Find us on Google+ My Sensible Cent: July 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Five Simple Steps to Significant Savings

We all know that we should be putting aside an amount of money each month and saving towards our futures - right?
Well, if you’re anything like I used to be you get to the end of the month and the cupboard – or the bank account in this case - is bare…if you’re lucky you just have enough to meet your monthly bills but you certainly don’t have anything left to play with.

Well – what if I told you that there were five very simple steps that you – yes you – could take to cut your monthly outgoings, increase your monthly income and thus free up money and create an amount each month that could be squirrelled away for a rainy day?

Step One - Trim Everyday Expenses
We all have a mountain of essential payments that we must make every month; these include all our utility bills, our car, telephone, internet and even cable TV bills.
Although we’re all aware of these amounts draining our bank account every month, few of us give a second thought to whether we’re paying too much when often we actually are!
So, here are just a few things you could easily do to wipe off significant amounts from those bills – amounts which will, over time, compound to create a nice tidy little sum thank you!
Oh, and if you think about every bill you have I’m sure you’ll come up with many creative ways to reduce all of them.
Your Utility bills – have you considered switching your suppliers? Some suppliers in your area will be cheaper than others and all should give you a free quotation of how much you could be saving based on your previous month’s usage. You may get a further discount if you pay each month by direct debit.
Be aware of the amount of energy you use - switch to energy saver light bulbs, don’t put half a load of washing in the machine, wash-up small amounts instead of using your dishwasher every time and slowly but surely you’ll notice a significant reduction in your overall bills.
Your Car – shop around for cheaper car insurance, combine chores into one journey so that you drop the kids off on your way to work and do your shopping on the way home. The more ‘extra’ journeys you can cut back on the lower your fuel bill, the less often you’ll have to have your car serviced and the lower the mileage on the car when you come to sell it.

Step Two - Cut Interest Payments
According to industry statistics, the average home owner in the UK could reduce their annual mortgage payments by up to £1,600 by just re-mortgaging to a better deal. You need to examine the options available to you!
Next look at your credit cards, store cards, loans and overdrafts and check out the rates of interest you’re paying – obviously the sooner you can pay off all debt and stop accruing new debt the better, but in the meantime you should consider switching to credit cards offering 0% on balance transfers, consider switching to lenders offering lower interest rates on loans and consider switching to a bank with lower account charges for things like your overdraft.
Cut your interest payments right down and free up more cash!

Step Three - Rein in Extravagance
Trust me, I know that this is the least popular of all the steps – but, do you really need that daily cappuccino from Starbucks, could you live without that health club membership that you hardly ever use, what about stopping smoking, cutting back on alcohol consumption and spending a few more quiet nights in than party nights out? If you can’t get rid of your satellite or cable TV could you reduce the packages you subscribe to? If you like to eat out could you reduce the number of times you do it per week?
Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting that you should give up living your life the way you like it, I’m just suggesting that you could maybe trim a little off the load and live life today whilst at the same time saving for your life tomorrow.

Step Four - Stop Making Bad Investments
There are so many poor performing, rubbish returning, invisible interest paying savings policies out there that banks and financial advisers push upon us that it’s just not funny!
Yet at the same time there are some fantastic inflation proofing safer alternatives that could just net you a nice rate of interest too. You need to look around a little, use the internet as a good starting point and find out what the banks and financial institutions are offering. And if you’re saving money make sure you’re saving tax too – IRA and pension payments can be made tax free!
Oh, and when it comes to insurances – from car, health, home contents and even life insurance – shop around, shop around, shop around! Big name brokers often cost far more and if you buy your home contents and life insurance all in when you get your mortgage be prepared to pay way over the odds!

Step Five - Add Income Strings to Your Bow
Are you entitled to any tax credits, child payments or other benefits? If you’re entitled you should be claiming what’s rightfully yours! Could you, your partner or your teenage children be contributing a little more to the monthly pot by taking on a part time job, doing extra shifts or working the odd weekend?
Think as creatively as possible and make good use of any extra time and energy you have to boost your family’s income…you might even be able to earn extra income from doing the things you love – maybe you could teach an evening class in something you specialize in, maybe you could sell arts and crafts you make as a hobby or perhaps you could just baby-sit your friends children?
Just remember that there are many options available to you and that every single step you take towards reducing your outgoings or maximizing your income will be a step towards a more secure financial future for you and your family.
Good luck!

Related articles: Money Saving Tips For Low income earners

5 Steps to Becoming a Millionaire

In the year 2002, there were 17.1 million Millionaires in the U.S alone. By 2013, the number of millionaires will triple due to inheritance. For the rest of you, becoming a millionaire is within reach if you apply a 5 step plan involving the following areas:
  1. Health
  2. Spending
  3. Savings
  4. Investing
  5. Career
Take care of yourself. If your health is no good, you are not going to enjoy the rewards of a solid financial plan. Eat right, exercise daily, and discipline yourself. The most successful investors are those people who have the best discipline to stay with the program.

It's true, a person will always live up to the amount of income they earn. If you make the money, you are apt to find a place to spend it. The key to successfully saving is to spend less than you make and to also spend more money in areas that will actually preserve wealth.

A disciplined approach to saving reaps rewards in the future. While saving early in your career, allocate a larger percentage of your savings to stocks. A 35 year old with 10,000 and saving 500 a month will become a millionaire by age 56 if the money invested returns 15% per annum. If the investment rate of return falls to 10% per annum, the millionaire age is moved to 63 years old.

Focus on an investment portfolio that minimizes your fees and maximizes your returns. If you are not sure about the types of investments, consider low cost index funds.

No matter how much you position yourself, your career will dictate how quickly you reach the millionaire plateau. You have to move above and beyond your job description; Excel in your performance; Make yourself invaluable to the organization. Align your goals and focus on efforts that make you a valuable employee. You want those merit raises. They will add up.
Check out the Groco Millionaire Calculator to determine how much you need to put away to enter the millionaire class.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Financing Your Emergencies Through Personal Loans

There are times in one’s life when unforeseen circumstances necessitate borrowing money. You might pride yourself on being fiscally responsible and go to great lengths to manage whatever debt you may have as best you can, but life is unpredictable. Sometimes it is simply impossible to be prepared for anything life might bring your way.

Perhaps you need a medical procedure and, whether you have medical insurance or not, you simply cannot afford to pay in cash. Or perhaps your car has broken down – a car you need for work purposes, for example – and the damage turns out to be far more extensive than you can afford to pay from your savings. These are just two examples of circumstances where personal loans can save you from financial ruin or other unacceptable consequences.

As with all financial matters, it is always best to do business with a reputable institution. And even then, you should never leave your financial security completely in someone else’s hands. It is vital that you educate yourself and do your research so that you know what you want, what’s available, and which risks to avoid.
It is mostly when unforeseeable event occur or a crisis has arisen that one could easily fall prey to unscrupulous lenders who prey on desperation. Whether you are dealing with a big financial institution or small enterprise which deals only in personal loans, there are some serious risks to be aware of and some pertinent questions to ask.

The most common – and “fastest” – type of loan available at the moment is an unsecured loan, which means you are allowed to borrow money without offering any collateral, without having a co-signer and even if you have a bad credit record. The most worrisome aspect of unsecured loans is that they usually carry interest rates which are much higher than average and thus end up costing you far more than they reasonably should, or than you can afford. The reason these types of loans have such high interest rates is that the lender is taking a bigger risk. Make sure you know what the interest rate will be, do your calculations and decide whether you will be able to pay back the loan.

Another risky aspect of personal loans is the fact that they could involve exit or prepayment penalties. If you happen to find yourself in a situation where you are able to pay off the loan in one lump sum, or sooner than first agreed upon, you might incur a prepayment penalty or have to pay an exit fee for the loan account to be closed. Ask whether any such penalties would apply when you first approach a lender. Naturally, having any kind of debt is not ideal for your fiscal security. Yet for the largest part of the population, taking out a loan of some sort at some stage of your life – be it a study loan, home loan or vehicle financing – is unavoidable.

To ensure your financial situation remains as healthy as possible, it is critical to manage your debt proactively and responsibly. Make sure you’ve done your research and have shopped around for the best interest rate.Deal only with reputable financial institutions if at all possible and, most importantly of all, make sure you pay off your personal loan in strict accordance with the timeframe and increments initially agreed upon. And if at all possible – and if you won’t incur penalties which will nullify the benefit – pay off your loan as soon as you can. Debt is expensive.

Trading stocks which offer high dividend and help in earning capital gains

Trading stocks which offer high dividend and help in earning capital gains are bought and sold all over the world. Blue chip stocks are traded with pride and people all around the world buy these stocks for earning. Quality companies all over the world float their stocks and shares. The entities usually go for IPOs and through initial public offering such shares are floated within the market.

Blue chip stocks and top stocks usually entail following characteristics;

Technology giants, communication providers, top end financial institutions and oil and gas companies float their stocks within the market. These stocks are traded with pride. People buy and sell these stocks for capital gains.
The stocks are also held by the investors for long term purposes. They are held for dividends and earnings which are constant in the case of these stocks. It happens so that the top end companies and entities usually present their shares for initial public offering. The IPOs are usually oversubscribed which results in balloting. As a result of balloting shares are allotted to the general public and through which one can attain proper dividend. High end stocks are usually offered at a premium. The premium price is usually more than the face value of the stock. Top end stocks are in low circulation. This is so because the holder doesn’t often trade in these stocks and he or she keeps these stocks for dividend purposes. Quality stocks are traded less often and hence their prices remain speculative rather than actual. The derivative and the futures market have made the high end stocks more tradable. It happens so that people usually buy and sell these shares through PUT and through other options. 

The prices are speculated in advance and the prices are pre determined for future trading. It makes the seller and the buyer safe and the trading for the high end stock possible. Online resources and the internet have created revolution in the stock market and the trading world. These days one can buy and sell stocks through different online portals. This makes the job of the broker easy and the commissions constant. The online trading resources not only offer trading opportunities to their investors but they also provide key data and analysis to user. They make sure that the investor makes the right decision regarding the sale and the purchase of shares and also pitch in from time to time with the expert advice. Trading websites are usually owned and managed by stock brokers who trade on the behalf of the clients. They offer guidance to their clients and also deduct commission on each transaction. Various accounts are offered in this respect by the brokers. High end accounts are usually expensive and have a minimum balance requirement. The low end accounts can be opened at will and may not require minimum balance requirement.

No Investment Option is a Magic Bullet

All investment advisers and analysts are facing a rough time addressing their audience — be it a paying clients or just media viewers and readers. 
Nothing seems to be working any more. Equity investments haven't made any progress upwards for close to six years. At the present, bonds have also turned volatile. Fixed Deposits earn nothing much when compared to inflation. The time of gold too seems to have past. Far too many individuals have their cash trapped in real estate where the asset value isn't appreciating and interest rates are starting to bite.
If convention was to be followed, then at some point in this post, you would be expecting me to come up with some form advice, some arithmetic, algorithm or formula that I would claim enables you to evade the crisis in investing and earn some decent returns. Unfortunately, no such magic bullet exists here or anywhere. As the popular joke goes, “it’s like this only”. Remember, I’m not being pessimistic here!!
Proper management of your investments, at the end of the day, only works where you have a distribution between good investment options and bad ones. The job of portfolio management then comes to avoiding bad investment options.

Depending on circumstances, there may be few good investment options or there may be more, or there may be those options with a high degree of uncertainty. However, nowadays, we don't really have a scenario where there are any investment options that you can call good with any degree of certainty. The reality is that, in every part of the economy, the chickens are coming home to roost.

So if you are looking for an investment option that will definitely beat inflation and give you some respectable return on your investment while performing as you would reasonably anticipate, then there's none. It's a matter of keeping the faith and believing hard that things have always got better in the past and so they will this time round.

Stay Wise to Invest in Stock

Investment is of utmost important in anyone’s life. There are simple rules which can make a person financially strong in his life. Just earning is not enough. After the hard work and time spent, money is earned. The proper utilization of the money earned is mandatory. Every person allocates some part of his earning as savings. Here the question arises- Is that enough? If you save money then are you doing enough to make your future secure.
To tell you the answer is NO. Apart from savings, it is essential to invest the savings at proper place and at proper time. The proper investment of savings helps in growing your money. Investment should be done with great caution. A wise decision can make your money grow. But a wrong decision can deplete your capital. There are many options available for investments. Some of which are fixed deposits, real estate, jewellery and not to forget stock market.

Coming to risk and reward ratio, investments in fixed deposits are always safe but provides with low return. Gold jewellery is always a part of portfolio. It is the most traditional form of investment. The most aggressively used form of investments is investing in stock markets but how to invest in stocks. In stock market most of the times investment turns into speculation. Instead of making money, people lose their capital. So what is the right way to invest in stock market?

Stock market is the game of demand and supply. If demand is more than supply, price goes up and vice versa. The basic things to be kept in mind while investing in stock market are- • Decide the time period for which you want to invest. Are you a long term investor or a short term trader? • Keep the blue chips stocks in your portfolio. The blue chips companies provides with better returns. Moreover they keep on giving dividends time to time. • Stay invested for a wise period. Know what your targets are. Also keep strict stop loss on the stock bought. It is said that delivery should be bought and forgotten. NO. Even in long term investments stop loss should be maintained. • Opt for a right broker. He should be able to guide you in right stocks. The brokerage charged should be minimal. • Thus, these are the simple tips on how to invest in stocks. Trade with discipline. It is the key which ensures that your investment turns into profit or loss.

Related Articles - Investing in stocksHowtoinvestinstocks

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How to Select an Apt Mutual Fund Investment Option

With the increasing popularity of mutual fund investments, it is obvious for more and more people to involve in creating wealth with mutual funds. However, the most important aspect of investing through mutual funds is selecting the apt scheme that would suit your financial goals and timely needs. An investor should be aware of the parameters which determine the selection of mutual funds, as the same would help him meet his financial goals.

Most importantly, study and comprehend the various types of mutual fund investment schemes available in the market and analyse their risk-return pattern, limitations and options, objectives and strategies. As soon as you understand each and every kind of mutual fund scheme, it would help you in the selection process. The same is required for assessing your personal finances and your stage of financial goals.

The first thing to consider is the investment objective and the risk-bearing capacities of the mutual fund. Make sure that the investment objectives of the chosen mutual fund should match your financial objectives and goals. Investment objectives generally include aspects like tax planning, high returns, fixed income, long term planning etc.; and you as an investor should make sure to buy a mutual fund which is in sync with your timely financial goals and needs.

Next, purchase a mutual fund which would be in accordance with your risk tolerance capabilities. If you are a beginner, it is advisable to invest in safer and low-yielding mutual fund options like debt funds with regular income which come with low risk and low return objective. However, in case you have gained expertise and foresight about mutual fund investments, you can select high return and high risk schemes like equity funds, which are also tax-efficient.

On the other hand, if you are aiming at long-term capital appreciation, close-ended equity funds can suit your needs. Based on the state of your personal finances and future goals and objectives, you should assess your risk-tolerance level and accordingly invest in the specific kind of mutual funds. For low-risk investors, it is best to go for government-aided securities or high-rated debt papers; medium-risk takers can opt for balanced funds, index funds and asset allocation funds, whereas the high-risk bearers can choose diversified and specialized equity funds, mid-cap funds and offshore funds.

Another factor which should be considered before selecting a particular mutual fund scheme is its past performance in comparison to its competitors or other similar funds. However, make sure that you are comparing 2 or more funds in the same category. Another deciding factor should be the efficiency of the fund management team, the skill and expertise of the fund manager and the quality of fund management. You can find about them by weighing the performance of the mutual funds managed by the fund manager. Apart from that, the size and the expense ratio of mutual fund can also play a deciding role in helping the investor to select an apt and profitable mutual fund scheme.

Want to be a Millionaire? Follow the YAWN Philosophy

Most of us want to be millionaires. And if we can be one while we are young, it's a double whammy! After all, the best time to enjoy our wealth is while we are young and healthy. In the process of chasing wealth, if we run out of time, the "millionaire" tag is not that attractive, isn't it? Well the last time we checked, we found that we still can't take our money with us :).

The next obvious question is the feasibility of such a proposition. Current times have produced a bunch of young and wealthy millionaires. The Sunday Telegraph of London has given them a name, YAWN - Young And Wealthy but Normal.

YAWNs are twenty and thirty something millionaires who prefer to live quietly outside the spotlight. They are modest, environmentally conscious, do not like excess and give back to their communities. In a nutshell they are wealthy, frugal and socially aware. Sounds too good to be true? Here is a case study:

Rik Wehbring - He is in his late thirties and lives in San Francisco. Rik is a dot-com millionaire who made his wealth working for several Internet startups. The frugal part of the YAWN philosophy is demonstrated by the fact that he gets by on $50,000 a year. That indeed is a feat considering the fact that San Fransisco is one of the costliest cities to live in US. Rik is a self proclaimed frugal guy who does not need a lot of material possessions. He does not have a TV, listens to music on a $20 MP3 player and drives a gas-thrifty and environment friendly Toyota Prius.

Now let us explore the basic tenets of the YAWN philosophy. There are three of them. Most of us are already familiar with them. All we need to do is to implement them to reap their benefits.

  1. Live Below Your Means: This principle is one of the simplest ones. All of us know it yet we have a hard time putting it into practice. A one liner that sums it up is "Don't spend money that you don't have."
  2. Buy Stuff That You Need: We need a subtle awareness to identify the difference between our needs and wants to put this tenet into practice. Sometimes the line is thin but if we are really keen our conscience and perseverance do help us. All of us know that unnecessary stuff sitting around our homes is of no good to anybody. We'd rather invest our money, spent on unnecessary stuff, to earn interest for us. If we make our money work hard for us, we can take it easy by retiring early :).
  3. Help Others By Giving Back: Given a choice we'd all like to leave the world a better place for our next generations. We can put this concept into practice by lending a helping hand to those in need. It not only aids our community but also leaves us with a generous heart and sense of fulfillment. After all, many hands do make a miracle.

    From experience we know that serving our community is extremely rewarding. And for those of us who are still wondering of what good is giving away wealth for charitable causes, here is the answer: It gives us good karma. Put simply it means, what goes around comes around. And to that end, we leave you with a quote worth contemplating:
"We make a living by what we earn, we make a life by what we give.Winston Churchill"

Adapted From: Fire Finance

Are You Brain Dead, Finance Wise?

Being brain dead means "being locked in habitual thinking patterns". You wake up everyday go to work come back bathe, eat and sleep or you are the jobless guy who wake up every dawn to drop his CVs at different offices. You follow this routine day in day out but to your surprise nothing much changes in your life and it is not going to change soon.
The morning of April, 9th 2013, will remain edged into the memories of many Kenyans who thronged Moi international Sports Centre to celebrate the inauguration of Kenya's fourth President. As one of the people who witnessed the events of that,  from my sofa set branch, I can't fail to notice the number of small traders who swamped the ceremony with all manner of merchandise from as early as 6 a.m. They sold national flags, framed photos of the new president, white hats to screen out the scorching sun, key holders, drinks, snacks, name it. The sad truth is I did not participate in the thoroughfare right in my neighbourhood. I was brain dead to the opportunity.

What should we do to develop awareness? First, it is not that we are dumb, we are just not aware because our past experience get in the way. Our brain is an incredible thing, an awesome, untapped resource. It can store an almost  infinite amount of information. you can learn a dozen languages, get eight doctorate degrees, memorize the entire encyclopaedia from A to Z and still only use a tenth of your brain potential. The brain runs your respiratory, digestion, cell growth, hormonal level - virtually your entire body -  and you are not even aware of it.

The good news is that you don't need to be aware for your brain to do what it does. There is however one thing the brain is good at and that is filtering of non-essential information and ignoring it. The filtering is mostly based on your past experiences. The advice is that we must seek out new experiences to start spotting opportunities. To develop business awareness we should go for trade shows, attend exhibitions, travel abroad or read trade magazines to build your experience and orient our thinking in the selected areas of interest.

Secondly, we should look out for new trends, fads or fashions in order to position ourselves to take advantage of these new business opportunities. It might help to look at the classified section of the daily newspaper for quick start offers to start you off - watch for conmen though. Thirdly, it will be helpful to find business mentors or simply join a new someone currently running a successful business. Be pragmatic about how you stay alert and aware of your environments. Do not just follow laid schedules; think, plan your day and always look for new opportunities.

Financial Planning is Absolutely Crucial for a Healthy Credit Profile

Though we say that things do not happen the way we think and plan, but some planning is definitely needed while walking the path of life. Finance is a hard topic not only to understand, but to deal with. Everyday lifestyle has blatantly put up the picture that our expenses are difficult to cut down, we only make resolutions to save, which does not see a tomorrow. If you are failing to save your hard-earned money, you can take the high-quality financial planningservices of the firms that promise to protect you from the trying situations in future. Whether it is health plans, life insurance, real estate investment or putting in your money capped with the expectation to have higher returns, a professional financial planner can just prove indispensible.

Why your Credit Profile is Important?
Your credit history is the reflection of how you have dealt with your finances. If your expenditure catapults more than you earn, your credit profile got to be affected as you run into debts. It is not only luxury lifestyle that lands you up in a mess, often the unavoidable circumstances make you to suffer from debts in the market zone. So in order to get into the good books of the banks that can pull you through when you are in a monetary rut, plan up things accordingly. Based on your income, these experts can make your to come clean from outstanding dues. You can maintain your normal life, while you also save at the same time via effective financial planning.

The Snail-Like Global Economic Recovery
The post-recession phase has brought in more challenges than one when you are facing life. The dearth of cash flow in the hands of the people has made them to spend sleepless nights thinking only of money. So why take so much stress when the top companies offering their financial planning services are there to help? Browse through the different kinds of economic planning services that they have to offer. You can shape your credit profile in the right way with quality professional assistance.

So let your credit profile breathe trust! Why let suspicion prevail when you are having the best economic planner around enabling you to take the best investment decisions and plan your life. When you have confidence in yourself, then abiding by the investment advice and guidance of the financial planning experts becomes easier. A top online company will not drain you to offer their best services. 
Check here for financial planning. A top online company will not drain you to offer their best services. For more infromation Check out here.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Choosing the Right Forex Signal Provider

Forex signal services are kind of teaching services which can be obtained by a professional person in forex trading to the new baby in this market on how to calculate and guess the foreign exchange market. Beginners before entering this market need the help of such signals otherwise they will have to send hours watching their screen.

The most important function of forex signals is to support people in forex trade to either buy or sell currency pairs profitably, they provide trader with the relevant information on how to enter and exit the market. This is the important move in trading and all the traders will understand it only after they enter the market. There are forex signal services can be approached for free and there are services which cost you certain amount of fees. It is advisable to get trained on how to use these signals before subscribing to these services.

Using these trade signals for trading is a common practice among traders, if the trader wants to make use of such signals then he has to make sure that they reach him in time before the trading starts. The main motto of subscribing to these signal service is to increase of improved trades or else you might miss them altogether, generally all the traders want to receive these signals through email, desktop alert or text messages. It is recommended that before paying money you examine the services, and of course it would be a demo account that will help you in trying the quality of the trade signals you will receive. Thereafter if you find the outcome of these signals is good enough, then they can be introduced to your regular trading account.

In addition to this timing oftrading signals is the other factor to bear in mind, the signals will be of no use if their time span is small, till you understand it the trade will almost get completed.The signals which can be considered the best are the ones which are received with longer time length. You should subscribe for a signal service provider that provides the information which suits your time zone and life style.

Needless to say that all of you should be careful of the trading signal services which are fraud, this can be the fact even for free signal providers. Even though you have subscribed for these services it is best to trust your sixth sense. Never your own experience will teach you how to use the filtered information which comes to you

Salary Negotiations Tips: How to Cash Your Worth

Salary Negotiation might be the last step before you successfully start your new job. This may sound simple but it is actually very crucial. You got the interview call, did very-well at the interview, and you were finally offered the job. But at a salary package less than your expectations? Don't just rush into any decision you might have to regret later.  The best deal is to go prepared for such situations.

Your salary is actually a reflection of your market value and it is no sin to negotiate for your actual worth. The company has spent its valuable time to select you after all the interview processes, so the company is obviously interested in you. But settling down on something below your worth is not the start you wanted. Salary negotiation is an art to offer your services on the basis of your skills, expertise, knowledge and special talents but at the same time you must convince your future employer to get it at your actual worth.  Here are a few important points to mull over while you negotiate on the offered salary package.

What is the Right Time to Negotiate?

You are generally offered a salary package in the later rounds of the interview process. Wait till you get a formal offer, preferably in writing, or told in straight words that you are being hired. Rushing into a salary related discussion before this point can sweep away your chances of being hired.

Research to Know Your Market Value

A detailed research to calculate your market value for your skills and knowledge, along with "concrete data" that supports your demand for a better compensation, will actually help the employer in making the final decision.  Concrete data, here, may mean your past experiences, hands-on experience on some effective tools, accomplishments with exact examples etc.  The better you know your industry and work field, the better you can negotiate for a good salary. Just because one of your friends ended up landing a job in another company on a similar post at a higher salary, is not good enough a reason to support your demand for salary reassessment.

Follow the Good Body Language Tips

Show genuine excitement for the new job and the position offered. Let the employer realize he might be losing a sincere employee just because of lesser compensation offered. It is just a negotiation process, not a confrontation! Keep yourself clam and composed. A friendly smile during the negotiation process can make your future employer surprisingly receptive. Your posture, eye contact, hand gestures, and confidence will only make the environment more favourable for you.

Make the Best of Your Opportunity

You should always ask for something a little higher than your expectations. The employer is likely to negotiate a bit from his side too to settle down on a mutually convincing salary package. Disappointment may follow if you ask for something and the employer quickly agrees to it. But at the same time do not aim too high that makes you look greedy and arrogant in the eyes of your future employer. A good research of your industry ahead of time can actually help you in settling up at just the right compensation for your skills. Convey them that a bit of extra responsibility for a higher salary is also not a problem for you.

Be Ready with the Back-up Options

There may be a cap on the salary range they can offer you according to your experience level and this might lead to a bad ending to you salary negotiation session. If you could sense that the negotiation meeting is not going your way, always be ready with a back-up option. You should be prepared to ask for additional benefits like conveyance support, better pension scheme, flexible working hours or extra paid leaves. Such benefits can make a big difference as well.

Last but not the least - be ready to walk out of the room if they still don't have anything to offer that suits your worth. They may offer you what you want if they realize that you don't want it desperately. Or maybe they won't ever call you again once you walk out. Be prepared for that. It's upto you to decide whether you want to settle down with a job paying less than your expectations or be brave enough to walk out and search out a new job opportunity for yourself.

How To Increase Your Chances Of Getting Hired

In trying to get a job, the person that you are going to impress, aside from your would-be boss, would be those who are in the Human Resources Department. They are the ones who also have a say with regards to employment and admission of new employees. So, how do you impress these people? There are a few things that you should keep in mind if you are interested in being employed quickly. Know what you want for a job. If you are a graduate of a field that can cater to a lot of different types of jobs, you should choose the one type which you think will be the perfect fit for you. Determine the one which you see as a lifetime opportunity for you to grow and develop yourself with. The factors that you can consider in choosing the specific area of work can be based simply on your personal preferences or it can be based on heavier decisions that you had to make with regards your life. The next thing that you should remember is that the resume is more than just a paper with text on it. That piece of paper will determine your fate in getting a job. You should put great emphasis on the contents of your resume. The completeness is a crucial part. You should include all of your accomplishments and all your qualifications which you think are related to the job that you are applying for. Making a resume impressive can be quite hard if you have to do all the work by yourself. This is the main reason why there are people who can help you with this problem. They are called resume writers from different resume writing services. If you have a little amount to spare, you can employ the services of these people. They can greatly help you with making your resume more interesting. Your career objectives can be set straight and you will have a definite direction that you want to tread. In other words, resume writers do not only make you good or even excellent resumes, they will also help you understand and discover the skills that you need to develop in increasing your chances of getting hired. If you have already come up with a resume, you are now ready to go to the next step of the application process. This will be the actual job hunting as you will be passing the formed resumes to probable employers. You should remember that passing one or two resumes is never enough. You should broaden your possibilities and hand out a lot of resumes to a number of different companies. This way, you get to receive employment possibilities at a faster rate. And when that day of interview comes, you should be at your best. Take note that the five minutes that you spend on that interview will be a make or break moment for you. It is not embarrassing to practice your lines and answers. Actually, it is even recommended that you do so.

How to Evaluate a Job Offer

Your CV got you in the door for an interview, where you were a smash hit with the hiring manager, and just as impressive with a group of would-be co-workers in the second interview. And today you get a call for a job offer and you are very excited and thrilled that your search is over. You’ll agree to just about anything because the thought of going on one more informational interview or combing the job interview sites makes you want to cry.
When you receive a job offer, it’s important to take the time to carefully evaluate the offer so you are making an informed decision to accept, or to reject, the offer. The last thing you want to do is to make a hasty decision that you will regret later on. Consider the entire compensation package – salary, benefits, perks, work environment – not just your pay-check. Weigh the pros and cons and take some time to mull over the offer. It is perfectly acceptable to ask the employer for some time to think it over.
1. Money Matters- Everyone looks at this first and rightfully so. This is your take-home every month and is the bulk of your compensation. Is the offer what you expected? If not, is it a salary you can accept without feeling insulted? Will you be able to pay your bills? If your answer is no, then don’t accept the offer, at least right away. Make sure that you are getting paid what you’re worth and you are happy with the compensation. Nobody wants to be in a position where they realize that the salary isn’t enough – after they have accepted the job offer. If the compensation package isn’t what you expected, consider negotiating salary with your future employer.
2. Benefits and Perks- Find out what benefits are offered on top of the salary. If you’re not sure about the benefits that are offered, ask for additional information or clarification. The benefit package is part of your overall compensation and it is as important as what you get in your paycheck. Find out details on health and life insurance coverage, vacation, sick time, disability, and other benefit programs. Inquire about how much of the benefits costs are provided by the company, in full, and how much you are expected to contribute. If there are a variety of options available, request copies of the plan descriptions so you can compare benefit packages.
3. Company Culture- Culture is one of the most critical factors in my opinion. You want to make reasonably sure that you’re a good fit within the organization’s existing culture or else it’s only a matter of time before you’re unhappy and back to the job hunt again. It is also important to feel comfortable in the environment that you are going to be working in. One candidate for a hospitality job realized that there was no way she could accept it, despite the decent salary, when she was told she had to ask permission to use the restroom. Ask if you can spend sometime in the office, talking to potential co-workers and supervisors, if you’re not sure that the work environment and culture are a good fit.
4. Growth Opportunities- Availability of room for progress is another important aspect that cannot be ignored. There is no point considering a company that does not offer room for your professional growth. The training opportunities available within a company should also be given careful consideration, as these are often key influences of your career path. Also, for starters, consider if there is potential to move up within the organization to your ideal position. Can you be content in the job until there’s the opportunity to move into your dream job? If  it an organization where you would love to work, then it might just be worth taking a chance and accepting the position.
5. Hours and Travel – Make sure that you are clear on the hours and schedule you need to work before accepting a job. With some jobs requiring travelling multiple weeks in a row, confirm what, if any, travel is involved. If the position requires 45 hours of work a week and you’re used to working 35 hours, consider whether you will have difficulty committing to the schedule. If the nature of the job requires that you will need to be on the road three days a week, be sure that you can commit to that, as well. Also, consider travel time to and from work. Is the commute going to take an extra hour or will there be parking fees you’re not paying now?
6. Your Personal Circumstances- The bottom line in accepting a job offer, is that there really isn't one. Everyone has a different set of personal circumstances. What might be the perfect job for you could be an awful job for someone else. Take the time to review the pros and cons. making a list is always helpful. Also, listen to your gut – if it’s telling you not to take the job, there just might be something there. Keep in mind, that if this isn't the right job for you, it’s not the end of the world. The next offer might just be that perfect match.
It’s much easier to turn down an offer than it is to leave a job that you have already started. The employer would prefer that you decline, rather than having to start over the hiring process a couple of weeks down the road if you don’t work out. So, do take the time to thoroughly evaluate the offer. When interviewing for jobs, do not only focus on what the organization or hiring manager thinks of you. It is equally important to evaluate what you think of the organization. And it’s even more important when they've offered you the position, and now it’s time to decide whether or not to accept it. Take the time you need to make an educated, informed decision so you feel as sure as possible that you, and the company, have made an excellent match.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

4 Things To Do When You Can’t Quit A Job That Makes You Miserable

What do you do when you do not like your job and you can’t just say you quit because let’s face it, you have bills to pay…the rent, school fees, you just received a HELB message asking you to pay up your debt…argh!
Maybe you have a young family which looks up to you for up keep so you know the kind of trouble you will be bringing upon yourself and your household if you ever decided the hell with this gig.
You know the common phrase “If you don’t like your job quit”? Yea right….That only happens in movies where one quits their miserable jobs andvoila… before you know it they have a job they love and they end up living happily ever after.
You might after all be delirious to think that scenario would play out in Kenya especially if you do not have a well laid out plan of how you are going to get your ‘happily ever after job’ and prove critics wrong.
In the meantime you might want to cool your heels and be glad that you have a job to hate or as we like to say ‘Furahia ata una kazi’.
But  surely you can’t go on being miserable day in day out…Sitting in a traffic jam along Waiyaki Way or the notorious Mombasa road from Monday to Friday with a dark cloud hanging over your head because of the dread that comes with reporting to work.
I am no doctor but I do know that’s no healthy way to live…so, how does your job move from miserable to tolerable and maybe even to lovable?
Here are 4 ways of how you can make that transformation.
1.Find Out What Makes You Loathe That Job
The point of this is to find balance between the positive and the negative. There’s got to be something that just gets you going nuts…something that keeps you awake at ungodly hours thinking if only you could do away with it you would be a happy Kenyan.
Is your problem the work itself? Or do you feel overwhelmed, because you just have too much of it to do? Maybe you work for a difficult boss?
Well, as much as you would like to do away with your boss, there’s nothing much you can do about it…or maybe there is… (I am mostly kidding) Or perhaps you don’t like your commute or the working environment? It’s important to identify the source of your frustration, so you can work on a plan to change this.
While you are making that list of negatives, there’s got to be something you love about that job  and don’t say nothing….Try to find something positive, even if it’s just the neighborhood you work in or the view from your window…for your sake I am hoping there’s something good.
2. Be thankful you are employed.
Yes you read that right…you might snort if you want but you will be surprised by the number of people who would jump at the chance of having your job even with reduced benefits they will take it just to leave the jobless corner.  You might not like your job, but being unemployed would likely be worse especially in this Kenyan economy.
So yeah, gratitude could work miracles in fighting those frustrations.
3. Find someone to talk to.
I am not talking about finding someone who will listen to you complain like your buddies who are probably going through the same ordeal.  While it might be therapeutic, this won’t help you or them. It will only make both of you miserable. Instead, you need an empathetic, non-judgmental friend—a mentor, perhaps—who will hear you out and help you objectify the problem so you can address it constructively.
4. Suck it Up.
Who said it was going to be easy?  The truth is that work is hard. (That’s why they call it “work.”) Even at it’s best, there are going to be difficult days. When you are going to face frustrations, setbacks, and even failure…. Don’t be surprised; accept the bad with the good.
While the idea of quitting beckons at you each day as you listen to Maina and Kingang’i in the morning on your way to your dull job and wishing you had their cool job…don’t quit unless you have a second plan of how you are going to make ends meet if you decide to say enough is enough.

Caroline Mutoko’s Lessons About First Jobs & Money Mistakes She Made

While in campus, Caroline worked as a waitress in several restaurants among them Tratorria located at the Nairobi Central Business District.
“I have worked most of my adult life. I have always had money in my pocket. I don’t know what it is to be broke!” she says. Her hard work at Capital FM paid off when she was employed after working pro bono for six months. She worked at Capital FM for four years before moving to Kiss 100 where she has been at for the last 10 years.
Lessons about money…
You get your first job and you want to dress like or out-dress the lady who has worked longer than you and has a bigger pay cheque. You want to drive a better car than her and live in an upmarket address just to impress your friends. Don’t do it. When you start working, get in debt and try keeping up with the trends, you are not just wasting money, but your time and energy. No one cares and it saps your creative juices and stops you from focusing on the things that really matter and ultimately you get burnt.
I have made many money mistakes. I should have bought less shoes and more land/property. I also wish I had lived beneath my means. I am doing that now and I can’t believe how much money I wasted on the “so-called-finer” more useless things. I wish I had learnt to automate my savings – there was a time when I relied on willpower. I wish I had spent more time with the crowd that was sensible rather than with the “in” crowd that was wasting time and money. I wish I knew then that you don’t have to wait to be a certain age to dream or think a certain way or do smart things like investing. In our 20′s we have the illusion that “there is still time” no! the time is now.
Story By: Murugi Ndwiga
{From Management Magazine}

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ten ideas about money management that every graduate should know

When you get out of the college, you suddenly find that you can't make ends meet. You can neither get food as cheap as the school's canteen nor live a year with about 1,000 dollars. You can't support yourself with your hard-working earnings. Here are ten ideas about money management which can help you know more about your money.

1. Don't make career decisions based on dollar amounts. Think big picture. If you're offered X dollars in New Nairobi City, it's not the same as the same amount in Kisumu City. You have to evaluate what you want out of your career and what the benefits are of those decisions. When evaluating job offers, know the difference between benefits and perks.

2. Figure out how much you will need up front to move and start your life. Apartment rentals require deposits, as do some utility companies. You may need a moving van, and you may have to wait four weeks for a first paycheck. You have to figure out what you'll need to live on before that first paycheck.

3. Know what your take-home pay is--it's not as much as you think. You can't start fashioning a budget without knowing what you have to work with. A paycheck and the dollars into your hand are not the same thing. You and the married guy next door with three kids will not get the same check for the same salary.

4. Be realistic about your expenses and essentials. It's time to grapple with expenses like transportation, health care, food, entertainment and incidentals. Plan everything. Many students expect to live on $50 a week for food. You will not live on rice and beans. You will go to the deli. You will buy coffee. You don't have to deprive yourself. Just be realistic. I don't care if you get a pet snake. Just know how much it costs.
5. Understand cash flow. Find out not only exactly how much you'll be paid, but also precisely when, and when your bills will arrive.

6. Keep an emergency account. Bad things happen, and they will happen to you. You'll be sick. You'll be hurt. Life will happen to you the same ways it does to everyone else. Be prepared mentally and financially for this reality.

7. Know when to use a debit card or credit card. Credit cards are safer from theft than debit cards, and paying off a credit card every month will help a young person build a credit history and, hopefully, a good credit score. However, for routine purchases like going out to eat, buying gasoline or going to a movie, students should use a debit card. It will protect you from the typical 'I spent how much this month?' experience. Credit cards should be for major, significant purchases.

8. Get renter's insurance. Look carefully at the insurance options provided by your employer. For example, everyone needs worker's compensation insurance. Financially protect yourself from a roommate who might run off to Puerto Rico with a security deposit or legal agreement.

9. Begin contributing immediately to a Retirement benefit account (your IRA). Even if you start off slow and modest, it will make a huge difference. You may miss the $50 or so you put aside out of each paycheck, but it will grow and grow and save you from panic later.

10. Don't be afraid to invest. A savings account is a risky investment, because it means you're betting that there won't be inflation. Diversify, diversify, diversify.