Category Archives: Financial Literacy

Financial Friday Round-Up: October 19 – October 23, 2020

Welcome to the Financial Friday Round-Up, where we scour the web for the best things to read, watch, or listen to regarding finance every week. Check out the links below for advice on preparing your taxes as early as today, strategies for a strong fourth quarter, a report on gas prices, and more.

Side Hustles Are Helping Many Close The Income Gap In The Pandemic—Here’s What To Look For

A report from Forbes shows that second jobs have been helping many to support themselves in the pandemic, and a significant portion of the workforce has been getting creative when figuring out how to generate a supplementary income. The number of freelancers has been steadily growing, along with their demand — read here for many inspiring side hustle stories.

If You’re Unemployed, Working From a New State or Freelancing Due to the Pandemic, Start Preparing Your Taxes Now

Next year’s tax season is set to be a tumultuous one with many Americans accounting for big changes when filing, be it a job loss, unemployment checks, or freelance work on the side. It never hurts to get started early, and this useful article from Money outlines everything you may need to take into consideration for the next tax deadline.

3 Strategies Champions Use to Win The Fourth Quarter

Worth published a motivational piece on how leaders can inspire themselves to lead confidently and courageously during the fourth quarter. Read this for strategies on how to be a great leader, including training your body daily, elevating your thinking, and demanding excellence from those around you.

Gasoline Prices to Cool This Fall

This short report from Kiplinger forecasts that gas prices — which have already held steady at around $2.17 per gallon for a while — are looking to fall slowly to around $2 toward the end of autumn. Read this for a better look at how demand affects oil prices and why this dip in price may come to be.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: October 12 - October 16, 2020
Financial Friday Round-Up: October 4 - October 9, 2020
Financial Friday Round-Up: September 28 - October 2, 2020

Financial Friday Round-Up: October 12 – October 16, 2020

Welcome to the Financial Friday Round-Up, where we scour the web for the best things to read, watch, or listen to regarding finance every week. Check out the links below for how to avoid a flaw in your customer service plan, what not to keep in your wallet, whether you should save for your kids even before you become a parent, and more.

How To Solve This Fatal Problem In Customer Service And The Customer Experience

This piece from Forbes describes a flaw in many customer service plans that they call the Cliff of Dissatisfaction — the moment a customer loses faith in your ability to meet their needs enough to jump to your competition. This article argues the importance of monitoring customer satisfaction and restlessness for the survival of your business.

What I Wish I Knew About Customer Service as a New Entrepreneur

Customer service is often only thought to apply to retail and food service workers, but it is just as essential for small business owners to provide a positive experience for their customers. This piece from Inc gives three concrete tips for how to better focus on customer satisfaction.

10 Worst Things to Keep in Your Wallet

There are some things you should never keep in your wallet, things that are too important to ever risk getting stolen. This quick Kiplinger list covers the basics — social security card, passports, spare keys — as well as some things you may not have thought of like multiple credit cards, stacks of receipts or gift cards.

Is It Crazy to Start Saving for Kids Years Before You Plan to Become a Parent?

There is no disputing that children are expensive — this article from Money cites that $234,000 per couple is spent covering the first 17 years of one child’s life. So should you start saving up for one even if you have do not plan on conceiving for a long time? In short, this article’s answer is yes; read more to hear why.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: October 4 - October 9, 2020
Financial Friday Round-Up: September 28 - October 2, 2020
Financial Friday Round-Up: September 21 - September 25, 2020

Financial Friday Round-Up: October 4 – October 9

Every week, our Financial Friday Round-Up compiles the best things to read, watch, or listen to regarding finance on the web. The articles below include a round-up of retirement podcasts, a list of 25 thriving small business owners, how to prepare your financial information for when you die, and more.

How to Prepare Your Financial Information for When You Die

“I think this is one of the most important financial tasks that any individual, retired or otherwise, should tackle—spelling out “last instructions” if you become incapacitated or die. In doing so, you spare your family much work and heartache.” This is the opening line of this piece from the Wall Street Journal on how to start organizing your accounts and estate for when you pass away. In an industry based around preparing for the future, this is an essential read.

How Many Credit Cards Is Too Many?

Advice on building your credit often focuses on timely payments and account balances, but this primer from Money helps you determine how many cards you should be holding by first asking questions like “How good am I with my current credit cards?” and “What perks am I looking for?” From there, the piece helps you determine just how many cards you should be carrying to optimize your credit score.

7 Must-Listen Retirement Podcasts That Aren’t About Money

This handy Kiplinger list provides listening recommendations for the 20% of U.S. podcast listeners over the age of 55. Not all of retired life is about money, and these podcasts are great ways to spend your free time in retirement.

Survivors and Thrivers: 25 Small Business Standouts

Forbes debuted a great profile this week of businesses they call “Survivors and Thrivers,” or 25 small companies which have been navigating the challenges of 2020 in unique and powerful ways. These entrepreneurs represent the hope that comes from owning a business and shows that strength comes from the ability to adapt to change.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: September 28 - October 2, 2020
Financial Friday Round-Up: September 21 - September 25, 2020
Financial Friday Round-Up: September 14 - September 18, 2020

Financial Friday Round-Up: September 28 – October 2

Every week, our Financial Friday Round-Up compiles the best things to read, watch, or listen to regarding finance on the web. The articles below include a report on those who have started businesses during the pandemic, a guide to beating zoom fatigue, the best cities for baby boomers to live, and more.

Is It Insane to Start a Business During Coronavirus? Millions of Americans Don’t Think So.

Plenty of entrepreneurs are showing incredible courage in the face of hard times this year. The Wall Street Journal reports that new businesses are being built at the fastest rate in more than a decade, proving that many Americans have decided to take their future into their hands. Read more on how people are making lemonades from this year’s lemons in this enlightening article.

Beat Zoom Fatigue With These 6 Tips

Forbes gives us another great guide to adjusting to modern times, this time involving tips to ensure you can still bring your best to every video call. With tiny tips like scheduling breaks, switching your screen view, and picking up the phone when the video is not needed, this piece is a good read for anyone feeling the virtual burnout.

The 10 Best Cities for Baby Boomers Who Aren't Retiring Early

The reality is that more people are delaying retirement until later in life, but just because you might still be working does not mean you should not make adjustments to your lifestyle that bring comfort as you age. This report from Business Insider gives us some of the nicest cities to live in as an aging worker who may retire soon but is not quite there yet.

A Kiplinger-Alliance for Lifetime Income Poll: Americans & Retirement Security

Kiplinger reported the results of a poll they sent to consumers about their retirement assets this week, and the numbers are worth taking a look at. Get a glimpse of what the retirement landscape looks like for Americans in this quick read.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: September 21 - September 25, 2020
Financial Friday Round-Up: September 14 - September 18, 2020
Financial Friday Round-Up: September 7 - September 11, 2020

Financial Friday Round-Up: September 21 – September 25, 2020

To celebrate National Small Business Week, this issue of Financial Friday Round-Up gathers resources and articles from around the web to help small businesses and their owners. Below, we have links to the National Small Business Week homepage, a few pages of resources and statistics, tips on getting a small business loan, and more.

National Small Business Week Homepage

The U.S. Small Business Administration has been celebrating National Small Business Week for 57 years, using its platform to “recognize the critical contributions of American entrepreneurs and small business owners.” This year presents more challenges than ever, and the S.B.A. offers essential highlights from their events in years past for small business owners to use to their advantage — along with many other resources as well.

Small Business Resources: Business Information for Small Business Owners

Small Business Trends is a publication that has been dedicated to small businesses since 2003, and the library of resources they have compiled is extensive, to say the least. With everything from ebooks to templates to quizzes to checklists, this page is essential for any entrepreneur who is looking to learn.

National Small Business Week 2020 at the SBDC

The Small Business Development Center is the information branch of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and they host this page to provide resources like important statistics on America’s small businesses, COVID-19 resources for entrepreneurs, and more small business topics and help that you may need.

What Small Business Owners Should Know About Getting a Loan

This week, Forbes wrote up a guide for anyone looking for a small business loan — including what to expect when you apply and the strategies you can use to get approved. About 80% of these loans get rejected, so read this piece to stay well-prepared and give yourself a leg up with lenders.

7 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Automate

Another Forbes guide this week covers everything entrepreneurs can automate to save themselves some valuable time. From mailing lists to email responses to automated payments, this piece is bound to leave you with new techniques to make your business run smoothly.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: September 14 - September 18, 2020
Financial Friday Round-Up: September 7 - September 11, 2020
Financial Friday Round-Up: August 31 - September 4, 2020

Four Keys to Staying Motivated in Uncertain Times

If you have had trouble staying motivated this year, you are not alone. Luckily, there are some simple habits you can form to help yourself stay focused, find energy, and get some good work done. Here are four keys to finding your daily motivation:

1. Build the Right Routines and Habits

Our minds benefit from having a way to structure the day. Wake up at the same time to keep your sleep schedule healthy and regular. Start the day with a cup of tea or a few moments to just enjoy the morning, settling your mind before diving into work. Then, start work at roughly the same time every day. This establishes a rhythm that helps you focus your attention. Be sure to rest your brain by taking breaks, like going for a run or walking the dog, ideally at a similar time each day. Knowing what to expect and when to expect it can ease stress and help you keep your energy up.

“Start the day with a cup of tea or a few moments to just enjoy the morning. Then, start work at the same time every day.”

2. Take Care of Your Mind.

Nagging thoughts and negative emotions can really sap your energy and focus. Our brains have a bias toward negativity. This means if you accomplish nine goals but fail at one, your brain tends to focus on the goal you missed. Being mindful of this tendency can give you the power to refocus on the things you do accomplish throughout the day.

Reward yourself when you accomplish things to relieve this stress and negativity. Make free time and honor it — give yourself breaks to keep your brain healthy and stop yourself from burning out. Meditate or do yoga if you need help getting centered or staying positive. It helps to have a brain free from doubts, and these techniques control distracting thoughts and help increase your focus.

3. Use Technology to Your Advantage.

While phones are often a source of distraction, they can also be one of our most helpful tools. Do not shy away from using apps and software to help you set goals and improve your mental health. The more interactive they are, the more they can improve your brain. Here are some free apps to start you out:

ThinkUp helps you motivate yourself by giving you daily encouragement through positive affirmations and teaching you strategies for self-talk.

Fabulous teaches you how to build and track good daily habits. The app contains a library of resources to help you achieve focus, meditation, and relaxation during the day.

Strides is a smart goal tracker that helps you write your goals every day. It also keeps them well-organized with tools like charts, reminders, and target dates.

4. Talk to Others by Attending Virtual Events

Stress can also come from too much alone time. It is important to talk to other people if only to take a break from our thoughts. Listening to others reduces anxiety, helps us see a bigger picture, and rejuvenates us for when we sit down to work again. Motivation thrives in group settings. Ideally, this comes from gathering at FFS events to talk and encourage each other. This year may be different, but physical distancing does not have to mean complete isolation. Our Future in Focus Virtual Conference (VC20)  accomplishes the same goal of communicating with others and building your energy as our Leaders Convention does. On Friday, October 2nd, and Saturday, October 3rd, we will hold four sessions that will let you learn from field and Home Office leaders and increase your motivation through engagement with other agents. Don’t miss this chance to focus — register today!

"Motivation thrives in group settings. Our virtual conference on October 2nd – 3rd can give you the energy you need to find focus!”

Focus on the Big Picture

At the end of the day, motivation comes from doing meaningful work that feels rewarding and important to you. Having a routine and staying healthy will take you a long way, but the foundation comes from remembering why you are working in the first place. If you are feeling burnt out, reflect on why you do this work, whether it’s the flexibility, the unlimited income, or the pride that comes from running your own business. You can also find motivation in the bigger picture — we do this to help our clients protect their legacy, safeguard their wealth, and provide for their families.

For more information, read our previous posts on thriving in uncertain times and mental health resources during isolation.

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Financial Friday Round-Up: September 14 – September 18, 2020

Welcome to our latest Financial Friday Round-Up, where we scour the web for the best things for you to read, watch, or listen to regarding finance every week. Below is an article on avoiding COVID scams, when to pay off high-interest debt before putting money in savings, advice on how to sharpen your cold call skills, and more.

COVID Scams From A to Z: 26 Ways Fraudsters Are Fooling People During the Pandemic

Scammers have come out of the woodwork this year to seize upon the confusion of the pandemic, posing as everything from the government to trusted brands to try to convince people to part with their money. This article from Money helps you identify their methods and avoid any scams that might come your way.

What it Means When Financial Planners Say You Should Pay Off 'High-Interest Debt' Before Saving

Business Insider gives us an explanation of why financial planners recommend that high-interest debt should be paid off before saving extensively. This piece will help you understand your interest rate and determine whether it is higher than what you might earn by saving or investing, breaking down precisely when you need to prioritize your debt over your savings plan.

6 Ways To Close A Cold Call Every Time

Even those who are not in sales will have to use a sales technique every once in a while. Cold call skills might come in handy at many points in your career, and it can give you an edge to keep them sharp. Check out this Forbes guide on how to close a cold call for advice on how to hone these skills.

The Biggest Money Mistakes People Make in a Recession

The Wall Street Journal asked financial experts, academics, and researchers about the most common mistakes they see in a recession and how people can avoid them. Read this piece for valuable insight on what to do with emergency savings, how often to check your credit score, and other habits to be mindful of in an economic downturn.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: September 7 - September 11, 2020
Financial Friday Round-Up: August 31 - September 4, 2020
Financial Friday Round-Up: August 24 - August 28, 2020