Category Archives: Personal Finance

4 Steps to Take Before Quitting Your Current Job

Had a bad day at work? Or maybe it’s more than that? Is your boss demanding and hard to please? Are your coworkers toxic? And are expectations unrealistic? Being in a job that brings you stress can be damaging to your mental, emotional, and physical health. But before cutting ties and making a dramatic exit, make sure a couple things are in order first. If you are strategic about your exit plan, you can keep the negative fall out to your career minimal.

Here are a couple actions to take before you put in your notice:

  1. Get your cover letter in order

It’s the rare circumstance when it is better to quit your job without another job lined up. For most of us, this means taking a look around and seeing what else is out there. Putting together a killer cover letter is at the top of your list of priorities. If writing is not one of your strengths, modify online cover letter examples and adapt one as needed.

Beyond work experience, top-tier employers want to see a cover letter that gives them insight into your character. They want to know that you are worth the salary you are asking for to perform the role. Onboarding a new recruit is an investment of time and money for the person hiring you. Your cover letter gets you through the door and gives you an opportunity for a face-to-face interview.

  1. Update your resume

Your last resume got you your present job. What will you need to showcase to get your next big break? What is lacking from your current resume that would make you a company’s top choice? Pinpoint what is lacking and consider how to include it in a new resume. This might mean you need to devote some evenings to taking online certification courses or other training. It absolutely means that you learn how to phrase your resume to showcase what you have accomplished in your career. For example, not only the positions you have held, but the ways in which your work has paid off for the company. There are other dos and don’ts involved in figuring out how to present your work experience in the best way so study up to write the best resume possible.

The most important thing you should know? Don’t quit your current job until you have a solid, updated resume ready for use.

  1. Spend more time on LinkedIn

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If not, here is another action to take before you hightail it from your current job. LinkedIn is where recruiters conduct searches for candidates to fill open roles. If you are just starting out, it might take time for you to grow your network. Keep in mind, the  more people you connect with on this platform, the better your chances of finding your next job opportunity.

In a fascinating study based on LinkedIn data, researchers found that “weak connections” are key to finding new jobs. This is a term for people who you do not know directly, but who someone you know is in touch with. Job referrals often come from connections that are twice removed, or sometimes even three times removed.

  1. Practice strategic thinking

Can you pinpoint why your current job is making you unhappy? If not, it might be worthwhile to figure this out. Not digging down and finding out the why could lead you to making the same mistakes when choosing your next job. Of course, don’t only focus on the negatives of what you don’t want. Write out what you do want, as well. Get very clear on what your dream job looks like and you will be able to recognize it more easily when the opportunity comes knocking.

Ideal jobs come in many different forms, and the size of your paycheck is not the only thing that matters. You might desire more flexibility in where you work. Or the ability to take unlimited vacation days. Perhaps you desire a more clear ladder for advancement within a company. Depending on your personal life goals, your criteria for choosing a job will be different from the next person’s. This is fine. What matters, however, is identifying that criteria. You do this by figuring out and writing down what matters to you, what you can compromise on, and what you won’t.

Make sure you do these four things before quitting your job. These actions will help smooth the transition and make sure your next move is up not down.

5 Ways to Control Monthly Expenses

Who has ever said, “Why, no, I don’t need to save a few bucks every month?” Saving money often requires sacrifice, but the idea that saving is difficult couldn’t be further from the truth. You may have to cut back on a few expenses, but watching your debt shrink and your savings account build is worth it.

Have a Light Bulb of an Idea

light bulb
Image via Flickr by wuestenigel

Do you have an idea so good that it’s like a cartoon light bulb goes off in your head? Consider this thought: The light bulb is the great idea. Changing the bulbs you use in all the fixtures throughout your house probably doesn’t seem like a money-saving idea. If anything, buying new light bulbs for all the overhead lights and lamps in your home is a costly expense.

Over time, incandescent bulbs are more expensive. They use more energy and more electricity, and so they also use energy at a faster rate. As a result, they tend to burn out faster, which causes you to replace them more often. Who needs that hassle? While LED lights cost more initially, you won’t need to replace them as often as you do incandescent bulbs. The LEDs don’t use as many kilowatts either, saving you $100 or more over the lifespan of the LED lights.

Add or Subtract 5 Degrees

You may believe you can do little to save money on heating and cooling that doesn’t involve buying an expensive new HVAC system. However, all you need to do is to adjust the temperatures on the thermostat during the summer and winter seasons.

How cool do you keep your house during the summer? If you keep your thermostat set at 68 degrees, take the temperature up to 73 degrees and observe how the house feels. As long as everyone in the home is cool enough, you don’t have a reason to turn the thermostat lower. During the winter, lower the temperatures by 5 degrees.  By doing so, you should save at least $100 every year.

Pare Down Your Phone Plan

phone plan
Image via Flickr by pabak sarkar

Nearly everyone who owns a mobile phone can waste a certain amount of money every month, whether it’s on data, apps, or contracts. Getting locked into a contract can quickly consume your monthly expenses. Switching over to prepaid phone plans from a provider such as T-Mobile, for example, puts you in control. With a deal like this one, you can use T-Mobile’s reliable nationwide 4G LTE network for your communications. However, you can choose unlimited data, multiple lines, or pay-as-you-go plans that allow you to add text, data, and storage as needed.

In addition to cutting down on your monthly payouts, using a prepaid phone plan can also help you to create a monthly budget. You no longer have to carve out a significant chunk of cash to take care of your cell phone bill each month. You also won’t have to worry about overage charges either.

Whittle Down Your Debt

Debt can swallow up your savings each time you get ahead. Use the money you save to battle it as much as possible. Follow the debt avalanche method, which advises paying the minimum payments on all credit cards and other debts while paying extra on the card that has the highest interest. With the snowball method of debt reduction, everything extra goes toward your smallest debt.

Improve Your Grocery Shopping Game

grocery cart
Image via Flickr by eddie.welker

Food is a necessity, but it costs a great deal of money, too. Every Sunday, sit down to put together a meal plan. Make a menu for each day of the upcoming week. Include plans for leftovers, such as eating the same meal twice, making something new from a previous meal, or taking your leftovers for lunch. Once you know what you want to buy, you can save money in two ways: Make a list and follow it to the item, and use what coupons you can.

Everyone wants to make the most of budgets, so share your tricks. How do you cut down on monthly costs?


What are the Basic Steps Towards a Career as a Stockbroker

A stockbroker is someone who manages other people’s money. He or she does this by suggesting investments and also selling or monitoring the same on behalf of the individuals. This field is very competitive and is best for people who can work under stress and pressure. If you can handle the environment, then you are bound to make a kill every time just handling other people’s money.

Educational Requirements:

To become a stockbroker, you will require a Bachelor’s degree in finance. It can also be a degree in accounting, business or anything that has a financial background to it. You also ought to have effective communication skills. If you have worked in sales, you will find stock broking easy to handle.

Licensure Requirements:

Besides the college degree, you have to pass certain exams. The exams will depend on what you want to handle. The most common include series 6 license known as Limited Investment Securities license. The exam will allow you to sell variable annuities, mutual funds and unit trusts among other investment choices. The series 7 license will give you the title stockbroker. It will allow you to sell securities including bonds, stocks and income investments that are fixed among others. It is considered to be the biggest exam in stock broking taking 6 hours to complete. And then, there is the series 63 license also referred to as Uniform Securities Agent license.

Work Environment:

As a stockbroker, you will be working in brokerage firms. They can differ in what they offer. You can, therefore, decide to go into full-service firms, bank brokers or discount brokerages depending on what your individual preferences are. Fortunately, major cities will have brokerages. You also require being prepared to work during hours that markets remain open depending on where you are and what you are handling.

The Earnings:

Your earnings as a stockbroker will largely depend on the economic status, your dedication, and persistence in making every minute count as you work. Some stock brokers make hundreds of dollars every year. It might not be as easy during your first years working. As you gain more experience, however, hard work will pay dividends.

Personal Attitude and Strengths:

Selling securities can be a tedious thing to try. You must be a person who knows how to convince clients to buy. Including those that are ever so afraid of taking risks. It is a job that works best for people who enjoy the art of persuasion and those with interpersonal skills that are excellent. Without these traits, you will find it very hard to make it in the stock brokerage field.

You might find that the stock broker education requirements differ from place to place. You can start by finding out what are the requirements within your locality or country. That way, you will know exactly from which point to start to make your way into the career path that you have chosen.

As a stockbroker, you would advise your clients according to your expertise and tell them how they can gain the most out of each stock they purchase. It is your analytical skills and your knowledge of the stock market that would decide if they made the right investment or not. Your credentials are banked on the accuracy of the forecasts that you make. It would be in the best interest of your customer if your focus is not on the commission you earn from each of his transactions, but how much he gains regardless of how much you might lose. Your career will significantly rely on the integrity you maintain, and the trust you gain from your customers since their decisions depends on the information and the advice you give.