Foreword Communications

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Biological Altruism: Are we Hard-Wired to Behave in a Socially Caring Manner or to Maximize Personal Gain

Filed under: FAMILY, GLOBAL LIVING, LIFE, MODERN LIVING, SELF-IMPROVEMENT — Tags: , , — forewordcommunications @ 2:55 am

 

There exists a current debate over whether behaving in a socially caring manner, or social altruism, is a learned behavior or whether human beings are hard wired, or genetically predisposed, to behave in such a way. There are surely rational arguments for each side. However, some studies indicate that altruism is indeed hard wired into the human brain as well as the brains of several other species. In essence, humans can’t help the urge to help. 

Social altruism is a form of behavior in which an individual places the needs or benefit of another over the needs or benefit of the self. The individual must give something of himself such as money or time, in order to have fulfilled the requirements for altruism. Essentially, by losing something, time or money, another person, or persons, gain something. It can be argued that altruistic behavior occurs out of a sense of duty or out of some sort of inner compassion, and the answer is both. Scientists have uncovered evidence that animals may behave in an altruistic manner. Animals such as birds and insects such as bees and ants have been shown to care for the young of their groups at the expense of their own good, and sometimes even their own lives. However, this type of altruism is clearly instinctual. 

Although human beings often behave in a way that places the needs of others before their own, scientists often call this pseudo-altruism because it mimics true or instinctual altruism. Human beings may also behave in a socially altruistic manner due to a connection between empathy and compassion. In other words, the human ability to imagine one’s self in the position of another (empathy) results in a feeling of mutual suffering (compassion). This form of compassionate social altruism is as close to instinctual altruism as humans can get, and is indeed hard wired. 

This ability to act on behalf of someone else in a similar manner as one would act toward one’s self is not merely a duty bound process. If this were true, there would not be so many instances of an instinctual-type of altruism amongst any number of animals, including humans. Science has used the explanations of kin selection and reciprocal altruism to explain altruism. The theory of kin selection as relating to altruism indicates that altruism assists in the perpetuation of the species genes. Science argues that the extension of altruistic behavior in animals exists because certain altruistic actions ensure that the species survives and passes along its genes. Additionally, the closer two organisms are related, the more likely it is that altruism will be considered. In essence, as altruism is defined as a cost to the altruistic organism and a benefit to the recipient, the closer the relative the more the altruistic behavior is seen as a greater benefit to the recipient and a lesser cost to the giver. Kin selection indicates that an organism is less likely to act in an altruistic manner towards non-kin as such acts do not ensure the natural selection of one’s own genes. 

Because evidence of kin selective altruistic behavior has been noted in animal species, science assumes that the behavior may be generalized to include human behavior as well. This theory however, does not however explain why, if humans are hardwired to behave in an altruistic manner only toward kin, humans will display altruistic behavior toward a spouse. In essence, if genetic strangers are at the bottom of the altruistic chain, then humans should display altruistic behavior toward a spouse no more often than they would a complete stranger. It is, however, interesting to note that proponents of kin selection also include everyone in a general area as being members of one’s kin. One can assume that kin selection favors how human society views itself as a social entity. Since one’s society could be assumed to consist of the whole of one’s kin, the theory would preclude that an individual’s altruistic behavior would extend to all members of the human society, i.e., the entire world. Kin-based systems require little thought and may be a stepping stone to other forms of altruistic behavior. 

Reciprocal altruism, much like the evolutionary ideology of kin selection, also has its roots in an organism’s self interest. Reciprocal altruism assumes that an organism engages in an altruistic act because that organism will receive a similar consideration at some point in the future; a kind of quid pro quo. In this kind of altruism, the giving organism does so knowing that the balance of altruistic behavior will remain unequal until that organism’s altruistic behavior has been reciprocated. In other words, the theory of reciprocal altruism indicates that both the giver and the receiver realize that, over time, the benefits outweigh the costs of the altruistic acts so that, in the end, both the giver and the receiver realize a net gain. Although the giver will not realize any immediate benefits from his altruistic act, the understanding is that there will definitely be something in it for him, if not now or in his lifetime, then for his descendents or relatives. 

Reciprocal altruism asserts that, for an altruistic act to be completely reciprocal, there must be some cost to the giver and some benefit to the recipient, the altruistic act must be performed contingent upon the presumption of receiving something in return, and there must be a separation between the individual’s altruistic act and the receiving back of a benefit. This type of altruism is marked by indirect benefits that are presumed to be received over a period of time and not immediately. Additionally, reciprocal altruism is a risky venture as the giver must trust that the recipient will indeed reciprocate and that, if the recipient fails to do so, that organism will be subject to any number of social sanctions. Unlike kin-based altruism, reciprocal altruism allows for a sort of altruism exchange or social surplus of altruism and assumes more than mere cooperation. In essence, reciprocal altruism indicates that human beings operate in a cooperative manner with each other because there is an equal likelihood that he or she may, throughout the span of a lifetime, be equally able to give and also in need. Using the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as an example, if, for instance, one segment of a society, in this instance those affected by the hurricane find themselves in a situation where they are low on, or devoid of resources, then reciprocal altruism dictates that the segment of the society that posses resources, in this instance those not affected by the hurricane, will share the resources with those who need them regardless of the pinch in their own resources that may occur as a result, and with the understanding that the recipient, in this case the victims of the hurricane, will reciprocate in some way in the future. 

Reciprocal altruism assumes that the organisms involved in the transaction will remain familiar for a period of time sufficient to realize a return on the giver’s investment and assumes that, should the transaction go awry, i.e., that the recipient fails to reciprocate, the giver has sufficient social status to initiate some form of social sanction against the transgressor. Some researchers argue that humans are the only species able to develop or profit from reciprocal altruism as humans are the only species that are capable of realizing sufficient benefit from the altruistic reciprocity, the only species that is capable of maintaining a record of altruistic balances, and the only species that is capable of maintaining a social connection long enough and stable enough to initiate and benefit from reciprocal relationships. 

Both theories of kin selection and reciprocal altruism provide rational arguments for altruistic behavior in humans. However, neither completely explains why humans will engage in such acts. Kin selection only works if the entire world community is seen as one’s kin and reciprocal altruism only works if one assumes that the recipient has the resources to return the favor, which, in many instances such as the world’s response to the tsunami in Thailand, is simply not feasible. The chances that Thailand will have the resources any time soon to reciprocate on a similar scale is highly doubtful. Additionally, the example of the individual who can help out on a global scale, yet pass by the homeless person on the street corner, must be addressed. Altruism has a bit of cynicism attached to it. Although one could assume that an individual tends to ignore the beggar on the street because of that recipient’s perceived inability to return the favor, so to speak. However, one could also assume that the giver fails to acknowledge the needs of the street beggar because of a learned cynicism that dictates that the street beggar does not truly need one’s services. Many individuals have heard of the stories of individuals who pose as beggars who are not truly needy or who will likely use any donation toward a non-essential purpose. Because of this, it can be assumed that, although altruism is hardwired and biologically determined, it can surely be influenced by social learning, i.e. that certain individuals are not worthy of our altruistic acts. As humans are presumably higher-thinking organisms, one can justly argue that their altruism is determined by a number of internal and external factors.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Wherever Two or More Are Gathered…

Filed under: FAMILY, FUN, FUNNY, HUMOR, LIFE, MODERN LIVING, RANDOM, RANDOM THOUGHTS, THOUGHTS — Tags: , , , , , , , , — forewordcommunications @ 8:51 am

 

Driving to pick up my son from a friend’s house this afternoon, I saw a group of men gathered in a yard.  These men had fashioned a couple of small ramps out of plywood and some other odds and ends.  The ramps were facing each other.  At the time I was driving by, the men appeared to be standing around discussing how to utilize their creations. 

 

I saw this and I was reminded that wherever two or more are gathered… there’s bound to be trouble.

 

Men, especially when gathered in groups of two or more, have an almost childlike ability to create chaos.  I was reminded of this universal truth because each of the men in the group I witnessed today had assumed his own version of the man stance.  The man stance is a physical positioning of the body a man assumes that he apparently thinks makes him look more intelligent, better looking, or like an important contributor to the task at hand.  Although the man stance varies according to the individual man, there’s no doubt that it signals impending doom.

 

Any woman who has witnessed such a gathering of men can attest to the fact that they should never be allowed to gather in groups to do man stuff.  When they do, someone is bound to get hurt or something is going to get broken.  Why is it that during this mine-is-bigger-than-yours contest, men are immediately drained of any sense that they may have had before coming into contact with another man/men?  It’s like there is some sort of inverse correlation between the amount of testosterone in any given area and the amount of intelligence being employed.

 

So, back to the group of men gathered in the yard.

 

I imagined that one of those men was going to be brainless enough to ride those ramps in some manner that was likely to prove disastrous.  I had a friend, years ago, who, whenever he said the words “watch this” he ended up in the hospital.  The words “watch this” were only uttered in the presence of other men and they always preceded his doing something completely stupid like back flips off a springboard (During the back flip incident, my friend was showing off for some cheerleader friends at a local university).  Add alcohol to the man-stuff-and-stance soup and the inverse correlation I’ve already mentioned becomes increasingly proportionate to the amount of alcohol that has already been ingested. 

 

I’ll bet at least one testosterone tarzan in that yard got hurt and I’ll bet a group of wives and girlfriends are sitting around at this very moment shaking their heads and thinking “he/they did what?!”

 

Sigh.  I look at my son and wonder if he will ever really mature past his current chronological age of ten.

 

 

 

 

©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

 

Breast Augmentation: Is Bigger Really Better?

Filed under: BEAUTY, HEALTH, HEALTH AND BEAUTY — Tags: , , — forewordcommunications @ 2:09 am

 

So, you’re thinking about breast augmentation?  There are certainly a lot of things to consider before you take the plunge.  Ultimately, your final breast size will be determined by the limitations of your body, but you will want to do some research into what makes you comfortable. 

Some women long for large, over the top, breasts.  Others could care less what their breast size is.  Most women fall somewhere in the middle.  If you’re on the smaller size and are thinking about going up a cup size or two, you’re not alone.  Studies show that millions of American women wish they were just a little bit larger in the chest. 

Before you commit to an implant size, try some larger breasts on for size.  By this, we mean purchase a couple of bras with cup sizes a size or two larger and stuff them.  Wear each one for a few days so that you can get a feel for what your new breasts will look like.  This is an important step in determining how large you should go.  For most women, going up just one cup size does the trick.  For others, they really like the idea of those double-D’s.  

A board certified plastic surgeon is a great resource for helping you select the best implant size for you.  Your plastic surgeon is most concerned with making you happy while making sure that your chosen implants are the most proportionate for your body size.  Bring those bras that you bought for your research along with you to your visit with your plastic surgeon and you’ll be able to place an actual implant into the bra to give you a pretty realistic idea of how your new breasts will look and feel. 

Your plastic surgeon will help you determine the size that is best for you based on your body size, the placement of your natural breasts, the thickness of the skin on your chest, and the fat content of your upper body.  He or she is also the best resource for information on whether saline or silicone implants best suit your needs and 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.

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

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

Email: forewordcom@aol.com

Webpage: www.forewordcommunications.com

 

Aging Across the Generations

Filed under: AGING, FAMILY, HEALTH, LIFE — Tags: , , , — forewordcommunications @ 1:35 am

 

As an entire generation of baby boomers ages, this unique demographic draws attention to aging in general just as it drew attention to the concept of generation merely due to the sheer size of the generational cohort. Interestingly, the baby boom generation has been relatively easy to define. And it is the comparison of certain patterns and events that allow sociologists to define generations. Generations can only be separated from one another by comparing them to one another; the cohorts that came before and the ones that come after. Generations also desire to demarcate themselves from one another. Because generation x and generation y are certainly far too young to be considered in terms of aging, the study of aging across the generations, in order to produce conclusions that are adequate, must entail baby boomers and those that came before. 

Each generation produces an identity that is separate from previous generations and those that follow even though many of the characteristics may be similar. Certainly, baby boomers will age just as previous generations aged and just as all other generations have aged. However, it is the way that the generations age, the ages that each generation reaches, and society’s response to the aging that varies across time. Additionally, the aging of the baby boom generation is expected to place a significant strain on global resources as they are one of the largest cohorts to age concurrently. Baby boomers have also had a significant effect on the world’s politics, and they are likely to continue to do so. 

One of the most interesting effects of the aging baby boomers has been on the world’s politics. The baby boom generation was particularly attuned to politics as young adults. This political activism has affected their voting preferences and political engagement as they have grown older. This, of course, has caught the attention of many a politician as the sheer number of baby boomers must be appeased and attended to. Another interesting aspect of baby boomer aging has been the impact upon their own aging parents. Certainly the numbers of baby boomers that will be available to care for their aging parents will likely be adequate. However, the priorities of this generation have been significantly different in regard to finances, parenting, and social obligations, and are therefore likely to be different in regard to elder care as well. Additionally, the baby boom generation reflects the larger family size of their parents. Therefore, there will be the additional variable of multiple siblings to add to the mix. 

As the baby boomers themselves age, the makeup of their own families will come into play. The baby boom generation has experienced the highest rates of divorce and remarriage in modern history. As families have separated and reformed, the addition of step parents, step siblings, and half-siblings has been increasingly prevalent. Additionally, the wider acceptance of same-sex families and women having children well into their forties has further broadened the concept of family. This wider interpretation of the family unit will have a significant influence on how baby boomers will experience aging and how the nations of the world plan for their needs. 

Interestingly, studies of aging have traditionally paid little attention to the concept of the generation. Some experts assert that baby boomers will have a significantly different aging experience than did their parents. Part of the problem is that some experts have intentionally tried to downplay the differences between generations, as well as the concept itself, ultimately seeking to render the concept unimportant in terms of analysis of aging, morality, politics, etc. However, as baby boomers age, the concept of generation becomes all that much stronger. Some researchers believe that this is because the original interest in this cohort as a generational concept is likely to resurface creating a resurgence of research on the topic. And as the concepts of generations and aging are linked, the shared experience of aging has a host of fresh research subjects. 

However, one cannot assume that, just because they are one of the largest generations, baby boomers are likely to have an aging experience that is significantly different from previous generations or that this group will somehow redefine aging itself. Some experts have asserted that aging is the one experience that bridges the generation gap; that aging is does not, as once thought, differ from one generation to the next. These same experts insist that previous generations have already provided all of the information on aging that policy makers will need to predict the needs of the baby boomers. However, other research indicates that this is largely untrue as attempts to predict other trends of the baby boom generation, such as work trends and political trends, have been mostly unsuccessful. Certainly it is likely that a larger number of baby boomers may choose to work well past the age where their predecessors may have retired. A focus on financial success that was not prevalent in other areas may be a factor in this trend. Conversely, many baby boomers saw their parents work into their sixties, and may be willing to sacrifice material benefits for the enjoyment and freedom of early retirement. 

Other factors in the aging of generations surround the previously discussed area of caregivers. The parents of baby boomers have access to a wide array of caregivers in their children. Baby boomers have not been as prolific in producing the next generation but do have the benefit of blended families which may widen the responsibility of generation x when providing care for the next generation of the elderly. Baby boomers, by waiting longer until having children, unlike their parents, reduced the number of potential caregivers in addition to producing younger caregivers than their parents. It will be interesting to discover whether generation x, as a younger set of caregivers, will be willing to take on the responsibility of caring for their aging baby boomer parents or the extent to which they will access caregiving services that are not provided by family members. These are factors that will influence and effect the decisions of national governments to plan for and distribute services. 

There are other considerations that add further complexity to the issue of aging. It is generally agreed that the generation previous to the baby boomers were benefited in their retirement years by a relatively stable economy and a large pool of caregivers in their baby boomer sons and daughters. It is also generally assumed that baby boomers will not have the benefits of a stable economy, a large pool of caregivers in their generation x sons and daughters, and will likely live longer due to better medical care than did their parents. Therefore, most experts assume that there will be a shortage of caregivers for baby boomers in addition to assuming that the trends surrounding these issues will be almost unpredictable. An additional issue, as previously intimated, will surround the willingness of generation x to provide care for their aging baby boomer parents. 

Generational aging effects are widespread and, unlike some expert opinions, obviously differ. The size of the generation alone, as evidenced in the case of the baby boomers, will have a significant impact. Additionally, the age of the next generation as the parents reach caregiving age and the attitudes of that generation regarding their caregiving responsibilities not only vary by generation, but, as sociologists already know, vary by culture. Certainly, there will be some instances where the aging process will mimic that of previous generations, however, there is no way to reliably predict whether baby boomers will mirror their own elders completely; in fact, it is likely that they won’t. Additionally, time has borne witness to the concept of personal independence. As much as this concept has been prized by the aging parents of baby boomers, it was also prized in the younger years of the boomers themselves. It can therefore be assumed that the concept of independence will be equally as prized by aging baby boomers as it was for their parents, if not more. 

The only predictions that can be made regarding the aging of baby boomers, as well as any other previous or future generations, are in what year they will reach a certain age. All other factors are as unpredictable as the generation itself. Because statistics can only provide black and white figures regarding firm numbers, predictions regarding the behavior of any generation must be undertaken from a purely hypothetical standpoint. As society changes with each generation, as well as the ideals and goals of the generation, the importance of predicting aging becomes more unpredictable. Certainly generational aging has been as alike as it has been different, but it may be largely guided by differences within generations than by the generations themselves. Already, it has been shown that baby boomers have experienced life differently from previous generations and subsequent ones. With this information in hand, it can be therefore also assumed that their experience in aging, retirement, and elderly caregiving will be just as different.

 

©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

 

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

 

It’s Easy Being Green

Filed under: ENVIRONMENT, GOING GREEN, NATURE — Tags: , , — forewordcommunications @ 12:18 am

 

 

 

 

We don’t inherit the Earth from our parents.

We borrow it from our children.

                                                  -Unknown

 

 

 

Going green means so much more than recycling although that’s a great place to start. Envision a world where there are no more plastic bottles and coffee cups littering the streets as well as clear skies and clean water. Think of the benefits of heating and cooling your home via geothermal methods. And, imagine your great grandchildren romping in the same green spaces that you did when you were a child.

 

Ok, so start with recycling. It’s a great way to work into the habit of green living. Then try a little bicycling or carpooling to avoid pumping noxious automobile gasses into the atmosphere and to conserve what little fossil fuels we have left.

 

Practice what you preach. How many times have you seen someone who religiously prepares their recyclables for pickup each week, then will toss a cigarette butt or a coffee cup out the car window while driving? They’ve certainly got a clean car, but they’ve managed to muck up the earth for the rest of us. If everyone picked up one stray piece of litter, it would make a big difference. Try spending a day with your children or church group picking up litter and putting all of the soda cans into one bag. Then take the cans to a local fire station which often collect them to help children burned in fires. Donation and recycling – the best of both worlds.

 

Donate all of your unused items to keep waste to a minimum. Every city has a used clothing center, charitable donation point, or church group which will take all of your used clothing and household items. If you have an item that you don’t think will you can donate, try Freecycle.org, a Yahoo group where you can give away all of your unwanted stuff. After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

 

Try gardening! Creating a garden on your own little postage stamp of earth actually helps in a number of ways. Not only are you growing your own, environmentally friendly, pesticide free, food, but you can make your own fertilizer by dumping your household food and yard waste into a compost bin. This can actually reduce the amount of household garbage that you send on to the local dump by almost half!

 

Finally, don’t forget to reuse those plastic and paper bags that you get from the grocery store. There’s no need to buy small trash container bags when you probably have a whole stock of plastic grocery bags that will easily fit the bill. Making those bags do double duty means that you recycle the bags and save money at the same time. Instead of paper bags, keep a canvas bag in your car for those quick trips to the store. You can only use so many little plastic bags so why not let the store keep them. Many schools also have paper drives where you can take your paper bags and newspapers. You help the school and the environment.

 

 

©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.

Freelance writing and ghostwriting.

Email: forewordcom@aol.com

Webpage: www.forewordcommunications.com

 

What is Employee Engagement?

Filed under: BUSINESS, HUMAN RESOURCES — Tags: , — forewordcommunications @ 11:40 pm

 

One of the latest catch phrases recognized in Human Resources circles is the term Employee Engagement.  As interesting as the term is, few HR professionals actually know what it is or what it entails – only that it seems to be important.

 

The Random House Dictionary (2006) defines engagement as “the act of engaging or the state of being engaged” or “a pledge; an obligation or agreement”.  So, simply put, employee engagement is the connectedness that an employee feels with the organization that he or she is a part of.  In theory, the more connected an employee feels, the more productive and satisfied that employee becomes.

 

Ah, but there’s more…

 

Employees, no matter how much they try or how much they desire, do not automatically feel connected to an organization merely by virtue of receiving a regular salary.  The days when employees were part of the workplace “family” are over.  Employees now expect more from an organization and employers have to meet employees halfway in order to attract and retain talented professionals.

 

 

 

So what, exactly, makes an employee feel connected?

 

Most sources agree that an employee’s relationship with his or her manager might be the most important component that determines the level of engagement that an employee experiences.  This makes sense.  An employee that feels connected to his or her manager is understandably more invested in the workplace environment and the success of the organization.  In essence, if the employee feels that he has an impact on the success of management, and therefore an impact on the success the organization as a whole, that employee would understandably consider himself an integral part of the organization.  It is this investment in the employee/management relationship that managers must foster.  Employees who do not consider themselves an integral part of an organization and who do not enjoy a satisfying relationship with management are simply not engaged.

 

The bottom line…

 

Although there are several other factors that determine employee engagement, the end result is all about retention.  Employees that are not engaged are difficult to retain, regardless of the salary, benefits, and perks offered by an organization.  The workplace has become a global talent market and employees have far more options than in years past.  Employees now demand a level of satisfaction in their jobs that requires that employers invest a great deal of energy and resources into understanding what makes happy employees tick.  Without this investment, employees will be more motivated to look for greener pastures than to consider themselves engaged and connected.

 

 

©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 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

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.