advice http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/277/all en-US 11 Ways College Grads Can Get Ahead in the Job Hunt http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-college-grads-can-get-ahead-in-the-job-hunt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-ways-college-grads-can-get-ahead-in-the-job-hunt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-476073295.jpg" alt="College grad learning how to get ahead on the job hunt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's a dog-eat-dog post-college world out there for new grads. It was when I graduated in 2003, and I hear the same grumblings today from next-gens looking for work.</p> <p>While I can't promise that any of my advice will get you hired, I can ensure that it'll at least help you get your professional endeavors off on the right foot. As such, consider these ways to get ahead in the job hunt.</p> <h2>1. Explore entrepreneurship while you're still in school</h2> <p>Entrepreneurship isn't for everyone, but I do recommend it to everyone. I started my first business while I was still in college, which eventually evolved into a successful media business. That has, in turn, provided me with the financial and recreational freedom to pursue other interests and revenue streams.</p> <p>More than that, though, trying to become your own boss at a young(ish) age, even if you don't quite know what you're doing yet, will never be considered a failure. At the very least, you'll gain skills than can help you in future prospects, learn how to interact with customers, and make connections networking with other professionals. This will give you a major edge over your contemporaries.</p> <h2>2. Volunteer to enhance work ethic and build references</h2> <p>Volunteering, especially right after college, looks great on a resume because it lets an employer know that you're committed to a cause. It's not just about listing the noble charities to which you've given your time, but rather how you turned these opportunities into in-the-field, ethic-building ventures. The experience will undoubtedly help you make contacts and build references who will sing your praises when called upon. Of course, seeing the world, meeting and helping people, and gaining a sense of purpose and self are pretty cool, too.</p> <h2>3. Pursue internships to gain industry experience</h2> <p>I held two internships at a time in college because I knew I wanted to work in media, specifically journalism. Unfortunately for me, I fell in love with a college that didn't offer a journalism major, and that meant I had to make up the difference &mdash; big time.</p> <p>One of my internships was writing news for an ABC-affiliated AM news-radio station, while the other was writing about music for a local magazine. Each of these internships provided me with vastly different skills, but they both prepared me for applying to my first paid writing positions. I went into those jobs better prepared, perhaps, than other candidates.</p> <p>Alexis Chateau, founder and managing partner of her own eponymous public relations firm, credits internship for her success. In addition to the internship, she suggests taking on spec assignments for free to show potential employers what you've got.</p> <p>&quot;College students should take on pro-bono work, to build their portfolio, if they work in an area that requires it,&quot; she says. &quot;An impressive portfolio can open up almost any door in business.&quot;</p> <p>I can personally vouch for this tactic. When I started my journalism career, I wrote many articles for free just to get published. When I had enough clips that showed that I was a capable and cognizant writer, editors responded in kind by hiring me for work.</p> <h2>4. Connect with prospective companies online</h2> <p>If there are particular companies at which you're interested in working, follow them online so you can get a better idea of what they're all about. When you go into an interview with something smart and relevant to say about the company, you won't go unnoticed by the interviewer.</p> <p>&quot;These days, smart companies are using their social media to have a dialogue with the public, and this dialogue is a great way for people to figure out a company's core values, their mission, and the language they use in order to connect with them, and present yourself as an ideal candidate,&quot; explains Carlota Zimmerman, a New York-based career coach and success strategist.</p> <p>Zimmerman suggests also liking the company's Facebook page, as someone through the grapevine may notice and reach out. It may not be that easy, but any potential connection is a valuable connection.</p> <h2>5. Clean up your social media</h2> <p>This is the digital age, when everyone and their mother has a social media presence. Chances are, if you're fresh out of college, you've got a few things floating around your Facebook or Instagram account that may not paint the prettiest picture of you to an employer. And believe me, your prospective employers will be looking.</p> <p>Before you even send out your resume, do a deep clean of all of your social media accounts. Scrub embarrassing posts, delete or untag yourself from unflattering photos, and double check your privacy settings. Then, view your profile publicly to see what information is still accessible. A tedious process? Yes, but so is unemployment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-clean-up-your-image-on-social-media?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Image on Social Media</a>)</p> <h2>6. Tap into your personal network for professional tips</h2> <p>Nearly every single adult you know is a professional with years of experience in their field. Some of them have had the same jobs forever, and some of them have changed careers frequently. No matter the case, these folks can be helpful not only in the advice they can provide, but they may also be able to point you in the right direction of employment.</p> <p>Kristine Thorndyke, who landed a full-time gig in Los Angeles before she graduated, offers advice on how to apply this principle within your own college community.</p> <p>&quot;Join a club or school committee based around a particular skill or interest you intend on pursuing in the future,&quot; she says. &quot;For example, if you are a business major, see if there are any groups or committees that meet up or, oftentimes, a designated business fraternity. These kinds of groups usually have access to professionals in the field you intend on pursuing and can help coordinate meet and greets with these professionals or alumni.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Take advantage of your school's career services resources</h2> <p>When I was looking for a job in Manhattan, I was willing to take all the help I could get. Enter Career Services at my alma mater. These centers provides free resources that not only help students write proper resumes, but also facilitate conversations between alumni and new grads based on field of interest, skill level, and more. My own Career Services connected me with the right people so I could start putting out feelers and getting a handle on what my options were.</p> <p>&quot;Reach out to alumni from your school and ask them out for a coffee to 'pick their brain,'&quot; Thorndyke suggests. &quot;Oftentimes, this alumni has connections or ties to companies that are hiring and will be impressed that you were driven enough to meet and learn more about the kind of work they do and their insight and/or suggestions for you.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Practice how to give a good interview from start to finish</h2> <p>Interviewing for a job is an art form. There are a million things that go into giving a great one, from how you dress to your follow-up thank-yous. As with everything else, of course, practice makes perfect &mdash; and you have ample time to hone your skills since, ya know, you're currently unemployed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-answer-23-of-the-most-common-interview-questions?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions</a>)</p> <p>Thorndyke advises, &quot;Interview with a professional career counselor. It's the best way to figure out how to most effectively convey your thoughts and accomplishments before the big interview. Oftentimes, it's difficult to get any honest feedback from HR or interviewers about notes on your qualifications or interviewing ability from a gig you were declined an offer from.&quot;</p> <p>An interview counselor can point out where you need to improve before the rejections become a trend.</p> <h2>9. Learn how to write a resume that will get you noticed</h2> <p>First, let's start with the number one thing you shouldn't do with your resume: Do not send the same one to every job prospect, regardless of industry or field. Your resume should be specifically tailored to the job you're seeking. If that means changing it 57 times a week to make sure it's relevant to each prospect, that's what you need to do. Secondly, it needs to stand out. There are lots of ways you can do that, but the highest on the list is providing details about past accomplishments opposed to generic lines like, &quot;Provided marketing assistance to the director of sales.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-resume-mistakes-that-will-hurt-your-job-search?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Resume Mistakes That Will Hurt Your Job Search</a>)</p> <p>You know what HR people do when they read resumes full of bland descriptors? They slam dunk it into the circular file and move on to the next one.</p> <h2>10. Put your GPA on your resume</h2> <p>Maybe I've been out of college for too long, but I don't remember including my GPA on my resume &mdash; or anybody ever suggesting I do so. But Chris Kolmar, co-founder of Zappia.com, makes a good point about adopting the practice, at least for the first couple years after graduation.</p> <p>His logic?</p> <p>&quot;Any good hiring manager will ask for it because it's a decent predictor of success right of out college,&quot; he says.</p> <p>Not gospel, but it certainly won't hurt.</p> <h2>11. Start your job hunt months before graduation</h2> <p>Looking for a job well before you graduate doesn't always work, but getting a head start never hurts.</p> <p>&quot;I secured a job in public relations three days before graduation because of this,&quot; explains Alyssa Pallotti, an account supervisor at Montner Tech PR in Connecticut. &quot;I began applying, participating in phone interviews, and meeting potential employers in person as early as the beginning of my final semester. This allowed me to tweak my resume, cover letters, and interview style based on feedback from those companies. Therefore, my overall presentation and nerves were refined by the time I was actually eligible to take on a position.&quot;</p> <p>Yes, job hunting takes work &mdash; and that can be an overwhelming prospect when you're still dealing with school &mdash; but don't put this off. It could potentially save you months of job-hunt headaches.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-college-grads-can-get-ahead-in-the-job-hunt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-include-in-your-cover-letter">7 Things You Should Never Include in Your Cover Letter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/job-search-tips-that-will-get-you-a-job-in-2012">Job Search Tips That Will Get You a Job in 2012</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tax-deductions-job-hunters-can-t-afford-to-overlook">6 Tax Deductions Job-Hunters Can’t Afford to Overlook</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-answer-23-of-the-most-common-interview-questions">How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricky-interview-questions-successful-ceos-always-ask">5 Tricky Interview Questions Successful CEOs Always Ask</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Job Hunting advice career college grads internships interviewing looking for work networking new grads resumes tips Mon, 24 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Mikey Rox 1931722 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Lessons From Tax Day to Remember for Next Year http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-from-tax-day-to-remember-for-next-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-lessons-from-tax-day-to-remember-for-next-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-546177866.jpg" alt="Woman learning tax lessons she should&#039;ve learned this week" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cue the sigh of relief: Another tax season has come and gone. Before you kick back and relax, though, take a little moment of self-reflection. Did Tax Day make your stress levels soar?</p> <p>If the answer is yes, it's time to brush up on a few key lessons to take with you into the 2017 tax year. We guarantee you'll be breathing a little easier come next April.</p> <h2>1. Keep track of all your income</h2> <p>Specifically, don't forget about taxes you'll need to pay on any income you earn during the year outside of a full-time job. This includes money from freelance work or self-employment, dividends on investments, interest payments, and even gambling winnings. Be sure to track all of this income so that you're not surprised by a tax bill later.</p> <h2>2. Save all of your paperwork</h2> <p>Make sure you keep careful track of any forms and paperwork necessary to file your taxes. This includes your W-2 or any 1099s, as well as documents from banks, investment firms, and your mortgage company. These forms are usually sent out in February.</p> <p>More immediately, if you make any contributions to charity, you'll need the documentation. If you own a small business, you'll need receipts for all expenses you plan to deduct. If you plan to seek deductions for any unreimbursed medical expenses, you'll need a bill from your health care provider. All of these are important in order to enter accurate information on your tax return. As you gather them throughout the year, set them aside in a file or box that you keep in a safe place.</p> <h2>3. Deductions and credits are your friends</h2> <p>A credit is a straight reduction in your tax bill. A deduction means you reduce the amount of your income that is taxable. Either way, these tax breaks should not be overlooked.</p> <p>You can get a tax credit for having a kid. You can get a tax deduction if you pay interest on your mortgage. You can get a tax deduction for charitable donations. There are even deductions and credits for using energy-efficient appliances or driving a hybrid car. The list of possible deductions and tax credits is massive, and chances are, you qualify for at least a few. Most tax preparers and tax preparation programs will walk you through these deductions and credits to make sure you're getting the maximum benefit. If you haven't paid much attention to potential tax deductions or credits in the past, however, make sure you start this year. It could save you significant money.</p> <h2>4. Understand how tax-advantaged investment accounts differ</h2> <p>In addition to claiming tax credits and deductions, you can reduce your tax bill in advance simply by saving for retirement. If you use a 401(k), traditional IRA, or Roth IRA to build your nest egg, there are considerable tax advantages, and you need to understand the main differences.</p> <p>With a 401(k) and traditional IRA, any money you contribute to your account throughout the year will be deducted from your taxable income now. In some cases, this could move you into a lower tax bracket and save you considerable money on this year's tax bill. With a Roth IRA, money you contribute is taxed now, but you will not have to pay taxes on any investment gains when you withdraw the money at retirement.</p> <h2>5. If you are getting a big return, that's not a good thing</h2> <p>Getting money back on your taxes is certainly better than owing so much to the IRS that you pay a penalty. But if you are getting a considerable amount back after filing your return, you may have had too much taken out of your paycheck and overpaid taxes throughout the year. So in a sense, the government has been holding onto your money interest-free for no reason when you could have been using it for yourself. To make sure this doesn't happen again, ask your employer for a new W-4 and increase the number of exemptions you claim.</p> <h2>6. If you make a mistake, you can amend your return</h2> <p>Tax time can be nerve wracking because people are petrified of making a mistake and having the IRS come after them. But the actual chances of the government knocking on your door are quite low. The IRS simply does not have the staff to audit many individuals, and when they do, they usually target either very wealthy people or people with very complicated tax returns.</p> <p>If you do discover that you made a mistake, you can file an amended return without much hassle. Simply file Form 1040X, Amended Tax Return, along with the corrected (or missing) documents you did not originally file with your return. This happened to me once when I forgot to report some dividend income, and I never had the taxman knock on my door. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-avoid-a-tax-audit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Easiest Way to Avoid a Tax Audit</a>)</p> <h2>7. Use your taxes as a learning opportunity</h2> <p>Even with all these lessons under your belt, tax time can still be a tedious and stressful time of year. When all else fails, change your perspective. I personally find the process of doing taxes to be fairly educational. You can see a clear picture of how much money you actually took in during the year, and how much the government takes. The process of finding deductions can be a learning experience as well. If you approach doing your taxes with an attitude of curiosity, you may find the whole process to be less painful.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-from-tax-day-to-remember-for-next-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-common-tax-questions-for-beginners-answered">The 7 Most Common Tax Questions for Beginners, Answered</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-tax-mistakes-we-need-to-stop-making">5 Common Tax Mistakes We Need to Stop Making</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-avoid-a-tax-audit">The Easiest Way to Avoid a Tax Audit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-your-tax-preparer-makes-a-mistake">What to Do When Your Tax Preparer Makes a Mistake</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes advice audits credits deductions forms income investing IRS tax lessons tax returns w-2 Fri, 21 Apr 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1931721 at http://www.wisebread.com Score Your Dream Home With the Perfect Offer Letter http://www.wisebread.com/score-your-dream-home-with-the-perfect-offer-letter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/score-your-dream-home-with-the-perfect-offer-letter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-639309248.jpg" alt="Couple scoring dream home with perfect offer letter" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In a hypercompetitive housing market, buyers need to seize every advantage possible. In addition to a strong credit score, loan preapproval, and reasonable offer, a well-crafted offer letter can tip the scales in your favor. If you've found your dream home but are facing some stiff competition, it's time to put pen to paper. Here are eight tricks to writing the perfect offer letter.</p> <h2>1. Write it yourself</h2> <p>Don't delegate this one. Your offer letter should be penned by you, not your real estate agent. As a prospective buyer, it's up to you to connect emotionally with the seller and authentically express why you're drawn to the property.</p> <h2>2. Explain your interest</h2> <p>Details matter. Writing that you &quot;simply love the house&quot; is a good start, but it won't get the job done. What about the home appeals to you? Is it the gleaming hardwood floors? The big front porch? The way the sun shines through a stained-glass window? Including a few well-considered details accomplishes two things: First, it flatters the seller (as he or she may be responsible for many of the features you're drawn to). Second, it establishes a sense of shared appreciation and implies that you're well-suited to be the home's new steward.</p> <h2>3. Put your heart into it</h2> <p>Selling a house isn't just a business transaction; it's an emotional one. For sellers who've owned their home for decades, leaving may be bittersweet. Make it easier for them by tapping into the emotional side of your story. Discuss why you think the home is perfect for your family and what memories you hope to make within those walls.</p> <h2>4. Be cheery, not dreary</h2> <p>Though adding a bit of emotion to your offer letter is helpful, keep the emotions positive. Referring to a divorce, long-term illness, or the death of a loved one can cast a shadow over the transaction. Make the tone of your letter hopeful and joyful.</p> <h2>5. Skip the remodeling plans</h2> <p>Since sellers are understandably attached to their homes, avoid phrases like &quot;rip out,&quot; &quot;total gut job,&quot; and &quot;down to the studs&quot; in your letter. While remodeling may be part of you plans, focus on what you love about the home right now &mdash; not your vision to redo it.</p> <h2>6. Give buyers something to bank on</h2> <p>Remember, your offer letter is your moment to shine in every way possible. Show that you can make good on your offer without unnecessary delays and drama. Along with your loan approval documentation, briefly discuss what you do for a living, how established you are in your career, and the strength of your credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-a-first-time-home-buyer-needs-to-buy-a-house?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Everything a First-Time Home Buyer Needs to Buy a House</a>)</p> <h2>7. Don't rush</h2> <p>Your offer letter is an important document that can save you thousands of dollars and months of continued house-hunting. Though you may not have the luxury of time in a hot market, write the best letter possible. Consider your approach carefully, write simply and sincerely, and proofread thoroughly to catch any spelling and grammar mistakes.</p> <h2>8. End with a thank you</h2> <p>Your mom was right &mdash; a simple thank you can work wonders. Wrap things up with a humble and heartfelt &quot;thank you for the opportunity to view and bid on your beautiful home.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-your-dream-home-with-the-perfect-offer-letter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-buy-a-house-without-a-mortgage">4 Ways to Buy a House Without a Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most">These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/growin-home-how-much-house-do-you-really-need">Growin&#039; Home: How Much House Do You Really Need?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-need-to-know-before-buying-your-first-house">7 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Your First House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions">Don&#039;t Buy a House With a Pool Until You Can Answer These 7 Questions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing advice buyers home buying new house offer letters sellers writing Thu, 20 Apr 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Kentin Waits 1930341 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things You Should Never Include in Your Cover Letter http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-include-in-your-cover-letter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-you-should-never-include-in-your-cover-letter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_work_thinking_473428184.jpg" alt="Woman learning things she should never include on a cover letter" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Writing the perfect cover letter is a job skill unto itself. In just a few paragraphs, you need to capture the reader's attention and expertly sell your skills and experience, all while striking the right professional tone.</p> <p>It's tempting to slap something together and tell yourself that your resume is more important. Truth be told, though, your cover letter is a key part of the package. Avoiding these seven cover letter gaffes will get you through the interview door faster.</p> <h2>1. Wrong information</h2> <p>Make sure that you have all the details right. Double check that you have the correct company name and spelling, the correct job title, the right address, and, where necessary, the correct name of the hiring manager.</p> <p>If you don't have the name of the hiring manager, you can often find it by calling the company's human resources department. Let HR know which position you're applying for and ask, &quot;To whom should I address my cover letter?&quot; They won't always tell you, but sometimes they will.</p> <p>Also double check your own personal information, including your name, address, email, and phone number. It may sound like common sense, but you'd be surprised how often these tiny typos cost people a job opportunity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/almost-half-of-job-applicants-make-this-same-foolish-mistake?ref=seealso">Almost Half of Job Applicants Make This Same Foolish Mistake</a>)</p> <h2>2. Poor writing</h2> <p>Use complete sentences. Spell words correctly. Check (and have someone else check) your grammar and punctuation. You want this letter to be the best possible reflection of who you are and how you work, and making silly mistakes won't put your best self forward.</p> <h2>3. What you're lacking</h2> <p>Don't mention any skills or qualifications that you don't have. The cover letter is not the place to bring up any shortcomings.</p> <p>Instead, use this as an opportunity to sell yourself. Tell the potential employer why your skills and experiences are a perfect fit for the position. Remember, your cover letter isn't actually about you. It's about the company you'd like to work for and why you would be a good fit for them. Wow them with what you're offering, and maybe they won't even notice the experience you don't have.</p> <h2>4. Generic, cliché language</h2> <p>Show that you care and that you spent time on your cover letter by eliminating any generic, cliché phrases that could be part of any cover letter, for any job. Don't say that you're a &quot;team player&quot; with &quot;leadership experience&quot; who is also a &quot;hard worker.&quot; Nothing about that is unique, and it'll do nothing to differentiate you from other applicants.</p> <p>Instead, fill your letter with facts that demonstrate your unique skills. Emphasize results whenever possible. Talk about how you led a diverse team to solve a particular problem, or increased revenue by X percent. Then, explain how you would bring those skills to your new job.</p> <h2>5. Lies</h2> <p>Most people who lie on a cover letter don't do so intentionally. They panic &mdash; maybe feel inadequate &mdash; and then they either make something up or, more often, stretch the truth so it looks like they have more experience or qualifications than they actually do.</p> <p>The problem is, these things are easy to check, and besides &mdash; why would you want a job requiring skills you don't actually have? Instead, focus on qualifications you do have. If you feel tempted to stretch the truth often, maybe you need to look at different jobs or take some online courses so you actually have the skills you need for the work you want to do.</p> <h2>6. Personal information</h2> <p>This is not the time to talk about your dog, or your divorce, or about how you need this job because you have to support your three kids all on your own. Yes, those are important things to you, but they don't belong in your cover letter.</p> <p>Like I mentioned above, the cover letter isn't actually about you. It's about the company where you're applying, and how you can make it better. Even if your need for work is desperate, or if there are some personal things you think the company should know about you before they make a decision, the cover letter isn't the place to list them. Wait for an interview.</p> <h2>7. Long paragraphs</h2> <p>No one wants to read a wall of text, especially when they are scanning cover letters for keywords. So, keep your paragraphs short and limit your letter to a single page.</p> <p>This means that you have to be pithy in what you say. Straightforward is usually best. Describe your experience and qualifications, highlight how they satisfy key requirements of the job you're applying for, and then wrap it up. More words aren't necessarily better.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-include-in-your-cover-letter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-college-grads-can-get-ahead-in-the-job-hunt">11 Ways College Grads Can Get Ahead in the Job Hunt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/almost-half-of-job-applicants-make-this-same-foolish-mistake">Almost Half of Job Applicants Make This Same Foolish Mistake</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-low-key-jobs-for-people-who-hate-stress">5 Low Key Jobs for People Who Hate Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-resume-rules-you-should-be-breaking">4 Resume Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-answer-23-of-the-most-common-interview-questions">How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Job Hunting advice career cover letters employment job applications Mistakes new jobs resumes Tue, 18 Apr 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1929793 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Succeed at Work Despite Your Lousy Boss http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-succeed-at-work-despite-your-lousy-boss <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-succeed-at-work-despite-your-lousy-boss" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-499579316.jpg" alt="Man succeeding at work despite his lousy boss" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In an ideal world, your boss would be a great leader, a teacher, a mentor, and someone to be admired and celebrated. As we all know, it's not an ideal world. Sometimes, the boss is so bad, you dread going to work and spend hours looking for a new career. However, there is hope. You can turn the situation to your advantage, and help you &quot;manage&quot; when the boss is a lost cause. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-survive-and-thrive-in-a-job-you-hate?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Survive (and Thrive!) in a Job You Hate</a>)</p> <h2>Get to know everything about them</h2> <p>What motivates them? What makes them happy, in and out of work? What about career goals, or people who inspire them? What do they like to do on weekends? Do they have a hobby? The more you know, the better.</p> <p>When you are armed with this kind of information, you can use it to swing things in your favor. This does not mean sucking up, or blackmail. This is a way to figure out why they make certain decisions, and in turn, gives you the chance to steer them in a direction more favorable to you. For instance, if the boss is micromanaging you, find out if they are worried about their own performance review. They may fear you cannot do the job the way they want it done. If you can prove to them that this fear is unnecessary, they will focus on someone else.</p> <h2>Do not play their game</h2> <p>A really lousy boss will play head games with you. They'll ask you to work late when they know you've got tickets to the concert. They'll put you on a project with someone they know rubs you the wrong way. They'll ask for two hours of work to be done in one hour. You know &mdash; a really nasty piece of work. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-types-of-horrible-bosses-and-how-to-manage-them?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 9 Types of Horrible Bosses &mdash; And How to Manage Them</a>)</p> <p>Despite this, don't let them see that it bothers you. Like any bully, they get their kicks from your reaction. If you brush it off, smile, and happily do everything they request; it will eat them up inside. They'll end up doing something that reflects badly on them, or they'll focus their energy on someone who gives them the response they want.</p> <h2>Keep meticulous records</h2> <p>We live in a world of emails and text messages. If you're having trouble with a boss, start tracking everything. From every email exchange to every closed-door conversation, use technology to build a case against the boss's behavior. Take detailed notes in meetings, and send a copy of those notes to your boss to ensure that you understood everything that was required of you. Get approvals in writing. The more evidence you have, the less chance you will be a scapegoat for anything. Even if the boss is just inept, you can use this technique to keep them on task. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-warning-signs-your-new-boss-may-be-a-bad-boss?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Warning Signs Your New Boss May Be a Bad Boss</a>)</p> <h2>Take the initiative</h2> <p>A lousy boss will often keep you out of the loop, and may even try to marginalize your position. This approach keeps their employees uninformed, and as we all know, knowledge is power.</p> <p>Don't settle for this. Do everything you can to find out what you can through other channels. Speak to colleagues in other departments about projects they're working on. Get friendly with people in HR, or upper management. Make yourself available for jobs that the boss has &quot;forgot&quot; to mention in staff meetings. But of course, be polite and respectful to the boss, and make sure he or she knows you have only the best interests of the company at heart.</p> <h2>Give them the impression it was their idea</h2> <p>If you're having trouble getting your initiatives greenlit, you could have a boss who doesn't like employees taking their spotlight. In this situation, you should take a page out of the advertising agency book.</p> <p>Ad agencies often deal with clients who balk at original and bold ideas, so they plant seeds in meetings called &quot;tissue sessions.&quot; Here, the agency works side-by-side with the client to produce an idea, steering the client all the way. The client believes they have helped to birth this idea, and it is blessed with little or no changes. Do likewise. Plant seeds. Make the boss think your great idea is something they were planning to do all along. The people that matter will know who is really responsible for it, and you'll get to do what you want.</p> <h2>Make them look good</h2> <p>At the end of the day, most bosses just want to be successful. They rarely care how that happens, and if you can help in that quest, you'll come out smelling of roses. Ask them how you can help them in their day-to-day duties. Do they have something big in the works that you can assist with? Are they having problems with certain employees, and if so, what can you do to help them smooth things over?</p> <p>Become their most trusted and effective member of staff; the indispensable &quot;right hand man.&quot; They'll start to rely on you more, and you may even help them get promoted. When that happens, you'll be next in line. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-suck-up-at-work-that-wont-make-you-feel-slimy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Suck Up at Work That Won't Make You Feel Slimy</a>)</p> <h2>Learn their triggers</h2> <p>Every boss is different, and as such, your approach to every boss needs to adapt. Some bosses like to be challenged; others will find it offensive and believe it is insubordinate. Some bosses love employees to take the initiative; others will insist on having everything passed by them first. So, learn these triggers, and find ways to work around them. The less you hit their pain points, the better life will be for you. If nothing else changes, the fact that you are no longer ticking them off will make a huge difference in your daily work life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-youre-working-for-an-impossible-boss?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Signs You're Working for an Impossible Boss</a>)</p> <h2>Have a genuine heart-to-heart</h2> <p>Sometimes, a lousy boss has absolutely no idea they're causing you grief. They really do believe they're doing a great job, and everyone loves them (think Michael Scott from &quot;The Office&quot;).</p> <p>In this instance, you can make life a whole lot easier by clearing the air, and talking about the issues you're having. Now, no one likes to be told they're not performing well, so phrase things delicately. Have solutions at hand for problems you are about to explain. Let them know what their strengths are before pointing out areas of concern. A boss is still a person, and if you charge into their office with your rage level at 11, you'll put them on the defensive.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-succeed-at-work-despite-your-lousy-boss">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-types-of-bad-bosses-and-how-to-survive-them">The 8 Types of Bad Bosses — And How to Survive Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-youre-working-for-an-impossible-boss">7 Signs You&#039;re Working for an Impossible Boss</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-public-speaking-less-terrifying">How to Make Public Speaking Less Terrifying</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-career-tips-your-younger-self-would-give-you">9 Career Tips Your Younger Self Would Give You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/they-offered-you-a-promotion-and-no-pay-raise-now-what">They Offered You a Promotion and No Pay Raise. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income advice bad bosses employment managers strategies stressful jobs success work Mon, 10 Apr 2017 08:00:11 +0000 Paul Michael 1921764 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/men_tablet_work_579235928.jpg" alt="Men learning what financial advisers wish they knew about retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Wish you had a crystal ball for retirement planning? Most of us do, and for good reason. Even if you're sure you'll have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-money-will-you-need-to-retire?ref=internal">enough money to retire</a>, there are no guarantees until you get there. If your nest egg runs short, it will be far too late for a do-over.</p> <p>This is where a financial adviser can help. A financial adviser will know if you're heavy on risk, not diversified enough, failing to maximize tax advantages, or simply not saving enough. They will also make sure to take into account your lifestyle and preferences to ensure you're on the right path to your ideal retirement, and not just following a cookie cutter plan that's not going to be the right fit.</p> <p>We asked financial advisers for some of the most important ideas they wish their clients understood when it comes to money, retirement, and the future.</p> <h2>1. Social Security will be around in some form</h2> <p>]Andrew McFadden, a financial adviser for physicians, says many clients refuse to accept that Social Security will still be around when they retire. This is especially true if they are part of Gen X or Gen Y, he says, since they are decades away from receiving benefits.</p> <p>However short on funds we may be, the Social Security Administration projects the ability to pay around 75 percent of current benefits after the fund is depleted in 2034. This is a key detail, notes McFadden, since many people hear Social Security is going bankrupt and refuse to acknowledge any benefits in their own retirement planning.</p> <p>&quot;It's not all roses, but that's still a far cry from those bankruptcy rumors,&quot; says McFadden. &quot;So lower your expectations, but don't get rid of them altogether.&quot;</p> <h2>2. It's ok to &quot;live a little&quot; while you save for retirement</h2> <p>Russ Thornton, founder of Wealthcare for Women, says too many future retirees sacrifice living now for their &quot;pie in the sky&quot; dream of retirement. Unfortunately, tomorrow isn't promised, and many people never get to live out the dreams they plan all along.</p> <p>&quot;So many people assume they can't really live until they're retired and not working full-time,&quot; says Thornton. &quot;Nothing could be further from the truth. Find ways to experience aspects of your dream life now, whether you're in your 30s, 40s, or 50s.&quot;</p> <p>With a solid savings and retirement plan, you should be able to do both &mdash; save and invest adequately, and try some new experiences that make life adventurous and satisfying now.</p> <p>&quot;Don't accept the deferred life plan,&quot; he says. That future you dream about and plan for may never come.</p> <h2>3. The 4 percent rule isn't perfect for everybody</h2> <p>Born in the 90s, the 4 percent rule stated retirees could stretch their funds by withdrawing 4 percent per year. The catch was, a good portion of those investments had to remain in equities to make this work.</p> <p>The 4 percent rule lost traction between 2000 and 2010 when the market closed lower than where it started 10 years before, says Bellevue, WA financial adviser Josh Brein. As many retirement accounts suffered during this time, it was shown that the 4 percent rule doesn't always work for everybody.</p> <p>It doesn't mean the rule should be thrown out completely though, nor should it still be followed like gospel. In fact, in 2015, two-third of retirees following the 4 percent rule had double the amount of their starting principal after a 30-year stretch. These retirees could have benefited from taking out more than the limited 4 percent, which could have meant an extra vacation each year, or another luxury that they were indeed able to afford.</p> <p>There's absolutely no denying the importance of making your retirement dollars last. But, after a lifetime of working and saving, you also deserve to enjoy those dollars to their full capability.</p> <p>Bottom line, take time to re-evaluate your drawdown strategy every few years and make adjustments as necessary. While you don't want to go broke in retirement &mdash; you also don't want to miss out on all the incredible things this time in your life has to offer.</p> <h2>4. Retirement looks different for everyone</h2> <p>Minnesota financial adviser Jamie Pomeroy says he wishes people would abandon their preconceived notions on what retirement should look like. He blames the financial industry in part for perpetuating the idea that certain retirement planning accounts and products work for everyone. &quot;They don't,&quot; he says.</p> <p>&quot;Some enjoy retiring to the beach, some take mini-retirements before reaching a retirement age, some work part-time in retirement, and some just want to spend time with their grandkids,&quot; he says. &quot;The concept of retirement is dynamic, ever-changing, and defined very differently by lots of different people.&quot;</p> <p>To find the right retirement path and plan for your own life, you should sit down and decide what you really, truly want. Once you know what you want, you can craft a realistic plan to get there.</p> <h2>5. Investment returns aren't as important as you think</h2> <p>According to North Dakota financial adviser Benjamin Brandt, too many people focus too much energy on their investment returns &mdash; mostly because they are an immediate and tangible way to gauge the success or failure of our financial plans.</p> <p>Investment returns should only be judged in the proper scope of a long-term financial plan, and &quot;over decades,&quot; he says.</p> <p>In the meantime, our behavior can make a huge impact when it comes to reaching your retirement goals. By <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-quirky-ways-to-spend-less-and-kick-start-saving?ref=internal">spending less and saving more</a>, for example, we can avoid debt and potentially invest more money over the long haul. Those moves can help us retire earlier whether the market performs the way we hope or not.</p> <h2>6. Small changes add up</h2> <p>When it comes to retirement planning, many people feel overwhelmed right away. For example, some people may realize they need $1 million or more to retire and give up before they start.</p> <p>Financial adviser Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents says this could change if everyone realized how small changes &mdash; and small amounts of savings &mdash; add up drastically over time.</p> <p>&quot;Someone who invests just $200 per month for 30 years and earns 7 percent would have more than $218,000 in the end,&quot; says Rose. &quot;Now imagine both spouses are saving, or that they boost their investments incrementally over the years.&quot;</p> <p>As Rose points out, a couple who invests $500 per month combined and earns 7 percent would have more than $566,000 after 30 years.</p> <p>Looking for ways to save money and invest more will obviously make this number surge. If you boost your contributions each time you get a raise, for example, you'll have considerably more for retirement. Remember even the smallest contributions can greatly add up over the years.</p> <h2>7. Don't forget about long-term care</h2> <p>Joseph Carbone, founder and wealth adviser of Focus Planning Group, says many future retirees are missing one key piece of the puzzle, and that piece could cost them dearly.</p> <p>&quot;I wish many of my clients understood the biggest hurdle from passing wealth on to their heirs is long-term care costs,&quot; says Carbone. &quot;Whether it is home health care, assisted living, or the dreaded nursing home. It is real and it is scary.&quot;</p> <p>According to Carbone, most people have no idea how much long-term care costs and fail to plan as a result. &quot;Even though the average stay is only 2.7 years in a nursing home, the total cost for those 2.7 years could be well over $400,000,&quot; he says</p> <p>To help in this respect, Carbone and his associates suggest working with an attorney who specializes in elder law. With a few smart money moves, families can prepare for the real possibility of using a nursing home at some point. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it?ref=seealso">Is Long Term Care Insurance Worth It?</a>)</p> <h2>One more thing advisers wish you knew</h2> <p>While financial advisers don't know everything, their years of experience make them painfully aware of what lies ahead for those of us who fail to plan. And, if there's one thing financial planners can agree on, it's this: The sooner we all start planning, the better off we'll be.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-face-4-ugly-truths-about-retirement-planning">How to Face 4 Ugly Truths About Retirement Planning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do">If You&#039;re Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you">3 Ways More Money in Retirement Might Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-enjoy-retirement-if-you-havent-saved-enough">How to Enjoy Retirement If You Haven&#039;t Saved Enough</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best">The Surprising Truth of Investing: Mediocre Advice Is Best</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 4 percent rule advice contributions financial advisers investments long term care planning social security Wed, 05 Apr 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Holly Johnson 1921765 at http://www.wisebread.com Your Loss Aversion Is Costing You More Than Your FOMO http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-585490666.jpg" alt="Person learning why loss aversion is worse than FOMO" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Imagine the following scenario:</p> <p>You can either pocket a guaranteed $500, or flip a coin. If you get heads, you get $1,000. If you get tails, you get nothing.</p> <p>Now, imagine this second scenario:</p> <p>You are given $1,000 &mdash; woohoo! But you have to decide whether you'll lose $500 of it outright, or flip a coin. If you get heads, you lose nothing. If you get tails, you lose $750.</p> <p>Chances are, in scenario one, you chose to pocket the money, whereas in scenario two, you chose to flip the coin.</p> <h2>How did you know that!?</h2> <p>That's because we feel the pain of losing money so much more than we feel the joy of earning a reward. This trend is called &quot;loss aversion,&quot; but, in everyday terms, you might find it a bit familiar to FOMO: the fear of missing out.</p> <p>FOMO tends to describe the pain of seeing your friends on social media doing fun things and achieving their goals while you're left out. In a way, loss aversion is similar because you're afraid to lose out, but the pain might be a bit deeper with money.</p> <p>It might sound ludicrous that we hurt more when we lose money than we feel joy in earning it. But studies have shown we feel the heartbreak of a financial loss <a href="http://www.princeton.edu/~kahneman/docs/Publications/prospect_theory.pdf" target="_blank">twice as strongly</a> as we feel gaining the same amount of money. So, if you get a $500 bonus from your boss, you'll only be half as emotional as you would be losing that same amount on the stock market.</p> <h2>How might this affect me?</h2> <p>Loss aversion can be both good and bad. For starters, it might lead you to make &quot;safe,&quot; low-risk investments. This turns out to be helpful for investments you <em>have </em>to make, such as your retirement fund. Sure, you could put your life savings into a high-risk scheme, potentially multiply it several times over, and retire in riches &mdash; but you might also lose it all. It's often better to choose something with a low rate of risk so you have a healthy sum of money to live off one day.</p> <p>On the opposite side of the coin, loss aversion can cause you to make rash decisions regarding the stocks and investments you hold. For example, if you're an investor in oil-related stocks and have a meltdown every time oil prices drop, you might be inclined to sell off all your stocks and stop the loss as quickly as possible. While this may be a good decision in certain situations, it's always important to remember that what goes down will likely go up again, and holding onto your stock could mean you'll get it back later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a>)</p> <p>Now, that concerns a drop to the market overall. The other potential pitfall of loss aversion is to hold onto stocks that have been underperforming for <em>way </em>too long. Many investors will sell stocks that appear to be at the top of their game, only to find out later that they've continued to grow. Meanwhile, the stocks they're waiting to see flourish continue to underperform, and they lose money in the long run.</p> <h2>How can I avoid falling into this trap?</h2> <p>One of the best ways to make sure you don't feel the pain of loss &mdash; or loss aversion &mdash; is to diversify your portfolio. In other words, don't put all of your eggs in one basket: Invest in different industries, different types of stocks, and in both short- and long-term investments.</p> <p>If you're going to make a &quot;risky&quot; investment, make sure you're ready for the challenge. Prepare yourself by building your confidence and learning more about what it means to invest in whatever you're considering. Come up with a fallback plan. You've heard it before, and it's worth repeating: risk equals reward. Yes, you might lose, and that'll hurt &mdash; but you might also gain big. If that's worth the leap, then it's time to get off the ground.</p> <p>If all else fails, talk to a professional about your options. Yes, you might have to throw him or her a bit of money in order to receive financial advice. But having a professional tell you the best, most secure way to invest your money might help ease your mind &mdash; and increase your dividends &mdash; without breaking the bank or your heart along the way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Surprising Truth of Investing: Mediocre Advice Is Best</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anum-yoon">Anum Yoon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-financial-news-sites-for-investors-in-a-hurry">The 6 Best Financial News Sites for Investors in a Hurry</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice fear FOMO gains losing money loss aversion market drops risk stock market Wed, 05 Apr 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Anum Yoon 1921000 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Career Tips Your Younger Self Would Give You http://www.wisebread.com/9-career-tips-your-younger-self-would-give-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-career-tips-your-younger-self-would-give-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-596344056.jpg" alt="Hearing career advice your younger self would give you" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hindsight is 20/20, so there may be a lot you wish you could say to your younger self. However, your younger self may also have some great advice to help you with your career today. Below are some of the top job tips that past you might offer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-career-tips-you-wish-you-could-give-your-younger-self?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Career Tips You Wish You Could Give Your Younger Self</a>)</p> <h2>1. Don't settle</h2> <p>We all sometimes settle with work and personal matters, but your younger self wouldn't accept so many compromises. If you're long overdue for a promotion, stuck feeling taken advantage of, or simply miserable at your place of work, figure out what you want and what you deserve, and set out to achieve it. You should be happy with where you are in your professional life, not just mindlessly coasting through.</p> <h2>2. Be more aggressive and proactive</h2> <p>Your younger self would want you to stand up for your convictions, be aggressive in your desires, and be proactive about getting what you want. A good place to start is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-should-demand-a-raise?ref=internal" target="_blank">asking for a raise</a>.</p> <h2>3. Follow your passion</h2> <p>As we get older, we sometimes feel compelled to put aside our interests and passions while we address the responsibilities and demands of adulthood. But if we put them aside for too long, we lose ourselves in day to day duties and forget about the things that really drive and excite us. Is this the job or career you really want? Are there classes you can take or communities you can join to pursue your passion? Don't leave it on your back burner any longer.</p> <h2>4. Don't waste time at a job you hate</h2> <p>Your younger self was eager to set out on the career path. You had fire, passion, and determination to succeed in your field. Younger you would have never tolerated riding it out in a job you couldn't stand just for the sake of a paycheck &mdash; so why would you do that now? If you dread work every day, stop wasting your time hating on a soul-sucking job, and start focusing your energy on finding a new one. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-you-should-quit-your-job?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Signs You Should Quit Your Job</a>)</p> <h2>5. Don't let money cloud your judgment</h2> <p>You undoubtedly made a lot less money in your younger days, but you likely were okay with making minimum wage back then. As we make more money, lifestyle creep can cloud our assessment of what we need versus what we want. This might cause us to make decisions that keep us unhappy. Take stock of what you have, what you really need, and what you really want out of life.</p> <h2>6. Leave your work at the office</h2> <p>During the earlier days of summer and college jobs, you didn't bring your work home with you. Now, it can be difficult to draw the line between home and work, especially with your smartphone delivering emails and easy access to documents via the cloud. Your younger self would remind you to enjoy your personal time at home, and devote your entire self to work while you're at the office.</p> <h2>7. Take advantage of the weekend</h2> <p>Your younger self probably spent weekends hanging out with friends, relaxing at home, and spending quality time to just recharge and enjoy life. Don't lose sight of that! Weekends exist for a reason &mdash; you aren't a machine. Spend your days off doing something fun instead of worrying about work or fulfilling obligations. Clear your head with a relaxing road trip, take up a new hobby (maybe even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies?ref=internal" target="_blank">one that will pay off</a>!), or just sleep in. The weekend is your time to unwind; honor it.</p> <h2>8. Seek out other opportunities</h2> <p>Let's admit it: Some of us lose motivation as we get older. We settle into routines, and never bother to see what good things could be waiting just around the corner. Your younger self jumped at new opportunities, and even sought them out. Put forth the effort to learn a new skill, network with other pros, and even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-freelance-gigs-anyone-can-do-to-make-extra-money?ref=internal" target="_blank">take up a side gig</a>. In addition to furthering your career, you could make some extra money, too!</p> <h2>9. Don't fear change</h2> <p>Your younger self didn't fear change. Starting over with a new job, even if it means leaving your old comfortable one behind, can be scary &mdash; but your younger self would have made that leap in an instant to better your life. Or maybe you turned down your dream gig because it required a move to a different city or state. Would your younger self have shunned such a change? Yes, any major change, especially a professional one, can be nerve-wracking. And, these decisions do admittedly get tougher as we get older and put down roots. But never be afraid to try &mdash; you could end up missing out on something great.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-career-tips-your-younger-self-would-give-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-stay-motivated-on-the-job">6 Ways to Stay Motivated on the Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pearls-of-career-wisdom-from-brian-tracy">6 Pearls of Career Wisdom From Brian Tracy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-work-worth-doing">Find work worth doing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-youre-working-for-an-impossible-boss">7 Signs You&#039;re Working for an Impossible Boss</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-succeed-at-work-despite-your-lousy-boss">How to Succeed at Work Despite Your Lousy Boss</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Productivity advice being proactive career tips jobs motivation procrastinating work younger self Wed, 29 Mar 2017 09:00:12 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1914690 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Make Public Speaking Less Terrifying http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-public-speaking-less-terrifying <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-public-speaking-less-terrifying" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-502920120.jpg" alt="Woman making public speaking less terrifying" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your ability to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/7-tips-to-beating-fear-and-becoming-a-stellar-public-speaker?ref=internal" target="_blank">speak in public</a> can be critical as you climb the corporate ladder. Struggling with anxieties about speaking in public can affect how your peers and other professionals view you, as well as limit your career opportunities down the line.</p> <p>Speaking with poise shows that you are confident, knowledgeable, and can handle pressure &mdash; all important qualities for a professional (especially a manager) to have. And handling questions after a speech, for example, shows how quickly you can think on your feet and how well you know the subject matter.</p> <p>If you cannot present confidently, or maybe you even skip speaking opportunities altogether, you miss your chance to showcase your skills. That gives others the chance to shine instead. Your fear of public speaking may be putting others in line for promotions ahead of you.</p> <p>Many careers consider presentation skills part of the basic job requirements. As you grow in your career, that becomes more common. Don't let this fear threaten to derail your professional life.</p> <h2>Improving your speaking abilities</h2> <p>For millions of people, public speaking is their number one fear. If you are one of them, there are ways you can conquer your fear. Below are four strategies you can use to help master speaking in front of others.</p> <h3>1. Books</h3> <p>If you struggle with anxiety and speaking in public, self-help books may offer some relief. Many people swear by Dale Carnegie's <a href="http://amzn.to/2mDZA1X" target="_blank">The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking</a><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Easy-Way-Effective-Speaking/dp/0671724002/ref=zg_bs_541648_6?_encoding=UTF8&amp;psc=1&amp;refRID=M8T0JDBET226D3E7M6XD">.</a> This book has helpful strategies on how to become more confident as a presenter and techniques on overcoming nerves before a big presentation.</p> <h3>2. Study what works</h3> <p>If you don't know where to start, study what works well for others. Look for speakers who speak well; they can be people within your workplace or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-presentation-secrets-of-steve-jobs?ref=internal" target="_blank">professional speakers</a> who perform in front of thousands. By studying what makes them engaging, such as their body language, volume, and presentation style, you can adapt their best practices into your own speeches.</p> <p>Watching popular <a href="http://www.ted.com/talks" target="_blank">TED talks</a> on subjects that interest you can provide fantastic inspiration, too. There are a wide range of topics and speaker styles, so you're sure to find something you can learn from.</p> <h3>3. Toastmasters</h3> <p>Toastmasters is one of the most well-known professional workshops out there. By joining a Toastmasters' club, you can practice public speaking in a relaxed, safe environment. You'll get tips and constructive criticism from polished professionals and experts, helping you hone your skills and get more comfortable at the front of the room.</p> <h3>4. Virtual reality</h3> <p>I tried a range of techniques to overcome my fear, including joining Toastmasters and reading dozens of books, but the most effective technique for me was virtual reality. While there are a number of apps and platforms available now, one of the biggest and most popular is Speech Center for VR.</p> <p>Speaking in front of a large group is difficult to prepare for; practicing in front of an empty room, while helpful in ensuring you know the material, doesn't ready you for presenting in front of dozens or &mdash; gulp &mdash; hundreds.</p> <p><a href="https://speechcentervr.com/" target="_blank">Speech Center for VR</a> is an app that uses virtual reality to make it seem like you're speaking in front of hundreds of people. There are different scenarios to choose from and virtual coaches that provide feedback, such as on your movement, eye contact, or voice level.</p> <p>While I felt ridiculous wearing the headset at first, I found it really helped me get more comfortable presenting to large groups. And it gave me good feedback on using the space available to me and modulating my speaking voice. Within a few sessions, I was still nervous, but I felt prepared and able to give a speech without getting sick.</p> <h2>Tips for making a great speech</h2> <p>When it comes to actually giving a speech, here are a few tips to help you through it.</p> <h3>1. Speak louder than you think is necessary</h3> <p>When people are nervous, they tend to speak quickly or softly. This can give you the appearance of timidity or unpreparedness. If you speak one level louder than you think is a normal presentation voice, you will naturally slow your speech and sound more authoritative and confident.</p> <h3>2. Breathe</h3> <p>If you tend to rush, force yourself to take a deep breath after each sentence. This will make your words sound more purposeful, while helping keep your nerves in check. And taking a moment to take a breath will also eliminate the need for filler sounds, such as &quot;um.&quot;</p> <h3>3. Hold a prop</h3> <p>For some, one of the most challenging aspects of speaking is what to do with their hands. Having a prop, even something as simple as holding a pen, can make you feel more relaxed and natural.</p> <h3>4. Know the material inside and out</h3> <p>One of the biggest public speaking fears is forgetting what you need to say. To combat that, practice the material until you know it by heart. That's not to say you should memorize the whole thing, but you should know the key stats and progression of talking points.</p> <h3>5. Find a friendly face</h3> <p>Making eye contact can be challenging when you're nervous or intimidated. Identify two or three friendly faces in the crowd to look at during key moments of the speech. That can give the illusion of making natural eye contact, while giving you encouragement to keep going.</p> <h3>6. Keep it simple</h3> <p>When writing a speech, it can be easy to use elaborate, wordy prose. But that can make it difficult to present naturally. Instead, use simple terms and short sentences to make it more engaging and understandable.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-public-speaking-less-terrifying">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-succeed-at-work-despite-your-lousy-boss">How to Succeed at Work Despite Your Lousy Boss</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-presentation-secrets-of-steve-jobs">The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-types-of-bad-bosses-and-how-to-survive-them">The 8 Types of Bad Bosses — And How to Survive Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-deal-when-you-work-with-someone-you-hate">8 Ways to Deal When You Work With Someone You Hate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-career-tips-your-younger-self-would-give-you">9 Career Tips Your Younger Self Would Give You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Life Hacks advice fear phobia presentations promotions public speaking speeches strategies Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:30:32 +0000 Kat Tretina 1909974 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Spot Lousy Investment Advisers http://www.wisebread.com/a-field-guide-to-lousy-investment-advisers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-field-guide-to-lousy-investment-advisers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-482448336.jpg" alt="Learning about lousy investment advisers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You can easily hire people who claim to be good investment advisers. They hardly ever are. But there are several different kinds of downright lousy investment advisers, and it's worth learning how to identify them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Mediocre Advice Is Best for Investing</a>)</p> <p>I group them into three categories: The delusional, the liar, and the secretly mediocre.</p> <h2>The Delusional</h2> <p>The most common sign of the delusional financial adviser is that they can tell you about all the winning trades they've made, but they don't know the average annual return of their portfolio as a whole.</p> <p>You'll find this same trait in a lot of ordinary investors, as well &mdash; they're full of stories of their investing successes. They may also have a few self-deprecating stories of investments that went wrong. But they simply don't know what their all-in return actually is.</p> <p>For the ordinary investor, this is no big deal. But for someone selling their investment expertise, not knowing whether their advice beats what you can get following mediocre advice should disqualify them completely.</p> <p>There is one important subcategory of lousy investment adviser that might not show this sign. I call them the &quot;lucky so far.&quot; They're usually young with a pretty new track record. Typically, they're people who have a strong sense that one sector of the market &mdash; financial stocks, say, or precious metals &mdash; is the right choice for long-term investing. If they happen to get into the investment advising game right when their sector gets hot, they can produce outstanding investment returns, sometimes for a long time. Eventually the market turns against them and they lose a whole lot of their clients' money.</p> <p>Of course there are a few <em>legitimately</em> superior investment advisers out there. It's really impossible to tell one of them from one of the &quot;lucky so far,&quot; except that once they establish a record of shifting from this year's hot sector into next year's hot sector for several years in a row, somebody rich will notice and pay up to get their advice. One pretty good indication is that you won't be able to afford them.</p> <h2>The Liar</h2> <p>Just like the delusional financial adviser, there are many kinds of lying financial advisers. (Note that I'm not talking about scammers or fraudsters, just ordinary financial advisers who know their advice doesn't produce superior results, but hold themselves out as superior anyway.)</p> <p>Probably the most common are the ones who used to be delusional, but eventually figured out that they weren't actually superior. Of course the honest thing to do then would be to find another career, but delusional financial advisers can make a lot of money, and that's hard to give up.</p> <p>It's pretty easy to slip gradually into lying about your performance &mdash; just talk about your successes, and don't mention your failures.</p> <p>The clearest sign of the liar is that they claim an &quot;average annual return,&quot; but can't point to the specific trades that they or their clients made that produced this return. Instead, they'll point to lists of suggested trades &mdash; but if you have access to all the suggestions, it'll turn out that some of the bad ones don't make the list.</p> <p>Another strong clue is vague advice, such as that you buy a stock &quot;on dips,&quot; without specific numbers attached. This will make it easy for them to leave out losing trades (on the grounds that the dips were never low enough for them to enter the trade). They will also suggest that you use peaks in the market to &quot;begin to lighten up&quot; your position. If the stock continues to outperform, you'll find that they still list it in their model portfolio. Once it starts to lag, you'll see that they exited their position at the last high point.</p> <p>Another common habit among the liars is to ignore trading costs &mdash; and the cost of their advice &mdash; when figuring the bottom line.</p> <h2>The Secretly Mediocre</h2> <p>When &quot;index investing&quot; first started getting big, financial magazines (and others who rated financial advisers) started comparing investment advisers' returns to the market averages. Lousy advisers often fell short, which was pretty embarrassing. A fair number reacted by shifting their advice to just the sort of mediocre advice I'm suggesting that you follow. That way, they'd at least match the market returns.</p> <p>These investment advisers are giving you perfectly good advice, they're just charging you money to achieve performance you could get for free on your own.</p> <p>You can spot the secretly mediocre advisers either by looking at their returns or by looking at their portfolio. In either case, it will end up looking a lot like the return or portfolio you could get from just following the indexes.</p> <h2>My Mediocre Advice</h2> <p>Genuinely superior advice from (extremely rare) genuinely superior investment advisers is generally so expensive it makes no sense to pay for it, unless you have a portfolio of millions of dollars.</p> <p>Since Wise Bread is all about living large on a small budget, I figure it's pretty likely that you don't have the multimillion-dollar portfolio that would let superior financial advice pay for itself. In that case, I suggest that you just follow the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know?ref=internal" target="_blank">mediocre advice</a> I wrote about last time. Doing that, you'll get mediocre returns &mdash; which it turns out, are good enough.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-field-guide-to-lousy-investment-advisers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best">The Surprising Truth of Investing: Mediocre Advice Is Best</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement">7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice delusional financial advisers liars mediocre returns success Mon, 06 Mar 2017 10:30:37 +0000 Philip Brewer 1902765 at http://www.wisebread.com Stop Making These 7 Basic Budget Mistakes http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-7-basic-budget-mistakes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stop-making-these-7-basic-budget-mistakes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-488007222.jpg" alt="Little girl making basic budget mistakes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Budgets are the foundation of frugal living and personal financial success. Clear and realistic budgets help us better understand our financial picture, rein in irresponsible spending, and develop stronger saving habits. If you're having a tough time sticking to your budget, maybe it's not your willpower that's broken &mdash; maybe it's your budget. Here are seven important budget mistakes you may be making.</p> <h2>1. Not Establishing a Goal</h2> <p>Your budget should be fueled by a crystal clear purpose. Before you make (or remake) your budget, decide exactly what you want to accomplish. Is the goal to get out of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card debt</a>? To save more aggressively <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement?ref=internal" target="_blank">for retirement</a>? To <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-pay-your-mortgage-off-early?ref=internal" target="_blank">pay off the house</a> five years sooner? Or to simply develop a greater awareness of where your money goes? Having a goal will help you stay on-track and on-budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-beating-budget-burnout?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Tricks to Beating Budget Burnout</a>)</p> <h2>2. Skipping Your Retirement Savings</h2> <p>Saving for the future? If it's not part of your budget, it's probably not happening. Make sure that your monthly budget includes a healthy contribution to a money market account, IRA, or 401K plan. It's one the few expenses that will actually pay you back in the long-term.</p> <h2>3. Relying on Inconsistent or Uncertain Income</h2> <p>Funding your budget with tax refunds, year-end bonuses, and other income you're yet to (and may not) receive, is a bad idea. With one little hiccup, your entire financial plan can be thrown into chaos. Instead, focus on regular and reliable sources of income. When you receive extra cash, funnel it into your savings or retirement account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/saving-for-retirement-and-other-long-term-goals-on-a-variable-income?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Saving for Retirement and Other Long Term Goals on a Variable Income</a>)</p> <h2>4. Not Expecting the Unexpected</h2> <p>Emergencies happen. Cars break down, pipes burst, and appliances bite the dust. If your budget doesn't include a savings plan or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?ref=internal" target="_blank">emergency fund</a>, it doesn't reflect the realities of life. Avoid blowing your budget or relying on high-interest credit cards when the inevitable happens &mdash; make sure your budget has a line item for what-if's and oh-no's.</p> <p>Most importantly, avoid the temptation to consider this part of your budget negotiable. Often, budgeters will simply pull from the savings column to inflate discretionary spending. As you can imagine, this approach is a slippery slope that can quickly wipe out the best intentions.</p> <h2>5. Ignoring the Small Stuff</h2> <p>Budgets are for major &mdash; and minor &mdash; expenses. If you ignore the $4 coffees, the $12 movie tickets, and the lunches out twice a week, your budget will quickly become more abstract than exact. Monitor and account for each expenditure to get a clear idea of what you're spending and where adjustments need to be made.</p> <h2>6. Making Things Too Complex</h2> <p>When it comes to household budgets, simpler is better. For most budgeters, a basic Excel spreadsheet will do the trick and allow for easy updates. The old-school <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system?ref=internal" target="_blank">envelope system</a> is an even simpler and more direct way to way to track and tally monthly expenditures. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-people-who-hate-math?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Easy Budgeting for People Who Hate Math</a>)</p> <h2>7. Designing a Budget That Won't Budge</h2> <p>While budgets are designed to impose limits on spending, they should still offer <em>some </em>degree of flexibility. Certain expenses fluctuate around the holidays, during major life events like weddings and graduations, and even in response to changing weather. If your budget doesn't allow for a little bit of responsible wiggle room, it won't be useful and you'll soon abandon it. Remember, your budget is your creation. It should respond to the needs of your life and be able to bend without breaking.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-7-basic-budget-mistakes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget">How to Build Your Best Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-of-the-coolest-sayings-about-saving">10 of the Coolest Sayings About Saving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting advice emergency funds expenses income Mistakes saving money savings goals Fri, 03 Mar 2017 10:00:09 +0000 Kentin Waits 1900128 at http://www.wisebread.com The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-508414008.jpg" alt="Learning three rules evert mediocre investor must know" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Mediocre financial advice can earn you mediocre investment returns &mdash; and mediocre investment returns are all you need to save for a house, send your kids to college, and fund your (potentially early) retirement. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-take-investment-advice-from-a-mediocre-investor" target="_blank">Mediocre investment advice</a> is pretty straightforward. In fact, the only thing that's complicated about getting mediocre financial results is the stuff that comes before investing: Things like earning money, keeping your debt in check, finding a career, living frugally, and most crucially, building an adequate <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund" target="_blank">emergency fund</a>.</p> <p>Once you've got those things taken care of, you're ready to start investing. If you're at that point, here's my mediocre investment advice: Create a diversified portfolio of low-cost investments and rebalance it annually.</p> <h2>Diversified Portfolio</h2> <p>It's important to have diversity at several levels. Eventually you'll want diversity in investment types &mdash; not just stocks, but also bonds, real estate, precious metals, foreign currency, cash, etc. More importantly, you want finer-grained diversity especially in the earlier stages of building your portfolio. Don't let your portfolio get concentrated in just one or a few companies. (For what it's worth, don't let it get concentrated in the stock of your employer, either. That sets you up for a catastrophe, because if your employer runs into trouble, the value of your portfolio can crash at the same time your job is at risk.)</p> <p>In the medium term &mdash; after you've got a well-diversified stock selection, but before it's time to branch out into more exotic investments &mdash; you'll want to expand the diversity of types of companies. Not just big companies, but also medium-sized and small companies. Not just U.S. companies, but also foreign companies. Not just tech companies, but also industrial companies and financial companies, and so on.</p> <p>Diversity wins two ways. First, it's safer: As long as all your money isn't in just one thing, it doesn't matter so much whether it's a good year or a bad year for that thing. Second, it produces higher returns: No one can know which investment will be best, but a diversified portfolio probably has at least <em>some </em>money invested in <em>some </em>investments that will do especially well. (Of course retrospectively, there will have been one investment that does best, and risking having all your money in that would have produced the highest possible return &mdash; but that's exactly what a mediocre investor knows better than to attempt.)</p> <p>Of course, you don't want a random selection of investments, even if such a thing might be quite diverse. You want a reasonably balanced portfolio &mdash; something I'll talk about at the end of this post.</p> <h2>Low-Cost Investments</h2> <p>The less money you pay in fees and commissions, the more money you have invested in earning a return.</p> <p>Getting this right is so much easier now than it was when I started investing! In those days, you could scarcely avoid losing several percent of your money right off the top to commissions, and then lose another percent or two annually to fees. Now it's easy to make a stock trade for less than $10 in commissions, and it's easy to find mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that charge fees of only a fraction of 1%.</p> <p>Still, it's easy to screw this up. Any investment that's advertised is paying its advertising budget somehow &mdash; probably with fees from investors. Any investment that's sold by agents or brokers is paying those agents or brokers somehow &mdash; probably with commissions or fees from investors.</p> <p>All those costs come straight out of your return. Keep them to a minimum.</p> <h2>Rebalance Annually</h2> <p>Your diversified portfolio will immediately start getting less diversified: Your winning investments will become a larger fraction of your portfolio while your losers will become a smaller fraction. In the short term, that's great. Who doesn't want a portfolio loaded with winners? Pretty soon though, you start losing the advantages of diversification. Last year's winners will inevitably become losers eventually, and you don't want that to happen after they've become a huge share of your portfolio.</p> <p>The solution is to restore the original diversity. Sell some of the winners, and use the resulting cash to buy some more of the losers. It's the easiest possible way to buy low and sell high. (Maybe you don't want to buy exactly the losers &mdash; not if their poor performance leads you think there's something really wrong with them. But buy something kind of like them. Health care companies probably belong in your portfolio, even if many of them did badly this year.)</p> <p>There are costs to rebalancing &mdash; costs in time and effort (figuring out what to sell and what to buy), and actual costs in commissions and fees. Because of that, you probably wouldn't want to rebalance constantly. You could make a case for monthly or quarterly rebalancing, but even that seems like a lot of effort for a small portfolio. Annually seems to hit the sweet spot.</p> <h2>What Goes Into a Diversified Portfolio?</h2> <p>What I'm going to suggest is that you start with a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds.</p> <p>It's not that there aren't plenty of other worthy investment options &mdash; cash, gold, silver, real estate, foreign currencies, etc. &mdash; it's just that they all have complications of one sort or another, and you can get started on earning your mediocre returns without them.</p> <p>My mediocre investment advice then is that your portfolio should be a balance of stocks (for maximum growth) and bonds (for income and stability).</p> <h3>Finding the Right Balance Comes Down to Age &mdash; Yours</h3> <p>What's the right balance? An old rule of thumb was that 100 minus your age would be a good target percentage for the stock portion of your portfolio. At the start of your career, you'd have nearly 80% of your investments in stocks, and that fraction would gradually decline to about 35% as you approached retirement. The theory was that a young person can afford to take big risks, because he or she has time to wait for an eventual market rebound (and because during the early phase of building up a portfolio, even a large percentage loss is a small dollar amount). This makes a certain amount of sense. In fact, you could argue that a stock market that collapsed and then stayed down just when you started investing would be great &mdash; it would give you decades to buy stocks cheap.</p> <p>That rule of thumb isn't bad, although with people living longer these days, it probably makes sense to keep a higher portion of stocks in your portfolio during the last years before and first years after retirement. Once you hit 50, maybe only cut your stock portfolio by 1% every two years.</p> <p>When you're just getting started, feel free to keep it very simple. Perhaps just start putting money into a broad-based stock fund (such as an S&amp;P 500 index fund). You can add a bond fund right away if you want, or wait until your annual rebalancing.</p> <p>There are mutual funds that will manage this balance for you, holding stocks and bonds with a balance that shifts over time to some target date, at which point they'll hold a portfolio suitable for someone who has retired. You don't need them. In particular, they tend to have higher expenses, violating the &quot;low cost&quot; principle. You can do it easily enough for yourself. (Of course if you find that you don't do your annual rebalancing, then maybe paying a fund to do it for you is worth the expense.)</p> <p>As an alternative to mutual funds, you can use exchange traded funds or ETFs. It doesn't matter.</p> <p>Once your portfolio of stocks is large, you probably want to move beyond a single fund. Look at the other low-cost funds offered by the same fund family that provides your S&amp;P 500 index fund. Consider adding a fund that includes foreign stocks (especially if the dollar seems strong at the time you'll be buying). Consider adding a fund that includes dividend-paying stocks (especially if interest rates are low relative to dividends).</p> <p>Follow these mediocre tips, and you'll be racking up mediocre returns in no time! And remember &mdash; mediocre returns are all you need to live well and retire well.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-choosing-the-right-fund-for-your-portfolio">Are You Choosing the Right Fund for Your Portfolio?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-an-investment-portfolio-for-under-5000">How to Build an Investment Portfolio for Under $5000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investment-mistakes-we-all-make">11 Investment Mistakes We All Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds">Why Warren Buffett Says You Should Invest in Index Funds</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice balancing bonds diversification ETFs mediocre investments mutual funds portfolio returns stock market stocks Mon, 27 Feb 2017 10:30:46 +0000 Philip Brewer 1896815 at http://www.wisebread.com The Surprising Truth of Investing: Mediocre Advice Is Best http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-538027758.jpg" alt="Man learning mediocre investing advice is best" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My investing success made it possible for me to quit working a regular job 10 years ago, at age 48. Even so, I have written very little about investing compared to what I've written about other personal finance topics. There's a reason for that: I'm a mediocre investor.</p> <p>Over the course of my career as a software engineer, I saved and invested, earning a mediocre investment return. Since becoming a full-time writer, I've continued to earn investment returns &mdash; which although still mediocre, have been enough to supplement my income from writing.</p> <p>As a mediocre investor, I have hesitated to hold myself out as an investment adviser, even if my results have met my own needs in a very satisfactory way. I figured people would quite legitimately compare me to superior investment advisers, and it was a comparison that I didn't think would put me in the best light. And yet, I'm going to overcome my hesitation, because looking for superior investment advisers is probably a mistake.</p> <p>There are two big reasons why mediocre investment advice is the better choice: It's adequate, and it's cheap.</p> <h2>Mediocre Investing Advice Is Adequate</h2> <p>The purpose of your investment portfolio is to support your goals in life, and a mediocre return will do the trick. A mediocre return &mdash; just a few percentage points over inflation &mdash; will turn a modest flow of savings into a portfolio large enough to let you buy a house, send your kids to college, and fund a retirement (even an early retirement).</p> <p>Trying to get a better-than-mediocre return requires taking financial risks that put all your life goals at risk.</p> <p>If you have plenty of money available for investing, you can do both. You can cover your basic life goals with a portfolio invested for mediocre returns, and then you can direct your surplus investible funds into a portfolio that shoots for superior returns.</p> <p>It can be fun if you enjoy that sort of thing. I did some of that. Looking back, I'd probably have been better off just going for mediocre returns on the whole thing.</p> <h2>Mediocre Investing Advice Is Cheap</h2> <p>Superior investing advice tends to be expensive. It's expensive because it's worth it &mdash; but it's really only worth that much to the truly wealthy.</p> <p>Think about it. Let's say really good advice can boost your average annual return by five percentage points. On a $100,000 portfolio, that's an extra $5,000 a year. On a $1 billion portfolio, it's an extra $50 million a year. If someone can really earn that kind of extra return, they won't be working for you. They'll be working for the 1%.</p> <p>And it's not only getting superior advice that's expensive. Just following it is expensive. Following any financial advice &mdash; good or bad &mdash; costs money, but not only is getting mediocre advice cheap, following it tends to be cheap as well. And that cost savings turns out to support your investment returns better than even pretty good advice does.</p> <h2>Go With Mediocre</h2> <p>Just looking for superior financial advice is fraught. Most people who say they're providing superior investment advice are wrong. Some are simply deluded, others are flat-out lying. Either way, you really don't want to follow their financial advice &mdash; following bad financial advice can easily cost you your life savings.</p> <p>Fortunately, it's easy to tell the difference: Bad financial advice costs money, while mediocre financial advice tends to be free (or nearly so).</p> <p>Where can you get mediocre financial advice? Lots of places. You might start with two books I reviewed here on Wise Bread years ago that provide just the sort of mediocre financial advice I'm talking about:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-little-book-of-common-sense-investing" target="_blank">The Little Book of Common Sense Investing</a> by John C. Bogle: A perfect capsule of mediocre investment advice. It's also really short, because you can say about all there is to say about mediocre investing in a really short book.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-only-investment-guide-youll-ever-need?ref=internal" target="_blank">The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need</a> by Andrew Tobias: A slightly longer book that also covers basic personal finance stuff &mdash; so, not just investing your money, but also earning, spending, and insuring it.</li> </ul> <h2>How to Know It's Mediocre</h2> <p>It's easy to tell if the advice you're getting is the sort of mediocre advice you want. There are two characteristics to look for:</p> <ol> <li>It's free &mdash; or, available for no more than the cost of a book.</li> <li>It doesn't claim to be better than mediocre.</li> </ol> <p>If somebody charges money for their advice &mdash; or, more importantly, charges a commission, or a percentage of your assets for their advice &mdash; then it's probably not mediocre financial advice. (Charging a small fraction of 1% to cover the costs of running an investment fund is fine. It's charging extra on top of that for advice that's the danger sign.)</p> <p>If somebody claims that their advice is superior investment advice, or in any way better than mediocre financial advice, then it probably isn't mediocre financial advice.</p> <p>If you spot any of those warnings signs, I suggest that you avoid those advisers. It doesn't really matter whether they are people who genuinely think they're providing superior financial advice, or people who are just playing on your hopes for superior financial advice. If you follow their investment advice, I can confidently predict that your long-term investment returns &mdash; after expenses &mdash; will be crappy. And crappy returns mean a lower standard of living, less security, no chance to retire early, and maybe no retirement at all.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-field-guide-to-lousy-investment-advisers">How to Spot Lousy Investment Advisers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement">7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice early retirement financial advisers mediocre returns success Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:30:26 +0000 Philip Brewer 1892846 at http://www.wisebread.com How Many of These "Frugal Virtues" Have You Mastered? http://www.wisebread.com/how-many-of-these-frugal-virtues-have-you-mastered <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-many-of-these-frugal-virtues-have-you-mastered" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_smile_thinking_636275722.jpg" alt="Woman mastering several frugal virtues" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What does it mean to be truly frugal?</p> <p>It's more than just trying to save money. In many ways, being frugal is a lifestyle. It's a virtuous one, too, if you can handle the commitment.</p> <p>To embody a frugal attitude requires you to follow a philosophy based on simplicity, discipline, and an awareness of yourself and the world around you.</p> <p>These are the Frugal Virtues. How many have you mastered?</p> <h2>1. Stifling Instant Gratification</h2> <p>You buy a $5.99 cappuccino because you feel like you need caffeine immediately. You buy a new car because it's shiny and awesome and you just can't wait to have it. You're the first to get the next iPhone, and absolutely must see the next Star Wars sequel on the night it comes out. You're not the type to wait for things. Unfortunately for you, when it comes to spending, patience is a virtue. New products are almost always cheaper if you wait to buy them. And when you wait to buy something, you may realize you don't need the item after all. Spending to satisfy every immediate urge is not part of the path to financial freedom.</p> <h2>2. Seeking Efficiency</h2> <p>To be efficient is to have maximum productivity with the least effort and expense. This concept of efficiency can be applied to a number of areas of personal finance. It could mean driving a car with good fuel mileage, or finding an air conditioning system that gives you the most bang for your buck. It may mean investing your money so that you can generate income with little effort. It could mean spending a small amount of time planning meals for the week, so that you're not wasting time and money later.</p> <h2>3. Looking for Free Stuff</h2> <p>Why pay for something if you can get it for free? One major virtue of frugal people is their ability to find a cost-free option for many items that the rest of us usually pay for. It might be using a coupon for a free meal at a restaurant, checking out books from the library, or grabbing a perfectly good lawn chair that's been placed out in the trash. It means being happy with over-the-air television, and dressing the kids in hand-me-down clothing. Not everything in life can be had for free, but you'd be surprised what you don't need to pay for.</p> <h2>4. Ignoring Advertising</h2> <p>When you watch TV or surf the Internet, you're bombarded with companies trying to get you to part with your money. Marketing folks are experts at manipulating people's emotions, ultimately convincing them that they need a product or service. Frugal people don't get swayed by commercials and banner ads. They don't jump at the latest email promotion or Facebook ad, and they know when something is baloney or not. When they buy things, they are motivated only by their own needs, and aren't swayed by outside influence.</p> <h2>5. Ignoring What's Popular</h2> <p>So everyone you know has a wide selection of clothes from LuLaRoe. They have the newest smartphones. They have awesome sunglasses and eat at the trendiest restaurants. A frugal person ignores this, and avoids making decisions based on what is popular or cool.</p> <h2>6. Avoiding Financial Traps</h2> <p>A financial trap is something that, on the surface, seems like a good deal but is more likely to harm you in the long run. Adjustable rate mortgages, quick payday loans, and even car leases are often considered traps because of their potential to hamstring a person financially if they aren't careful. A frugal person understands the potential pitfalls of every financial decision they make, and stays away from these traps.</p> <h2>7. Embracing the Sharing Economy</h2> <p>Do you and your neighbor both need a high-powered leaf blower? Why not buy one for the two of you and split the cost? Do you have an extra property that you could rent out on Airbnb? Could you save money through a ride-sharing service rather than buying a new car? The sharing economy is based on the notion that we don't need to &quot;own&quot; things as much as have access to them whenever we need them. By reducing what we own, we can save money, clutter, and possibly our sanity.</p> <h2>8. Staying Informed</h2> <p>There are reasons why stock prices go up and down. There are reasons why the cost of goods and services can fluctuate. There are reasons why you're paying more for housing than your parents did. When you understand how markets and the economy work and pay attention to financial news and world events, you're in a position to make smart decisions at every turn. Frugal people know how to read the tea leaves to make the right financial moves. The most frugal people don't just avoid spending; they also make informed choices when it comes to their money.</p> <h2>9. Understanding Value</h2> <p>The concept of value is a bit nebulous, but we've all heard the term &quot;bang for your buck.&quot; In essence, this means getting the most out of every dollar you spend. It doesn't necessarily mean buying the <em>cheapest </em>item every time. Rather, it means avoiding luxury for luxury's sake. And it means taking into account things like overall quality and durability of the items we buy.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-many-of-these-frugal-virtues-have-you-mastered">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-thinking-skills-frugal-people-should-master">6 Thinking Skills Frugal People Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/not-the-sort-of-person-who">Not the sort of person who ...</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-football-teaches-us-about-money">9 Things Football Teaches Us About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me">8 Frugal Living Skills I Wish My Parents Would Have Taught Me</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living advertising advice being frugal financial traps free instant gratification lessons saving sharing economy value virtues Tue, 24 Jan 2017 11:00:11 +0000 Tim Lemke 1871136 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Smart Money Moves to Make in the New Year http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-money-moves-to-make-in-the-new-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-smart-money-moves-to-make-in-the-new-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy_bank_savings_545348368.jpg" alt="Piggy bank for making smart money moves in the new year" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Maybe your New Year's resolution is to budget more consistently, save more, or spend less. Maybe it's investing a portion of your disposable income wisely. Whatever your financial objectives are, setting money-minded goals is important to ensure a more prosperous 2017 and beyond. Here are a few ways to build and improve upon the foundation you've already laid.</p> <h2>1. Enlist Professional Help</h2> <p>Guess what? Everybody gets themselves into a financial pickle every now and then &mdash; myself included &mdash; and it's not the end of the world. Don't beat yourself up about it. You can fix this.</p> <p>If you overdid it during the holidays (or even all of last year), identify your missteps so you don't repeat them in the future, and you can formulate a plan of resolve. If finances aren't your forte (though you should make them your forte ASAP), consider consulting an expert.</p> <h2>2. Learn to Cook</h2> <p>I know a staggering number of people who can't cook. Like, if they tried to sauté a few shrimp, you'd probably walk away from the dinner table with hepatitis. I don't understand it &mdash; which is why I harp on those who avoid the kitchen to get in there and learn. Refusing to prepare yourself fresh, delicious meals is just plain lazy.</p> <p>The other problem with not being able to cook is that the alternative is expensive and very unhealthy. For starters, you're at the mercy of the microwave or what's already prepared at takeouts and restaurants &mdash; and more times than not, that food is loaded with fats and sodium. Second, you're paying about three-to-one for ready-to-eat dishes (unless you're buying the worst of the worst from the freezer section) versus what you could make in your own home using store-bought ingredients.</p> <p>Cooking shows on the Food Network and recipes off the Internet taught me a lot of kitchen basics (like how to make sure a chicken breast is thoroughly cooked so I don't poison myself). A friend of mine recently hired a cook from Craigslist to come into his home once a week to help him learn how to prepare standard meals, like pork chops, veggies, and rice. There are plenty of resources available to help you learn how to cook, too. Find them, graduate to adulthood by making your own dinner, and then count all the cash you're saving. Your mama will be so proud.</p> <h2>3. Cut the Fat From Your Expenses</h2> <p>Along with cutting the fat from your diet, you also should look for ways to trim it from your budget. End memberships and subscriptions you don't use, and call your service providers to renegotiate your deals. I shaved $15 per month off my mobile phone bill last year by calling to update my 12-year-old plan. Also, investigate your bank accounts for erroneous fees; you may be paying for something on a recurring basis that you totally forgot about. Commit to shopping less, and saving more when you do need or want to spend. I don't buy anything without a coupon or discount code. Positive personal finance is a way of life.</p> <h2>4. Increase Your Retirement Savings</h2> <p>If there's extra money in your budget at the end of the month, spend it on your future by increasing your retirement savings. If your employer matches 401K contributions, you should at least be maxing them out. If you don't have an employer-sponsored plan, look into a Roth IRA as an alternative.</p> <h2>5. Consider a Balance Transfer</h2> <p>If you're underwater on your credit cards, consolidating that debt onto a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">card that allows balance transfers</a> could save you a decent chunk of change. Just make sure you check the fees and pay it off during the promotional period, otherwise interest can revert much higher, making repayment even more expensive. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-balance-transfer-credit-card-is-the-best-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Balance Transfer Credit Card Is Best for You?</a>)</p> <h2>6. Lower Your Investment Fees</h2> <p>If your finances are already fairly on track, there are still ways you can put more money back into your bank account &mdash; like lowering your investment fees if you play the stock market.</p> <p>Take a closer look at your portfolio, and re-evaluate to see how you can restructure so fees aren't costing you significant amounts in the long run. Now might also be a good time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-steps-to-getting-started-in-the-stock-market-with-index-funds?ref=internal">consider investing in index funds</a>, the benefits of which include broader market exposure, low operating expenses, and low portfolio turnover.</p> <h2>7. Research How the Trump Administration Will Affect Your Finances</h2> <p>Things are going to change, perhaps significantly, once Trump takes office. The new tax code overhaul alone could affect your finances one way or another. But there are other effects to consider, like rising interest rates, which may reduce the pool of potential buyers of a home sale if you're planning to sell in the near future. The repeal of Obamacare may also alter your budget, depending on what health care alternatives you have. Nonetheless, I recommend researching how the new administration's fiscal plans will trickle down to your own pocket. Hopefully you'll come out ahead, but you should prepare yourself, either way.</p> <h2>8. Just Say No</h2> <p>Make 2017 the year that less is more. Buy fewer retail items, dine out less frequently, limit your alcohol consumption, and learn how to say no to recreational activities that aren't in your budget. You don't have to do or have it all to feel satisfied. Rather, you'll start to experience satisfaction in other ways, like not living paycheck to paycheck because of frivolous spending. You deserve better; give it to yourself.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-money-moves-to-make-in-the-new-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/looking-on-the-bright-side-how-to-find-a-silver-lining-in-the-current-financial-crisis">Looking On The Bright Side: How to Find A Silver Lining In The Current Financial Crisis</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-50">5 Money Mistakes to Stop Making by 50</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-during-a-spousal-separation">How to Manage Your Money During a Spousal Separation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living advice balance transfers budgeting fees financial help investments learning to cook New Year resolutions retirement Mon, 16 Jan 2017 10:00:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1873728 at http://www.wisebread.com