Warner Bros. appointed its first woman CEO and chair to replace a male studio executive who resigned amid allegations of an improper relationship with an actress. Ann Sarnoff, president of BBC Studios Americas, will take the reins as the studio prepares to launch a streaming service after its acquisition by AT&T, as part of the $108.7 billion Time Warner deal. Warner Bros. is on a mission to clean up and tune up its image, but how do you apply that to your finances? Especially during the summer?
You’re most likely looking forward to a nice break, but summer is also a great time to tune up your finances. Here are five financial “to-dos” everyone should consider in preparation for a smooth and stress-free fall.
1. Review Your Spending Habits
Even with the ability to check bank account balances at any time, many of us forget to review where our money is actually going. People think that as long as they have a positive balance, they’re good to go. But taking the time to examine each of your transactions provides important “mental moments” that can remind you of how much you are spending and on what. It can be pretty humbling to see all those trips to fast-food restaurants or late-night takeout orders in writing. Add up a list of all those things that you really could have done without and imagine how that money would help you pay for next semester’s books or build up your emergency fund.
2. Get in a Saving State of Mind
Many college students think that there is no way to save while in school, but it’s really more about the psychological and emotional hurdles that lead to overspending. Next time you are at the beach or taking a walk in the park, think about two or three mottos that will help you to visualize a more positive financial state of mind, such as “I don’t need things to make me happy” or “I have enough right now.” Place reminders of these sayings on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror to serve as daily reminders that you are working toward longer-term goals that may require a little more sacrificing right now.
3. Set Some Personal Rules of Thumb
Let’s face it, we all like to shop or treat ourselves once in a while, and it is important to have fun and enjoy some of the money you may be earning over the summer. However, it can easily get out of hand if you are not careful. In a recent survey by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Ad Council, over 50 percent of millennials admitted that they were impulse shoppers, meaning they make unplanned purchases of $30 or more on a daily or weekly basis even though they ranked saving as their top financial goal! One way to help avoid these impulses is to set some personal rules of thumb. These “rules” of course will vary depending on how your income, current living expenses, and family circumstances. Here are a few examples:
- Never spend more than $30 a week on going out with friends this summer
- Never pay more than $40 for a pair of shoes
- Bike to work at least 3 times a week to save money
- Only purchase things you really need and only if they are marked at least 50% off the original price
Again, write them down and display them somewhere; you will see them every day. Or set them up as reminders on your calendar or another mobile app.
4. Make a Spending Plan
While it may be the furthest thing from your mind right now, you will thank yourself later on if you set up a budget for next semester before it begins. You can use the information you obtained when you reviewed your spending earlier to estimate what your monthly expenses are likely to be, with an eye on keeping those things you really don’t need to a minimum. You’ll also want to add up all of your expected income, including summer earnings, expected financial aid and other support (i.e., from your parents) and compare that to your expenses. Use a spreadsheet or budget worksheet such as the ones provided by CollegeInColorado.com or Mint.com to help you balance your budget.
5. Increase Your Competitive “Net Worth”
You should also be thinking about ways to increase your chances of landing that dream job after you graduate. If you are not doing an internship this summer, be sure to research opportunities for next year. Many internship programs have application deadlines that are earlier than you might think, so check with your school’s career counseling center for advice. Take time to either create or update your resume (and LinkedIn page) and include any relevant skills and abilities you may be developing no matter what job you currently have such as teambuilding, problem-solving or customer/client relations. Also, make a list of your job supervisors, college advisors, and professors who you think would be good job references for you. Be sure to include their titles, contact information, name of the course or job and appropriate dates, and save it on your computer for future reference.
While summer is a time to relax and refresh, reserve some time for these important financial “5s” and you’ll be way ahead of the game for next year.
Walmart’s Creates Weapon Against Amazon + How You Can Use the Same Weapon to Automate Your Finances
Walmart unleashed its latest weapon in the fight against Amazon: the Alphabot. It’s an automated warehouse to help speed up its grocery pickup service. Analysts are calling it “the most promising technology to hit food retail in years.” This Alphabot will revolutionalize Walmart’s business, but how can we use bots for personal finance? Enter in Artificial Intelligence, aka AI!
In finance, AI has already been transforming the industry. Banks are already using AI in FinTech to automate many processes, help with fraud prevention, as well as thwarting potential hackers from stealing sensitive information. When it comes to you and me, AI can really help us manage our money better. The sad truth is that many of us are living paycheck-to-paycheck, so a new way to stop the cycle is dire to our financial health and well being.
AI is so advanced that it can use predictive technology to analyze how we spend money and give us advice based on our habits in order for us to live more fruitful. AI can also identify potential savings opportunities if used right. I know many of us get spooked every time our favorite shopping place follows us around the internet serving us ads, but this, in a way, is a form of AI. Based on your shopping data, advertisers and retailers know what you are looking for and how to get it to you. With the right app or program, there may be a way to serve you up only the items you need and at the best price. AI can also stop you from impulse shopping by advising you on your purchases based on the goals that you put in. The options are limitless.
While the thought of computers telling us what to do can be scary; understanding how AI can make our lives easier is important. I’m not ready to give up everything over to the bots, but some things I can wait to hand over. Only time will tell how this plays out, but just know that your financial struggles may be over soon thanks to AI.
Ditching the Commute: 7 Fast-Growing Career Categories for Remote Jobs
Going into work is not a popular thing to do anymore. Across the total U.S. workforce, remote work has grown 91% in the last 10 years, according to an analysis by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics (GWA). While remote work exists across most career fields, it is growing more quickly in some fields than in others. With that in mind, FlexJobs analyzed over 50 career categories in its database, comparing the number of remote jobs posted on January 1, 2019, to the number of remote jobs posted on December 1, 2019, to determine which seven remote career categories have grown at a high rate during 2019, indicating they will be promising fields for remote job seekers in 2020.
“There is far more variety and depth in the types of career fields that allow people to work from home than most people realize, but this list represents the fields that have experienced particularly high growth during 2019,” said Sara Sutton, founder, and CEO of FlexJobs. “While a number of factors contribute to growth, all of these fields are highly compatible with remote work, so it may be that companies are using remote work as a strategy to attract candidates in a tight job market,” Sutton concluded.
The seven categories below have seen remote work job listings grow more than 40% when comparing the number of jobs posted on January 1, 2019, to December 1, 2019. A “remote job” is defined as a professional-level job that allows the worker to work from home either entirely or part of the time. Remote jobs are also known as telecommuting jobs, virtual jobs, and work-from-home jobs.
These are in order from highest to lowest growth, with each category having grown more than 40%.
1. Art & Creative: Creative careers often allow its professionals an exceptional amount of flexibility in their jobs. These jobs usually involve coming up with original and innovative ideas, both for aesthetic and practical value. Some artists work freelance while others work as part of a company’s or educational staff. Some of the common remote job titles within this career are Art Director, Illustrator, Commercial Artist, Website Designer, Conceptual Designer, Interior Decorator, Textile Designer, Painter, Photographer, and Musician.
2. Bookkeeping: Remote work opportunities for bookkeepers come from a variety of industries such as nonprofit, sales, small business, art and creative, client services, and of course, accounting and finance. An aptitude for organized and detailed work, and math and computer skills are essential for bookkeepers. Common job titles associated with this remote career category include Accounting Clerk, Sales Manager, Bookkeeper, Operations Manager, Office Assistant, and Accountant.
3. Internet & Ecommerce: The Internet and Ecommerce have made it possible for thousands of professionals to enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working from home. There are many jobs relating to the Internet that involve working with information technology, web development, and design, and social networking tools. This category also encompasses SEO, SEM, and social media jobs. Common remote job titles include Operations Manager, Search Marketing Specialist, Paid Media Manager, SEO Consultant, and Social Media Specialist.
4. K-12: Teachers and educators most often manage live classrooms in elementary, middle or high schools but in this information age, many are providing their teaching services online. There are many accredited virtual learning platforms such as elementary, middle and high school programs that are fully online now so that has opened up the door for more remote jobs for qualified teachers. There are also many parents who choose to home-school their children and receive support from K-12 teachers. Common remote job titles include Virtual Teacher, Tutor, Online Instructor, Curriculum Developer, and Speech Language Pathologist.
5. Graphic Design: Graphic designers produce visual solutions to the communications needs of their clients through a variety of creative skills and commercial awareness. They are creative people who have a flair for what is appealing to consumers, are aware of upcoming trends and can convert their ideas into visually pleasing images. There are many avenues for graphic designers to work virtually in marketing, technology, and commercial industries. Related remote job titles include Commercial Artist, Illustrator, Designer, Conceptual Professional, Art Director, Layout Manager, and Creative Director.
6. Translation: Translation careers are an exciting option in remote work. As business is becoming more global, the demand for professionals who can work as translators to bridge the communication gap between cultures and businesses is immense. This is especially important for companies that operate internationally or have operations in other countries where associates must live and work. Some of the job titles available for remote work in this category include Website Tester, Training Specialist, Language Tutor, Business Translator, Document Proofreader, Meeting Facilitator, Advertising Quality Rater, and Bilingual Writer.
7. Math & Economics: Math & Economics jobs exist in a number of industries, including education, accounting and finance, nonprofit organizations, government, banking, information technology, and publishing. Common remote job titles in this career field include Financial Services Representative, Operations Specialist, Mathematics Translator, Instructional Designer, Economist, and Statistician.
Credit Union Loans Getting Riskier + How-To Not Get Risky with Your Student Loans
Credit unions have increasingly taken on high-risk loans, which could lead to borrowers or taxpayers getting burned in the event of another financial crisis, reports The Wall Street Journal. The member-owned alternatives to banks are designed to provide lower borrowing costs and higher deposit rates. Yet, credit unions’ assets have grown almost twice as fast as those of banks over the past ten years. High-risk loans from banks contributed significantly to the 2008 financial crisis. This is dangerous because unlike a traditional bank Credit Unions are owned by its members so it is the members who stand to lose the most. But how can you make your Credit Union loans less risky? This is the same question we ask when it’s time to pay off our student loans. Who will be the first? Or How can you pay off your loans faster? Here are six ways:
1. Develop a plan
Develop a plan to pay off your student loan debt before you graduate.
2. Save your money
Each summer throughout your college education, get a job or internship. Save half the money in a high-interest savings account. After a few months, consult a financial advisor to earn the highest possible return on your money. After college, you can use the money saved during all four years to pay down your college debt.
3. Consolidate your loans (But use caution)
Consolidating student loans combines your loans into one payment but may or may not provide you with a lower interest rate. Do extensive research before consolidating your student loans. In addition, you may not be eligible for various student loan forgiveness programs if you consolidate your student loans.
4. Exchange work to reduce debt
Perform volunteer work or work for the following in exchange for reducing student loan debt: teaching in certain locations with low-income students or areas with a shortage of teachers, providing legal and medical services in low-income areas or working for Americorps or the Peace Corps.
5. Get a work-study job
To help pay for the costs of college get a work-study job on campus to help defray the cost of college. Go to your campus employee office to ask about their work-study program. Work-study jobs pay at least the minimum wage for that state.
6. Apply for grants + scholarships
Apply for as many grants and scholarships as possible. Unlike loans, grants and scholarships never have to be paid back. Some grant websites are Zinch.com, Fastweb.com, ScholarshipPoints.com, Cappex.com, and Scholarships.com.