Monday, October 31, 2011

Be Smart and Happy in 7 Stages of Your Life

Living with life


There are 7 important milestones in your life that you have to make smart choices.  Making the right decisions will bring you wealth and happiness:

1.      Education: Be wise and take education seriously because knowledge gained in the early years is the basic foundation for you to survive in this competitive world. When you have completed your academic education you will still need to pursue further education to build your technical skills. Technical skills are what you need to be gainfully employed or do your own business. However, there is something more important than your specialized knowledge; it is your soft skills. Your success in life is determined by what you tell yourself positively or negatively, the way you do things and how you interact with others. It is your attitude.  You can obtain technical skills but you have to develop positive habits all by yourself.  It is important at this stage not to get into debt to finance your education as there will be more financial commitments in the next few stages of your life.  

2.      Your first job: Your first job is more likely to be related to your area of study. It is important in the early stage of your career to adapt yourself to working life, learn the trade and gain valuable experience. Do not worry so much about the starting salary; getting the right job is the main concern. You want to do what you like so that you will enjoy what you do.  

3.      Your first car: It is time for you to get your own transport. Do not commit too much financially into your first car because you will be changing a few cars in the course of your life. Just get an inexpensive   car which can take you to work is good enough.

4.      Your dream home: Plan as soon as you have started working to secure a down payment for your dream house.  Instead of paying rental, pay the monthly installments within your budget and own the house you live in eventually. Landed property always appreciates in value over time.

5.      Marriage: It is the meeting of two hearts, getting connected and living together forever. Avoid getting overboard and spend lavishly for your wedding. There is still a long way to go in life. As new members will be joining your family soon and there will be more household expenses to take care of.

6.      Family life: It is important at this stage to live a balanced life because you have to look after not only your career but your family too. You are not living alone anymore because you have to care for others and others are caring for you too. Work smart and avoid overtime. When you are at home watch less TV and interact more with family members.

7.      Retirement:  Retirement is about financial freedom. Make it a point to plan early for your retirement. The sooner you start, the smaller will be the amount each month you need to build your wealth for your golden years. 

It does not matter at what stage your life is now, the most important thing is to live life here and now,    enjoy what you do and be happy. Don’t look back and don’t be too concerned about the future.  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Quote

Start

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.

Mark Twain

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Reader’s Top 30 Favorite Evergreen Posts in 2010 (Part 2)

11. 10 Virtues to bring you Success in Life

Virtue is about a particular good quality or habit. What are the virtues to acquire and bring you success in life? I can think of the following:




12. What do you value in life?

What are the things that you treasure the most in life? I find the following essential to live a fulfilling life: 




13.  How to Project a Positive Self-Image at Work

In order to succeed in the business world you need to let others see you in a positive light. Here are some of the ways to create a positive image of yourself in the eyes of your co-workers:




14. 10 Characteristics of a Good Employer

Prospective employees and young graduates are looking for the following positive pointers for their first job:




15.  10 Advantages of People with Positive Emotions

Thoughts generate emotions. Negative thoughts generate negative emotions and positive thoughts generate positive emotion. You have a choice and it is within your control. The sensible thing is to think of positive thought to produce positive emotions. Positive emotions are beneficial to you in many ways. Here are the top ten:




16. 10 Things You Should Do Every Day

There are things in life when you do it every day, you will get satisfaction, fulfillment, health, well-being, happiness and much closer to your goals in life.




17. 15 Daily Healthy Habits

How many of the following habits do you have? The more you have the healthier you are.




18. Effective Ways to Energize Yourself

Are you bursting with energy every day or are you feeling sluggish? Here are wonderful and delightful ways to have more energy and be fully charged.




19. 10 Traits of Happy People

Happy people behave and share more or less the same traits. Here are the 10 qualities of happy people:




20. 10 Productive Habits to Adopt

We do things every day habitually and it is good to distinguish between productive and unproductive habits and replace those which are not helping us to make progress in life. The following are some of the productive habits 



Related post:
Reader’s Top 30 Favorite Evergreen Posts in 2010 (Part 1)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Do You Want to Ask For a Raise?


I want a raise

The 4 Chinese characters say, “I want a raise.”


There are seven factors to consider before you ask for a raise:

1.       Profitability and cash flow: Is the company making money? Is there sufficient cash flow to cover normal operating expenses? These are important things to find out before you ask for your pay increment. If you are not working in the finance department, you have to get the correct information from your co-workers who are working there. Actually you just need   to be observant and know the telltale signs like slow business and suppliers are always pressing for payment. If the establishment is making loses or there is insufficient fund to cover day-to-day operation, don’t ever think of asking for it.      

2.       The power of your immediate boss: Do you have an immediate boss? Do you thing he or she is capable of asking for a raise on your behalf? Hopefully your immediate superior is a valued department head in the eyes of the big boss and what he says carries weight.

3.       What does your boss think of you: Are you being noticed by your boss? If you are just busy working and without notifying your boss regularly about your progress, he or she may not be thinking too highly of you. 

4.       The way you ask for it: There is a right way to ask for a raise. Don’t ask as if you are entitled to it and it is not an ultimatum. You should go to your boss when he or she is not busy and in a good mood and request for a raise with valid reasons. The way to go about it is to ask your boss to consider your request. In this way the boss will be more than happy to comply and if the worst should happen, it is not the end of the world.  More likely than not your boss will accede to your request, if not, ask for the reasons and be more prepared the next time. 

5.       Don’t ask for the wrong reasons: Don’t tell the boss you need more money. Money is always in short supply and it has nothing to do with the company. Don’t say you are paid less than somebody else in the company. There is no way to find out how others get paid because it is confidential. 

6.       Are you underpaid: Do your homework and find out the current salary trend relating to your job scope. There is good reason to ask for a raise when you are paid less than what you should be getting. 

7.       What have you done for the company: This is a crucial factor when all other things are in your favor.  Are you contributing to the company? Do you manage to cut expenses?  Are you generating more revenue for the company? When the answer is affirmative, go for it and best of luck to you.

Do you have other effective ways to get a raise?

Related post:


Thursday, October 27, 2011

8 More Effective Ways to Shop and Save

Shop and save


To shop wisely is to develop smart ways of shopping. Here are the things that you can do to get more value for your money: 

1.       Buy the largest package: Usually, the things that you consume daily such as tea, coffee and milk are packed in different sizes. Buy the largest package and save on cost per kilo.       

2.       Shop at discount stores: There are stores which always sell goods at prices lower than other retail outlets. Find one, shop and save.

3.       Shop near place of work or near your house: To avoid travelling and looking for a parking lot, shop near where you work or near your home. You save on petrol and valuable time.

4.       Pay with your cash-back credit card: Do you have a credit card that offers you a rebate upon payment? Use such a card at the counter to pay for your grocery shopping and save even more.       

5.       Be a member of the shopping outlet: Be a member of the outlet when there is such a scheme because from time to time there will be exclusive offers just for members. On top of that, for every dollar you spend you are given a point. Accumulate the points and redeem for items you need.  

6.       Buy it when there is a limit for an item that a customer can purchase: Look for items that you frequently purchase with a limit to how much you can purchase per item. Usually such items are offered at much lower prices and valid for a day or two only. 

7.       Check newspapers for special offers: Be on the look- out for special offers from retail outlets as advertised in newspapers. However, do not be tempted to buy other than what you need.

8.       Maximize savings: This is how I do it.  I shop at a shopping mall near my place of work. I save on petrol, parking and time. I am also a member of the outlet. I look for items with discount or shop on a member’s day to purchase essential items. I settle the bill at the counter with my cash-back credit card and produce my membership card to collect points. The items that I have bought are already at prices lower than normal, but I will still pay less than what I have charged to my cash-back credit card. On top of that, I redeem goods for points accumulated over time.      

What are your tips to save on shopping?

Related article:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Are You Able to Buy and Maintain a Car?

Car

Are you about to buy a car? Do you know what the expenses are when you own a car? It is not just the monthly installments, you have to think of the following monthly and yearly related expenses and factor into your budget:

1.  Monthly installments: The more expensive the car, the more you will need to pay every month. The smaller the down payment you make, the bigger will be the amount for your monthly installments. The longer period you finance the car, the more interest you will have to bear. The monthly installments will be a new and additional expense item in your monthly budget.   When you default on the monthly installments, you car can be repossessed because you are only a hirer of the car, the rightful owner is one of the financial institutions. Worse still, the outstanding amount may be more than the current value of the car and you still have to pay for the difference. When the amount is substantial, they may institute legal proceedings against you and make you a bankrupt.
  
2.  Petrol: Previously you use public transport. Now you have to pay more for your daily commuting to work. When your house is further away from the workplace, the more petrol you will use. In addition, the more often you drive the more petrol you will use. Petrol will cost you more than public transportation. It means you will have to allocate a bigger amount in your budget depending on the usage of your car.  

3.  Maintenance: When you have a car, you can’t be penny wise and pound foolish. Your car needs regular maintenance no matter what. It will even cost you more to repair if you wait for it to be out of order.  Regular car maintenance is another item in your budget. This is besides the replacement of worn-out tires and weak battery and not to mention other minor items like changing of fused bulbs.   

4.  Parking and toll: Previously you have nothing to do with parking and toll. Now you have to bear the expenses and looking for a parking lot is another headache for you. Please add this item into your monthly budget.

5.  Insurance and road tax: This is not a monthly expense item, but you will have to save in advance every month in 12 equal amounts so that when it is due, you will have ready fund to renew your road tax and insurance. If you don’t, you may need to dip into your emergency fund or advance the amount from your company or get a personal loan from your buddy.

6.  Unexpected cash outflow: I know the car is new and you will drive carefully. However, you meet other drivers who are reckless and you end up with dents here and there, not to mention a major accident. Are you going to foot the bill and repair it or claim from your insurers? Don’t forget when you claim, you forego your NCB (No claim bonus).

7.  Upkeep of your car: OK, you can do it yourself to reduce expenses by not sending your car to the car spa. You still incur water plus other items to keep the luster and sparkle of your car.         


When you think of all the expenses and you are comfortable with it besides your usual living and household expenses, you can safely sign on the dotted line of the HP form and get your new car.    

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

10 Poverty Ways to Avoid

Avoid poverty


According to Amartya Sen (1992, 2001), poverty is a condition that results in an absence of the freedom to choose arising from a lack of the capability to function effectively in society.


The following are the reasons for poverty and you should avoid them at all cost:

1.       Lack of Education: Education is to gain knowledge. Knowledge is power. Without education you miss one the vital tools of existence, let alone the capability to function effectively in society. Education affects earnings strongly. Educated people are more likely to be employed and earn more. 

2.       Live aimlessly: To live life effectively is to focus. Without focus or a main aim in life, you do not know what to do. There must be something in life that holds your interest that you can pursue and go after.  When there is no intention, there will be no attention and energy to concentrate on. Life is just drifting aimlessly.

3.       Without a marketable skill: While an academic education lays the ground work of your knowledge, you need technical skills to compete effectively in the job market and command higher earnings. It is essential to obtain technical skills to complement your strengths.

4.       Without the saving habit: You don’t pay yourself first. You only want to save what is left. More likely than not, there will be nothing left to save. Saving should be one of your monthly “expense” items. When there is no savings, there will be no emergency fund or money for investment.   There is no financial future.

5.       Live beyond your means: There is no budget. You spend at your whims and fancies to satisfy your material wants. It means you are living on credit and building up debt. Bankruptcy is the only certain outcome. 

6.       No planning: Life has to be planned in advance. You need financial planning to buy a car, purchase your first house, start a family and save for your retirement and your children’s tertiary education. To manage and plan your personal finance is to avoid over spending and poverty. 

7.       Bad habits: Smoking and gambling are more than the worst way to poverty. These bad habits destroy your health, family and your future.

8.       Not willing to work for it: You can work smart, but you still have to work hard the smart way. It is what you do every day that makes a difference in your life. To avoid poverty is to avoid laziness and put in extra effort. There is no instant success.  

9.       Get along with the wrong kind of people: Birds of the same feathers flock together. When you are in the wrong company you become one of them. Get connected and learn from successful people and you will be one of them.

10.   A negative mindset: You behave and act according to what you think. Negative thinking attracts poverty because you think you can’t and you won’t. When you believe you can do it and you will go all the way confidently to get it, you will avoid poverty.  


Empty pockets never held anyone back.  Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.  ~Norman Vincent Peale

Related post:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Getting into Blogging in 4 Happy Years and Beyond

Blogging


Yesterday my blog was 4 years old. I have not stopped blogging ever since I posted my first article on October 23, 2007. I would like to share what I have learnt in the last four years and what I do every day.  Perhaps you want to adopt some of the useful  blogging habits from me.

·         Learn to blog from scratch: My background is not IT but finance. I have to learn blogging from day one from scratch all by myself.  After four years I am still learning.  I like to learn new things about blogging and I enjoy the process of learning and there is so much to learn.

·         Learn to improve writing articles over the years:  You will notice my earlier articles are very short indeed. As I write every day, I get to have more ideas to write more words in more ways. I read blogs and I learn from successful bloggers their effective ways of writing. There are so many things to do in blogging. If you have time to do   only just one thing, write an article a day. Write about things you know very well and write for the benefits of the readers. 

·         My daily habits: I write and post an article a day. I write in advance so that I don’t have to do it under stress, As soon as an  article is posted, I use Pingfm to notify all major social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. At the same time, the new article is submitted to relevant blog carnivals. In the morning I have a habit of posting and sharing a quote at all social networking sites. I do guest posts from time to time. One of my weaknesses is that I do little comments at other sites. 



·         Perseverance is the key to success: From the bar chart of Statcounter you will notice that the traffic is flat from 2008 to 2010. It is only growing in 2011. It was also about a year ago I bought my own domain name and I changed my blog name from http://allaboutlivingwith.blogspot.com to http://www.allaboutlivingwithlife.com. At the same time I also did a facelift to my site with a new template. Perhaps these changes help boost the traffic to my site. The fact is that though the traffic was sluggish in the early years, I was not discouraged, but I continued to write ever day. 

  ·    Blogging gives me meaning in life: I look forward to every new day with hope, excitement and happiness. Every day may be the same, but when you blog, every day is different.  I am glad that I have found something worthwhile to do every day as I have unleashed my potential capability in writing. I am a baby boomer, but it’s never too late to start and do something worthwhile. When I retire, I still want to blog. I am thrilled by the competition in the blogosphere because blogging is a level playing field. You get better by how much you can do for others.

·         Challenges ahead of me: Blogging is challenging. You have to remain active to remain competitive. Recently I joined the Yakazie Challenge to get to Alexa Rank at 200000 or better on March 1, 2012. I promise myself to write better and answer one important question of the readers: What’s for me?


·         My position in the blogosphere as at October 23, 2011

PageRank: 2
Traffic Rank: 303543
Technorati Rank: 2979 (Authority 488 out of 1000)


Do you like blogging? It will transform your life in many wonderful ways. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My 3 Top Posts in September 2011

Popular posts

1. 7 Solid Reasons to Take the Yakazie Challenge

After reading Creating Powerful Friends: Samurai’s Alexa Ranking Challenge, I have decided to take on the challenge. My Alexa Rank is now 352703 and by the end of six months, that is , on March 1,2012 my Traffic Rank should be 200000 or below. It is a fantastic challenge and I will go all out for it.




2. 12 Effective Ways to Communicate Productively

Your ability to communicate is an important tool in your pursuit of your goals, whether it is with your family, your co-workers or your clients and customers. ~ Les Brown 




3. 3 Business Concepts to Promote Your Blog Effective

Blogging is a competitive business because there are more than 166 million blogs on the Net. It is necessary to employ effective business concepts to promote your blog aggressively and attract visitors to your blog. Here are the three popular business concepts that you can adopt:

USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
4 P’s of Marketing (Product Price Place Promotion)
SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats) 


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Reader's Favorite Top 66 Quotes (Part 2)


Quotes

34. The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand. ~Frank Herbert

35. Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.
~ Denis Diderot (1713 - 1784)

36. Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude. ~Ralph Marston

37. You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims. ~Harriet Woods

38. A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be. ~Douglas Pagels

39. If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas. ~George Bernard Shaw


40. Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance. ~Will Durant

41. Be careful of your thoughts; they may become words at any moment. ~Ira Gassen

42. What you have to do and the way you have to do it is incredibly simple. Whether you are willing to do it, that's another matter. ~Peter F. Drucker

43. The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. ~Vince Lombardi

44. The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work. ~Harry Golden

45. For now you know one of the greatest principles of success; if you persist long enough you will win. ~ Og Mandino

46. It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret. ~ Jackie Joyner-Kersee

47. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present. ~Babatunde Olatunji, also attributed to Alice Morse Earle

48. Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

49. Never neglect an opportunity for improvement. ~Sir William Jones

50. Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it. ~Plato

51. Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success. ~ Henry Ford

52. The more generous we are, the more joyous we become. The more cooperative we are, the more valuable we become. The more enthusiastic we are, the more productive we become. The more serving we are, the more prosperous we become.
~William Arthur Ward

53. All problems become smaller if you don't dodge them but confront them. ~William F. Halsey  


54. Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. ~Lao Tzu


55. It's better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you'll drift in that direction. ~Warren Buffett

56. Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. ~Lao Tzu

57. In about the same degree as you are helpful, you will be happy. ~Karl Reiland

58. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. ~Lao Tsu

59. Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~ Albert Einstein

60. Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught. ~J.C. Watts



61. When you write down your ideas you automatically focus your full attention on them. Few if any of us can write one thought and think another at the same time. Thus a pencil and paper make excellent concentration tools. ~Michael Leboeuf

62. Take time: much may be gained by patience. ~Latin Proverb

63. Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable. Without it, life just doesn’t taste good~ Lucia Capocchione

64. The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't. ~Henry Ward Beecher

65. Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance. ~Samuel Johnson

66. Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you. ~Oprah Winfrey





Friday, October 21, 2011

5 Great Benefits to be one of the Money Crashers Top PF Bloggers

Money Crashers


I have just joined Top Personal Finance Blogs at Money Crashers. The site is hosted by Andrew Schrage and Gyutae Park, the author of the famous eBook, (winningtheweb.com) The Winning Way. I am very happy and excited about it and I urge other personal finance and lifestyle bloggers to join as well. I have identified 5 superb benefits to be among the top personal finance bloggers: 

1.      Be a part of the community: To be successful you have to associate with those who are successful in your niche. This is the right place to learn, share and support each other in the world of personal finance.

2.      Assess the all-round strength of your site: There are 11 variables to assess the popularity of your blog at social networking sites, the usefulness of your articles, your site authority and traffic. It is a very comprehensive list and  like a complete health check of your blog:

·         FeedBurner Subscribers: The more useful your articles are, the more subscribers you will get.
·         Twitter Followers: Followers like what you tweet about your site.
·         Klout; This site measures your influence in the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
·         Facebook: How many “Likes” have you got on your Facebook page? The more the merrier.
·         Alexa Rankings: It is about incoming traffic to your site. It is an important measurement of your site’s popularity.
·         Compete Rankings: Your ranking is determined by the number of unique visitors to your site.
·         Technorati Authority: It is about the current links to your site. To rank well there must be ongoing links to your site.
·         Google PageRank This is mainly about relevant and authoritative links to your site because of the values and importance of your web documents.
·         Majestic SEO (Extback Links): It tracks the number of sites linking to your blog.
·         SEOmoz mozRank MozRank represents a link popularity score. It reflects the importance of any given web page on the Internet. They calculate this score on a logarithmic scale between 1 and 10.
·         SEMRush (Organic Search Value): This is the estimated cost of purchasing the estimated number of visitors coming from the first 20 Google search results (per month).
 

According to the latest list, the top three blogs in personal finance are


3.      Take the challenge and improve: Taking challenges in life is to move away from your comfort zone and make progress. To be included in the list of personal finance blogs is a great way to motivate yourself to work hard and be better.

4.      Build trust and authority: Recognition is accorded when your blog is accepted into the list. It is a wonderful way to build trust and authority of your site in the blogosphere.

5.      Let others know who you are: By joining the group, it is an affirmation that you are a personal finance and lifestyle blogger. Develop your niche and build your brand. 

Come and join the elite group and be a more successful personal finance blogger.
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