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Financially Strapped Student

10 Great Money Tips for the Financially Strapped Student

For students who are financial strapped, it can very trying to cope with the different pressures that bears down upon you. Even before you are able to complete your studies to earn your keep, you can be facing possible problems with keeping up with your studies in the first place. There are people’s opinions of you to manage, stress from assignments and projects, mandatory curricular activities’ hours you might have to clock and the most of all, the next meal you can afford and where to lay your head for the night.

But things might not be so unmanageable if one sits down to work out your financial plan. And even more so, being financially strapped does not mean you cannot enjoy your days as a student or indulge yourself once in a while. Everyone, even the poorest of the poor, is entitled to some pleasures of life occasionally. All you need are some ideas and tips in doing so:

Work out a budget

The basic thing is to work out your present income or savings and planning your expenses. You can work out treats once in a while if you can afford them. Having a plan will provide structure and meaning, thus giving you a better peace of mind to focus on the other important things.        

Set aside some savings

It is important to have some backup savings to tide over some emergencies or unforeseen expenses. Having a backup savings gives you some buffer and less stress.       

Take advantage of discounts

Planning ahead makes you keep an eye for discounts. Coupons, bulk buying can save you some cash in the long run. Sometimes you can even treat yourself like in 1-for-1 deals or off-peak promotions.        

Pay in cash

Paying in cash makes it easier to account for your expenditure. It is advisable to break your carry cash into smaller denominations so that the tendency to overspend will be lesser.       

Cut expensive habits

Do you smoke or drink? Perhaps being financially strapped would give a good reason to break these habits. Additionally, if you’re a gamer looking for a fix, it might be a better idea to check out an inexpensive laptop for PC gaming instead of an expensive console with $60 games. Check out some of the best gaming laptops under 1000 dollars here.

Seek school aid

There are grants and aid programs that help students tide over difficult periods. Look up the school’s website, newsletter or even approach the administration staff. They can point to the direction where you can seek aid or loan that can help you ease your burden.        

Community Sharing

Having a group of close friends or a tight-knitted community can help you save a lot of money. You can pool in resources to buy things in bulk or have meals together which are cheaper to prepare when done together. Be it washing of clothes, renting a movie together, enjoying a day out at the beach, going as a group has its perks and the support you get is intangible.        

Use the library

The library supplies the books that you cannot afford to buy. It has resources like the computer and sometimes stationery for use as well. Since you are a student, make full use of it instead of going to the bookstore.       


When you feel that you have some extra time to spare after school and need some extra income, part timing can be an option. Local supermarkets hire students as cashiers or inventory stock-takers. You can deliver pizzas, newspapers or milk. There are a plethora of jobs for students who want to work – you just have to look for them.

Earn Online

There is an increasing trend of people looking to earn an income online and you can be successful even with no start-up cost. The best thing is that it is flexible and can be done outside your school hours. This can supplement your life as a student.

Resolving Conflicts with Neighboring Businesses

Resolving Conflicts with Neighboring Businesses

No matter where you live, you’ve probably noticed that businesses are often crammed into tiny shopping centers with nothing but a paper-thin wall to separate them. Just like residents of your community probably have spats with their neighbors, businesses often run into conflicts with neighboring businesses. Whether it’s over the music played or the type of clientele or the lack of parking space, a good entrepreneur must know how to resolve conflicts with their neighbors.

Resolving Conflicts with Neighboring Businesses: Give a Friendly Heads’ Up

Just like you probably wouldn’t run right to the home owners’ association in your neighborhood just because your neighbor has too many pets, you probably shouldn’t contact your lawyer immediately following the discovery of a problem with a neighboring business. Instead, pay the owner a visit and politely explain your concerns. Prepare for he or she to get defensive or to be outright hostile – that isn’t your concern. Your only objective is to lay the facts on the table and to gauge the response of your neighbor.

Resolving Conflicts with Neighboring Businesses: Pursue Any Alternate Solutions

If there is a way to resolve the dispute without involving your lawyer, try that first. Remember that you might be neighbors with the other business for the next twenty years, and burning bridges isn’t in your best interest. You might need a favor one day, and if you’ve involved them in litigation, that person’s help will no longer be available. So instead of marching right down to your lawyer’s office, think of ways you can amicably solve the problem. For example, if your neighbor is an electonics store owner and he or she continues to play loud music from the top-selling boom box, consider offering a compromise. If they turn down the music, you’ll pass out flyers for their store from your counter.

Resolving Conflicts with Neighboring Businesses: Write a Letter

If your previous attempts to resolve the conflict have been met with resistence, you’ll have to step it up a notch. Write a letter explaining your complaint and mail it to your neighboring business. You could just walk it over and leave it with an employee, but mailing it is more professional and formal. Explain that you don’t want to involve your lawyer, but that if the neighboring business owner is not willing to discuss the matter further, you will have to pursue legal action. Close by saying that you will be happy to arrange a meeting at his or her convenience. Give the neighboring business owner 10-30 days to respond before taking any other steps toward conflict resolution.

Resolving Conflicts with Neighboring Businesses: Consider Mediation

I mentioned above that it is never a good idea to burn bridges, and that is true. Even if your neighboring business is doing something ridiculously obnoxious, the two of you are right next door to one another and a fued could be mutually catastrophic. If other avenues of conflict resolution have not worked, consider mediation. Your lawyer can recommend an experienced mediator and it keeps your dispute out of the court system. This way, you have an intervening third party without the consequences of a civil suit.

Resolving Conflicts with Neighboring Businesses: Illegal Activities

If you are bothered by your neighboring business not because of a petty dispute, but because of some illegal activity, your best bet is to call the police. Don’t follow any of the advice above because your business’s reputation is not worth the price you will pay if you are named as a co-conspirator in illegal activity. Instead, let the authorities handle it and stay at a distance so as not to implicate yourself.

The New Nokia E72 is a Perfect Fit For Today's on the Go Lifestyle

The New Nokia E72 is a Perfect Fit For Today’s on the Go Lifestyle

The Nokia E72 is one of the best Nokia phones. It is comparable to other Nokia E-series phones in that it is designed for business people and business entrepreneurs. Besides, it retains all the glossy features of its predecessor, Nokia E-71 with additional superb modification that easily attracts everyone. It is in fact a power phone that many people will desire to have.

Features of Nokia E72

The superb features of Nokia E72 include mobile email, instant messaging, calendar and almost all other features of E71. The most enticing feature of Nokia E72 is its graceful design. It makes it a cell phone meant for business people because of its reliability and efficiency.

For a business person who is constantly on the go it is a personal assistant; always there for them. It is thus possible to convince a business person to change to Nokia E72 because of its enhancements. With it you have an upgraded E71 with many added features.

New features of Nokia E72

Nokia E72 comes with new features that include Symbian OS 9.3, USB charging, accelerator and magnetometer sensors and a digital compass. Above all, Nokia E72 is designed with an optical Navi key that surpasses the standard D-pad. This newest addition will thrill users as it enhances scrolling through emails, menus, images, and the internet browser because it is an optical sensor that is more superior to closely spaced buttons. It saves the user time and makes him feel, “I have value for my money”.

Other new features include 600MHz processor to enhance its performance to a high level, double amount ROM, HSDPA support of up to 10.2Mbps, a Tri-band that replaces the Duo-band and an improved CPU clock speed. The functional keys have the look of a metal polish making Nokia E72 to be user friendly. It has a display of 2.4 inches with a QVGA resolution making it useable in direct sunlight.

Nokia E72 is perfectly suited and designed for corporate people. It is a stylish mobile phone that can meet all your needs. Besides being a business phone, it is also rating high on lustrous features thus, can fit other users in search of a cute looking and hip phone.

In conclusion, this is the smartest phone you can choose. It is so reliable that you cannot afford not to have it. Indeed Nokia had you in mind when designing this fantastic phone.

Midwest Dog Training Digs North Sioux City for Expansion

Midwest Dog Training Digs North Sioux City for Expansion

Nearly three years ago Chris Ford traded his office job for the chance to overcome unruly dogs. His computer has given way to electronic dogs collars, a firm voice and the dedicated spirit of an entrepreneur.

Chris and his wife Jennifer are the dynamic duo behind Midwest Dog Training, a dog obedience business currently located at the Village Square Mall in Dakota Dunes.

In 2005, Ford, a Gateway employee, decided it was time for a career change.

“I saw the writing on the wall. I weaned myself off of Gateway after three months,” Ford explained. “By that time it was just getting to a point where I had too many dogs in my house anyway. So, we got the location in the Dunes in 2006.”

After two years and a few months in the Dunes, this pup of a business has grown in leaps in bounds. By Late September, this Wynstone couple will be breaking ground on N. Derby Lane in North Sioux City, as they build, expand and relocate Midwest Dog Training.

Gone to the Dogs

“It’s definitely something we’re growing or expanding. Instead of just doing the training, we’re going to be doing a lot more,” Ford explained of the new business location.

“We plan to have it built by the time it snows. So, late November it should be done,” Ford explained. He hopes to have the doors open for business before Christmas.

The new 2500 square foot facility will offer 40 kennels for overnight boarding, doggie daycare, grooming and a small retail area, in addition to obedience training on site and at client’s homes.

Doggie guests will be treated to spacious 5 feet x 5 feet indoor kennels with bacteria resistant floors, 3 outdoor dog runs and 1 indoor dog run. The four legged guests will also enjoy the acre and a half grounds, complete with a 6 foot privacy fence, alarm system and video monitoring.

A Proven Style of Training

You won’t find clickers, choke chain collars or bags of bite sized training treats at Midwest Dog Training.

After researching the dog obedience industry by studying and observing trainers from California to Des Moines, Ford has found a method that has worked for thousands of dogs.

“I have taken the best pieces of the best programs and put them all into one,” Ford explained of his techniques.

His current services have been requested by pet owners from Kansas City to Minneapolis and many points in between.

“The company has grown fairly fast, and the popularity of the program has helped with that. Because of the growth of the business, it has allowed us to take this risk, or take on the challenge,” Ford explained.

Ford’s program includes the use of a specific electronic collar. The e-collar emits a vibration that acts like a muscle stimulator to communicate with the dog. Being skeptical, this reporter tested the sensation, and found it to not be a shock collar at all. The vibration from the collar was like a tickle, that made the skin in the palm of my hand mildly itchy.

“We specialize in properly using the e-collar to communicate with your dog,” Ford explained.

He likens the e-collar to an invisible fence or leash, and will allow anyone to feel the e-collar vibration before putting it on their pet.

“Our program includes positive reinforcement along with leash training too, so it’s not all e-collar training, but that is the foundation really, so that’s why our customers are able to get the control their looking for,” Ford explained.

With a dose of patience and an e-collar, Ford trains dogs of all breeds, ages and levels of aggression.

On and off leash control are an important part of his training. Ford feels many dog training programs never go past on leash control. When a pet gets loose from his leash, all the training commands are ignored by the pet. Ford’s techniques and commands are designed to be effective both on and off leash, near strangers and in new indoor and outdoor environments, such as a park.

Two Types of Training

Midwest Dog Training offers two methods of obedience training.

Ford will pick up the pet for boarding and an obedience program, where all the work is done at his facility and home. After 3 weeks, you dog is returned, fully trained.

In home training sessions work with the dog as well as the pet owner. In two sessions, each two hours in length, Ford claims he can make your pet learn eight essential commands; come, sit, down, place, weight, off, quiet and release.

“We show people how to use appropriate motivation and how to give the command,” Ford explained of the program that promotes consistency. “Also, how to use the collar and how to be comfortable with the training.”

And eventually, dogs trained with Midwest Dog Training won’t need to wear the e-collar.

“I show the people how to wean their dog off of the collar, so potentially they don’t have any stimulus other than their voice,” Ford explained.

He even offers unlimited follow-up phone calls and email for the life of the dog he has trained. Dog owners are encouraged to participate in a lucrative referral program, where Ford will pay back your training fee in exchange for 5 successful referrals. The business also offers a discount for multiple pet homes. When two dogs are enrolled in an obedience program at the same time, the second dog’s training fee is at half price.

All Levels of Aggression Accepted

“In almost three years, I’ve trained a thousand dogs. And many of those are vicious dogs, that want to bite people,” Ford mentioned in the wake of a hot controversy over a Pit Bull ban in neighboring Sioux City. “A lot of dogs are confused about what they should be doing. We train dogs not to be vicious.”

Ford contends bully breeds can be trained successfully with his program.

“Leash training doesn’t teach the dog to not be aggressive. The e-collar shows they can’t be aggressive,” Ford explained. “It’s all about setting boundaries for the dog. Obedience training is nothing more than offering stimulus to get a dog to do what you want.”

Ford’s customers have been pleased with his services.

“A lot of times they are overly impressed,” Ford explained of the reactions. “When you have your dog off leash, and you control him off leash, your bond is stronger.”

More to Come

This fall, Ford plans on sending a mailer to Dakota Dunes residents offering a free doggie daycare day pass, so residents can learn more about Midwest Dog Training’s new services.

A small retail section at the North Sioux City business will offer Innova Evo pet foods. Ford considers himself a dog nutritionist who has researched many pet diets. In the future he’d like to add a weight management program to his business offerings. Pet owners could board their pet and have Ford put them on a diet and exercise regime designed for optimum health and weight management.

In the coming year, the business will also begin breeding Belgian Malinois, to be sold primarily to police agencies. Ford will train the dogs to be used in police enforcement.

“By this time next year, we should have a program for bomb sniffing dogs,” Ford said.

But until then, Ford will focus on the newly expanded business opening in North Sioux City, and his growing family. This Fall, the Ford’s will open their new facility and be the proud parents of their first child.



Make a Budget

How to Make a Budget

Making a budget for the first time can be a little intimidating. I’ve been keeping a budget for about five years now. I’d love to say that I did it right the first time and never had a problem sticking to my budget but, that would be a lie. The fact of the matter is that it took time for me to perfect my budget. Every day I have to work on sticking to it. Times have changed and so has my life and my budgeting needs. I was married with two young children five years ago, and now I’m a single mom with teenagers. My budget is a living organism, constantly changing as my families’ needs change.

The most important part of creating a budget is getting your priorities straight. If you’re looking for information about a budget then you’ve probably run into a few problems in the money management department. That’s OK, it happens to most people. Try to start with the things your household absolutely must allow for: groceries, electricity, water, rent, gas and phone. Hopefully after budgeting for these necessities you can then allow for other necessary expenses. Please, don’t forget about the expenses that only show up once a year or every few months: oil changes, car/life insurance, savings, tithe, car tag and clothing, hair cuts, misc.

You may not consider savings a necessity. But, if you consider all of the things that can and do go wrong, you will see that having some savings is very important. You have to save up for the occasional car break down and medical emergency. These things won’t skip your house just because you have a positive attitude. Savings should be first on your list if possible and try to find some money to give to your local church or charity. Giving back not only makes you feel good, but it’s part of making your budget work. The more you give, the more you get back over time. If you can afford to give, I highly recommend it.

After you’ve budgeted the basic household expenses, it’s time to add your debt and extras. I have a budget for eating out, entertainment, school supplies, cosmetics, spending money and of course gifts. Now that I have teenagers, I’ve learned that I need to budget for things like prom dresses, school clothes, eye glasses, school sports and braces. Sometimes, I have to cut back in some areas to create a budget for another. Recently, for example, I lowered my grocery and gas budget so that I could start a small prom dress budget. Last year I found out how expensive those dresses are. I decided that it would be a lot easier to set aside $10 a month than to dish out $100 and rob my budget to pay for a dress. I’m not as worried about prom expenses this year and it gives me a feeling of relief to know that I prepared for it ahead of time.

Over the past three years I’ve fallen in love with spread sheets, at least as it pertains to budgets. I use an excel spread sheet so I can have a worksheet for each type of budget. I highly recommend having a monthly budget. This serves as a quick reference sheet. I start with my net salary and subtract each bill and try to make sure I’ve spent every penny. It’s not that I want to live week to week, I want to make sure I know where my money is going. Sure, sometimes it’s hard to stick to the budget, but it’s worth it when I need something and already have the money set aside.

Unlike some people, I like to take this budget thing a step further. I also have a weekly budget. Since my paycheck varies from week to week, I have a spreadsheet that lists my net income for each week and subtracts the bills for that week. For example, this week I may make $600 net. I’ll put this at the top of the column and subtract the cost of groceries, gas, rent, utilities, gifts, tithe, cable and spending money. I even have a separate spreadsheet for my debts. I don’t keep them separate from my weekly budget but I’m a little obsessed. I enjoy counting down the days until my debts are paid off. And when I say obsessed, I check my weekly budget several times a day and my debts at least 3 times a week. It doesn’t change that quickly but it helps me keep it at the front of my mind.

Years ago, I would forget to pay my bills on time or write checks when I knew the money wouldn’t be there for a couple of days. I was constantly floating checks and counting on the slow banking system to work in my favor. It didn’t always work, of course. I also had a debit problem. No, that’s not a misspelling. I did mean that I had a debit problem. If you have this problem then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Sometimes, I would forget to record my debits and over spend my budget. I just can’t afford to make those types of mistakes anymore. I never really could afford to make those mistakes.

I’ve read several books on the subject and then took what I learned and adjusted the information to fit my lifestyle and personality. I highly recommend reading Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover and any of Larry Burkett’s budgeting books. Also, if you need more help than this, I highly recommend taking a budgeting class. We have several offered at our local churches. You may have some in your area. Crown Financial Ministries offers a class in money management as does, Dave Ramsey.

Knowing When to Refinance

Knowing When to Refinance

When a borrower is looking to refinance, it is often hard to decide if it is worth the expense. According to the Federal Reserve, the average closing costs for a mortgage refinance can range from 3 to 6 percent of the loan amount. This can get quite costly, especially for mortgages over $100,000. It is always a good idea for a borrower to negotiate any closing costs with the lender, in order to receive the best deal in the long run. Lenders typically have a few suggestions to help borrower make a solid decision on refinancing.

First and foremost, the borrower needs to look at the current interest rate versus his mortgage interest rate. If the difference is at least one full percentage point, it is worth considering the refinance. However, if it is 2 or more percentage points lower, the borrower should seriously consider refinancing. This difference in interest rate could save him thousands over the life of the loan.

Next, the borrower should consider his break even point on the refinancing closing costs. The borrower should ask the lender for a Good Faith Estimate, which outlines the closing costs associated with loan. He should take the total closing costs and divide it by the amount of savings in the monthly payment each month. For example, if the mortgage will cost the borrower $3,000 to close and it save him $200 a month, it will take him 15 months to break even. It is usually a good idea to refinance if the break even point is within 2 years, or 24 months of the refinance’s closing date.

Lastly, the borrower needs to consider the length of time he is planning on being in the residence. If the borrower is not going to be in the residence long enough to break even on the closing costs, or will break even within a year of a planned move, refinancing is probably not in his best interest. Additionally, if the borrower is looking to refinance from a variable or adjustable rate mortgage to a fixed rate product, this is only a good idea if the rate will be fixed in for a considerable length of time before an eventual move.

Finances After a Divorce

Tips for Handling Your Finances After a Divorce

A divorce can be devastating in many ways. You can be left physically, emotionally, and financially drained. Your goal is to recover as soon as possible and get on with your new life. That life may or may not include children. Despite that, if you find yourself broke after a divorce, you must soon take the steps necessary before the situation worsens. Besides all the feelings that you must be dealing with (anger, fear, insecurity, self-doubt, no trust, diminished self-esteem, feelings of unattractiveness, unhappiness …) feelings of financial despair will add to your stress and hinder your emotional recovery. It is important to address your financial picture as soon as you can, even when you are dealing with all the above-mentioned feelings and the feelings of children involved. You must take care of yourself first, to be able to help your kids deal with the trauma of a divorce.

Accepting the reality and the feelings attached to it will help you recover faster. Pay attention to your feelings and deal with them one by one. View them as normal, and get any help that you may need. If you are experiencing strong feelings of fear or suicidal thoughts, it is imperative that you seek the help of a professional. Use community free resources if you are not able to pay for one.

Deal with your financial picture as soon as you are able. Sit down and assess all the assets left after the divorce, as well as any income coming to you. Next, take a good look at your liabilities and expenses, and include any expenses that you know will be in your near future. If you discover a not so good and gloomy financial picture and feel that you do not have the resources to survive it, then you must enlist the help of a financial planner. Use some of the money that you have right now to get one or two consultations with a planner. Bring all your information and explain your situation as clear as you can. Tell him/her to draw a simple plan that you can follow to get you going until you are in better shape to come back for more advice. Realistically, you will not be able to get into a deep financial plan right now, just one to help you handle your immediate situation. If you know of any free resources or family members or friends who are in this field, see if you can get a discount from them before utilizing someone outside your circle. Right now, you have to make the most of what you have.

Once you have your initial financial plan in place, follow it, and do what is necessary to accomplish those goals. If there are other members in your household, such as kids or teenagers, simply explain to them any changes that you may have to do around to keep the family afloat. Reassure them so they do not panic, and inform them of this temporary situation. It will be easier for you if they are on board with the plan. They will also feel good about contributing any ideas.

Focus on your plan one day at a time, as it may feel like a daunting task in the beginning. The important issue is that you keep your focus. Once you have achieved those goals, return to a financial planner to make a long-term plan for you and your family. By feeling in control of your finances, you will be reducing and managing the stress after a divorce, a lot better.

Family Member with Finances

Helping a Family Member with Finances: 6 Rules to Follow

Helping a family member with finances can lead to disaster. Why? Most people don’t know how to approach a family about money for fear of losing this person’s love. It’s a situation I’ve experienced personally. After giving a relative several loans and never getting paid back, I reacted with anger. Although this person should have paid me back, my approach was completely wrong. It took years for our relationship to heal. The event taught me a good lesson and a few rules to follow anytime you want to help a relative with finances.

Rule #1 – Only loan money to a family member that you an afford to lose.

Helping a family member with his finances often starts with a loan. It’s a loan that bails him out of a financial mess. However, people who are struggling with money often can’t pay it back. So, it’s best only to loan money to a family member if you can afford to lose it. It will be less risky and help you avoid a lot of hard feelings.

Rule #2 – Talk about money to a family member in a non-threatening environment.

If you want to help a family member with his finances, do it in a non-threading environment. So Thanksgiving dinner is not a great time to bring up the fact that your kid brother doesn’t know how to budget. Instead, take him out to dinner (one-on-one) and explain how much you love him and are concerned about his future. Then, talk about the subject of money – preferably after you’ve eaten your meals.

Rule #3 – Ask your family member if it is all right to help him with his finances.

No matter how strongly you feel about helping your family member with his finances, only do it if he gives you the green light. Otherwise, he will feel bullied or belittled, especially if you are an older sibling. So offer to help him and respect whatever answer he gives you.

Rule #4 – Teach your family member about money by admitting your own mistakes.

Teach your family member how to manage money. Your lesson should start with a few examples of how you blew it financially. Use these situations to help your family member feel more comfortable and less judged about his current financial situation. Then, get down to basics. Talk about budgeting, investing and living within one’s means.

Rule #5 – Walk Your family member through the process of resolving his financial crisis.

One of the most supportive things you can do with a family member struggling with anything is to walk with him through it. This means that you will have to actively assist your family member in getting out of his current financial situation. You may have to call bill collectors, go through old bills, write out a budget or boost him up while he does these things. Just be sure to only do the things that your family member is comfortable with you doing and to ask in advance.

Rule #6 – Don’t throw your assistance back in your family member’s face after it’s over.

The quickest way to ruin a family relationship is to throw everything you’ve ever done for a sibling, child, mother or father back in his or her face. Besides making you sound like a jerk, it makes the person feel small. Remember, even if you gave good advice, the family member took it and did the work. So give them the respect of “silence.” Let your family member brag about how you helped him out of a financial jam.

Follow these six rules and you’ll be able to help a family member with finances without ruining your relationship. Your relative will get much needed help and you will get a chance to be a good relative. It is a win-win situation.

Microfinance Loans

Help in a Global Scale – Microfinance Loans!

Christmas is at the corner and once again we remember our social responsibility to help ones who need help. Although this should be our habit, but to be perfectly honest most of us (including myself) get lost into fast pace of life (and work) and sometimes even forget the whole purpose of our life.

The last course that I took in my MBA was about Investment. I think out of all different topics we went through the most interesting one was Microfinance.

The term microfinance covers the provision of financial services as a whole to the poor. This includes microcredit, microinsurances and savings too. The best example of Microfinance has been given by Nobel Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh.

What is now Grameen bank started with an experiment by Prof. Yunus in 1976 to lend his own money to the poor villagers of Jobra and turned small entrepreneurs. From such a small beginning the bank has grown as an institution serving 7.4 million borrowers. The first question that came up was about the insurance of these loans and the rate of default. We were all amazed that only a 2% of loans end up in default! Microfinance is an important engine for economic development. Through micro credit we can empower entrepreneurs in emerging countries to redefine their economies and fuel economic growth.

To our surprise, we learnt that the concept is so developed that there are some Investment Funds purely based on microfinance. In the other word, investors can buy units (or shares) of these investment instruments to invest in poor economies to satisfy their need of social responsibility and as well, make descent return. ResponsAbility is one of many that is ran by Credit Suiss. Some of these microfinance funds has outperformed the market indices.

A little bit of “Internet” gradient into the concept can make a tasty recipe for individuals who follow investment, economy and entrepreneurship. Kiva has provided a platform where individual investors can (in a non-for-profit way) lend microcapital as low as $25 to entrepreneurs in developing countries. Microfinance Institutes (MFI) qualify the candidates, validate the case/project and bridge between the microfinance-investors (financier) and the receiver of the fund. MFI is the local organization on ground in the respective developing country which facilitate the lending and collecting of the loan repayments. Through you can build your team and promote this global initiation. You can search for projects in a specific country, a sector or even search for your target entrepreneur based on gender.

What are you waiting for? Let’s finance a project for as little as $25 today and help poor people build their economy and help their family.

Adolescent Banking Tips

Adolescent Banking Tips

The banking practices of a six-year old are quite simple. Finding quarters on the sidewalk equals hoarding quarters in a pillow case, an old tuna jar, or the bathroom drawer. The banking practices of a fifty-year old, though considerably more complex, are almost as well defined. For the astute researcher, there is a myriad of information about IRAs, 401(k)s, retirement plans, social security planning, home equity, low-risk investment, etc. However, adolescents traverse a tricky field; they don’t have $10,000 to invest in blue-chip equities, but they have considerably more than eleven nickels they pocketed from their older sister. With enough information, however, an adolescent is more than capable of creating an action-oriented financial plan that does more than keep the nickels and dimes safe – it becomes an introduction to the more complex but ultimately more rewarding world of adult finance.

Don’t Be a Lazy Bum.

A balance should be struck between sweat-shop labor and habitual laziness, where inactivity is tempered only by slurping soda or switching channels. Adolescence is simply the best opportunity for maturing children to learn responsibility, finances and time management. After adolescence, a job becomes a necessarily lifeline. It’s no longer of question of funds for parties, movies, or treats – it’s a choice between housing and homelessness. This pressure is not present for an adolescent. Life lessons can be learned without the drains of financial needs. Most importantly, part-time employment teaches responsibility and personal management, as well as imparting self-esteem. Young adults learn to contribute to society, while making personal gains.

Which jobs are best for teenagers? Be creative – sadly, many teenage jobs require no intellect, no enthusiasm and no talent. However, there are several welcome opportunities encouraging independence and entrepreneurship. For girls, try baby-sitting. For guys, try lawn-care and home maintenance. Fan the creative flame – if the teenager is an artist or a performer, transform that artistic energy into a cash-making enterprise. Don’t be a lazy bum – engage, learn, and grow.

My Sock Is Too Small

It’s a happy day when the hard-gained sums of cash and dollar bills overflow the sock bank. This is the great transition from childhood to adolescence; now, what to do with all that money? Banks are the saviors of overfilled socks, coin jars, and other assorted storage containers. This is for two reasons: first, they provide monetary security. With very exceptions, banks are the safest places to keep your money. With the ever-flowing international river of credit, assorted contracts, and incredible quantity of money floating around, the days of banks suddenly “going under” are long-gone. With that said, some banks are better than others. Choose institutions that have been around for a while and also review customer satisfaction. In addition, banks will generally specialize in certain areas – cash loans, equities, real estate investment, etc. Find a bank that specializes in a reliable field. Most importantly, choose one with lots of money. Then select the best type of account. For individuals with less than ten thousand dollars, the practical options are limited. First, there is a basic savings account. This, in terms of investment, is nearly worthless. Rarely even matching inflation rates, savings accounts will rarely breach 2% annual interest. They are a proper choice for a mere introduction to the banking system, but look for ways to improve your money management. Second, check out CDs (Certificate of Deposits). Although not the choice if you plan on withdrawing funds often (a pre-mature withdrawal typically entails loss of all interest gained over a specified period), they can be a great way to turn compound interest to your advantage. For many teens, who want easy access to cash but also want to be able to make money through interest, consider a dynamic duo: a savings account (or a checking account) and a three to six month CD. Third, for more aspiring (a.k.a. richer) adolescents, consider instituting an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) or even an investment portfolio – although, if you’re under eighteen, parents will set to set up an overseer account. There are several programs set designed to specifically address equity or bond investment for teens with low amounts of cash but high amounts of curiosity.

Save Smart, Live Happy

Living frugally does not mean going with wants or desires. In fact, in the long run, saving smart allows you to purchase what you really want. A Snickers bar may look quite delectable at ten o’clock at night, but a bass guitar looks fantastic for years. Financial management doesn’t simply mean how to earn money; it also entails how to save and spend money. For many teens, especially pre-teens and young adolescents, these lessons may be new and unfamiliar. Parental supervision in these instances is not inappropriate interference but necessary direction.

So what are the key methods of saving smart and living happy? Take time and consider every purchase. A good rule of thumb is don’t buy what you hadn’t planned to buy. When evaluating a purchase, consider its long-term importance and enjoyment. A $10 football can give much more enjoyment than $10 worth of donuts and bagels. Prioritize: what is needed, what is wanted, and what is really wanted? And don’t be stingy – treat yourself occasionally to an exciting movie, tasty pizza, or eye-turning pair of jeans. The secret to financial happiness is simple: save lots, prioritize, spend little.

Adolescent banking and finance doesn’t have to be confusing. When pursued in a proper manner, it is well worth the time and effort. The teenage years are a phenomenal opportunity to develop character, financial management, and a sizeable personal piggy bank. It is time to put those quarters – and the sock – to some good use.