Foreword Communications

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Freelancing Doesn’t Mean Free

 

I’m a freelance writer. Now, that job title has never earned the respect that it deserves but, in this day and age of outsourcing and working virtually, being a freelance writer appears to signify to many buyers that one’s services are to be had at a very low cost.  One has to wonder why.

 

One of the biggest challenges facing freelance writers today, especially those of us who provide services online, is outsourcing.  Although a global economy is certainly down the road, for now, the field is divided into Western workers and non-Western workers. What I mean is that an economy is not competitive if the wages required to live in one economy are vastly different from those required to live in another. 

 

Yes, I’m talking specifically about the outsourcing of jobs – writing jobs, customer service jobs, assembly jobs, whatever – to countries such as India, Pakistan, etc.  Look, the reality is that making five dollars an hour in India is like making $50 an hour here in the U.S.  We just can’t compete.  Not because we don’t want to, but because we simply can’t.  I’ve been involved in many a debate about how American writers charge too much for their services as compared with offshore providers, but that’s a rant for another day. 

 

The plain truth is that American workers literally can’t work for $5 an hour.  That’s less than minimum wage and will earn us a nice cardboard box under a bridge somewhere.  It’s not a realistic wage for this country.  It is however, a realistic wage for someone living in a nation where the average annual wage is well under $2,000.00 a year!  Heck, $2,000.00 a year won’t even keep gas in the minivan, let alone pay for food, clothing, housing, utilities, etc.  What buyers of freelance services need to ask themselves is, can they live on less than $2,000.00 a year?  Can they live on what they expect to pay a freelancer?  If the answer is no, then we probably can’t either.

 

And, even if a buyer’s financial needs are met through outsourcing, their project needs rarely are.  Look, I applaud anyone trying to make a living, but ya just can’t write effectively to an American audience if your first language isn’t English.  As a matter of fact, quality (language or production) is one of the biggest barriers to outsourcing in any industry.  Personally, as someone who pays dearly for the products and services I receive, I hate it when I have to contact customer service and deal with someone who doesn’t understand what I’m saying and who I can’t understand either.  It’s unpleasant, and the entire experience leaves me feeling as if my business is not valued.  After all, if I pay good money for something, shouldn’t I receive a quality product with quality customer service – not merely service and production that has been outsourced to the lowest bidder?

 

Buyers who don’t think that their target audience notices their lack of dedication to their own projects are simply kidding themselves.  As I surf the web, I catch all of the spelling, grammar, and syntax errors made by writers who are either unprofessional or not English-speaking.  It’s noticeable, it’s annoying, and buyers who think that the American public – the paying American public – doesn’t just surf off to another site when we are insulted in this way need to think again.  In essence, if you want to appear professional – an expert in your field (whatever service or product you sell or promote) – you need a professional writer to help you.  If you don’t invest in yourself and your image – it shows.

 

Another huge challenge facing American freelance writers are books and ebooks that are being marketed to a cash-strapped public with empty promises of helping readers earn millions from home and accessing services for cheap.  Several of these marketing manuals insist that virtual freelancers are to be had for pennies and that anyone can work as a writer.  The only people getting rich from these ideas are the ones selling these books/ebooks.  The public is shelling out their hard-earned cash on a pack of lies.  Virtual freelancers are not cheap – at least quality ones (for all of the reasons detailed above) and you’re not going to make a million dollars as a freelance writer. 

 

Unfortunately, many people who have snagged one of these books/ebooks as a do-all-tell-all into the freelancing industry approach freelancing, freelance writers, and their own projects as if they’ve found the fountain of youth or something equally elusive.  The old adages, “nothing in life is free” and “you get what you pay for” hold just as true in freelancing as they do in any industry.  The average professional freelancer is a bit insulted when approached to write for $5 a page.  Since one page of good writing takes at least one hour to produce, such an offer makes our jaws drop and our hair stand on end.  Yet, the authors of the books and ebooks that indicate that ALL freelancers work for such wages continue to pull the wool over the eyes of buyers worldwide. 

 

Look, here’s the way it is – freelancing isn’t free.  If you want to purchase work for way under market freelancing rates, be prepared to deal with the fallout, i.e., poor writing, work that is copied and pasted directly from another (copyrighted) source, writing that sounds like it’s been written by a third grader, etc. 

 

Writing that has to be rewritten or that is completely unusable is no bargain.  Pay for quality work the first time around and you’ll save money in the long run.

 

 

 

But, I don’t have all the answers either.

 

©2008 ForeWORD Communications    

All Rights Reserved

 

ForeWORD Communications

Intelligent Writing Solutions for Individuals and Businesses

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ohioans for Financial Freedom

Filed under: BUSINESS, ECONOMICS, ECONOMY, LIFE, LIVING, MONEY, NEWS, POLITICS — Tags: , , , , , , — forewordcommunications @ 8:05 pm

 

 

Recently appearing on the airwaves are commercials funded by a group called Ohioans for Financial Freedom.  In the television ad, a friendly farmer, supposedly representative of the “average” Joe, tells viewers that, after doing his research, he has discovered that 6,000 Ohio jobs and the state’s financial freedom are at stake.  Farmer Joe explains that, if a belt breaks on his red Chevy truck, he can borrow $100 from his friendly neighborhood payday lender and pay back $115 when he gets his Friday paycheck.  Joe then goes on to extol the virtues of payday lenders by linking the average citizen’s option of borrowing money from a payday lender with financial freedom and tries to impress upon his audience that 6,000 “well-paying” jobs might be lost if Ohio legislators, who are taking steps to regulate the industry, have their way.  In other words, according to Joe, the State of Ohio wants to strip its citizen’s of their financial freedom by reigning in payday lenders.  Joe wants us to stop the madness by signing one of the petitions that have been circulating to get legislation sponsored by Ohioans for Financial Freedom on the November ballot.

 

What Joe doesn’t tell us is that Tony Soprano and his mobster buddies would be hauled off to federal prison for doing what payday lenders make a business out of.  What payday lenders do is called usury in my neck of the Ohio woods and, like mob lending, it should be illegal. 

 

The plain facts are this:

  • Payday loans are assigned at an annualized interest rate of 391 percent!  Ohio lawmakers want that rate lowered to a more manageable 28 percent.
  • Payday loan jobs are not “well-paying” positions.  They are low-paying jobs that won’t keep a person afloat financially.  So, those 6,000 jobs that Joe insists will be lost are people living barely above the poverty line to begin with, not people living in the lap of luxury as Joe would have us believe.
  • Payday loans come in all sizes, with a $100 loan being on the low end of the spectrum.  Some payday loan lenders allow loans of up to $800.
  • Payday lenders prey on those who don’t have the money to repay their debt.  The only proof of solvency that payday lenders require is proof of employment and of a bank account.  A customer’s credit rating, or true ability to repay, has nothing to do with the transaction.  People who have good credit, have other, less expensive, options for accessing money to pay for pickup truck belts.  It’s the folks who don’t have those options – the people least able to absorb such high interest rates – that payday lenders service.  Desperate people, struggling to find ways to pay bills and meet the rising costs of gasoline and groceries, make up the general clientele of payday lenders.  What Joe neglects to tell viewers is that since many payday lenders allow their customers to “borrow” again within a day or two of paying their loan, a number of customers are doing just that.  Far too many customers of payday lenders get caught in a cycle of borrowing the same amount, or a larger amount, every payday cycle just to break even. 

It is because far too many people found themselves unable to pay back their loans that the State of Ohio had to step in and regulate the payday loan industry which has been enjoying explosive growth at the detriment of those they profess to serve.  Had their rates been reasonable and their practices not targeted those least able to repay, Ohio legislators wouldn’t have had to become involved.  The only thing missing from payday lenders’ repertoire is a big guy named Vinnie threatening to break the fingers or kneecaps of non-paying customers.  Of course, for people who have no other options, even usury is a feasible, if not altogether welcome, alternative.  But, gee, Farmer Joe, why not tell the truth and give Ohioans all the information they need to decide if they’d rather borrow money at 391% or at 28%?  I for one believe that my financial freedom, and that of my fellow Ohioans, rests on the failure of the payday loan industry, not the perpetuation of it, and you’ll not see this Ohioan’s signature on Joe’s petitions.

 

 

 

But, I don’t have all the answers either.

 ©2008 ForeWORD Communications    

All Rights Reserved

 

 

ForeWORD Communications

Intelligent Writing Solutions for Individuals and Businesses

Articles – eBooks – eCourses – White Papers – Web Page Content – Etc.

Visit my website at: www.forewordcommunications.com

View my blog at: https://forewordcommunications.wordpress.com/
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Ugly American: Are We Really Any Uglier Than Everyone Else?

Ok, so bright and early this morning I had a discussion with a European-based buyer about how American freelance writers gripe about the low rates that the market is currently paying primarily because of the influx of writers from developing countries.  For internet writers, the globalization of freelancing has resulted in competing against writers who are able to charge a mere $2-ish an hour.  In this country, that wage would qualify you for food stamps – no, homelessness!

 

And, have you seen the work of these so-called writers?!  Horrors!  Just surf the web and you’ll find an internet crammed full of content that is plagiarized, grammatically incorrect, rife with spelling errors, and completely lacking in any real ability to speak to the audience.  Their grades in school may have reflected a relatively solid understanding of the English language, but, linguistically, they fall so far short of making the grade, it’s frustrating.

 

But, let’s stop here for a minute.  Before I’m accused of being exactly what I hate, I don’t begrudge anyone the right to make a living.  All I’m saying is that, if you can’t compete, don’t lower the bar for everyone else.  For instance, I’m not a huge fan of women firefighters or overweight policemen.  I believe that every job has a certain minimum standard that has to be met for the job to be done properly.  If you can’t meet that standard, don’t expect the industry to lower the minimum standard to accommodate you.  Does this mean that no woman can be a great firefighter or that an overweight policeman can’t do his job?  Not at all.  It just means that, if the male firefighters are expected to lift 250 pounds, the women had better be able to do it too.  And, if that overweight policeman can huff his way through a back-alley foot chase, more power to him.  But, no special dispensations; find another job, if you’re not willing to adhere to the minimum standards.  After all, I wouldn’t try to get a job as a nurse without the right skills, would I?

 

Now, back to that buyer who has a problem with paying a fair wage.  His rantings about how Americans only complain when something affects them and how Americans expect the rest of the world to kowtow to them reminded me of the age-old, and significantly overdone, rant about the Ugly American.

 

Sure, there is such a thing as the Ugly American, but there are Ugly British, Ugly Germans, and Ugly French too.  The ugliness of the tourist is common throughout the world.  Just ask anyone in the hospitality industry.  Still, that whole Ugly American thing has always bothered me.  It’s as if we’ve been held up as an example of everything that’s wrong with politics, economics, morals – everything!  Like we’re a bunch of whiny two-year-olds.

 

But, hey, we are a bunch of whiny two-year-olds!

 

The United States is only a little over 230 years old.  Old for a person, but a babe-in-the-woods compared to other countries.  The UK, Germany, France, Italy, etc. are old-timers compared to us.  And, like any toddler, we are testing the limits and pushing the boundaries.  We make bad decisions and end up paying for them.  And we stomp our feet when we don’t get our way.  We’re not ugly, we’re inexperienced!  Newbies in the global community.

 

And, this is different from everyone else how?

 

Actually, we Americans are no different from anyone else.  We’re just newer at it.  Remember when Rome controlled most of the world?  How about when England and Spain battled over the very grounds we live on.  And, speaking of England, didn’t they have colonies all over the world at one point?  Remember South Africa and apartheid?  Guess they were pretty ugly too, huh?  The only difference is that, now, it’s ok to speak out against a nation’s need to spread its wings, whereas, back in the days of the Tudor’s, it would have gotten you beheaded.

 

Still, we Americans are pretty stupid.  We just bounce gleefully along until we get ourselves into a whole heap of trouble.  Wanna come live here?  Ok, no problem.  All are welcome.  Now there are so many immigrants in the US that we’re arguing over official languages, arguing about what to do about illegal immigrants, and bending backward so far we can kiss our own you-know-whats.  Other, more established nations don’t have this problem; nor do developing third-world countries.  If you’re an illegal immigrant in the UK, you can kiss your butt goodbye.  If you go to France and don’t speak the language, do ya think they’re gonna make new walk/don’t walk signs just for you?  I don’t think so. And, China and Japan, well, they don’t let anyone in to just wander around like they’re free or something.

 

So, what does the Ugly American complain about?  The same stuff that developing – yes, in the larger scheme of things, we’re still developing – nations throughout time have complained about; the right to make a living, secure our boundaries, and be a recognized player in the global community.  Sometimes our complaints are focused inward (Rhett, whatever will I do without my servants!) and sometimes outward (How do we compete against third-world countries in the distribution of goods and services?), but they’re the same complaints that every other, much older, nation has already experienced.  Remember the hard time that England went through when they didn’t know where’d they get their tea?  How about when Rome couldn’t draw from a pool of captured slaves for servants – ok, Rome fell, so maybe that’s not a good example.  Either way, you get my point; the US is experiencing a host of growing pains; pains which most of Europe has already outgrown and most of the still-developing nations have yet to experience.

 

So, get off your Ugly American high-horse and recognize that Americans are just a few centuries behind the rest of the world.  Someday, we’ll put drastic limits on immigration, hunt down and deport illegals, require that the citizenship test be completed in English only, and stop rewarding our own corporations with tax breaks for outsourcing and leaving our own citizens jobless.  After all, isn’t that what everyone else does?

 

 

 

I don’t have all the answers either.

 

©2008 ForeWORD Communications    

All Rights Reserved

 

For intelligent writing solutions for your business, visit my website at www.forewordcommunications.com

 

ForeWORD Communications – Freelance Writing Services
Intelligent Writing Solutions for Individuals and Businesses

Articles – eBooks – eCourses – White Papers – Web Page Content – Etc.


Email: forewordcom@aol.com

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Stop Smoking Now!

 

 

May 17, 1999…

 

That’s the date I stopped smoking.  I’ve got the date programmed into my calendar as an anniversary upon which I am due a great deal of honor and respect.  And every year on May 17, 1999, I give myself a pat on the back and sing my own praises to anyone and everyone who will listen.

 

Why?

 

Because, as many people know all too well, it’s darned hard to stop smoking!  Studies show that most people will try to stop and fail at least three times before they are successful, and, honestly, I think that statistic is far too low.

 

I smoked for 18 years.  And during the course of those 18 years, I managed to increase the amount that I smoked until I was puffing through four packs a day!  Every day, by the end of the day, my lungs ached and my head was throbbing.  But, still, I lit ’em up.

 

I smoked through three pregnancies.  I was convinced I’d never be able to quit so I tried to cut back.  Didn’t work.  In the hospital after giving birth, I was one of those people who would sneak into the bathroom, turn on the exhaust fan, and surreptitiously feed my addiction.  ‘Course, that was in the later years.  After giving birth to my first child in 1991, it was still ok to smoke in a visitors lounge on the maternity floor.

 

I remember once, when I was pregnant with my son (he’s kid number three), I was walking to the park with my neighbor and our children, and someone who was driving by actually made a comment about the fact that I was pregnant and smoking.  That comment made me angry… and ashamed.  That person was obviously never a smoker; not a real smoker anyway.  A real smoker can’t just quit because it’s what’s right for the baby.  It’s just not that darned easy!  And, remember, I grew up in an era where women smoked while pregnant and no one batted an eyelash.  When I was a kid, just about every adult I knew smoked.  I held out until I was 17, but once I started, it was downhill from there.

 

People just don’t realize that smokers don’t jump out of bed every morning and sing the praises of nicotine.  Of course, smokers, for the most part, aren’t as bothered by the effects of smoking as non-smokers are either.  Until I became a non-smoker, I had forgotten how bad smokers smelled.  Blech!  Now, I’m reminded every time my kids come home from their father’s house how bad the odor really is.  When they get home from somewhere where there is smoking, their hair and clothes smell so bad I tell them, to shower and change right away.

 

My mother had a dream once that cigarettes were $20 a pack and she was still smoking three packs a day.  I’m reminded of her dream every time I glance at the cigarette prices at the store.  Forty dollars a carton?!  Holy smokes!  For some weed in a tube?  Are they nuts?  My sister and her husband have taken to rolling their own, and even that ain’t cheap!  Ah, but the law of supply and demand means that, as the number of smokers decreases, the price of smokes is going to keep going up.

 

I used to have a little program on my computer that kept me informed of the number of cigarettes I haven’t smoked and how much money I’ve saved.  I’ve bought a new computer since then, and the company that developed that handy little program has since gone out of business but I can still enter my information into an online calculator like www.quitsmokingcounter.com and get my stats.  ‘Course the savings aren’t adjusted for inflation (it’s based on the cost of a pack of cigarettes at the time I quit), but it appears that I’ve saved $27, 678.80.  A discussion on where in the world all that money went is for another time, but I do know that, if I were still a smoker, burning through four, or more, packs a day, I’d be spending upwards of $120 a week to kill myself.  Thank you Phillip Morris.  Also, according to this quit smoking counter, I’ve been a non-smoker for 474 weeks, 3days, 10 hours, 58 minutes, and 48, 49, 50… seconds.  Even better, I’ve added 181 weeks, 1 day, 14 hours, and 41 minutes to my life.

 

Still, even as a former smoker, I’m different from that person who made the comment about my pregnant-and-smoking condition years ago.  I’ve never condemned anyone for smoking and I never will.  Sure, I hate it when my ex, or anyone else, smokes around my kids, and when I have to be around cigarette smoke for too long, I don’t feel well, but what kind of hypocrite would I be if I condemned everyone else for doing exactly what I subjected them to for so many years.  And I know that, even though that person who condemned me back in 1997 obviously thought her comment was either productive or welcomed (it was, of course, neither), it didn’t stop me from feeling powerless against my addiction.  You can’t shame someone into quitting, but you sure can be supportive when they decide to take the plunge.  And if you can’t be supportive, just keep your big mouth shut.

 

The good news?  Quitting smoking was far easier than I had imagined!  Don’t get me wrong, it was tough, but nowhere near the pure hell that I thought it would be.  All those times I tried to quit cold-turkey and failed; those times when it was pure hell, are now overshadowed by my success.  I’ve been a non-smoker now for… well… 474 weeks, 3days, 10 hours, 58 minutes, and 48, 49, 50… seconds, and I’ve managed to stay that way through the most hellacious divorce known to woman, the stress of single motherhood, and two daughters in their teen years.  If I can do it, anyone can!

 

 

I don’t have all the answers either.

 

©2008 ForeWORD Communications    

All Rights Reserved

 

For intelligent writing solutions for your business, visit my website at www.forewordcommunications.com

 

ForeWORD Communications – Freelance Writing Services
Intelligent Writing Solutions for Individuals and Businesses

Articles – eBooks – eCourses – White Papers – Web Page Content – Etc.


Email: forewordcom@aol.com

Webpage: www.forewordcommunications.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Can You Avoid Foreclosure?

Filed under: ECONOMICS, ECONOMY, LIFE, MONEY — Tags: , , — forewordcommunications @ 1:56 am

 

Sure, you didn’t think when you signed your mortgage papers that you’d ever be in the position where you might lose your home.  But, sometimes life throws curves that we don’t anticipate and we find ourselves swamped with unexpected medical bills, out of a job, or faced with the income shattering consequences of divorce.  There’s usually very little standing between the average homeowner and their worst nightmare – foreclosure.  There are however, several things that you can do to avoid losing your home.  And with planning and perseverance, you should be able to make it through even the toughest financial crisis and still keep your home. 

For the most part, your mortgage lender will probably be willing to work with you.  After all, they’d rather have your money than an empty house that will sit on the market for months costing them money instead of making money for them.  Most lenders understand that even the best customers can fall behind and have devised ways to help you get back on track.  So, first and foremost, if you are behind on your mortgage payments, communicate with your lender.  Don’t make the mistake that so many people make and avoid making the call.  Tell your lender up front, and as soon as possible, what is going on so that they can help you. 

Most lenders have relatively similar programs to help you avoid foreclosure.  The first option is usually a simple repayment plan.  The lender will generally allow you to spread the repayment of your missed payments over the next few months.  You will need to agree to a definite payment plan and there are usually some small fees involved, but this is likely the best option for most people who are capable of catching up and are just a payment or two behind. 

Some lenders will allow you to modify your loan if you fall behind.  The most common way to do this is to roll the missed payments back into the loan balance and reamortizing the loan.  This gets you back on track right away and allows you to pick up where you left off.  There’s also the option of the short refinance or the hard money refinance.  The short refinance will allow you to refinance your loan while the lender forgives some of your mortgage arrears.  The hard money loan generally involves receiving a high interest loan from a private lender that will see you through until you sell your home.  The hard money option is usually not for those who are going to keep the property. 

Finally, if you’re sure that you will not be able to either catch up on your mortgage arrearages or you are not certain that you are going to be able to stay current if your mortgage company helps you out, you may want to consider discussing a short sale with your mortgage lender.  In a short sale, the lender approves the sale of your home for less than the outstanding loan amount.  The mortgage company will keep any proceeds from the sale and will forgive any remaining balance.  In this option, you will receive no profits from the sale of your house but you will also not owe the lender anything once the process has been completed.  

Your mortgage company has many options designed to help you avoid foreclosure, whether you intend to keep your home or not.  The key is to act quickly and discuss your financial situation honestly with your lender as soon as you see that paying your mortgage has become a problem – preferably before you miss your first payment.  Generally, the earlier you begin proactive discussions with your lender, the better the outcome.

 

©2008 ForeWORD Communications     All Rights Reserved

 

For intelligent writing solutions for your business, visit my website at www.forewordcommunications.com

 

ForeWORD Communications
Intelligent Writing Solutions for Individuals and Businesses

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Email: forewordcom@aol.com

Webpage: www.forewordcommunications.com

 

Managing Credit Card Debt

Filed under: ECONOMICS, ECONOMY, MONEY — Tags: , , — forewordcommunications @ 12:45 am

 

With more individuals going belly up financially, keeping your own financial house in order is becoming more important than ever. And one big piece of the financial puzzle is credit card debt. Since most households are now carrying a minimum of $10,000 in credit card debt alone, managing that credit card debt can save you hundreds, even thousands, of dollars every year.

 

Some important things to remember when managing credit card debt are:

1. There’s a difference between good and bad debt

2. Rein in spending by creating a budget

3. Keep an eye on those interest rates

4. Ignore the minimum payment, and

5. Don’t wait until it’s too late to get help.

 

Most of us open our mailboxes, both physical mailboxes and internet ones, to find more credit card offers than real mail. Obtaining a credit card has become so easy that only the rare individual doesn’t have one. But far too many people have discovered the drawbacks of credit card spending, usually after it is already too late and their credit rating has suffered as a result.

 

Credit cards are actually a great way to finance larger purchases, but most people unfortunately don’t use them for such purposes. Using a credit card for consumable purchases is one of the worst ways to use your card because you must continue to pay for the purchase long after you have consumed that meal or taken that vacation. This does not apply if you are using the card to make the purchase so that you don’t have to carry cash and intend to pay the bill in full from money that you have set aside for just that purpose.

 

Along these same lines, the more you pay toward your balance every month, the less your total interest charges will be. Sure, it’s easy to be fooled by the minimum payment, and there are likely to be times when that’s all you can manage to pay. But, whenever possible, pay more than the minimum. You’ll literally save thousands over the life of the card.

 

If you find that you are charging more than you can afford to pay, you need to rein in that spending. Keep a spending diary and create a budget from the information in your diary. Be honest too. If you spend $1.50 on a chai latte every morning, write it down. Many budgets go awry because the person is not honest in documenting spending.

 

Always pay off your higher interest cards earlier. Just like paying more than the monthly minimum, this small strategy can save you a ton of money. If possible, transfer your balances from higher rate cards to lower rate ones. You can even call your credit card company and ask them to lower your rate. It’s worth a try, and sometimes it works.

 

Finally, if you’ve gotten in over your head, get help! Partnering with a debt counseling agency can help you get back on your financial feet and save you the grief of bankruptcy and harassing creditor calls. Some of these agencies charge for their fees however, so make sure that you don’t get caught in a scam by investigating the company before you do business.

 

 

©2008 ForeWORD Communications     All Rights Reserved

 

For intelligent writing solutions for your business, visit my website at www.forewordcommunications.com

 

ForeWORD Communications
Intelligent Writing Solutions for Individuals and Businesses

Articles – eBooks – eCourses – White Papers – Web Page Content – Etc.

Email: forewordcom@aol.com

Webpage: www.forewordcommunications.com

 

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Investing to Save

Filed under: ECONOMICS, ECONOMY, MONEY — Tags: , , — forewordcommunications @ 11:52 pm

 

Like many people, you’re probably not investment savvy. Still, you wonder what you can do to make your savings dollar grow faster, but keep it safe from investment losses. Luckily, there are a number of investment strategies that can earn you a better return on your investment dollar than a traditional savings account. It’s still a good idea however, if you can, to keep a small savings in a standard savings account in case you need to access money for an unplanned expense like major car or house repairs.

 

Investing in the stock market is really a great way to help your money grow. Some people use an investment counselor for this purpose, but creating your own stock portfolio is becoming easier than ever with the wealth of reputable online investment services available to help you realize your investment dreams. And opening an online investment account can be done with as little as $50.00 in some cases and you can load money into your brokerage account directly from your checking or savings.

 

Choosing stocks can be tricky at first, but there’s so much information available to teach you the process step-by-step that you’ll be a pro in no time. Keep your account small at first and go with the safer stock offerings until you become more adept at investing. Stock market investing is not designed to give you a fast payoff, so if you hear stories about stocks that double in a day, don’t listen. The stock market is designed to give you a long-term investment opportunity in which the returns can vary by the day, and even the hour. So, if you’re anxiety-prone, keep your money in a safe savings account or avoid checking the stock ticker every minute. But remember, over the long haul, the stock market may yield a higher return than other, more traditional, savings strategies.

 

 

©2008 ForeWORD Communications     All Rights Reserved

 

For intelligent writing solutions for your business, visit my website at www.forewordcommunications.com

 

ForeWORD Communications
Intelligent Writing Solutions for Individuals and Businesses

Articles – eBooks – eCourses – White Papers – Web Page Content – Etc.

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Budgeting for Dummies

Filed under: ECONOMICS, ECONOMY, MONEY — Tags: , , — forewordcommunications @ 11:31 pm

 

So many people fail to budget their money, you’d think that it was a pretty difficult concept. But, working out a budget is one of the easiest things you can do to ensure your financial health and continued financial future.

 

 

How to Begin

 

Starting down the budgeting road means keeping track of what you spend. This is probably the part that trips most people up because it’s tedious and time consuming. However, this one simple act can save you hundreds and thousands of dollars every year. So, grab a notebook and let’s get started.

 

Keep your budget notebook for only a month. Longer is better, but we’re just starting out. This should give you a pretty good view of what you spend every month on utilities, groceries, rent/mortgage, etc. It will also give you a good idea of how much money you are wasting. Label your notebook pages something like, rent, utilities, food, clothing, credit payments, entertainment, eating out, etc. If you spend money on something like a morning latte, then you can create a miscellaneous spending page for such things that are nice, but not necessary.

 

At the end of the month, take an honest look at where you’re spending your money. Assuming that you’ve been honest and recorded everything, even the fifty cents you spent on that soda from the vending machine, you should know how your luxury spending is stacking up next to your necessary spending.

 

 

What If You Can’t Balance Your Budget?

 

Unless you’re Donald Trump, you’ve probably discovered that money is tight. That spending diary that you’ve spent the last couple of months diligently working on is going to tell you exactly where you can decrease your spending and where you can find money for such frivolities as a savings account and investments. By using your spending diary to determine just where you are overspending, whether it’s spending too much for lunches at work or buying videos when you should be renting, you can create a simple budget that takes into consideration your income and your lifestyle.

 

 

©2008 ForeWORD Communications     All Rights Reserved

 

For intelligent writing solutions for your business, visit my website at www.forewordcommunications.com

 

ForeWORD Communications
Intelligent Writing Solutions for Individuals and Businesses

Articles – eBooks – eCourses – White Papers – Web Page Content – Etc.

Freelance writing and ghostwriting.

Email: forewordcom@aol.com

Webpage: www.forewordcommunications.com

Budgeting for College

Filed under: ECONOMICS, ECONOMY, FAMILY, MONEY — Tags: , , , — forewordcommunications @ 11:26 pm

 

If you have kids, you probably worry about how you will afford to send them to college. With a college education currently averaging about $22,500.00 per year, finding enough dough in the budget to set aside a piece of change to help finance your child’s future involves more than just basic math.

 

Even if you are lucky enough to have a child that can earn scholarship money, you should plan to contribute a significant amount of your own savings toward the college budget. Some estimates of financing a total four-year college education, and by total we mean the cost of tuition, books, food, room and board, etc., run as high as $200,000. With this in mind, you’d be wise to begin adding to the college piggy bank as early as possible.

 

What exactly is the best way for the average parent to put together enough pennies to add up to a college degree? Even if you are not able to finance the entire four years, any help you can give your college-bound child will result in a smaller post-college repayment bill. Don’t sacrifice your retirement fund however. Just contribute what you realistically can and let Junior worry about the rest.

 

So, think about your options. Socking away even $100.00 a month can yield up to $50,000.00 by the time your child reaches the halls of knowledge. Many people find that stocks and mutual funds are a best bet for college-bound investing and others swear by 529 savings plans. Your college savings route will likely depend on how much of your own personal budget you can reasonably contribute to the cause. Whichever route you choose, rest assured that there are many tax breaks to help you manage those tuition bills and student loan repayment plans are now more flexible than ever.

 

 

©2008 ForeWORD Communications     All Rights Reserved

 

For intelligent writing solutions for your business, visit my website at www.forewordcommunications.com

 

ForeWORD Communications
Intelligent Writing Solutions for Individuals and Businesses

Articles – eBooks – eCourses – White Papers – Web Page Content – Etc.

Freelance writing and ghostwriting.

Email: forewordcom@aol.com

Webpage: www.forewordcommunications.com

Saving on a Budget

Filed under: ECONOMICS, ECONOMY, MONEY — Tags: , , — forewordcommunications @ 11:16 pm

There are many people who insist that they just don’t earn enough money to manage to save any. Although this is sometimes terribly true, the reality is that most of us are spending our savings on such items as fast food, movie theaters, and other non-necessary items. This is not to say that the wise money manager never enjoys any of these things. It just means that you can continue to do so while finding even a few pennies in the budget for saving and investing. 

Look at it this way. If you save just one dollar a day for ten years, you’ll have $3,650.00. That’s a nice chunk of change. But if you save the same one dollar a day for ten years, and put that money into a savings account earning a minimum of 2.2% interest over the course of the ten years, you’ll have at least $4,083.00. Since most people spend at least one dollar a day on stuff they really don’t need, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t all have over four grand in the bank in ten years without even really trying. If saving that amount of money is so easy, imagine what you can do by saving two dollars every day! Five? Ten? 

Ok, so considering we’re a society of spendthrifts, where exactly are you supposed to find all that money to save? Can’t part with that morning latte? Make it at home and save. Gotta have a Coke with your lunch? Bring one from home instead of buying one from a machine. Addicted to lunch at Taco Bell? Pack your own lunch tortilla-wrapped treat and save money and calories! Still not convinced? Try these options too. Take the bus instead of driving; wash your own car instead of going to a car wash; use store sales as a chance to stock up on items you use every day; turn down the thermostat when you leave the house; and the list goes on. Even the tightest budgets usually have enough wiggle room for a small savings opportunity.

 

©2008 ForeWORD Communications     All Rights Reserved

 

For intelligent writing solutions for your business, visit my website at www.forewordcommunications.com

 

ForeWORD Communications
Intelligent Writing Solutions for Individuals and Businesses

Articles – eBooks – eCourses – White Papers – Web Page Content – Etc.

Freelance writing and ghostwriting.

Email: forewordcom@aol.com

Webpage: www.forewordcommunications.com

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