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Former Twitter Employees Are Accused of Espianage + How to Protect Your Personal Information from Spies

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Two former Twitter employees have been accused by the Justice Department of using their roles to provide Saudi Arabia with information about American citizens and Saudi dissidents. The charge reflects the first time federal prosecutors have publicly accused the kingdom of running agents in the United States. It also raises a fresh set of concerns about the ability of U.S. tech companies to protect private data against abuse from foreign governments. Twitter said it restricts access to sensitive information to “trained and vetted” employees.

So what does that mean for your personal information? What do you if someone steals your info? First, understand that just because you’re the victim of identity theft due to a data breach, it doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is opening credit lines and cleaning out your accounts. It only means that your data has been exposed; however, there are some steps you should take to ensure that you do not have an identity clone and that your finances are intact.

Step One – Don’t Panic. The first step is not to panic. Thoroughly read your notification letter, which will explain what information is at risk, how the breach occurred, and how you can get more information. Keep it in a safe place in case you ever need to prove that your data was exposed.

Step Two- Change your Passwords. It’s a good practice to update your passwords every 90 days. Be sure to include numbers, symbols, and uppercase and lowercase letters in your new passwords.

Step Three – Contact Financial Institutions. Let your bank, mortgage lender, and other financial organizations know that your data has been compromised. This way, they can keep an eye out for suspicious activity.

Step Four – Monitor Billing and Financial Statements. It’s essential that you’re on the lookout for fraudulent activity, too. Your bank or credit card provider may have text or email alerts to help you monitor your account, but be sure to check your statements regularly. And don’t just look for significant withdrawals. Small purchases could be criminals seeing what they can get away with.

Step Five- Check Your Credit Report. You can get a free credit report once per year. After 30 days, request your copy and check for anything suspicious. For extra protection, sign up for a credit monitoring service. While this typically comes at a cost, the business that exposed your data may offer these services for free in response to the breach.

If you’re a Capital One customer not to worry, they have fixed the exploit the hacker used to access the data and has worked with federal law enforcement on the breach. The banking company said it would reach out to customers who were part of the hack and will offer free credit monitoring and identity protection to those customers affected by the breach.

Ash Exantus aka Ash Cash is one of the nation’s top personal finance experts. Dubbed as the Financial Motivator, he uses a culturally responsive approach in teaching financial literacy. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money. The views and opinions expressed are those of Ash Cash and not the views of BankMobile and/or its affiliates.

The Daily Digm (News)

Being Single Is Worth Big Bucks + How to Not Let a Relationship Ruin Your Finances

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Alibaba says its Singles Day event has brought in a record $31 billion in sales. The online retail event, which is now bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, is seen by some analysts as a “bellwether of Chinese consumers’ willingness to spend” despite a slowdown in growth, according to CNN. The holiday celebrates people who aren’t in relationships, with other Chinese e-commerce platforms and even U.S. brands also taking part in the world’s busiest online shopping day.

So this now proves that being single is worth a lot of money! And If I can say so personally, being in a relationship and starting a family almost ruined my finances! What do I mean? Let Me Explain… First and foremost, starting a family is one of the best things that has ever happened to me in my life, and anyone who has experienced being a parent will tell you how much joy parenting really is—up to a certain point.

The truth of the matter is that children are blessings and can change your life for the better, but unfortunately, they can also change your wallet in the opposite direction if you aren’t properly prepared.

Love Is in the Air

My wife and I met over 15 years ago, and it was love at first sight. Well, maybe not exactly—I had to convince and woo her a little, but she eventually made the right choice and fell to my charm (or my unwavering persistence). We had a great time dating and rarely discussed starting a family because we were enjoying our lives, careers, and looked forward to more world travel. After five years of dating, we decided to get married and wasted no time starting a family after that. My daughter was born approximately 11 months after our nuptials, and this was one of the best days of our lives. We enjoyed our new family immensely, but soon after, we were hit with the reality of parenting and raising a young child.

Love Didn’t Pay the Bills

Bills started to pile up immediately, and we were left with many tough decisions to make as it related to our priorities. Were we going to pay our medical bills first or use our cash to buy clothing and diapers? Could we afford childcare, or should one of us stay home? Was it time to pick up a second job, or was there another way to bring in more income? The fact that it is expensive to start a family set in pretty quickly.

Love Lowered Our Credit Scores

After months of robbing Peter to pay Paul, we were almost maxed out on our credit cards in an attempt to make ends meet. We watched our credit scores closely and noticed that these high credit card balances had taken a toll on our score, dropping it almost 30 points in a short amount of time. We learned that overuse of our credit cards had taken us way over the recommended maximum utilization ratio of 30 percent.

Love (and a Little Discipline) Fixed It All

Immediately, we started to budget our expenses and focus on our needs rather than our wants. We tightened our belts a little and by doing so we were able to pay down our debt and get our score back on track. We also started to pay ourselves first and created an emergency fund with a high-yield savings account in order to prevent ourselves from being dependent on credit. We focused on our needs and budgeted for the wants, and before we knew it, our ruined finances became a walk in the park of family finances.

The Lovely Conclusion

Starting a family is still our most significant accomplishment, but turning our family finances around is a close second. Never underestimate the power of planning, but also don’t beat yourself up if life throws you lemons—or babies for that matter. Now at child number two, my family finances are growing, and what seemed like an out of control situation was put back in order with a little planning and discipline.

Do you have any financial comeback stories? I would love to hear them below.

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The Daily Digm (News)

Millennial and Gen Xers Career Ambitions Are Being Put on Hold + How to Make Your Career Move at Any Age

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Millennials and Gen Xers are patiently waiting for their baby boomer bredrens and sistrens (Brother and sister in Jamaican patwoy) to retire so they can plan the big takeover. Still, the problem is they aren’t retiring. According to a USA TODAY/LinkedIn survey, there are now five generations in the workforce, clogging up America’s career ladder and making it difficult for younger workers to move up. Some 41% of millennials say they’ve struggled with promotions because boomers are delaying retirement, leading younger workers to job-hop for bigger titles and higher pay. A tight labor market has also led companies to hold onto older workers.

Can you be too young or too old for a job? Age discrimination is illegal, but we all know some employers may discriminate based on age and try to mask it as something else. While there are no foolproof ways to stop it, there are ways to prepare yourself no matter what. Here are four ways to prepare for the job you want no matter your age:

1. Focus on Your Strengths, Not What You’re Lacking

Whether you are 20 years old or over 40 instead of focussing on your age, you need to focus on your strengths. Many young people with limited experience or older people who may not be up to date with the latest technologies focus on what they’re lacking, and this is a big mistake. Do you have the qualifications for the job? Can you bring value to this position? Whatever your strong suits are, you should play that up in your resume, cover letter, or communications with the recruiter. It’s easy to focus on why you can’t get the job, but the trick is not to let that get to you. Focus on your value!

2. Attack Your Job Search from All Angles

Networking, Answering ads, and/or working with recruiters are the most effective ways to land a job. It is important that you don’t focus on one method but all three. Networking is the ideal way because it allows you to communicate your value directly, but the other methods have their benefits as well. Be proactive and use each method effectively.

3. Show/Explain Your Leadership Abilities and/or Innovation

Leadership and taking the initiative have nothing to do with age. Young leaders and old leaders can be more or equally effective as those who have the “ideal” age. Focus on your leadership abilities, and be sure to display this to your current or potential employee. Also, make sure you are keeping up to date with current trends in your industry. This will allow you to show your innovation and add more value to your company.

4. Ask for What You Are Worth

Lastly, ask for what you are worth. Don’t let being “too young” or “too old” deter you from asking for the salary you deserve. Trying to downplay your worth may very well backfire on you. Also, if you have been with a company for a long time and your salary outpaces what the position is worth, making sure you are adding to your skill set and not staying complacent.

Following these four tips can help you gain or retain employment. What are some other ways? Comment below>>>

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The Daily Digm (News)

Inventory of Homes for Sale Is near Its Lowest in 37 Years + How to Get Ready When Homes Become Available

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Homeowners across the U.S. are staying put longer than ever before — on average 13 years — as baby boomers increasingly choose not to downsize, according to recent data from Redfin. When owners shy away from getting bigger homes or, on the flip side, downsizing when children leave the nest, it can create a “logjam of housing inventory,” says The Wall Street Journal, and is a likely cause of lagging home sales. The inventory of homes for sale is near its lowest in 37 years, according to housing-data firm CoreLogic.

So does that mean if you are in the market to buy a home you are out of luck? Absolutely not! You still have many opportunities to become a home owner so you have to prepare yourself for the big transition. Below you will find tips on how to get on track to purchase your first home and invest in your future investment

Create a Down Payment Savings Goal

Before you start saving, it’s essential to know exactly how much you need. As a first-time homebuyer, you may qualify for an FHA loan that requires just 3.5% of the purchase price as a down payment, making them an attractive option. Do your research to find out what kind of first-time homebuyers’ programs are in your area then begin to create your down payment savings goal. Once you have your number, determine how long it will realistically take you to save for the down payment. This is up to you, and if you stay focused, you can meet or exceed your designated timeline.

Cut Some Expenses in Your Budget

Now that you have your number cutting, some of those expenses that are wants and not needs can help to get you there on time according to the timeline you set. You’ll be amazed at how much money you find when you analyze your spending. Impulse buys add up quicker than you think. It will take some discipline to break those habits, but you will see the benefits when the savings begin to accumulate.

Create a New Stream of Income

Pick up a side gig or a second job; turn your hobby into an income stream. Your side hustle should be fun and something you enjoy doing and would do for free but find a way to get paid for it.

Exercise regularly? Start a personal training group or offer to help your family and friends get in shape for a fee.

Like teaching? Tutor students that may be struggling in subjects you excelled in.

Love pets? Pet sit or become a dog walker for some extra cash.

Get Creative and Find More Savings

With your why in mind (purchasing your first home) think of some unconventional ways to slim your budget down. Maybe you go on vacation twice a year, put those on hold and stash that money away. Sell some of those old clothes in the closet that you haven’t worn in years online and if you get a raise or bonus instead of treating yourself to a celebration gift through that in the savings account as well.

There are more ways to save for a down payment. Comment below on saving hacks that work for you. 

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