It’s Time For A Financial Check Up

financial check up

financial check upDo you know where your finances are sitting right now? Are you scared to peak at accounts? Are you just trying to survive at the moment? Well, if you haven’t been giving your finances a little TLC lately, it might be time for a financial check up. Here’s how to do it, and not take all day.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Look Over Your Budget

The first step in your financial check up should be to look over your budget. If you don’t have a budget, now is the time to make one.

Even if your budget has worked for you in the past, things change.

You may have…

  • gotten a raise,
  • new bills,
  • slashed current bills, or even
  • added a new member to the family.

It’s important to revisit your budget and make sure that your income and expenses are current and are working for you right now.

Now is also the time to look at your spending.

If you’ve overspent in some areas, or know you can lower some of your regular expenses, you can make plans to cancel certain items or call companies to lower your bills. Take some time to sit down and record what you’ve earned and spent over the past six to 12 months. And, if you’re making quite a bit more than you’re spending, now is the time to look at see how you can capitalize on that.

Review Your Retirement & Savings Accounts

Are you paying into a 401k? Are you contributing to an HSA? Do you know where your Roth IRA stands at the moment? Could you be contributing more? Should you take a break or contribute less? These are all things that you should be asking yourself as you check your retirement and savings accounts.

Also, now is the time to evaluate any returns on your investments and rebalance your portfolio (if needed). Some robo advisors rebalance your portfolio automatically, but it’s always a good thing to check. At the end of the day, it is your money.

Related: Dollar Cost Averaging: It’s Going to Make Me a Millionaire

save money on your monthly billwReview Your Bills

While we did go over this a bit in the review your budget task, it’s also the time to take a more detailed look at the bills you pay regularly.

  • Do they make sense?
  • Have you had a life change that will mean you need to update them?

For example, maybe you just had a new baby or adopted a dog. Now is the time to get them insured, or add them to any plans that they need to be added on (like dental, vision, life insurance, etc). While none of these things are “fun”, they can save you from a major headache and expensive bills down the road.

Related: BillCutterz Absolutely Shocked Me and Saved My Money on My Cell Phone Bill

Don’t Forget Your W-4

When was the last time you checked your W-4? If it’s been a while, now is the time to take a look. You can also use a federal income tax calculator to see where you stand when it comes to taxes and what you may owe (or get back).

If you do see that you may owe money, or get too big of a refund, now is the perfect time to adjust your withholdings with your employer. You want to withhold just enough that you don’t owe too much in taxes, but also so you don’t give the government a bunch of your money for free.

Check Your Credit Report

Do you know your credit score? If you haven’t checked in a while, this is something to add to your financial check up. You can get your credit report for free once a year from all three major bureaus, and it’s important to keep tabs.

For example, you may have a debt that you didn’t know you had, or your score may have raised based on your history and usage of cards/loans. Plus, knowing your own credit score comes in handy when it comes to negotiations if you need a loan.

Check On Your Debts If You Have Them

While it’s important to know your budget, savings, and withholdings, it’s also important to know where you stand with debt. Of course, the ultimate goal is no debt. But, for many, that process can take a few years (or more). So, you should at least keep up to date with where you are on your debt journey.

The first thing that you should do is take a look at all of your debt.

  • What have you paid off?
  • What are you currently working on?
  • Did your credit report show you any debts that went into collections?

Pull all of these account statements and examine them to see where you stand.

After you’ve done that, you can make a better plan to pay them off. There are many ways to do this, but the debt snowball and debt avalanche are typically the most popular. But it’s up to you on how you want to approach your debt pay off and plan for the future.

Related: Could You Get Out of Debt This Year? (with Free Debt Snowball Calculator!)

Make Some New Goals

The last step in your financial check up should be to make some new goals.

  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • How do you want your money to work for you?
  • What financial goals do you want to achieve in the next few months to a year?

Your financial goals can be anything. It can be re-establishing your four walls, saving up an emergency fund, or even funding a vacation in cash. Whatever it is that you want to accomplish, now is the time to plan for it.

Related: 19 of the Best New Year’s Resolutions: Become Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise

Are You Ready For Your Financial Check Up?

See? A financial check up isn’t so bad, and it doesn’t take as much time as you’d think. You can easily accomplish this in less than a day. And, it’s something you should do regularly, at least once or twice a year. It can really make a difference in your finances.

4 Amazing Money Saving Online Services

online money saving

money saving onlineMoney-saving online services can really come in handy. Many of us have a healthy desire to optimize our financial expenses. We tend to structure all the processes associated with our own money.

It’s a sign of a person who is:

  • sane
  • rational
  • modern

…And one who strives to responsibly approach life by planning and keeping everything under control. According to the laws of modern society, such an aspiration is not a whim, but a necessity.

In light of the recent events taking place around the world, each of us appreciates the importance of the transition of many areas of human activity to the online format.

In fact, online services and applications that allow us to effectively:

  • plan our lives and
  • regulate our finances…

…have been successfully fulfilling their functions for many years.

Let’s take a look at some amazing money-saving online services that could be helpful. 

4 Amazing Money Saving Online Services

There are many web services and applications available that can help you visualize and organize your daily financial activities. All while saving you lots of money, nonetheless! In this review, we will evaluate 4 popular areas of online services and discuss the benefits they offer.

1) Online Shopping

Indeed, it is paradoxical that online services focused in this area can help you save money. After all, as a rule, the very concept of shopping is most often associated with a senseless waste of money. That includes purchases that we don’t really need at the moment. But in fact, online shopping is a great opportunity to visually plan your purchases and choose the best deals.

Today, with the help of online markets you can buy anything from food and clothing to cars and real estate. For example, many supermarkets and grocery stores have a specially designed online application. You can see the entire range of products at once and plan a purchase while maintaining a strictly defined budget.

Moreover, such online applications can be really beneficial for the user.

Some of them offer customers

  • a flexible system of bonuses
  • an accumulative discount card

It allows the user to save significant amounts in a percentage ratio. In addition, application algorithms allow you to track discounts on a specific category of products.

At the same time, do not underestimate the value of the delivery service, which is often an additional option when making purchases from online stores. Along with the fact that you can buy many goods online for much cheaper than in ordinary stores, delivery can be absolutely free or very beneficial for the user. Thus, you save not only money but also time, as well as other important resources!

2) Online Banking

It is a bit embarrassing to mention such an obvious thing once again. However, we could not do without specifying online banking as one of the most useful services for organizing your personal financial history. For almost everyone, from the user of a regular credit card to the owner of a deposit or other bank account, the era of piggy banks has become a thing of the past.

  • What are the advantages of the online applications of various commercial banks and financial institutions?
  • How can you save money thanks to these online services?

Among the main advantages of such applications is the creation of your own personal user account, to which you will have uninterrupted remote access and the ability to configure for your own convenience.

creating a spending plan

Most commercial banks have their own powerful support programs, where real bank employees can provide you with almost around-the-clock expert assistance remotely using your phone or online chat.

An additional important option of such online applications is your own personal virtual organizer. Using this simple online tool, you can easily track all your financial activities, expenses, regular payments, transfers, and online purchases.

The obvious value of online banking is its simplicity and transparency!

All your financial transactions will always be in your sight. This can allow you to plan your budget for a specific calendar period without much effort. Additional services include special credit conditions, discounts on some digital products from bank partners, registration of a profitable deposit account, and much more.

Related: How to Make Passive Income With a Checking Account

3) Online Divorce

It is no secret to anyone that initiating a civil legal procedure for an ordinary citizen in the United States is a big event.

  • Legal costs
  • fixed taxes
  • mandatory organizational payments
  • lawyers’ fees…

…And then there is everything else that a petitioner has to deal with in civil cases can result in an impressive total budget.

The extraordinary cost is one of the main obstacles to the initiation of many cases, especially in family law. Distressed couples can get stuck in an unhappy marriage due to their unwillingness to pay large sums of money to arrange the divorce process. However, there are no hopeless situations, and thanks to the incredible invention of online divorce, couples can now cope with such a crisis.

How is this helpful during this time?

Today, the ability to file for divorce online is available to residents of every US state. As long as your personal case qualifies as an uncontested divorce, you are eligible to file for a divorce online. This means that before you file a petition for divorce in your local court, you must have a mutual agreement with your spouse on all the contentious issues regarding your divorce proceedings. This would include:

  • the division of joint property,
  • the payment of material support or child support,
  • parental obligations, and
  • other aspects of marriage.

As soon as you complete your agreement, you have the right to file a divorce application online. You can use the services of an online company that provides a ready-made solution for the preparation of all the necessary divorce documents, or you can download the required forms yourself from the official website of your court.

In both cases, you can save up to several thousand dollars, due to the fact that you do not have to hire a lawyer or repeatedly appear in court during the process. Online divorce is fast, easy, and affordable while causing less stress and requiring less moral effort.

Divorce shouldn’t be taken lightly, but if you’ve exercised all other options, then the online option may be your next legitimate step.

high paying jobs without a degree4) Online Travel Applications

To conclude on a slightly more positive note, we will talk about travel. Travel can often be associated with vacations or business trips. In any case, you want your transportation around the country and the world to be as comfortable and fast as possible.

A lot of special online services are ready to help users to plan trips, regardless of format.

Such applications will help you:

  • find the best deals on the cheapest flights, or
  • calculate the logistics of your movements if you plan to travel by land on your own.

Booking sites can also be attributed to this category because with their help you can optimize your travels with the best and most advantageous hotel and rental offers.

In addition, many airlines and transport companies provide their regular passengers with interesting bonuses or savings systems, such as membership cards. These privileges allow you to significantly save money if you travel frequently. And online guides with real comments from visitors and expert evaluations from establishments have become an indispensable travel companion on any trip.

Money Saving Online – In Conclusion

Money-saving online services have been great during these trying times. If you haven’t explored the possibilities, hopefully, these benefits can help you. Get searching and enjoy what the internet has to offer you.

Have you started to save money using online services? 

Why Using Business Checks Still Makes Sense in 2020

using business checks

using business checksIt’s not like we live in the 20th century anymore. You would think everything’s online, so why do I need physical money? Cash and checks (even using business checks) seem old-fashioned and in the past. I don’t even need to visit my bank anymore. I can do quick deposits and transfers on my phone from the comfort of my home (or from my toilet).

Yes, it is finally the year 2020 where technology, data, and convenience are central. The Internet is high-speed, shopping is all online, delivery is faster, prices are cheaper, and products are most customized. It is the era of Generation Y-ers that are game for progressive culture and research. So why does it still make sense to order checks for business use in 2020?  

Why Using Business Checks Still Makes Sense in 2020

Believe it or not, there are quite a few reasons why using business checks still makes sense!

1) Tradition

There are still old-timers that do not know how to use newer technology. Keep things traditional for them.

2) Choice 

As an employee, I LOVE receiving a business envelope from my employer with my monthly salary inside. Your employers will see it on your beautiful and modern business check. Yes, it could be faster to receive a salary via instant deposit to one’s checking deposit. If someone has several banking accounts, maybe they want the choice of where the money will be deposited via mobile deposit. Your employee may take more pride in their work if you have invested in better business checks. Just a thought.

3) Customers 

If you need to refund a customer for a product, using business checks with your company’s custom logo represents brand recognition. You want your customers to view your business as professional, reliable, and honorable.

When working with the best businesses, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation advances a company’s integrity and the customer’s trust in their unwavering commitment to them.  For a modern company, business checks are essential to show a professional persona to their…

  • customers,
  • vendors, and
  • clients.

To give the company legitimacy, research the best places to order business checks.

4) Support

When you support someone else – whether a charity, theatre, or the educational system – you want your name to be on it to exhibit a trustworthy and loving identity in your community.

5) Rent

There are plenty of landlords and real estate companies who prefer checks. Using business checks gives off a professional identification when you pay for your office space’s rent and its utilities. Utility companies and government agencies may charge you an extra processing fee for using a credit card to pay a bill, while there is no fee for using business checks.

Related: How to Make Passive Income With a Checking Account

6) Ease

Using a check is the easiest option aside from cash. A business check will have a paper record with a connected ledger and a receipt. It’s convenient especially if an individual hasn’t downloaded mobile payments or a financial app. 

7) Secure

Confidentiality is key to a business’s success with its clients.  Business checks even use watermarks and other such measures to remain secure.  They are required to secure their company’s documents from fraud.  For a modern company, business checks are essential to its legitimacy to its vendors and clients. 

8) Taxes

You can pay your taxes by mailing a business check to the IRS. There is no fee for using a check, while you will be charged an extra processing fee for using a credit card.  Filing will be much easier with separate checks and bank accounts during tax season.

9) Generation

In 2020, 16 million people are self-employed in America with half of them being millennials. These independent contractors would use checks 51% of the time for business-to-business transactions. 18% of the self-employed workforce is from the millennial generation and 42% still use checks.

10) Business

Business checks are simple, functional, and represent their business. Their size allows for the company logo and other information to fit.  Administrative employees use business checks only for company use. 

When employees work with their business’s clients, they want the business-to-business transactions to be as easy and as confidential as possible.  A business check provides a ledger where the employees can record and organize the business’s finances.  This ensures that the business keeps its professional image and persona within their community. 

Using Business Checks – In Conclusion

In conclusion, the above is a list of ten reasons why using business checks may be necessary for businesses and the economy.  Yes, the world is evolving, the expectation is that we will evolve with it, yet some things still stay the same.

For example, many millennials still use checks.  Their use in the office seems to make for happier and more involved employees.  Business checks allow for confidentiality with their customers and the brand’s professional identity in the community.

Are you using business checks? Why or why not?

Dollar Cost Averaging: It’s Going to Make Me a Millionaire

dollar cost averaging

dollar cost averagingDollar cost averaging… Sounds sophisticated. Sounds like one of those terms financial advisors use to intentionally confuse us and get us nodding our heads to believe they’re smarter than we are. But you know what? It’s really not all that complicated. Dollar cost averaging is actually fairly simple, and every one of us can put it into practice and benefit from it.

What Is Dollar Cost Averaging?

Dollar cost averaging is simply this:

Dollar cost averaging is an investment strategy where, instead of putting a lump sum of money into the market, an investor will invest smaller amounts of money over consistent periods of time.

Pretty simple right? If you’re investing in your company 401(k) plan and they withdraw funds from each paycheck to invest in the market on your behalf, you’re already dollar cost averaging! You’re putting consistent, smaller amounts of money into the market over consistent periods of time for the long-term. 

Boom! Look at you! 😉 

Another Example

Here’s another example. Liz and I have two young kids. We want to send them to private school to give them the best start in life. The only problem…? It costs nearly $10,000 per year to send them to our school of choice… That’s $250,000 that we’ll be shelling out. Yikes!

Thankfully, Liz and I are both savers AND we both realize that if we start investing for their education sooner rather than later, we won’t have to dish out as much cash in the long run. In other words, by investing now, our money should make us more money that we can then use toward education.

So what do we do? 

We dollar cost average of course!

Ever since our oldest turned one (and we started thinking, “Oh crap, we need to start paying for school soon!), we’ve taken $200 out of our bi-weekly paycheck and put it into the stock market (we believe in index fund investing – see the “related article” below if you want to learn more).

Since we started, the market has seen highs and lows, but regardless, we’ve continued to invest consistently and have “dollar-cost averaged” our way to over $30,000! It’s a nice start, especially considering that neither kid is in school yet!

Related: Can Your Mutual Funds Beat the Stock Market?

Why Is It Important?

I’m sure you agree at this point that dollar cost averaging is a pretty basic concept, right? I mean, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand how to put $200 into the stock market each week. 

Does it really matter? What if I have $10,000 sitting in savings that I wanted to invest? Wouldn’t it make sense just to invest it all at once to reap the benefits of the stock market immediately?

Well…if the stock market always went up and up and up like a roller coaster on its initial assent up the track, then yes it would.

But the stock market doesn’t always go up does it?

Instead, the market is more like a roller coaster after it breaches that first big hill – it goes up, then down, then up, and down. It might even do a corkscrew along the way! Heck, even the greatest investors don’t know what the stock market will do on a day to day basis. They don’t know when it will reach its highs, and they don’t have a clue when it will reach its lows either.

What If You Don’t Practice Dollar Cost Averaging?

Right now, the stock market (as represented by the Dow) is at roughly 24,000 points. Let’s say we invest a lump sum of $10,000 today.

  • And then…the market goes up to 24,500 points tomorrow
  • The next day, up again to 24,750 points (Woo hoo! We’re making money!)

This is great! The market is up 3.125%, which means we earned $312.50 by doing practically nothing!

But then…the market decides to take a little bit of a dive – this time due to the student loan crisis (we’re making this up, but it’s not far-fetched).

  • The Dow goes from 24,750 points down to 23,000.
  • Then, a few weeks later, down to 22,000
  • And then, after a few more weeks, it’s down around 20,000…

Our $10,000 investment is now worth $8,333. A loss of 16.67%… Not good.

Thankfully, the market strengthens and over the next year, and it shoots up to 30,000 points. (Again this is just a fictitious example, but it’s totally possible.)

Now, your investment is up 25% from its original value and sitting nicely at $12,500. YES! But…what if you had practiced dollar cost averaging instead?

What If You Embrace Dollar Cost Averaging?

In the above example, we just decided to plop $10,000 into the general market. It’s not a terrible idea since the market does tend to go up over time, but it just adds an element of risk, doesn’t it? (I mean, even if you’re gambling at the casino – which is already a high-risk event,- you don’t just walk in and place one max bet and then walk out, do you? Of course not! It’d be too risky.) By putting large amounts of money into the market at one time, you’re adding risk into the equation.

This is why many finance professional recommend dollar cost averaging – to reduce your inherent risk in the market, AND to give you the chance to earn more over a long period of time. 

Why It Could Earn You More

Using the progression of the stock market in the example above, I’d like to show you why dollar cost averaging often gives you an advantage over those “one-timer” type investments.

Instead of plunking $10,000 into the market on day one (which, since no one can predict the market, is likely not the market bottom). Let’s say you put in $1,000 every week until you’ve used up your $10,000 – so, for 10 weeks. With the scenario above, what will your investment be worth vs. the one-time bulk investment?

dollar cost averaging chart

Based on the chart above, the ‘dollar cost average’ investor not only out-earns the one-time investor at the 52 week mark, but earns nearly $1,000 (or 7%) more! 

So why might dollar cost averaging earn you more?

It can seem a bit mysterious at first – since both investors are putting the same amount of money into the market – but after looking at the chart above, it should be fairly obvious why the dollar cost average investor earns more. 

The market tends to go up and down. In the above example, the market goes down, then bounces back up. So, while the one-time investor is already fully in the market, when the market goes down, the slow, consistent investor is purchasing shares at a discount. Therefore, the dollar cost averaging investor is actually buying more shares than the one-time investor. So, in the end (in this example), with more shares, the dollar cost average investor comes out on top! 

Dollar Cost Averaging in Today’s Market

As I write this post, the market is still a bit insane. Here’s a glimpse of what we’ve seen lately.

  • Bad news comes out about job losses – the market goes up 400 points…
  • President Trump urges people to get back to work, but safely so we don’t see another virus spike – the market goes down 500 points
  • People are shocked to see bad quarterly results…even though businesses have been shut down for weeks – the market goes down 350 points

One really can’t tell when the market will rise or fall. Common sense seems to have little to do with day-to-day trading. 

In other words, in the next 6 months, the Dow could fall to below 20,000. Or, it could bounce back and near that 30,000 record again. No one really has a clue.

So what do you do?

  • Do you put small amounts in each week and dollar cost average?
  • Or, do you take a chance and plunk large sums of money into the market when you consider it to be the bottom?

If you’re waiting for the bottom, we might be there already and you’ll forever hold onto your money while the stock market rallies to all-time highs again (I saw plenty of people do this while the market went from 14,000 in 2013 and stormed all the way up to 29,000! Boy, THEY missed out!!).

If you’re investing heavily now because you think this is the low, you could be wrong too – maybe the market falls and rises to no more than 24,000 for the next few years…

The point is, we just don’t know. And if it were me, I’d dollar cost average my way into the market! And you know what? I think I’m going to be laughing all the way to the bank!

Related: Fortunes are Going to Be Made – Suze Orman

Dollar Cost Averaging – Are You Convinced?

So what do you think? You now know…

  • what dollar cost averaging is,
  • why it might make you more money than if you just loaded a lump-sum into the market, and
  • that it reduces your risk in a volatile market.

Unless you believe that you can predict the market (which we all know is impossible), then I can’t see why you wouldn’t rather load money into the market in consistent small increments.

Personally, I love dollar cost averaging. It keeps me at ease, it allows me to continue investing in the market even if it takes a dive or spikes without warning, and it will likely make me more money in the long-run! I’ll keep dollar cost averaging for many years. And, after reading this post, I suspect you might do the same.

Are you ready to start dollar cost averaging?

A Young Couple and Their Struggle Through This Pandemic

young couple surviving pandemic

young couple surviving pandemicJim and Pam (their real names are being withheld by request) are a young couple and are like most others from Round Rock, Texas. They met during their freshman year in college at Texas A&M University, and nearly everything they own is maroon. Their wedding was just after graduation, and since they had both always loved California they both took promising jobs in San Diego: Jim is in contracting and Pam is a nurse.

They bought a house, got pregnant, and Pam decided to be a stay-at-home mom. Three children later, they moved into a larger house and cornered the market on Aggie-related baby clothes. Their friends think they’re nuts. Let’s look at how they are surviving during this pandemic.

A Young Couple and Their Struggle Through This Pandemic

Some of Jim’s work involves municipal projects, so he continues working. Albeit with an altered way of doing things. He works out of his study at home instead of his usual office, but he drives around to job sites and makes sure everything is under control. 

Pam is on pretty much full-time family duty, and she took the time recently to answer our questions about how they’re coping during these trying times.

With Jim still working, have you noticed a change in your financial situation?

Because he’s the business owner, it’s tricky. He’s still drawing the same salary as usual, but his eye is on things and he may have to take a pay cut further down the line. So for right now the same amount of money is clearing into our account right now, but we have to be aware that this might not be the case indefinitely.

How are you preparing for that?

Jim and I spend several hours a week going over our finances. We have to plan as though construction projects will slow down considerably over the next while. If that doesn’t actually happen, we’ll be happy. But if it does, we’ll be glad that we spent the time planning.

Is there anything specific you can tell us about your plans?

We have consolidated some of our debt into credit union loans. We think we’ve figured out how to keep the house payments going; we’d rather not have to move at this point in our lives.

We know that we could go back home to Texas, but we both love California so much.

I have also kept current with my nursing credentials, and I have done part-time work this whole time so I could still get a job if need be. So I am preparing to re-enter the workforce just in case. It would not be ideal for how we want to raise our children, but we can do it if necessary.

Are you concerned with how a nursing job could expose your family to the virus?

That’s always a fear. We would exercise extreme caution. I think both Jim and I had parents who instilled in us an ethic of being prepared for all contingencies, and that would carry over here as well.

How have your children been coping with shelter-in-place restrictions?

They did not initially understand why we couldn’t go to the beach or the park. In that respect, I guess they’re like almost everybody else around here. (Laughs.) However, they’ve really enjoyed the time spent at home as a family.

We have tried to make a game out of it. And I think we’re doing a good job of not being device-bound. We do a couple of movie nights a week. However, other nights are game nights, or “everybody participates in cooking dinner” nights. We did really want to go back to Texas for Easter this year, but hopefully, we’ll be able to make it for the holidays.

Can you relate to this young couple? How has your life changed during this pandemic? Tell us in the comment section below!

Affordable Ways to Live a Healthier Life

healthier life

healthier lifeYou don’t have to splurge on expensive gym memberships and exercise equipment to live a healthier life. In fact, improving your health can be simple, affordable, and make you a lot happier in the process. 

Affordable Ways to Live a Healthier Life

See below for a few ways to live a healthier life. Because you know what? You deserve to feel better, to live longer, and be happy in your own skin.

1) Spend Time in Nature

Going outside to appreciate nature is free and good for your health.

  • For one, you’ll be able to breathe some fresh air.
  • Besides this, you can do fun activities including riding a bike, walking, yoga, or something else you enjoy.
  • You can also do some gardening which can be therapeutic and great exercise.

2) Find an Affordable Local Gym

Although many gym memberships can be expensive, some may be worth your time and effort since they’re budget-friendly. Besides this, if it’s close enough, you can take a walk or ride a bike to get there. Do an online search for ‘gym near me‘ and take it from there.

3) Have a Positive Mindset

Being positive can help you:

  • get motivated,
  • achieve your goals, and
  • have inner peace.

For instance, you can write down a few things you’re grateful for in a daily journal. Other ways to be more positive are to smile more often, find something to laugh at, spend time with people who genuinely care about you, repeat positive affirmations to yourself, or do a good deed.

Related: 7 Money Mindset Tips to Achieve Success

4) Commit to a Healthy Diet

Improve your focus and gain energy by eating a healthy diet. Instead of strictly controlling your eating habits, try slowly adding fruits, vegetables, herbs, and nuts to snacks and meals. You can also rid your pantry of unhealthy foods. The key to a healthier lifestyle is learning to care more about yourself by taking positive steps towards your goals.

5) Have a Pet

A pet can be your constant companion and best friend. As long as you give an animal the love they deserve, they’ll give you unconditional love in return. For example, pets are often used as therapy animals and can help you feel less depressed and alone. If you don’t have a pet, you can adopt one from a local animal shelter.

6) Volunteer for a Cause

Volunteering not only improves the lives of others, but it can be good for your own health.

  • Get some exercise,
  • be more positive,
  • make new friends, and
  • have better mental health.

Further, by focusing on someone else’s problems, you can forget about your own. Join a community garden, read to children at a library or train to be a counselor, among many others.

7) Practice Spiritual Techniques

Spirituality can give you hope for the future, inner peace, purpose, and meaning. You can do yoga, meditation, or prayer every day or a few times a week to improve your mental, emotional, and physical health. Additionally, being spiritual can change your life and costs nothing.

Related: 10 Things I Learned From a Dying Man

8) Do Something Creative

Creativity can improve your ability to have empathy, and help you express your feelings in a healthy manner. In addition to this, you can use your imagination to escape reality. Try creative writing, drawing, cooking, woodworking, clay sculpture, listening to music, painting, or playing a musical instrument, among others.

Live a Healthier Life: In Conclusion

Living healthier not only improves your own life but will likely inspire others to do the same. You can write down your goals and other relevant details in a journal to keep track of any progress you make. Making a commitment to better health is an investment in your future.

Are you ready to live a healthier life? What are you doing to stay healthy and live longer?

In-Demand Career Options Offering Better Job Security

engineer better job security

engineer better job securityMany people are looking for a career that has a decent amount of job security. They don’t want to risk having to bounce around from job to job because they chose the wrong career. Here are five career options that offer better job security and are in demand.

In-Demand Career Options Offering Better Job Security

Let’s get right to it! Check out the list below!

1) Engineers

This is a career that will always be in demand. If you don’t mind going to school for several years, then this may be the career for you.

Engineers make a pretty substantial salary (typically $100k+), and there is a shortage of engineers around the country. Once you graduate, you should be able to easily find a job that meets your needs. Those who become engineers tend to excel in math and science. They like to fix complex problems, and they are problem solvers.

2) Teachers

If you love helping others learn, then teaching may be the career for you.

Pursuing a career in education is not without its challenges, but digital technology has helped make it a more attainable goal. For instance, it’s possible to earn an online teaching credential to become qualified to teach at the middle school and high school level. No matter where you live, you will probably be able to find a job teaching as this is a field that’s very in demand.

Teachers do work a lot during the school year. However, they also have summers and holidays off. This is the perfect field for parents or those who like to travel. Schools will always need teachers to educate the future generation. This is why this field will always be in demand.

3) Nurses

It’s not surprising that there’s a lot of job security for nurses. They can work in a variety of different settings such as:

  • hospitals,
  • clinics, or
  • nursing homes.

The amount of schooling needed will depend on the setting that the individual wants to work in. Entry-level nurses can get a degree in a couple of years. They will need to complete their coursework and pass examinations before they are ready to begin their career. Once they graduate, they will find that there are a variety of different jobs to choose from.

4) Paramedics

People are always going to have medical issues and need help. Because of this, paramedics will always be needed.

This is a great field for those that like a fast-paced environment and don’t mind being in situations with a lot of stress. One of the nice things about this field is that it doesn’t tend to require a lot of schooling. Most individuals can complete the needed schooling in about a year.

5) Mechanics

There are millions of cars on the road. Even newer cars will need maintenance occasionally. This is why there will always be a need for mechanics.

They can work for others or even open their own business. No matter who they work for, there will have job security. This is the perfect field for those that like to work with their hands and fix things. And surprisingly, mechanics can make quite a bit of money.

Related: 35+ High Paying Jobs Without a Degree

Better Job Security: In Conclusion

If you are looking for a job that’s in-demand and offers better job security, then you should consider one of the careers mentioned above. They all do require some sort of schooling, but you should easily be able to find a job once you graduate.

By choosing the right career, you won’t have to worry about getting laid off even when other fields are going through some difficult times.

Have you been able to find better job security during this time? Do you feel like you have good job security in your current position?

How to Have Tough Financial Conversations With Aging Parents

helping elderly parents with finances

help elderly parents with financesMoney is never an easy subject to discuss with others, especially not your own parents. If you want to help your elderly parents with finances, you’d better be prepared going in.

Your parents have raised you and guided you throughout your life. Now, the dynamics may be shifting. They may not be able to handle their finances as they always have, and it becomes your job as their grown child to help them. 

I’m so thankful that my parents, who are in their seventies, are still healthy. But my brothers and I know we need to have some important financial conversations with them before it’s too late. 

This article was written by our staff writer, Kate Underwood. 

Why Financial Conversations With Parents Are So Important

Even though your parents have been managing their money much longer than you, the reality of life is that as folks grow older, they lose some of their capacity to do so. 

Plenty of roadblocks can impact parental finances as they grow older:

  • An illness such as Alzheimer’s that affects their mental capabilities
  • Costly medical issues that burn through their nest egg
  • The need to finance long-term care in assisted living

The best time to discuss finances with your parents is as soon as possible. Ideally, that will be before they actually need any assistance. 

You should try to ask the essential questions while parents are still of sound mind. Have them explain their wishes and sign any important legal documents before they are unable to do so with clarity.

Help Elderly Parents with Finances: Checklist

These are the basic financial topics or questions you should be sure to cover with your parents. 

  • Do they have any debt?
  • Do they have retirement accounts and plans in place?
  • Have they made a will? 
  • Do they carry long-term care insurance?
  • What are their end-of-life wishes? 
  • How can you (or whomever they select) access important documents and accounts if needed? 

Debt

Find out if your parents have any debt. Perhaps they’re still paying off their mortgage or your student loans. Make sure they have a plan for dealing with any debt so that doesn’t become a burden once they’re retired or facing big medical bills. 

Related: Buried in Debt? Try the Snowball or Avalanche Method to Get Out

Retirement Accounts

Whether your parents are still working or have been retired for a long time, talk to them about how they’ll finance their retirement years.  

It’s good to know whether your parents have a solid plan to pay their expenses in retirement. This will give you an idea about how prepared they are for other issues that may arise. 

Wills and Estate Plans

If you really want to help elderly parents with finances, this is a biggie.

Your parents need to have a legal will in place so that property and other assets are distributed the way they wish after their death. If they don’t, help them get in touch with a legal professional and draw up plans for their estate.

In addition to taking the legal steps of estate planning, it’s important for your parents to communicate their wishes to you and your siblings. It’s best if everyone knows what to expect from your parents’ estate, whether referring to physical possessions or a monetary inheritance. 

These estate planning conversations may help ease tensions whenever your parents do pass away. Their passing will be an emotional time, but at least you can minimize the financial strain by planning ahead. 

Long-Term Care Plans

Many people face the need for care in a long-term capacity such as an assisted-living facility. Ask your parents what their plans and wishes are in case one or both of them should require long-term care. 

You also should discuss the possibility that your parents would move in with you or another family member in case they require a high level of care. This may or may not be an option, of course. 

Whether or not you plan to take them in, it’s essential to talk about it openly and make sure everyone is on the same page.

End-Of-Life Plans

Your parents may want to create an advance directive, which explains their wishes for their end-of-life circumstances.

These include:

  • living wills, and a
  • power of attorney

Living Wills

A living will is a type of advance directive. It spells out treatments your parents wish to receive (or not receive) in the event they are permanently unconscious or dying. 

These are especially hard topics to approach with any loved one, but it’s important that you know what your parents want with regard to things like

  • breathing machines,
  • resuscitation, and
  • organ donation.

You don’t want to be the one making those choices when they’re seriously ill. 

Power of Attorney

Your parents should name someone to have the power of attorney. Whoever is named will be in charge of making medical decisions for them if they become unable to do so. 

Access to Important Documents

You (or a sibling or other trusted family member) will need to have access to your parents’ financial documents. Remember this is so that when you need to pay things like their long-term care bills, their money is available to you. 

Your parents may eventually be unable to articulate things like passwords or location of documents.

Find out how and where to get a hold of paperwork that documents their:

  • insurance,
  • financial accounts,
  • advance directives,
  • estate plans, and
  • other important legal issues. 

Related: Bestow Review: Term Life Insurance for Busy People

Tips For Talking About Finances With Your Parents

It’s great to want to help elderly parents with finances, but it may be awkward. It’s tough for parents to discuss serious money issues with their grown children. 

Here are some ideas for making it easier to discuss financial topics with your parents:

  • Make it about them. You’re trying to be aware of their wishes so you can help carry them out. 
  • Frame it as something you’ve been doing for yourself. For example, say “We’re working on our will and estate plan, and wanted to be sure you’re all taken care of, too.” 
  • Use the story of someone you know. Maybe a friend faced a problem where they needed access to parents’ accounts to pay for their medical care, but didn’t have the documents in place. 

Financial talks with your aging parents are tough, but once you sit down and have those conversations, you’ll be glad you did.

Are you trying to help elderly parents with finances? Has it been a struggle? Or have you broken through?

How To Survive Unemployment (When You Weren’t Prepared)

how to survive unemployment

how to survive unemploymentSometimes, bad things happen when we least expect them. And if you’re on a financial journey, losing your job can feel like a major strain. But there are ways to manage, even if you’re worried and even if you don’t think you can make it work. Here’s how to survive unemployment, even if you weren’t prepared.

1) Apply For Unemployment

Your first step in how to survive unemployment is to actually apply for unemployment. And don’t feel guilty about this either. Unemployment is there for a reason. And sometimes, things happen that are not in our control, so we need to adapt and get back on our feet.

The truth of the matter is that you’ve paid into unemployment. And there is nothing wrong with using what you’ve already paid for. So, as soon as you can, file for unemployment and make sure to include as much detail as possible. This money may not be as much as working, but it’s more than you would make if you didn’t file.

2) Apply For Other Grants & Assistance

If you don’t qualify for unemployment, or if you need a little extra assistance, again, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. There are many grants and assistance available. The federal government has quite a few additional programs if you need it, and your state may have some as well. All you have to do is search online for your “state + unemployment assistance”, and you’re bound to find something that you can apply for.

3) Figure Out Your Insurance Situation

Let’s be honest, COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) insurance is EXPENSIVE. Many people have said that insurance is double or triple what they paid while working. But, insurance is also super important. Imagine landing in the hospital with no insurance.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to use COBRA.

There are other options…

  • like health share ministries
  • or even going through the marketplace.

Since you lost a job, you qualify for a “life-changing event” and can, therefore, try to find insurance coverage – no matter if it’s during the open enrollment period or not.

I get it, why spend money on insurance when you’re already trying to make ends meet? Well, you could be worse off if a medical emergency if you don’t have insurance, and that’s a whole other ordeal that you’ll have to deal with. So why take the chance?

When my husband lost his job back in 2015, and we were still living paycheck to paycheck, we were able to get fairly cheap insurance through the marketplace. Was it the best? No. But it was better than nothing. And for $45 a month, it felt a lot safer than taking a chance on not having insurance. There are other options than just COBRA, so keep that in mind.

save money on your home insurance4) Make Sure Your Four Walls Are Safe

The four walls are usually between:

  1. shelter,
  2. utilities,
  3. food,
  4. clothing, and sometimes…
  5. transportation.

Your four walls will be unique because your financial situation is unique. For example, you may not need new clothes, but someone else may. So you have to decide which four walls you have and how to make sure that they stay up.

To me, shelter, utilities, food, and transportation are my four walls. So if I was ever in a bind, or found myself unemployed, those would be the four bills that I’d take care of. Everything else isn’t important when you’re trying to survive. So focus on your four walls, make sure that you’re paying your bills as much as you can, and keep yourself safe. Eventually, you’ll be able to add in more. But as long as your four walls are taken care of, you’re okay.

5) Try To Keep A Hold On Your Savings

I know this is easier said than done. But, if you have a savings account, try to keep as much money in it as possible. Granted, savings is made for times like this. And sometimes, we can’t help if we have to dip into it. But, if you don’t need to (remember your four walls), save it for when you do. The longer you can hold on to your savings, the longer you can survive unemployment.

6) Cut Your Expenses Way Down

Okay, you don’t have a job anymore and you’re trying to figure out how to survive unemployment. It’s time to get rid of some of the extras:

  • subscriptions
  • TV
  • memberships
  • non-essential shopping
  • gaming
  • kids’ toys/presents/clothes…they have enough

And then you’ll be left with some of the essential bills like your phone bill, home insurance, car insurance, internet, and perhaps a few others.

I would suggest that you:

  1. Call each of these service providers and tell them you simply don’t have the money to keep paying the amount that you have been and if there’s anything they can do. Either they drop the price somehow, or you’ll have to find someone else that will.
  2. When you’ve tried this, email or call Derek’s friends at BillCutterz. They have dropped his bills on numerous occasions and he’s always shocked at how much better they are at negotiating than he is. If they don’t save you any money, you owe nothing. If they find savings, you only owe them half of what they saved you for the first year. It’s a pretty awesome model that you should try out, even if you think your bills are as low as you can get them. I mean, what do you have to lose?

Related: BillCutterz Absolutely Shocked Me and Saved Me Money on My Phone Bill!!

7) Get A Side Hustle

I’ve always recommended a side hustle, even if you aren’t unemployed. These days, everyone needs one. Even if you think your job is secure, having a side hustle can mean the difference between losing all of your income or losing just part of it.

But getting a side hustle is especially important if you become unemployed. It can mean extra money in your pocket while you’re trying to find another job, or give you the opportunity to create your own job and career.

There are so many different side hustles that you can do, many of which can bring in at least $500-$1,500 every month. That may not seem like much, but it’s more than making $0. And it can stretch your unemployment and savings if needed.

8) Know That It Will Be Okay (& Don’t Feel Guilty)

I know what it feels like to think you’re not being a productive citizen of society. But sometimes, we just get dealt a bad hand. Becoming unemployed doesn’t mean you’re lazy or uneducated. Sometimes, it simply means that the company you worked for wasn’t as prepared to pay you as they should have been (or the demand for your service decreased severely). But the blame and shame shouldn’t fall on you.

Life happens. And the best thing you can do when you’re trying to survive unemployment is just do your best and go with the flow. Sometimes that’s all you can do. And that’s OKAY.

How To Survive Unemployment – You Can Do This!!

Unemployment sucks. But, there are tools and resources in place to help you if you need it. And, it’s okay to need those resources until you can get back on your feet. If you’re currently unemployed, just know that things always have a way of working out, even if the future seems a little bleak right now.

Were you wondering how to survive unemployment? I hope this article helped you sort things out!

Things Were Great…Until They Weren’t. Now What?

struggling financially - financial storms

struggling financially - financial stormsMy breathing, normal. My stride, in rhythm. And my pace, 8 minutes per mile. Things were going fantastic. I had already run 1.5 miles and I was ready to pick up the pace. And then…I turned the corner.  Wind.  It was nearly gale-force and was directly in my face. This was going to be a problem… For those of you that are struggling financially, you’ve probably had the same feelings. Things were going great, and then suddenly, nearly everything went wrong. Let’s get you back on your feet again – and maybe even get you running faster than you’ve ever thought possible!

The Wind – Your Financial Nemesis 

I was completely out of consumer debt. I even started tackling the home mortgage and had it down to $60,000 or so. It wouldn’t be long before I was completely debt free and skating easy in the gentle breezes of life.

And then my personal gale forces winds struck…

My Story

My wife, she wanted a divorce.

Long story short, the decree happened and I was obligated to pay her half of our net worth, which equated to $21,000…and I owed it within just 6 months. At this moment, I’d say I was officially struggling financially.

My heart was broken, my confidence shattered, and my debt-free victories…just a distant memory. It not only felt like a head-wind, but a torrential downpour as well.

Life sucked.

I never thought I’d be in that position, but there I was. It was happening. There was no denying it. 

Your Headwind

If you’re reading this post, you likely have a headwind of your own. 

It could be…

  • a break-up
  • job loss
  • an injury
  • a lawsuit

For whatever reason, you’re struggling financially, and you need to find a way out. 

Headwinds Are a Given, The Timing is Unknown

According to LifeHacker, we all face major challenges in life – 6 major categories of them:

  1. Loss
  2. Failure
  3. Setbacks
  4. Establishing a Moral Compass
  5. Mastering Your Mind
  6. Overcoming Your Story

Every one of us has ups and downs in life. Some are more extreme than others, but we’re all in the same boat – or maybe a different boat, but the same crazy storm. Loved ones will die, people will get injured and sick, money may come and go. We never know exactly what’s coming, but there’s always good and bad.

Headwinds will happen. They are real. Plan on them. They’re coming.

struggling financially - financial windsThe Wind – Your Reaction to Change

“The pessimist complains about the wind;

the optimist expects it to change;

the realist adjusts the sails.” 

— William Arthur Ward

Those That Complain and Do Nothing

Those that are struggling financially right now are likely complaining.

  • It’s their parents’ fault for not caring about them enough, for not sending them to a better school, for not watching them more closely when they were making mistakes…
  • It’s the government’s fault. They shouldn’t have let the economy get so bad that people start losing their jobs. There should really be a guaranteed income…
  • Or maybe it’s someone else in their life that hurt them or tore them down.

Whatever the case may be, complaining about the wind won’t change a thing. It’ll just keep you miserable for life.

Those That Smile and Wait for the Wind to Change

Positive people are great – they’re bubbly, chipper, uplifting, they’re simply fun to be around – but I believe there’s such a thing as being too positive. 

Here are some clues that you might be too positive:

  • You always respond to the question, ‘How are you?’ with, “Great! It’s a beautiful day!” …even though you feel crummy on the inside and desperately wish for change in your life.
  • Your job is sub-par and you could probably do better, but heck, you’re thankful to have a job and you’re just going to make the best of it!
  • You’re often a follower and hardly ever a leader. People that seem harsh and insensitive are often at the top and bossing you around.

In other words, you often force yourself to be happy in your current situation, no matter what. But, putting a smile on your face while changing nothing isn’t likely doing any good for anyone – not you, not your friends, and not society. Bubbly happy people don’t look for injustices or problems that could use correcting.

You sit there with your sail down, waiting for change with a smile on your face, but you know what? Change may never happen, my friend. You might be sitting there waiting for your entire life…and then it’s all over. Positivity is great to a point, but inactivity and complacency come at a cost – namely never moving forward.

Those That Adjust the Sails

“The only constant in life is change.” — Heraclitus

The wind will shift. It’s inevitable. I mean, think about what life was like just 40 years ago. 

  • The Internet didn’t exist
  • Some people actually still owned black-and-white TVs
  • If you worked from home, it meant that you probably had an at-home shop or you cut hair out of your basement
  • The Rubik’s cube was considered entertainment

Today is very different than just a few decades ago, and what if you hadn’t changed along with the rest of the world? You’d have skills like changing the tape rolls on the company “computer” or delivering printed memos from one side of corporate to the other. 

In other words, you’d be completely useless today…unless you decided to adjust your sails with the changing winds.

Today, some people are struggling financially because the winds have changed. It happens. But, if you want to feel good about yourself and still become a success later in life, then it’s time to do something about it. Today.

The Wind – Your Time to Grow

I rounded that corner on that infamous run and struck that wind. It forced my head down, my legs started burning, and my breathing turned heavy. Nevertheless, I pressed on and pushed through the pain. It was the toughest run I had done in a while, but I made it the full 3 miles and still recorded an average mile time of 8 minutes and 15 seconds. 

Later in the week, it was time to run again. On this particular day, it was cool and calm. No wind. Hallelujah!

  • The first mile – 7 minutes, 50 seconds
  • The second mile – 7 minutes, 40 seconds
  • and the third mile – 7 minutes, 20 seconds

It was the fastest three miles I had recorded in probably 3 years.

Was it luck? Was it just a coincidence? Could my running app be broken? Lol. Nope. None of the above.  

Because I forced myself to run through the pain on the tough days, my muscles grew, my mind was stronger, and my body was ready for speed. Sunny calm days are great, but without the winds, we’ll never improve.

The Wind of Your Life – Choose Growth

Your life didn’t go as planned. You’re struggling financially and you really shouldn’t be. You’ve had a good job and you made decent money. What happened? Is it just too hard to get ahead these days?

Likely not. 

There are 15 million millionaires in the United States today. Most of them started with nothing. Translation…it’s not too hard to win financially. I mean…15 million people in this country alone are doing pretty well for themselves. 

You’re having a tough time and struggling financially. The winds turned and you’re stuck, or maybe you’re even moving backwards. Now is the time to figure out how maneuver that sail in such a way that you can still somehow propel yourself forward.

In other words, it’s time to learn. It’s time to take action. Just. Keep. Moving.

After a little work, your boat will start to inch forward. You’ll feel victorious, and you absolutely should! However, there will be seasoned sailors (ie. financial gurus) that are sailing past you so fast it’s as if they found a tailwind from some secret source.

It’s absurd.

How is this possible?

How is it that they can move so fast during such tough times?

Put plainly, how can people continue to be so well-off and wealthy (and continue to build wealth) when the economy is so lousy?

Is it because…

  • they have rich parents that gave them a ton of money?
  • they’re taking advantage of the poor?
  • they’re crooks and swindle every sucker that comes their way?

No, no, and no. 

People excel during the bad times because in the past, they struggled just like you did. During those struggles, they learned and grew and slowly made headway. And then, they never forgot what happened to them earlier in life. They took note and realized that someday history might repeat itself, and they vowed that they’d be ready – stronger, wiser, richer, ready. 

Your Headwinds – The Financial Struggles – Embrace Them

Use this time as if it’s a blessing. It may not feel like it now (as you struggle with no money, with all your frustrations, and perhaps even with no job), but you’re learning a valuable lesson that could earn you millions in the future. It all depends on how you respond now.

Start adjusting your sails. 

While you dig yourself out of your current struggles, be sure to ask yourself questions like:

  • What would I have done differently a few years back if I knew then what I know now?
  • Will this type of event likely happen again?
  • Where would I like to position myself before it does?
  • Is there something I could do today that might change the future?
  • What should my goals be after thinking about all of the above?

Related: Why Rich People Get Richer

The best time to plant a tree is 30 years ago. But, if you failed to plant the seed then, the best time to plant it is today.

Are you struggling financially? What is it that you’re learning? What might you change about your future?

This Is How This Guy Made $14,529 Per Month Online

make thousands of dollars online

make thousands of dollars onlineIf you’re reading this, there are greater chances that you are looking for that one chance to turn around your life and make thousands of dollars online. However, you won’t make $14,000+ per month while sitting on your hands. You surely would have to work your butt off, follow a schedule, and cut off all the distractions. That’s what Yash Shah did.

Those who aren’t aware, we’re talking about a drop-shipping success story here. We often come across these success stories, but how many of them are based on a true story? Yash Shah was like most of you who are reading this right now – completely green with little to no sales at all. 

What pushed him so far? Was it an overnight gamechanger secret from a marketing expert? Was this just luck? We’ll find out shortly.  

Yash Shah Success Story – From $0 to $14,529 Per Month

Do you own an online drop-shipping Shopify store? Have you been digging into making money online tactics lately? If so, you’ve landed on the right page.

Every time Yash tried to hit his desired benchmarks, he couldn’t get the results promised by those shady courses and gurus. With no marketing or e-commerce experience, he knew if he didn’t do something about it, a decade will pass just like that and he’ll be in the same place as of now.

After he worked his butt off, Yash launched a handful of Shopify stores and started making a considerate income with drop-shipping. You might be thinking, what’s all the fuss about “14,529/month”? What if I tell you that he made all of it from a single winning product? 

Yes! Not all his stores, but he made over $14k from a single product.

What’s the secret?

How was Yash able to hit the bull’s eye? Was it just mere luck or a thought-out strategy? 

According to him, he was browsing through different product research tools a few months ago and came across SellTheTrend. He gave it a shot and on one of the pages inside this product research platform, there was this one expensive product that also had a fair profit margin. 

After setting up his Facebook Ads campaign, he started making $2,000/week right away. In no time, Yash crossed $14,000 in less than a month and he plans on optimizing his ad campaigns for better results.

How to Find Winning Products to Dropship?

Drop-shipping has changed dramatically within the past few years. With tough competition, we’ve seen major improvements in the digital marketing sector. 

There are some awesome product research tools available today. While manual research has its importance, wouldn’t you want to get all that data within seconds?

Let’s take an example of SellTheTrend that helped Yash earn over $14k on one single product. Upon typing a generic keyword “jewelry” in the Nexus Product Research by STT, here are the results:

make thousands of dollars online

Considering the above screenshot, dropshipping jewelry can never be easier when you select the winning products and promote them to their targeted audience. 

Marketing Trending Products: There’s More to It

If you’ve been trying your luck with drop-shipping lately but failed, note that drop-shipping isn’t all about finding winning products to sell on your Shopify store. 

Though SEO remains the best way to drive traffic to your site, it takes months to rank with SEO. That is not the case with paid marketing. If employed correctly, you can start selling your products from the very first day with paid marketing. This is what Yash did!

The product Yash selected had a great influence on Facebook. So, Facebook ads yielded great results for him. He used the Facebook interest targeting efficiently and within no time, the revenue scaled up to $14k/month. If you want to make thousands of dollars online, this might just be the route for you.

“I’m promoting this product along with many other winning products to make over $40k by the end of this month” – says Yash Shah. 

However, the marketing strategy that worked best for Yash may not serve the same deal to you. It all depends on your targeted audience and product type. The following are popular paid online advertising strategies to start selling from day first. 

Influencer Marketing

Did you know that 90% of teenagers trust social media influencers more than conventional celebrities? Moreover, the ROI of influencer marketing is $6.50 for every dollar spent. That’s over 500% profit. 

Influencer marketing is specifically used to target social media users and is a great alternative to paid ads. However, it might be a little difficult for you to find influencers in your niche – especially if it’s your first time doing this. 

Learn more about finding influencers here. One can also rely on influencer marketing platforms i.e. Upfluence, AspireIQ, Viral Nation, Klear, and more

Social Media Ads

There are over 3.81 billion social media users worldwide. Irrespective of your niche, the majority of your potential customers are also regular social media users. 

The majority of your sales can come through social media channels. Make sure to promote your products on social media channels. If you have the capital, run targeted ads on Facebook & Instagram because the majority of millennials claim that ads on these platforms are more relevant than ever. 

Pay-Per-Click

Pay-Per-Click is an effective marketing strategy that works well when dropshipping. 

In most niches, PPC yields 65% of clicks as compared to 35% organic clicks. Knowing that PPC visitors have already made up their mind to purchase the product, it can dramatically increase your conversion rate. 

Though it is always recommended to work on your organic reach, PPC can still turn in potential customers from day first. Sounds good? 

Note: PPC can be a bottomless pit for your capital. Unless you analyze your targeted audience, optimize your ads, and double-check the effectiveness of each campaign, you won’t come out on payback. 

Final Verdict

Overall, dropshipping is one of the most profitable online businesses, and the way Yash dominated it, I’m sure you’re determined to do something about your current or new Shopify store.

Success in dropshipping requires consistency. You can’t expect to make $14k by the end of the week. It probably took him a lot of sleepless nights before he was finally able to see the WOW Factor in that product. 

I wish you the best of luck. Thanks!

In case of further questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a reply. 

Preparing for a Housing Market Shift – Buy, Sell or Hold?

housing market shift

housing market shiftThe springtime housing market started off strong this year, but the current pandemic is raising some questions as to what kind of housing market shift can we expect to see in the coming months. Although the jury is still out on what is to come, let’s take a closer look at what experts are saying. Is it time to buy, sell or hold on a home?

The Current Housing Market

According to CNBC, the housing inventory leading into 2020 was already a little lower than previous years, but still fairly robust. However, after many states issued “stay at home” orders, new listings have begun to rapidly taper off

In fact, Capital Economics predicts home sales could decrease by 35% annually this spring (as compared with the last quarter of 2019) due to state-wide self-isolation orders and increasing levels of unemployment nationally.

So, does this indicate that we should worry about the coming housing market shift?

Why The Housing Market May Not Be as Dismal as 2008

It’s difficult to forget the economic crash of 2008 and the impact it had on the housing market for many years. However, there are some major differences between then and now.

  1. Increased government regulation has produced more rigorous guidelines for mortgage loan approval. In 2008, creative financing options were more likely to be found, with individuals qualifying for mortgages beyond their financial means.
  2. With an uptick in qualified buyers due to said regulations, home foreclosures and mortgage loan defaults have decreased over the past decade.  This alone has contributed to more stability and growth in the housing market over the years.

Future Housing Marketing Challenges

While it doesn’t look like we are heading for any kind of housing market bubble burst, there are still some challenges ahead.   

Housing Market Shift Due to Limited Movement

While the market itself seems like it won’t take a massive hit like before, there are some real challenges with the currents state of affairs.

Multi-statewide stay-at-home orders are already providing to be a challenge for buyers and sellers alike.

As of March 20th in PA, agents were no longer allowed to conduct business and were classified as nonessential. Some are still “showing” their previous listings via virtual tours and encouraging buyer offers contingent upon future in-home tours.

For states that haven’t experienced a complete hold on business, many are still offering a similar solutions, or merely enforcing social distancing guidelines for home tours. 

According to the National Association of Realtor’s survey of its members, almost 90% said the pandemic has reduced home buyer interest. Sixty percent of those surveyed are simply delaying purchasing for a couple of months. Almost two-thirds of buyers expect lower home prices moving forward. 

So what should YOU do during this current housing market? 

benefits of owning real estateWhat Should Buyers and Sellers Do In This Market?

Buyers in this Housing Market

If you were already planning on purchasing a home this year, don’t table the idea just yet. Mortgage rates are still low at the moment due in part to the federal reserves rate drop on March 15th.  This action by the FR is essentially designed to stimulate the economy and encourage consumer confidence in buying. 

In addition, Fannie Mae projects that home sales will fall by nearly 15% in 2020. So while that means there were be less inventory to choose from, it’s more likely that you could find a better deal. Many buyers will have been sitting on their listings for a few months and eager to unload the property. 

As a buyer, the lower rates combined with motivated sellers may be just the housing market opportunity shift you’ve been waiting for. 

Sellers in this Housing Market

This year started off strong for those planning to sell their home.  However, many challenges arose once the shut down orders started rolling out. 

For those fortunate enough to have creative realtors, virtual tours and the encouragement to consider contingent offers has kept many sellers in the game. Some states are even loosening some regulatory restrictions and allowing required inspections and appraisals to be done virtually.

Economist Jeff Tucker, who works with Zillow said:

“We’ve heard of inspectors checking out a house for a buyer via a video tour, through FaceTime or Skype.”

In addition, Tucker noted that closing and mortgage paperwork are being processed via mail or via online methods. 

“As a seller now, the downside is that you’ll probably see fewer buyers,” Tucker said. “But you’ll have less competition from other sellers.”

For those trying survive a new purchase along with an unsold home

Some mortgage companies are allowing a delay in payments during this time, and that may buy just enough time for those caught in the middle of balancing two mortgages to breathe a little.

However, you will still owe the payment as a lump sum after the delayed time period has passed. Also, not all mortgage providers are offering this option. You will need to call your lender to decide if this is the right option for you. 

Is there someone you know between housing right now? Maybe consider renting out your home for a short time to help offset the cost of covering two housing payments.

Read More: Moving? How to Decide if You Should Rent or Sell Your House

For those in a position who NEED to sell, there is the option of turning to iBuyers.

This organization states that you will receive “quick offers, easy closings, a sales price you’ll be happy with and have no need to prep your house.” 

You can even plug in your address to get an estimate. Out of curiosity, I plugged in my previous address and was quoted about $15k less than the offer we received from a traditional buyer. 

Although that’s a bit of a chunk, you have the advantage of:

  • less hassle,
  • no need to wait for buyer loan approval,
  • no need to do upgrades and repairs, and
  • all with the promise of a quick and easy closing.

In fact, we paid over half of that in realtor and closing fees anyway. So, iBuyer could be a definite option to consider if you are truly in a difficult place right now. 

Those That Are Staying Put 

Finally, maybe you are among the group of those just waiting to see how it all plays out. Quite honestly, you probably aren’t going to miss out on too much as the housing market prepares for a shift. 

While there will be deals to be had and low mortgage rates available, the slim pickings on property options may not appeal to you. There is certainly no harm in continuing to build equity in your current home. Or continuing to save and invest if you can. 

There is a good chance that home values will drop in the coming months while the world adjusts to a “new normal.”

If this happens, you may need to stay put longer than you had anticipated. It’s good to decide now if you can see yourself staying where you are for the next several years with all the housing market uncertainties. Maybe that’s the best or only option for you right now, and that’s okay. 

Read More: How You Can Prepare for the Next Recession (Even On A Low Income) 

So where are you at in the buying, selling or staying process?  Were you mid-sale (like me) when everything came to a screeching halt? How is this housing market shift affecting you? Tell us in the comments below!