cash and present a bank guarantee of Rs 2.3 million.

It has been learned that the agencies are organising a grand meeting in Kathmandu tomorrow, through which they will symbolically submit the keys of their businesses to the government.

President of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies Rohan Gurung says the businesses would shut down if the government made the decision. He has also warned of stopping sending migrant workers abroad against the government decision.

“How can we deposit a collateral of Rs 60 million by collecting the service charge of mere Rs 10,000,” he said, “If this decision increases the fraudulent activities in the sector, the state should be responsible for it.”

Continue Reading…

Creative Business Cup to be hosted in Nepal

Antarprerana Pvt. Ltd., an investment company that has been supporting entrepreneurs through investments and mentorships has announced that it will be hosting the Creative Business Cup in Nepal this year.

Niraj Khanal, Co-founder and the CEO of Antarprerana shared that the company became the national partner of the Creative Business Cup (CBC), a global initiative for entrepreneurship and innovation. He mentioned that a national challenge event would be organised in the first week of September.

The CBC as a part of Global Entrepreneurs Network organises a global event annually where startups, investors, mentors and industry experts come together to celebrate this Olympics of startups.

Appreciating the role of Antarprerana Hare Ram Shrestha the president of Nepal Engineer’s Association expressed his confidence that competitions such as the CBC will provide a great avenue for young entrepreneurs from engineering and other sectors to explore their creativity.

Taking at the event, Chairperson of Antarprerana and the Executive Chairman of Brihat Group Om Rajbhandary highlighted the need for international linkages and network for Nepali companies so that they would learn and compete globally.

The sectors for the CBC 2018 include advertising, architecture, design, fashion, film, video and photography, gastronomy, music, software, computer games and electronics, leisure activities and experiential technologies.

The winner of the CBC Nepal will get a chance to pitch their business ideas in Copenhagen, Denmark competing alongside other national winners from over a hundred countries.

The national winner will win a sponsored trip to Copenhagen and get a chance to improve their global networks in the global avenue. This is the first time such an event is happening in Nepal.

The deadline for applying to the CBC Nepal will close on 05 August 2018, 05.00 pm (Nepal Time).

 

The further details can be accessed through https://antarprerana.com.np/cbc .

Contact Antarprerana office, Dillibazar for more details.

Continue Reading…

Monday, July 30, 2018

Nepali Congress to demonstrate against govt across Nepal today

Kathmandu, July 31

The main opposition party Nepali Congress is staging demonstrations against the incumbent government across the country on Tuesday.

The party says it will stage protests in headquarters of  all 77 districts claiming the government is heading towards totalitarianism.

The party has recently announced a nationwide protest programme against the government and the functions to be organised today are also parts of the programme.

The opposition says staging the protests has been necessary to protect democratic values and object to authoritarianism the government is allegedly promoting.

Meanwhile, the party’s Kathmandu District Committee will stage a rally in the capital today. The Committee’s President Sabuj Baniya says the march will begin from Shanti Batika and pass through Bhotahiti, Ason, Bishalbazaar and New Road to come back to the starting place.

A corner meeting will be organised there, where the party’s central leaders will also address.

Continue Reading…

Questions About House Downgrading, Disney Saving, 401(k)s, Home Odors, 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. Downgrade now or later?
2. Getting rid of stuff
3. Homemade mac and cheese idea
4. Saving for a Disney vacation
5. Cutting interest payments
6. Inexpensive pleasant house smell
7. Long lasting grill
8. Writing down expenses
9. Setting aside money at birth
10. 401(k) worth it without match?
11. Athletic motivation without personal trainer
12. Online and offline writing strategies

There are few things more enjoyable than a cool summer evening far enough away from the city lights that you can see thousands and thousands of stars in the sky. You’re surrounded by loved ones and good conversation and your eyes glance upward at the heavens and everything just feels at peace.

On with the questions.

Q1: Downgrade now or later?

We are a family of four: me, my husband, and two children. We have three more years of daycare, at which point, our plan is to enroll them in public school. Ideally, I would like to be able to drop them off and pick them up, which means scaling back to a (potentially significantly lower paying) part-time job if I cannot have flexibility with my full-time job.

We are in good shape financially, ahead of the curve in terms of retirement for our age right now, and contributing to 529s as well. We do anticipate this will change significantly when I change jobs in three years (in line with our family goals), at which point, it may not make sense anymore to pay our high mortgage to continue living where we do.

We live in a very desirable established neighborhood in [a large metro area in the US], and it is now estimated over $100k above what we paid for 2.5 years ago. The main reasons we want to stay: we like urban life, our walkability is excellent (we take neighborhood walks as a family every weekend and sometimes on weekdays too), and accessibility to all the fun parts of the city is great (all within 15 mins). We also think that we got the house at good value, and, given the trends in the city, the house will appreciate (even if perhaps not at the rate it has recently).

However, we recently made calculations and realized that a similar home in [an outer suburb] would save us approximately $1000 per month in mortgage (accounting for the appreciated value in our house rolling over to our new down payment). We could save $15000/year in post-tax money after accounting for lower mortgage payment and less taxes etc. [The suburb] has better schools than [the city], and the work commute is favorable. The downside is that it is suburbia: We would be 30-40 minutes away from our favorite spots in the city, which means we would do these things less. There is no walkability in the area. We feel like we would lose some of what makes our family “us.” Lastly, while [the suburb’s] real estate is also appreciating, it won’t appreciate at the rate that [the city] is. So once we sell, we doubt we could ever afford to have the amazing urban experience we currently have.

For a long time, our plan was to hold off on thinking about moving until public school. This will give us three more years of great city living and also give the house a chance to appreciate more. Worst case scenario and it stops appreciating, so will [the suburb], which means we can still pull off the move. But we have been talking about it more and more, and are very torn. Both choices speak to our values–so now it is a matter of what makes more financial sense?
– Andrea

It sounds to me that, right now, you want to live in the city, but in a few years, you want to live in the suburbs. You recognize that living in the suburbs is cheaper, but you also simultaneously recognize that your home is appreciating faster in the city.

My opinion? Live in the city until you want to live in the suburbs (for school-related reasons) and then move out there.

While you stay in the city, your home will appreciate in value pretty quickly. As soon as your situation changes, sell that house and pocket that appreciation, using it as a bridge to a mostly-paid-for home in the suburbs. Make that switch when the time is right for you.

Q2: Getting rid of stuff

You said, “that date comes and goes and I happen to notice the box after that date, I just get rid of everything in the entire box without even really going through it. I trust my earlier decision that the stuff in that box is just sentimental stuff that I was on the fence about.”

Do you just throw it out? I’d like to get rid of my stuff through donations or giving it away rather than throwing it in the trash, but if I were to look at it again to do that, it will trigger attachment and I’d feel conflict about getting rid of it all over again. How do you avoid that? Get someone to take it away for you?
– Denae

This refers to a strategy I’ve mentioned a few times where, when I’m cleaning out my closets, I put stuff I’m not sure whether I should get rid of in a big box, put a date on that box, and stick it in the garage. If I need something that’s in that box, I get in there and dig it out. If the date passes, I get rid of everything that’s in the box.

The truth is that if I see a box with a date that’s already passed, I don’t even look in the box if I’m taking it to Goodwill. I just take it there and drop it off without even thinking twice about it. I don’t give myself a chance to let nostalgia for some item I haven’t looked at in years to take over.

So, when I initially pack up the box, I make sure that it’s all stuff that Goodwill will accept and I put things in there reasonably carefully. That way, when I do get rid of it, I don’t have to even think twice about it.

I trust my initial “on the fence” feeling and my decision to put that stuff in a dated box. If that date has passed, that means I already decided long ago that this stuff needed to go.

Q3: Homemade mac and cheese idea

Here’s a fun twist on the mac and cheese: I’ll add a few big dollops of plain hummus. You need less actual milk/cheese and it adds more nutrients. I am always trying to get my kids to eat protein and legumes… it’s an easy win.
– Jenna

This is a great strategy to use with any mac and cheese, whether it’s the homemade recipe I shared in that post or a box mix. Adding a little bit of hummus – a good tablespoon or two of it – causes the hummus to practically disappear into the mac and cheese, but it gets a bunch of additional very healthy protein into the dish.

Whenever we have plain or gently seasoned hummus around, I add it to all kinds of stuff (including mac and cheese). I often add it to things like vegetarian lasagna or as a sandwich spread. It’s a great way to make something a lot more filling and adds some great protein without adding a ton of calories.

Hummus should be on the list of “sneaky foods” that a parent can add to a lot of dishes to make them a little healthier for the kids (and also more filling, so the meal stretches farther and perhaps leaves some leftovers).

Q4: Saving for a Disney vacation

How do I open a savings account for a Disney vacation?
– Lindsay

The best way to save for a big expensive vacation like a Disney vacation is to automate the whole thing. I would go online and sign up for an account at an online bank like Capital One 360 or Ally Bank. Then, link it to your current checking account and set up an automatic transfer from your current checking account to this new savings account.

If you set up an automatic transfer of $20 a week, you’ll have over $1,000 after a year. $40 a week becomes $2,000 after a year. If you wait just a couple of years at that rate, you’ll have enough for your Disney vacation.

The advantage of doing it this way is that you don’t have to actively think about saving. It just happens automatically, with the $20 or $40 a week vanishing from your checking and appearing in that savings account. If you have that account at a different bank, you’re aren’t tempted to tap it at an ATM – you can’t even access it that way. The only catch is that you have to be a little mindful of your checking account balance. Never draw yourself down close to zero or you might wind up in trouble when that automatic transfer happens.

That’s my approach for savings goals like a big expensive vacation or a new car. Just automate it and then walk away from it until you want to use that money.

Q5: Cutting interest payments

I want to cut the amount of interest accrued each month but can not pay off balance. What are ways to do that? Pay when statement ends vs due date? 2 payments the 1st month to get ahead?
– Dawn

The first thing you should do is to try to improve your interest rate. This can be done in a number of ways, starting with simply calling up the lender and directly asking for a rate reduction, using a zero interest balance transfer to move some of the debt to 0%, or refinancing a loan to a lower interest rate.

Once you’ve done that, the most effective way to lower your monthly amount of interest accrued is to simply pay your loan off as fast and as hard as possible. When you have the money, make a payment right away. Many debts accrue interest daily or continuously, so the faster you make a payment, the better, in terms of accumulating interest.

If you’re serious about getting rid of a debt as fast as possible, your best approach is to make a payment directly after each pay period. Whenever you get a paycheck, make a payment on that debt right away. Whenever you get a windfall, make a payment on that debt as soon as possible.

Q6: Inexpensive pleasant house smell

What are some inexpensive ways to make your house smell good? Candles that don’t smell artificial are expensive and so is potpourri.
– Angelica

My favorite smell in a home is the smell of cooking food. Things like sautéed onions, simmering tomatoes and herbs, apples, and other food flavors smell wonderful to me. The best way I’ve found to make that smell is, well, to actually cook them. I love cooking aromatic things in a slow cooker because the aroma fills the house all day long. Try using a slow cooker to cook something that has an aroma that you love, or bake something that smells good (like cookies).

Another good strategy is to start eating a lot of citrus fruits and then saving the peels. Let the peels sit out in various places and the area will smell like citrus for quite a while. When the aroma starts to fade, run those peels through the garbage disposal (the disposal is often a big odor producer in the home and citrus peels will help).

Another good strategy is to get a few plants that put off a nice aroma, like geraniums, eucalyptus, and gardenias. They’ll last for a very long time and continually make your house smell good as long as they get adequate light and water.

I find all of these solutions much less expensive and vastly superior to the aroma of candles or potpourri.

Q7: Long lasting grill

My grill seems to shoot craps every few years. Do you have a long lasting grill recommendation?
– David

In my experience, the lifespan of a grill has far more to do with maintenance and care than anything else. If you take care of any grill, it will last for a long time. If you don’t take care of it, it won’t last for long.

The biggest factor? Don’t leave your grill outside where it’s exposed to the elements. If you want it to last, keep it in your garage. If you must keep it outside, keep it covered when you’re not using it. The elements will destroy your grill incredibly fast. You also need to clean it after each meal that you grill.

If you’re not willing to do this, the least expensive route is just a regular rotation of cheap grills. Get them cheap when they’re on sale (usually in the fall) and assume it will only last a few years no matter what you buy.

If you’re going to put in the effort to protect it from the elements, clean it, and maintain it, the best sub-$500 gas grill I’ve ever used is the Weber Spirit E210. It’s very well built, cooks evenly, and is just well designed with almost every little feature already considered and placed where it should be.

However, if you’re not going to maintain your grill, clean it, and keep it covered or in the garage, just get a cheap grill when they’re on sale at the local hardware store and use it for several years until it fails.

Q8: Writing down expenses

Can you explain what you mean when you say you write down expenses in your pocket notebook? Is it like a ledger or something?
– Drew

I jot down all kinds of stuff in my pocket notebook – whenever I have something I want to remember, whether it’s a thought or a book title or an expense, it goes in there. I then go through the notebook once a day or so and do something useful with all of the stuff.

With expenses, I just write down the dollar amount and what I spent it on. I do this when I’m trying to carefully track my spending for a month or two, something I do regularly but not all the time.

It’s just a freehand note, like “Gas at Casey’s – $40.81” or “$17.02 – gift for Sarah from bookstore.” It’s nothing more complicated than that. I usually separate my notes with a horizontal line, so I’ll usually just underline the note with a slash across the page so I can write something different right below it.

When I get home, I’ll transfer that expense to whatever software I’m using to track my expenses overall. I usually use Excel for this so I can manipulate the data as I see fit – I used Excel professionally for many things so it’s a familiar tool for me. (I’ve used a number of packages for tracking expenses over the years.)

Q9: Setting aside money at birth

How much money would you have to set aside for a child at birth to take care of them for life starting at say age 18?
– Vince

I set up a spreadsheet to estimate this number, with some assumptions. Let’s assume that $30,000 a year in today’s dollars is enough to “take care of a person” for life, and that inflation is 3% per year. Let’s also assume that this is a long term stock market investment returning 7% per year that’s not adjusted for inflation, and we’re also assuming all dividends are reinvested and that all taxes are otherwise covered. We’re assuming that this has to kick in at age 18, as you noted above.

If that’s your scenario, you would need to put aside $360,000 to cover it.

The biggest variable we can change here is the year at which this needs to kick in. If you say that it doesn’t have to kick in until they’re 25, then $270,000 in initial money should work. If you wait until age 50, $100,000 would do it.

You can also tinker with other numbers, like inflation. If you assume 2% inflation forever, you can put aside $265,000 at birth and they can live forever on what amounts to $30,000 in today’s dollars starting at age 18, given the above constraints. If you assume that you’ll get a 7% inflation adjusted return (which is higher than what I expect, but not outside the realm of possibility), you’d only need $140,000 to start covering them at age 18 for life.

In other words, it really depends on the constraints you put on your question.

Q10: 401(k) worth it without match?

Is it still a good idea to contribute to my 401(k) at work if the employer does away with the match? A lot of people here are dropping their contributions. Thoughts?
– Stephen

I usually recommend a very specific hierarchy of investment options for one’s retirement.

First, contribute to your 401(k) as much as possible to get every dime of employer matching. The employer matching dollars are more valuable than any other factor mentioned here.

Once you’ve done that, contribute to a Roth IRA you open yourself up until the contribution limit ($5,500 a year for most people), assuming you are eligible for a Roth (most Americans are).

Once you’ve done that, contribute to your 401(k) up to the contribution cap.

Decide how much you want to contribute, then follow those options until your contribution money runs out.

If your employer has cut employer matching on your 401(k), then, I would open up a Roth IRA and start contributing to that instead of contributing to the 401(k). Contribute just as much to that Roth as you did to your 401(k). You’ll be fine.

Q11: Athletic motivation without personal trainer

For several years, I hired a personal trainer who met me at my local gym and motivated me to get in better shape. He’d push me through workouts and give me great suggestions on what to do until our next session and specific meal plans and such. That kind of guidance really helped keep me in shape.

My trainer moved away right at the same time that I was rethinking my finances so I decided to not get a new one. I am finding that it is really hard to keep eating healthy and go to the gym. It turns out that my trainer was a really good motivator that would get me over the hump and get me to exercise and eat healthy and without that motivation I’m just not getting there and it’s starting to show.

I am strongly considering hiring a new trainer. Is this the right move or is there something I’m missing?
– Scottie

It sounds to me like you’ve found that a personal trainer makes a profound positive impact on your life, physically and mentally. You know this about yourself. If you have the financial flexibility to do so, I would sign up with a new trainer.

Now, this is not my default advice for everyone. There are several key caveats in Scottie’s story that most people don’t have. One, he has a long history of keeping his fitness level up and his diet in good shape with the aid of a trainer. Two, he’s seen that this falls off drastically without a trainer. Three, being physically fit and healthy is deeply important to him. Those three factors are all very important in my suggestion that he continue with a trainer.

However, if you want to try to get some of the benefits of a trainer without having one, here are a few suggestions.

First, get a good workout app on your phone and let it notify you as much as it wants to. There are a lot of good fitness apps out there. Try a bunch, see what works for you, and let it yell at you to get some exercise.

Second, figure out what exercises you actually like and focus on those things or on fundamental movements that will improve you at those things. For example, I really enjoy taekwondo, so I’m motivated to actually practice taekwondo as well as do exercises and stretches that make me better at taekwondo.

Finally, do lots of meal prepping. Figure out what nutrients you’re wanting to get in your meals and then prepare a TON of them at once and freeze them. That way, you don’t have to think about meals – just grab one from the freezer.

Q12: Online and offline writing strategies

I have a specific question that largely comes about because I see a lot of similarities between the way you operate and my own modus operandi. The particular area of similarity is writing. I enjoy writing and do a lot for both professional and personal purposes. However, a difference between us is that you still use a pen at least some of the time; I can go weeks without touching a pen or pencil. I always have my phone, iPad or a computer to hand and tend to type everything [often into Evernote – big fan] or maybe use the phone camera to record a phone number or whatever.

So my question is about different writing “mechanisms”. It seems to me that there are 3 broad options: handwriting, typing and verbal dictation. Do you feel that your creativity, lucidity or something else varies, depending on which mechanism you employ?
– James

I find my smartphone to be a distracting environment and I generally try to minimize my use of it. This often means leaving it in another room and just checking messages every once in a while and leaving it at home while I go somewhere on a short errand where I don’t have a pressing need for it (like a bike ride or a walk or something like that). In those cases, I use a pocket notebook to jot down thoughts; when I’m at home on my computer, I usually use Evernote for random thoughts.

When I’m writing down things for my own reflection and learning, the time spent actually writing down things by hand is time that really helps me process what I’m writing. I remember things better. I absorb concepts better. I tend to come up with follow-up questions and move on to the next logical idea quite well. This doesn’t happen nearly as well if I type entries into a digital journal instead of writing them by hand, or take notes by typing instead of writing them down by hand.

Almost every article I write for The Simple Dollar began life as a handwritten note of some kind, where I think out what I want to say and organize the thoughts. I then transfer that outline to an electronic state and actually turn that outline into the post that you read. My words per minute is far, far faster when typing, but it generally only shines when it’s on the framework of an outline that I wrote by hand.

I do not trust verbal dictation for anything other than capturing a brief note when I’m in a situation where I can’t use my hands to do so.

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 House Downgrading, Disney Saving, 401(k)s, Home Odors, and More! appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

Continue Reading…

Four Habits Making Some Millennials Rich

There have been countless stories and studies about the financial woes faced by millennials, a generation saddled with student loan and credit card debt and struggling to recover from the Great Recession.

Yet earlier this year Bank of America released a report revealing that 47 percent of millennials have $15,000 or more in savings and 16 percent now have savings of at least $100,000.

In addition, 67 percent of millennials who have a savings goal stick to it every month (or most months), and they also tend to live within their budgets with equal dedication. A staggering 73 percent report adhering to their monthly spending plans.

While there has been some skepticism about the Bank of America report, the fact is, millennials may be getting a bad rap when it comes to their personal finances. As the report states, “Millennials are actually just as good, or better, than other generations when it comes to managing money, and they are getting their financial houses in order.”

In fact, some financial experts say millennials, thanks to their unique approach to life and personal finances, are doing extremely well for themselves, with a small percentage already achieving millionaire status. Here’s a look at four habits that experts say are helping to make millennials rich.

Understanding and Using Technology

Perhaps the most important distinction of the millennial generation is their inherent understanding of technology.

They’re a generation who grew up with computers and amid the digital technology boom. As a result, millennials are not only comfortable with technology, they’re extremely savvy about its substantial capabilities and its use permeates all facets of their life.

“We love using technology to our advantage,” says Chad Rixse, co-founder of Millennial Wealth. “This can translate into plenty of financial success, whether it’s using tools to manage your finances or starting a technology-focused business.”

In fact, according to a study from Accenture, millennials are, by far, the most digitally savvy investor group overall.

Not only do millennials make full use of technology, they’re also very demanding and educated customers when using it, says Colin Kennedy, CRO and COO of Clarity Money, a personal finance app used by more than one million consumers, most of whom are millennials.

They embrace technology for saving, budgeting, and investing on their terms, and expect digital finance tools, and institutions, that are unbiased, objective, and transparent. And unlike previous generations, they’re quite willing to turn their backs on providers who don’t clearly represent their best interests, including those who charge fees they think are too high or try to sell them products they don’t need.

One more point about millennials and technology: They embrace it because they realize that algorithms and software are often more efficient than humans, says Priyanka Prakash, a financial and business writer for Fundera.

“For example, when a millennial shops around for a credit card, they could visit or call around to a bunch of different banks and find out each bank’s offerings, or they could do the much smarter thing–log onto a financial platform… where they can see all the cards and their offerings in one place,” says Prakash.

Embracing Entrepreneurship

More than any generation before, millennials are feeling empowered to pursue dreams of financial freedom by owning their own business. That’s due in large part to their intuitive comprehension and adaptability of new technologies, says Ryan Burns, founder and principal of Texas Hard Money, an equity-based lender.

“By embracing all of the benefits of having a world of information at their fingertips, (they) feel more capable and less daunted by the idea of starting a business,” explains Burns. “Millennials set a great example of how to evolve with the times and excel by way of adaptation.”

In addition, the technology available today has changed the way millennials are operating their businesses and the amount of money they need to get a company off the ground. The need for large initial investments or a big support staff has largely been eliminated.

“Millennials have grown up, for the most part, in a globalized economy with ever improving platforms, such as web 2.0, to launch a business off of,” says Joshua Schumm of Kansas Financial Coaching. “Gone is the need for long-term relationships with suppliers for preferred production speed and pricing – agility is now favored over that. They realize that the customer, just like them, wants things now or very soon. They’ve just realized this and utilize the proper, ever-evolving tools that enable them to serve their customer’s wants well.”

And one last note about starting their own businesses: Millennials boldly do so because they see it as one of the surest ways to secure their future. “I have seen first-hand that working for yourself and not counting on others for your financial future is a necessity in the modern economy,” says Lillian Karabaic, a millennial who hosts the weekly radio show Oh My Dollar! in Portland, Ore. “As a generation that largely graduated into a recession where full-time jobs with benefits were mythical, many of us got thrown into juggling gig economy roles to make ends meet while we waited for the supposed steady job to arrive.”

In the end, many millennials decided the best way to secure their finances was to take it into their own hands, said Karabaic.

Using Technology and Social Media to Network

More than nine in 10 millennials (92%) own smartphones, according to the Pew Research Center, and the vast majority (85%) say they use social media. By many accounts, millennials are using these platforms to network in ways previous generations did not.

“Accomplished professionals are now easily accessible to millennials who intuitively rely on their smartphones to communicate directly with these experts via social media and other networking applications in hopes of gaining some insight into their success,” said Burns, of Texas Hard Money.

Watching Every Penny

One more pronounced millennial habit empowered by technology: For all the talk of avocado toast, in reality they often watch every penny and are not hesitant to cut even the smallest expenses from their budget.

“You’re fooling yourself if you think millennials don’t care about finances, they clearly do,” said Kennedy of Clarity Money, who said a lot of millennials adopt their app just to cancel unwanted subscriptions.

“It may be just $14 a month, but that’s $160 a year,” he said. “Millennials will focus even on that $14 or $15 charge because they know that it represents a couple hundred dollars over time.”

Related Articles: 

The post Four Habits Making Some Millennials Rich appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

Continue Reading…

Huawei launches Nova 3 and Nova 3i

Huwaei’s latest models the Nova 3 and Nova 3i have been officially launched in Nepal on July 27.

The first few customers can pre-book the phones and win attractive gifts like a portable printer and speaker.

According to Huawei, the new series has features like an AI quad-camera setup, and a powerful SoC at their core which takes the selfie experience to a whole new level of elegance.

Both Huawei nova 3 and Huawei nova 3i house dual front-facing cameras with a 24MP primary camera and 2MP secondary camera.

The company also shared that the primary camera captures photos and videos with vivid clarity, whereas the secondary camera takes care of the depth data. The two sensors work in concert to focus on the subject and captures images with a field of vision that is similar to the human eye, resulting in truly immersive photos.

The two devices both sport the newest generation 6.3-inch FHD+ (2340×1080) 19.5:9 FullView display.

The phones are equipped with Huawei’s proprietary Kirin SoCs. The two SoCs not only support Huawei’s latest AI capabilities but also boast industry-leading image processing speeds and accuracy to deliver the best high-tech user experience to users.

The Huawei nova 3 and Huawei nova 3i are available via Huawei’s official website or Huawei authorized retailers.

Continue Reading…

Sunday, July 29, 2018

China NGO Network to provide assistance to Nepal’s social development

Kathmandu, July 30

The Government of China is going to provide assistance through various projects to social development endeavours of Nepal.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Social Welfare Council and the China NGO Network for International Exchanges (CNIE) to run projects in the field of community development, livelihood, disaster management, skills-oriented training, education and health services.

The MoU was signed on Sunday evening, according to the Council.

The MoU was signed by Minister for Women, Children and Elderly Citizens Tham Maya Thapa on behalf of the Council and visiting Chinese Deputy Minister for External Affairs Wang Yajun on behalf of China. Minister Thapa also chairs the Social Welfare Council.

On the occasion, Minister Thapa stressed the need for strengthening age-old relations between the two countries at the people-to-people level, while saying the agreement would help the countries establish cooperation and coordination for their socioeconomic development.

Deputy Minister Wang expressed happiness over being able to support the development and prosperity of neighbouring Nepal.

Meanwhile, the Council’s legal advisor Nisha Baniya shared that Chinese government donated two broomer machines to the Kathmandu Metropolitan City.

RSS

Continue Reading…

Nepal hopes to export electricity to India from next monsoon

Kathmandu, July 30

Though Nepal is still compelled to buy electricity from India during the dry season, the country now claims that its monsoon production already exceeds the demand.

Therefore, Nepal Electricity Authority says it will export electricity to India during the monsoon season.

The Authority informs that the Nepal has been producing more power than needed during this monsoon season too. However, exporting it to the southern neighbour has not been possible this time for the want of an agreement between two countries to begin an energy banking project.

The Authority leadership says it is making efforts to sign the agreement at the earliest so that the country needs not waste power.

Currently, Nepal has been wasting 30 to 40 megawatt power every night, according to the Authority’s officials. Nepal imports as much as 500 megawatt energy form India during the dry season.

Meanwhile, India is also positive about purchasing power from Nepal, according to the officials.

Continue Reading…

Back to the Nest? Tips for Living in a Multi-Generational Household

One in every five Americans now lives in a “multiple generation” household, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. Using data from the U.S. Census, the center determined that multi-generational family living is rising in most age groups and almost every racial group.

A bit of backstory: This is almost as high as 1950, when 21 percent of people lived in households with at least two adult generations or households of grandparents and grandchildren younger than 25. By 1980, the figure was down to 12 percent. During and after the Great Recession, it jumped up to 17 percent and by 2014 it was 19 percent.

So: Living with the folks! Or with the grandfolks! Depending on your interpretation, this could be:

  • a big step backward for millennials (those entitled crybabies!), or
  • a great opportunity for young and old alike.

When you consider the crazy cost of housing and health insurance for millennials, plus the fact that many baby boomers still don’t have enough saved for retirement, multi-generational living could add up to a solution that works for everyone.

Young people get a chance to save for places of their own, pay off that vehicle they need to get to work (not everyone has public transit), and maybe tackle some student debt. Additionally, they’ll be better positioned to recover from any rookie errors as they figure out the whole adulthood thing. (Hint: If you make a mess of your finances on your own right out of college, you could lose that first apartment – and an eviction notice doesn’t look good on your credit score.)

Meanwhile, their parents reap the benefits of even a small amount of rent along with the extra pair of hands. Young adults can help with siblings (e.g., babysitting or shuttling them to sports practice or the orthodontist). They can take on tasks that are increasingly taxing for middle-aged homeowners, such as yard work and cleaning out the rain gutters. In households that include grandparents, millennials can provide rides and companionship to their elders (and respite care for those experiencing Alzheimer’s and other health issues).

And, of course, there’s the chance for parents and their offspring to spend time together and get to know one another on a different plane: as fellow adults.

Win-win, right? If you do it correctly. Here’s how.

Figure out why you’re there.

Is it because you want to be, or because it’s the smart thing to do?

If your culture is one that expects young adults to live at home and you feel fine about doing so, then congratulations: You’re staying true to your roots and getting a big financial boost. All the money you aren’t spending on rent and utilities can be used to help secure your future.

And if you wish you could afford to be anywhere but home, but realize this is the best option right now? Congratulations anyway, because you just made a very adult decision: to do the strategic thing and sort out your finances. This is a better choice than trying to make it on your own and winding up in additional debt (and ultimately having to slink back home with your tail between your legs).

Sometimes adulthood stinks. This is one of those times, but it won’t be forever. Speaking of time constraints, you should…

Write up a contract.

Maybe your parents would be happy if you lived there until you get married, or forever. But not everyone’s folks feel that way. In fact, your parents may be a little glum about your return to the nest, because they were just about to turn your room into a man cave and/or take some long-awaited trips.

They might wonder whether your presence will mean more work and expense, or fear the conflict that could result from their need for certain ground rules. For example, having a bunch of your old buddies in the family room playing video games until 2 a.m. might be disruptive to parents who have to get up early for work.

Thus you need some kind of written agreement – one that not only informs, but also protects. It’s all too easy to fall back into old parent-and-child patterns. If they start to grumble about how often you go out, you can remind them that nothing in the agreement says you have to be home every night (or any night). And if you start to get a little too comfortable, they can point out the clause that describes the chores you will do or the rent you will pay.

Wait… rent? Chores? Yes, and yes. The free rides should end once you hit adulthood. Your presence means added utility costs and likely higher grocery bills; if you’re using a family vehicle regularly, their auto insurance rate could go up. Work with your parents to decide which chores will be yours, and how much (if anything) you’ll contribute for rent and utilities.

The contract also needs an exit strategy (assuming your parents aren’t encouraging you to stay forever). Instead of saying, “I’ll leave once I get a good enough job,” specify the steps you plan to take to make this happen. For example:

  • “I need $4,000 to set up a basic emergency fund and cover rental deposits and moving expenses.
  • “Currently I have about $600 a month left after my student loan payment, commuting costs, and the rent I pay to you. That means it will be almost seven months before I can safely move out.
  • “As you know, I’m looking for a side hustle to save the money faster. I’m also looking for a shared-housing situation, and if that happens then I’ll be able to move out sooner because overall costs will be lower.”

Abide by that contract.

It will be harder for your parents to treat you like a flighty kid if you don’t act like one. Thus if your contract says you’ll pay $75 rent from every paycheck, transfer the money or hand over the cash on payday. If you agree to spend two hours cleaning each weekend, do this willingly. Now that you’re an adult, your parents should not have to nag you about shoveling the snow or unloading the dishwasher.

Oh, and don’t ever let these words cross your lips: “There’s never anything good to eat around here.” If you want something good to eat, then shop for it and cook it – and make enough to share.

Learn to deal with conflict.

How easy it is to become a college student again: the golden boy or girl home on break, sleeping in and letting parents take care of all the details of life. Except it’s no longer cute when you’re in your 20s or 30s.

Look at it from your parents’ point of view: There you are – except there you aren’t. Other than showing up for meals, you’re either at work or out of the house. And if you’re leaving a trail of destruction (or at least unfulfilled chores) in your wake, then your folks have a right to be miffed.

Not that they can tell you what to do, outside of the terms of your contract. They don’t have the right to demand that you hang out en famille every night, or order you to accompany them to Grandma’s for Sunday dinner. Which you can politely remind them:

“I’m an adult roommate now, not a dependent. While I’m happy to spend a certain amount of time with family, I have other interests (and maybe a side hustle that keeps me hopping). How can we create a compromise that meets at least some of everyone’s needs?”

About those last two sentences: Much, much better than screaming “You’re not the boss of me!” and slamming out of the house. If you want to be treated as an adult, model some adult behavior. This won’t always work; your parents may have trouble thinking of you as anything except the kid who needed a nightlight and always left wet towels on the bathroom floor. Politely, lovingly remind them that you are all grown up now and that you are living up to the terms of your contract.

If they still try to tell you what to do, you have two options. One is to move out early. The other is to learn to deflect with (courteous) phrases like, “Thanks, got it!” and “I’ll certainly keep that in mind.” Remember, they are doing you a big favor by letting you live there. Now, do yourself a favor by doubling down on that exit strategy. One way to do that is to…

Regularly rethink your budget.

If you really want to move out on your own, then you need to make smart financial choices. Otherwise you run the risk of remaining an eternal adolescent, one who buys whatever he wants whenever he wants it.

A good way to do that is to remember the timeline you set for your parents. Except that it isn’t just for your parents: It’s a launch strategy for your adult life.

So instead of regularly going out for drinks after work or becoming an online shopping addict, set up some simple, smart goals for your money. Lots of people swear by the 50/30/20 budget: Spending no more than 50% of your take-home pay on essentials, 30% on wants, and 20% on saving (including retirement planning and an emergency fund). Plenty of budgeting apps exist as well (some are even free).

As your savings grow and you get in the groove of paying your bills in full vs. running up consumer debt, you’ll be able to plan your move-out. Among other things, you should:

  • Monitor rents in different areas.
  • Seriously consider shared housing – the savings can be huge.
  • Figure out related costs of moving, including but not limited to truck rental, deposits for an apartment and utilities, and the price of any household items you’ll need to buy.

Make up a checklist, and savor crossing off each item. Every task that’s completed means you’re one step closer to self-sufficiency.

Keep that budget private.

In some families, each working person is expected to contribute. Otherwise, your money is your business. Be willing to ante up what’s fair, but don’t let parents take advantage of you because they can’t handle their own finances.

That’s especially true if your dad is hitting the racetrack, or your mother decides a younger sibling should be in a private high school. Suddenly you’re being asked to contribute more than your original agreement specifies. That’s a sticky situation, to be sure, but you cannot jeopardize your own future to shore up the family budget.

No one needs to know everything about your finances. If you’re contributing as agreed upon, that’s enough. While you might want to give more in case of an emergency like illness or layoff, be careful not to give too much. Pay your share, but don’t routinely cover someone else’s obligations. This is your financial future we’re talking about, here.

Keep your parents apprised.

Again, your money = your business. But it doesn’t hurt to let the folks know how that exit strategy is shaping up. When they hear things like, “The nights-and-weekends pizza delivery gig will let me retire that credit card debt a lot sooner than I thought,” they’ll be glad to know you’re making progress.

As you get closer to launch, let them hear more:

  • “Two more paychecks and I’ll have my emergency fund built.”
  • “I’ve got utility deposits and first and last month’s rent saved.”
  • “My college roommate is looking for a fourth person to share his place – I’ll be meeting with him and his current roomies this weekend.”

And if you really want to demonstrate maturity, here’s another thing to say: Thank you. That can be a general, heartfelt, “I appreciate your help,” or a more specific phrasing:

“Your letting me move back home has given me a big financial boost. Instead of having to use a credit card to pay for basic living expenses, I’ve been able to take care of the consumer debt I already had.”

And here’s another thing they might want to hear:

“Because of that side hustle, I’m reaching my savings goal much faster. Your letting me pay such a low rent has made a huge difference in the kind of life I’ll be having later on. But because I’m making more money, I’d like to pay an extra $50 (or whatever) a month toward rent/groceries/utilities.”

That’s another hallmark of adulthood: Paying your fair share vs. taking advantage of someone else’s kindness. Even if your parents refuse the money, they’ll be pleased by the offer.

Veteran personal finance writer Donna Freedman is the author of “Your Playbook for Tough Times: Living Large on Small Change, for the Short Term or the Long Haul” and “Your Playbook for Tough Times, Vol. 2: Needs AND Wants Edition.”

Related reading:

The post Back to the Nest? Tips for Living in a Multi-Generational Household appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

Continue Reading…

Fly Dubai puts on hold Kathmandu-Dubai flight after ‘pilot gets drunk’

Kathmandu, July 29

Fly Dubai has postponed its Kathmandu-Dubai flight scheduled for this morning after investigations found that its pilot was drunk while he was preparing for the flight.

The aircraft was scheduled to take off the Tribhuvan International Airport of Kathmandu at 9:45 am today.

The Airport’s chief Raj Kumar Chhetri says the flight was put on hold after the airline company filed an request to examine the health of its pilot.

It is expected that the flight will take place later today.

Continue Reading…

Nepal invites China to finalise Protocol of Transit and Transport Agreement

Kathmandu, July 29

Nepal has invited China to join a meeting in Kathmandu next month in a bid to finalise the draft of Protocol of Transit and Transport Agreement to be signed between the two neighbours.

Earlier last month, a Nepali team had visited Beijing to discuss the draft. Upon failure to finalise the document, the team led by Secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies Chandra Kumar Ghimire returned home after handing over the invitation to the Chinese side.

Nepal and China signed the Agreement during the first visit Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in 2016 March. It was expected that the Protocol would be signed during Oli’s visit to Beijing in June this year. However, it could not be held due to different reasons.

“But we have continued negotiations,” the Ministry’s Joint Secretary Rabi Shanka Sainju says, “Some significant issues are yet to be finalised.”

Sources say the major bone of contention is which routes Nepal will use to access ports for import and export activities.

Continue Reading…

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Nepali women’s bid to use international carbon money to rejuvenate land, water and economy

The ‘gold mine’ is ready, but what about connecting the community to the market?

Ratanpur in western Nepal’s Tanahun District could be any other village in the country. Here, you neither hear children crackle nor young men sing songs to their beloved, all you hear is the aches and pains of old age. The cuckoo bird is the loudest living soul in the village, but her songs are also drowned when the floodgates of the sky open during the monsoon.

Looking at historic paddy terraces, one can only imagine how lively this place would have been in its heyday. Young men and women would work in the fields and their tunes would reverberate in the surrounding hills. But all that is now a distant dream for Ram Kumari Pandit (60s) and her fellow villagers.

“You don’t find young men here. All of them have left,” says Pandit, “Our sons have migrated abroad to look for jobs. Their wives have left the village in search of a brighter future for their children in cities,” she shares. “They do not see a future for their children in the village, and have migrated to cities such as Kathmandu and Pokhara.”

Ram Kumari is one of the thousands of senior citizens who are now in-charge in villages across the country. Just like the young men and women of Ratanpur, more than 1,500 Nepalis, most of them young men, leave the country every day in search of work, and an equal number, if not more, move from the villages to the cities.

The shortage of able-bodied men and women in their prime has had a devastating effect on rural households. The numbers speak for themselves: more than 21 per cent of arable land in the country remained fallow last year, Nepal was ranked 81st in the Global Food Security Index.

However, in Ratanpur, the terraces tell a different tale. The village, located around 200 km west of Kathmandu, is where local women have taken up a seemingly impossible mission—to make it profitable for villagers to stay at home rather than go outside seeking for opportunities. Their modus operandi: utilise money from private carbon emitters in Europe to rejuvenate barren land and breathe life into the village once again.

It all started in 2015, the year the earthquake caught Nepal unprepared. With rumours of the possibility of an epidemic in Kathmandu, people from outside the Valley returned to their villages to stay there until the situation normalised. This was the time windows that had been shut for ages opened again to let in sunlight and let out the fragrance of freshly-cooked dal bhat (rice and lentils).

“Everyone was in a reflective mood,” remembers Hans Peter Schmidt, a Swiss scientist who accompanied his friend and forestry scholar Bishnu Hari Pandit to the village in the aftermath of the disaster. The villagers saw what had become of their ancestral land and wanted to do something about it. Many ideas were discussed.

Bishnu Hari explained to the villagers that the barren farms were problematic in many ways. “I told them that when we leave the rice fields fallow, we are not only abandoning our ancestral heritage but also leaving it prone to erosion,” he shares. All this is happening as effects of climate change are already being felt in the hills.

“It was there that the villagers announced that they wanted to plant 50,000 trees in the next three years,” says Schmidt, who along with Bishnu Hari was given the responsibility to come with a programme to turn that dream into a reality. Schmidt and Bishnu Hari, who had been working on implementing ‘biochar’ projects (charcoal produced from plant matter)) around the country for the past few years, came up with an idea.

They identified the main challenge. The government did supply a limited number of saplings for free, but their survival rate was pretty low. Local communities wanted to plant trees, but did do not have the money to buy them, let alone maintain them. The money had to come from somewhere. Schmidt’s idea was to get money from private individuals in Europe who want to offset their daily emissions.

Schmidt and his team members from Ithaka Institute, a scientific organisation based in Switzerland and Nepal, decided that under the scheme, private emitters will be charged $35 for every ton of carbon offset by trees in Ratanpur. This would cover all costs to setup the forest gardens and their maintenance for three years. The farmers would receive money for taking care of their trees. Schmidt says that Ithaka calculated the price of carbon by looking at the overall cost of the project and resources needed to sustain it. “The price of carbon is not the same around the world.”

 

Under the scheme, environment-conscious people like Sibylle Maurer-Wohlatz who lives in Germany pay a certain subscription fee to offset their personal carbon footprint. “I spend as much money as is needed to compensate my personal emissions by letting trees in Nepal grow. Trees are as long as they grow a medium to store carbon. This is a sum of 27 Euro each month,” she tells Onlinekhabar.

 

“Because I am still causing CO2 emissions with my way of life, I wanted to compensate in a way that really works. Because the richer countries profit worldwide from the resources of the poorer countries, I was very pleased, when Hans Peter Schmidt told me about his project and the intentions to let people compensate their emissions by giving money to plant trees in devastated areas in Nepal to give small farmers the chance, to stabilise the environment; the earth and to improve their agricultural conditions.”

According to Ithaka, a total of Rs 2.15 million has been spent on the project so far. The 218 farmer families have received Rs 285,000 as carbon money for the 50,000 trees they have planted so far. A total of Rs 1.4 million, received as carbon money, was used to procure plants, establish a nursery and buy pipes and plastic for the project. The initiative has also helped farmers build water retention pits.

All planted trees are GIS inventoried—the trees GPS coordinates are recorded and fed into a software–and their yearly biomass carbon uptake would be calculated on the base of the average ten-year carbon accumulation.

They also recommended cinnamon, mulberry, michelia champaca and paulownia trees—plants that have high commercial value. The money would only be a catalyst. After three years, the income from tree crops (fruits, nuts, medicine, essential oil, silk, perfume, honey, timber, animal fodder) would be by far more than the carbon money.

But it was the local women who took the lead to kickstart the project. “The local mothers’ group vowed to make the project a success,” remembers Hari Maya Pandit, one of the members. “We realised that keeping the land fallow was a big mistake,” says Ram Kumari Pandit, who is now the chair of the group.

“We started a campaign to plant trees, and we dedicated ourselves to making it a success,” says Ram Kumari Pandit. “In the beginning, people were hesitant to switch from paddy, which they had been growing for centuries, to trees. But soon everyone realised why trees were important,” she shares. Survival rates, which were around 57 per cent in the first year, have gone up to 86 per cent—thanks to the active participation of women, the use of ‘biochar’ and the formation of ‘triade’ groups.

Hans Peter Schmidt and Bishnu Hari Pandit had been testing the use of biochar with different crops around Nepal. They had seen that biochar not only helped increase survival rates of crops, but also helped retain carbon (that would have otherwise found its way into the atmosphere in the soil).

As Ratanpur had also been affected by Eupatorium adenophorum the ‘forest killer’ (an invasive shrub), using it to make biochar had dual benefits. Similarly, charging the biochar, which would remain in the soil for a long time, with cow urine, boosted the amount of nutrients plants would receive from the soil.

Although the use of biochar could push the survival rate to 57 per cent, it was the ‘triade’ system that would take it past the 80 per cent mark. Under the triade system, each farmer is made a member of a group of three people who help one another in the farm.

Between 2015 and 2018, a total 218 farmer families in and around Ratanpur planted more than 50,000 trees of multiple species on 50 ha of private land. “We were very excited to prepare biochar, plant the trees and see them grow,” says Surya Kala Gharti. “The whole environment of the village has changed in the last three years,” she adds. “I think these many trees would not have been planted were it not for the mothers’ group,” claims Ram Kumari Pandit. “After the implementation of the project, local water sources, which had dried up, are also coming back to life as the soil retains more moisture.

According to Ithaka, the 50,000 garden trees sequester a minimum of 800 tonnes of carbon per year, It is enough to offset the carbon footprint of 70 Germans or 2,800 Nepalis.

Later this year, the whole campaign will reach its third year and farmers who have received ‘maintenance’ money for their surviving trees will stop doing so. But are the farmers ready for the switch as Schmidt had imagined in 2015? (Answered later in the story)

The answer seems to be a yes and a no. Ram Kumari Pandit says a lot of people visit her village these days. “There are times when visitors from different forestry colleges come here to observe what is going on. Some international scholars also come here to spend time,” shares Gharti, who is a member of the local municipal assembly.


The women in the village are already earning money, even before the products from the forest gardens are sold in the market. There is a steady stream of people who come to visit the village and pay local house owners money for the shelter. “This was something unexpected for a village like Ratanpur,” says Ram Kumari Pandit. A few months ago, the women’s group received Rs 210,000 for hosting a group of tourists in their homes.

However, this was not the economic benefit Schmidt had imagined. “We do not know what is to be done with our product. But we are sure that Schmidt and Bishnu Hari Pandit would have thought something about it,” says Gharti.

Schmidt says he wants to create a model in Ratanpur that could be easily replicated in villages in Nepal’s hills. He says that cinnamon oil is in high demand in Europe and he could link up the farmers with interested companies in Europe. But he wants the local products to be consumed locally, that seems to be a big challenge as the women seem to have little idea about processing their raw produce and marketing them outside the village.

The Swiss scientist says Ithaka is working on establishing a distillery to prepare cinnamon oil and it will also help local farmers produce silk, but doing that will also take time. However, large swathes of land in the village in no longer fallow, and that in itself is a big achievement.

“What we want to show is that people in the villages can earn more than people in the cities because production takes place in the villages and cities only consume. This could be the reason, one day, people return to their villages,” he adds. “This is not a development aid project but the creation of a pilot project for climate farming where we try to create and develop an environmental, economic and social model that could be multiplied in many regions of the country and abroad. The main income will be generated through the forest garden products”:

“The carbon payment is only a kind of seed money to allow the implementation of the new agronomic systems.”

The project comes at a time when Nepal is preparing to take advantage of the much-talked-about REDD-Plus arrangement, under which developing countries are to receive money from developed countries for management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

“REDD-Plus adopts a similar model to what has been done in Ratanpur,” says Mohan Paudel, a REDD expert. “The other advantage of projects like this is that they reduce the pressure on community forests and encourage private enterprise based on forest products. This is something REDD wants to achieve,” adds Paudel.

“The other positive is that this model has shown that when people have monetary incentive to grow trees on barren land, the survival rates go up. This is something that the government needs to take note as land is being left barren in the hills due to outward migration.”

However, Paudel is a bit skeptical that the model could be replicated at a large scale as there are legal hurdles to doing so. The constitution has placed carbon trading under the ambit of the federal government, and that complicates the matter.

Meanwhile, Ram Kumari Pandit, who still maintains her kitchen garden to get her daily veggies, is happy. She is not waiting for the economic benefits to come to her. “I did not even participate in the campaign for the money. I just wanted our ancestral land to be preserved for posterity and that is what is happening here. If my grandchildren want to return, they will have the option to do that.”

This story was prepared under a grant from Earth Journalism Network.

Continue Reading…
Loading...

Popular Bla Bla's

Loading...

Latest Bla Bla's on Fun2Sh

Powered by Blogger.
Copyright © Funtoosh Blog