4 Financial Tips For Periods of Unemployment

At some point or another, a person may find themselves without work.  Whether you’ve been let go, are in between contracts, or suffered an injury.  When you find yourself without a regular paycheck you may find yourself wondering how you are going to be able to pay for it all.

You may start to stress about whether you will ever find a job again.  However, it’s important to try to stay focused not on what might go wrong, but instead, how you are going to make it through wisely.  

Try the following tips in order to keep your head above water during your period of unemployment.

Live Modestly

When you stop seeing a regular paycheck coming into your bank account it’s important to realize that it’s time to pull back on how you would spend normally. When you continue to spend as if you had a regular paycheck coming in then you’ll quickly run out of resources.

Instead, create a strict budget of exactly what you have and decide what the minimum is that you need to spend in order to ensure that you can afford all of your bills and expenses.  This way you can stretch your resources out for as long as possible.

Stay Positive

When you’re going through a tough period of feeling like you aren’t sure what the future holds financially, you should try to remain positive rather than assuming the worst.  When you start to fall into the pit of negative thinking then you’ll find that you aren’t as productive or likely to see opportunities when they arise.

It’s always important to try to think about all of the things that are going right rather than wrong.  When you maintain a positive outlook on life then you are much more likely to attract positivity and wealth into your life.

Use Your Credit Cards Wisely

If you find that you have to dip into your credit cards to be able to pay for your expenses, then just make sure that you do so in a calculated and wise manner.  Keep track of everything that you spent and make sure that you take out the minimum amount possible.

Since it can be a slippery slope putting yourself in debt when you have no paycheck, it’s important to take it extremely easy on your charges.  Above all, make sure that you always pay your payments on time to avoid late fees and piling interest.

Make Necessary Adjustments

It’s important to do whatever it takes in order to keep yourself afloat.  Therefore, if it means you have to move in with your parents or sell a few things in order to pay the bills, then so be it.  You have to focus on survival rather than comfort at some points in life.

How to get the best foreign exchange rates for your business

If you carry out business transactions with countries other than your own, you’ve probably come across the phenomenon of exchange rates. You are likely to have had to deal with small losses when converting from one currency to another, and sometimes it’s just a fact of life. But luckily, there are ways to deal with the problem. So, what exactly are exchange rates, and how can you find the best deals?

Understand how they work

Before you can hunt out the best rates and get good deals as part of your financial planning, you need to understand how the exchange rate mechanisms work. Firstly, it’s important to remember that governments around the world often take actions that affect their currency exchange rate. In addition, factors outside the immediate control of governments also cause movements in rates. For example, the exchange rate a country’s currency has against other currencies is linked to the rate of inflation in the country, as well as interest rates and unemployment figures.

Keep an eye on the news

Once you get a feel for what factors can affect exchange rates, you’ll be able to pinpoint times when they’ll work in your favor. Ideally, you will be able to time your transactions so that they occur at those times. For example, if you’re aware that there’s a push on domestic exports at the moment then there’s a good chance exchange rates will be lower – and if that benefits you, it may be time to strike.

Use an online resource

As foreign exchange rates are constantly fluctuating, you will need an up-to-date guide that helps you to pinpoint the exact figures you want to transfer. A currency’s valuation is determined by how much money is flowing in and out of a country, and there will be a matrix of socio-economic factors impacting on rates. With Brexit making its mark in the UK, the pound sterling is a great example of a dominant currency undergoing volatile changes. So, to obtain a favorable exchange rate for a US to UK money transfer in the current climate, it’s wise to use a reliable online foreign exchange resource.

Manage risk

Whatever happens, foreign exchange rates are likely to provide some uncertainty for your business. Nobody knows what’s around the next corner, but everybody can plan to cover themselves whatever comes their way. For that reason, why not set a budget at the start of the year to cover foreign exchange fees? By setting aside enough cash to cover the worst-case scenario, you’ll be able to relax safe in the knowledge that you’ve planned for the fees – and if rates turn out to be better, you’ll have a nice cash injection for your business once the year has ended.

Even if you’re a business-savvy person running a successful company, exchange rates can still seem complex and intimidating. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can work this mechanism to your advantage when carrying out business transactions: with a bit of strategy and knowledge on your side, you’ll be able to find the best deals and secure attractive rates.

6 Must-Know Things Before Applying for a Jumbo VA Loan

If you are veteran of military or reserves or National Guard, your dream to have a primary home is one step away. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) guarantees a VA loan, which is a mortgage loan entitled to American veterans, spouses in case not divorced and reservists. The Department of Veteran Affairs also provides many other facilities such as healthcare services, help with loans and insurances and a Jumbo VA loan is one among them. As such, the VA doesn’t provide you with the loan amount; it facilitates the same with help of lender companies. Here in this article, we have tried to enlist six must-know things before you apply for a Jumbo VA loan.

1. Eligibility criteria

Not everyone can apply for a Jumbo VA loan. The Department of Veteran Affair has clearly laid ground rules to establish the eligibility criteria. The members of the military, a retired veteran, spouses of the personnel who served America and have not remarried after the death of husband and employees of the reserves or National Guard are considered to be eligible. The veteran must have served in the military for at least a period of six months or more, while the employees with service in National Guard or reserves must have done at least 6 years of service to be eligible. During wartime, the period of eligibility for the veteran military is considered to be around 3 months. So first step you have to take is to find whether you are eligible or not. You can also get an online eligibility certificate before you start the application process with all your relevant documents ready.

2. Loan and down payment amount

Generally, the counties have set a limit of $453,100 as a VA loan amount and anything beyond that is classified as a VA jumbo loan. In case of a VA jumbo loan, the borrower needs to pay a lump sum amount of around 25 % on the amount greater than $453,100. However, in some county areas where the prices of housing are too high, the down payment amounts are kept lower.

3. How can you use a Jumbo Loan?

A Jumbo VA Loan cannot be used like a personal loan or a traditional bank loans against any line of credit. The purpose of a Jumbo VA Loan is clearly set to fulfill the need for a primary home for a veteran. This amount hence cannot be used for buying or building a vacation home.

4. Funding Fees

A funding fee has to be paid by the borrower for the loan amount greater than $453,100 or as set by county till $1,000,000. The fee thus becomes less when you offer a down payment amount. Generally, veterans pay around 25 % of the amount as the down payment amount.

5. Interest rates

While the VA or the loan lending companies don’t take into consideration any past credit history or bankruptcy yet having a good credit score helps in getting lower interest rates. Normally a credit score of above 610 or 620 is considered to be okay but even a poor credit score doesn’t cause the rejection of Jumbo VA loan. If the veteran is in a job or has a recommendation from someone who has a good credit score, the lending companies are more than happy to carry forward the entire process.

6. Other advantages

Generally, a VA counselor tries to assist in case the veteran finds it hard to pay back the entire amount and a situation of foreclosure homes. There are hotline numbers to call for getting a VA jumbo loan and application can be filled online which makes it easy for veterans to start the loan process.


In the end, a Jumbo VA loan should be utilized by the eligible applicants due to the advantages it offers. Make sure to read the offer and documents carefully before applying for the loan. For example, be aware of the closing costs, interest rates and other terms and conditions.

Is money your enemy?

While it is important for us to earn money, and survive on one’s income, it is equally important to be sure that we are not giving money too much importance. If this happens, you’ll be in a fix, and there will be a number of problems you’ll face in your family as well as while interacting with others around you.

Here are some points to be noted that should help you know that money can potentially be your enemy and if it is true in your case, you should take necessary steps to rectify your plans and keep yourself safe.


1. Jealousy

If money is the reason because of which you are jealous of someone superiors to you, it is a cause for concern, and you should be worried about it. Many people lose everything simply because they are jealous of others and this could lead to unhappiness and a number of health issues. In this situation, you need to understand that you have enough to survive on earth and so you should try not to be jealous of anyone, as far as money is concerned.


2. Stress

While giving money unnecessary attention, you’ll add stress to your mind and look for different ways in which you can earn more and more money. Stress can lead to a number of issues, and if you end up making wrong decisions because of stress, you lose everything that you have. Remember that in some situations you might not be in a position to get loans if you have bad credit. We are not saying that bad credit loans online is not an option for you, but the task will be slightly difficult for you.


3. It can create Enemies even when you do not want to create them

Money is one of the reasons because of which there are many people who are unable to stick to their friendships and relationships with others. Money has brought divisions in a number of relationships and it has created problems in that should not have existed. This is not a good thing, and if you know the same and you are not doing anything about it, you are the only one to be blamed for it.


4. Insanity

There are many people who go insane with love for money and in a number of cases they realize the extent of their insanity only when they have created an issue that is not repairable. This is not a good thing, and if you want to keep yourself away from such situations, you should make sure that you do not prioritize money and give yourself enough time to live without excessive money.

Simple Energy-Saving Tips That Can Cut Utility Costs

Isolated stack of bills over a black background.

Not only is reducing your energy usage good for the environment but it also can wind up saving you a lot of money. Luckily, there are plenty of steps that you can take to cut back on your power usage without having to sacrifice comfort and convenience in the process. The more you can educate yourself about how to save energy, the more money you stand to save on your utility bills.

Check out the tips in the following section to see if you can find additional ways to save:

  1. Read Your Energy Bill Carefully

The next time you get a bill from your power company, take the time to read through all of the information. This can help you get a better understanding of how you are currently using energy. Based on this information, you can then figure out where you can make changes. Always make sure you know the company you are dealing with, there is a lot to be said about the importance of researching energy companies

  1. Don’t Use Standby Mode

Many modern appliances and electronic devices have a standby mode that is designed to help them start up more quickly. Turning off this feature can save a substantial amount of energy.

Today, most appliances will retain their settings even if they are unplugged from the wall. Cutting off all power to your appliances and electronic devices when they are not in use is one of the best ways to save energy. Consider getting a power strip that you can use to easily cut the power to all of the devices that are plugged into it.

Before you unplug an appliance or an electronic device, however, make sure that your settings will be saved. You can usually find this information in the user manual for the device.

  1. Cut Back On Your Energy Usage In the Kitchen

One of the easiest ways to save is by using your kitchen appliances more wisely.

Instead of leaving the tap running while you wash up, use a bowl. This can save you a lot of energy over the course of a year.

When making tea, only add as much water as necessary to the kettle. If possible, reduce the number of times that you use your washing machine by one cycle each week. Again, this can help you save a significant amount of power over the course of a year.

  1. Use A Water-Saving Showerhead

Replacing your current showerhead with a water-saving model can reduce the amount of energy that is required to heat the water for your showers. Today’s low-flow showerheads provide a surprising amount of water pressure. In fact, you probably won’t even be able to tell a difference when compared to your old showerhead.

Not only can this step save energy but it can also save water. As a result, you can enjoy lower utility bills throughout the year.

The amount of savings that you realize from your new showerhead depends on how many people are in your family and how many showers you take a week on average. The easiest way to find out how much you can save is by seeing how much water is used by your current showerhead compared to one of the newer low-flow models. After crunching the numbers, you may be pleasantly surprised by the savings.

  1. Take Shorter Showers

Cutting back slightly on the amount of time that you spend in the shower can reduce your annual energy usage significantly – especially if everyone in your family does the same. Even shaving as little as a minute off of your shower time can make a big difference when it comes to energy savings.

  1. Reduce Drafts

Older homes often have cracks or openings around windows and doors that allow heated air to escape and cold air to get inside.

Sealing up these openings can reduce drafts, making it easier to maintain a comfortable temperature inside your home. If you handle the process of sealing air leaks yourself, you can quickly recoup the cost of your supplies through energy savings.

  1. Get A Handle On Your Home Heating

On average, approximately 50% of the money that homeowners spend on their utility bills goes to heating. This includes heating the air inside the home as well as heating water. One way to cut back on this expense is by installing a programmable thermostat. Lowering the temperature by a single degree can save a significant amount of power on an annual basis.

Today’s programmable thermostats and modern heating systems provide a lot more control over how a home is heated than systems of the past. Today’s systems allow you to:

* Control which parts of your home are heated at specific times.

* Only use your furnace when you need it.

* Use different temperature settings for different parts of your home

  1. Put Smart Technology To Work

Smart technology is taking the world of residential heating by storm. Today, there are a lot of different tools and applications out there that allow you to control the temperature inside your home remotely using your smartphone, computer, or another device. This will help you save on your energy bills.

  1. Replace Your Light Bulbs With LED Bulbs

Today’s LED bulbs provide an incredible amount of light while using practically no power. They can be used to replace a variety of different light bulbs including halogen bulbs, incandescent bulbs, and compact fluorescent bulbs. They are available in just about every size and style that you can imagine, meaning that you should be able to find a bulb for every light fixture in your home. Replacing your current bulbs with LED bulbs can result in significant energy savings.

  1. Don’t Leave The Lights On

Make sure you turn off the lights when you leave a room. Even if you are planning on coming right back to the room, turning the lights off for a short period of time can still save quite a bit of energy.

Bull Vs. Bear Market

A bull market is defined as a financial market comprising different securities in which the prices are rising or anticipated to grow. More often than not, the term “bull market” is used to refer to the stock market although it could also be applied to anything that’s traded, like commodities, currencies, and bonds.

More About ‘Bull Market’

Bull markets are often characterized by great investor confidence, optimism, and high expectations that strong results should prevail. It is not easy to predict continuously when trends in the traditional or even the small cap stocks market could change. A part of this difficulty is that speculation and psychological effects could have a role to play in the markets.

Bull versus Bear Markets

A bear market is the opposite of a bull market, and it’s characterized by dwindling prices and customarily surrounded by pessimism. The terms “bear” and “bull” to describe stock markets comes from the manner in which both creatures charge at their opponents. A bull thrusts the horns high in the air while bears swipe their paws downwards, actions which are both metaphors for the market movements. When the trend is rising, it is a bull market, and when it’s down, it is a bear market.

Bull and bear markets tend to coincide with the economic cycle consisting of four phases, namely contraction, trough, expansion, and peak. The onset of a bull market often indicates an economic development. Since public sentiment concerning future economic conditions drives the stock prices, the demand often rises before pick up of extensive economic measures like the gross domestic product. Similarly, bear markets usually set in before an economic contraction can take place. Looking back at a typical U.S. recession, you will discover a falling market just some months before a decline in GDP.

Example of A Bull Market

The best-known bull market in American history came into being at the end of the stagflation period in the year 1982 and ended in the year 2000. During this period when the bull market lasted several decades, Dow Jones Industrial Average had annual returns averaging 16.8%. Likewise, NASDAQ which was a tech-heavy exchange boosted its value by five times between the year 1995 and 2000, moving from 1000 to more than 5000.

A protracted bear market then came after the 1982 – 2000 bull market. And from the year 2000 up to 2009, the market struggled to attain stability and delivered returns averaging -6.2%.

How to Make Your Savings Grow

If you had to sit and think about all of the things that you’d like to save up some money for (vacation, college tuition for your kids, a new car, a new house, etc.), you could probably think of a lot of things that you want and need. But how can you make your savings grow when you don’t want to put your money in high-risk investment options like the stock market? Keep reading to discover a few helpful tips.

Use an Interest-Bearing Bank Account

One of the easiest ways to start watching your money grow is by opting for a bank account that gives you interest every month on the money that you deposit. You could find interest-bearing savings accounts as well as checking accounts, and you could even use a compound interest calculator to figure out just how much your money will grow over time. Even if the interest rate on a bank account is very low, it is definitely better than nothing, and the more money you deposit, the more money in interest you will earn because it is based on percentages. So simple! And if you want to go a step further and earn more interest, you could look into CDs at your local bank.

Use a Credit Card That Has Cash Back Rewards

Another way to save more of your money is by opting to use a credit card that provides you with a variety of rewards, including cash back rewards. In this way, every time that you use your credit card, you will be earning a little something in return, even if it is just 1% back. Every little bit helps, right? And if you have a high credit card bill every month, the amount of cash back that you get will be even higher, and you will be able to use that money to pay off your bills or grow your savings. This is better than paying with cash, as long as you pay your credit card bill on time every month and avoid those hefty late fees.

Start with $500 Per Month

Another strategy that could allow you to save up a high amount of money over time is this: put aside just $500 every month and don’t touch it. Put it into a savings account that is designed to serve as your account for a rainy day or for your retirement. With each passing year, add another $100 to that monthly savings. So, in the second year, for example, you would be putting away $600 per month instead of just $500 per month. Provided that you have the extra income to set aside, this is a fantastic strategy, especially if you are also using an interest-bearing savings account.

As you can see, making your savings grow does not have to be difficult or complicated. With the right strategy in place, and by consistently putting even just small amounts of money aside, you could have a substantial amount of money in your savings account in just a few years.

Forex vs. Other Markets Infographic

Many people dream of becoming day traders, and others would be happy to settle for a sound financial strategy that would allow them to make safe trades with a high likelihood of a positive return. This might sound easier said than done, but it’s possible with some research about your market options and due diligence to understand the risks of investing. You may know that stocks, futures and foreign exchange (Forex) trades are three popular choices, but did you know that more than $5.2 trillion is traded on the Forex market daily? Read on for more facts about these investment options.

Most people are familiar with stock trading. A person purchases one or more shares of a company, and the value of those stocks rises and falls as the business expands or contracts. This means there’s a high potential for volatility, and factors like major stock purchases can greatly affect the value of your investment. However, many people purchase stocks for more than their dollar value. Individuals who own stock are also given voting power in shareholder meetings.

Though futures are less expensive than stocks, they’re considerably risky and require lots of market knowledge to make a wise purchase. The third choice, Forex trades, involve trading global currencies against each other. There’s no minimum investment required to make a trade, and compared to stocks and futures, there’s far less volatility. If you’re still curious about which of these options might be worth pursuing, review the infographic below for more information.

4 Most Common Reasons You Get Turned Down For a Loan

When it comes to applying for getting financed for something, it’s important to compare options in order to determine which one gives you the best odds of being approved.  Otherwise, you could find yourself unable to be approved to borrow money for whatever you are seeking it out for.

Whether it be for trying to purchase a home, a car, or start a business, it’s in your best interest to make sure that you get approved for being able to make your dreams come true.  Here are some of the reasons you may not get approved, and what you can do to avoid them.

Poor Payment History

Failing to make payments on time can quickly start to make your credit score plummet.  When lenders see that you have a reputation for failing to make payments on the date expected of you then you will find yourself with a derogatory mark on your name for years to come.

It’s important to be incredibly careful about paying on time so that you don’t have to live with this mark against you on your credit history.  This will give you a checkered reputation which won’t do you any favors at getting approved.

Delinquent Accounts

Anytime that you have failed to pay a bill or have a claim against you which has gone to a collections agency, this will make a huge stain on your file.  If a lender sees that you have an outstanding payment against you they are not likely to trust that you are worthy of being lent to.

Make sure that if you find yourself with an outstanding debt on your credit report that you handle it immediately.  This can be done by either paying it or taking the actions necessary to contest it to remove it from your file.

Credit History Is Too Young

In the world of finance, young credit history is the same as bad history.  Lenders want to see what kind of a past you have and whether you are able to handle paying things back.

Once you have established yourself as a responsible bill payer with a consistent pattern of paying your debts, you will be much more likely to be approved.

Large Amount Of Current Debts

Most experts agree that using more than 30% of your total available credit will cast a negative light on your name to potential lenders.

Make sure that you keep your debts down when seeking new loans.  Otherwise, you’ll be seen as someone who can’t take on any more debt and may fail to make payments back.  Therefore, you may want to consider paying off a portion of your debts before going to the trouble of applying for new loans which you may get denied.

Norma Walton, Not Your Parents’ Workforce

One of our businesses was growing and we were looking for someone to work 16 hours every weekend. I had been doing the work myself while growing the business, but the business had become busy enough that it could afford to pay someone to do that work.

First I chatted with my friend’s husband. He works during the week and is saving up for an apartment for his young family so was keen on weekend work to supplement what he earned from his regular job. He is 27 years old. He did an excellent job for me for a few weekends then told me that he had decided he could no longer work after 5 pm…ever.

Next, I chatted with a hard working woman with whom I work from time to time and I mentioned that we had this position available. She told me her son Mitch was desperate to make money and that she was sure he would love to do it. Mitch is a nice single 35-year old guy whom I knew and liked. I immediately offered the work to him. He thanked me for thinking of him but explained that he never worked on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

The third was a 32-year old Uber driver named Nur whom I met when he drove me home. A former fighter pilot, he had emigrated from Afghanistan via America. He told me he needed to make money. He did the work one weekend, collected his money, then he just didn’t show up for work the next weekend. It was obviously beneath him. I haven’t heard from him since.

Fourth time lucky. The fellow who now works with me on the weekends is from Barbados. He emigrated to Canada a year ago because it was impossible to make a good life in Barbados unless you were a member of the police or the military and he didn’t qualify for either. He loves Canada because if you work hard, you can create a decent life for yourself. He came here a year ago. He has found opportunities through keenness. He obtained his forklift truck driver’s license. He then started working for an agency each week while working to upgrade his license. He works with me on the weekend and is saving up to secure his own studio apartment near York University and then to afford a car. He is 27 and so far very reliable.

Back when I was a teenager into my early 20s, I was always interested in making money if I could fit it into my school and sports schedule. I began working when I was 13 years old and secured my license the day I turned 16. I was not unusual among my peer group. We all wanted to make money, play sports, drive cars and get our own place. Leisure time was what you grabbed late at night or over a couple of hours on the weekend, if you were lucky and had finished all your chores at home.

In my (now dinosaur-like) experience, if you wanted to make extra money, you needed to work evenings, weekends, nights, mornings, afternoons – basically, anytime anyone would pay you. You needed to show up for work when you were required. Keenness was critical. Asking for more work was important. Basically, everything else in your life took a back seat to making that extra money you wanted so you could accomplish whatever objective you had at that time.

The type of work was not as relevant as how much you were being paid per hour and how many hours you could secure. Being fulfilled at work was not even a consideration. I remember working three summers in a row on the line at Ford putting hood covers on because 27 years ago they paid $25 an hour. I can still do that specific job in my sleep because I put 60 hood covers on every hour for 48 hours a week for three summers in a row…138,240 hood covers. The job was mind-numbing but that money helped put me through school and paid for my car expenses. Needless to say, I had very little leisure time those summers.

My values are no longer prevalent. In seeking to fill this weekend position, it became apparent to me that the workforce has changed since I was a girl. Work-life balance in your 20s and 30s is now valued far more than money. People say they want to make extra money, but they mean only if it does not inconvenience them in living their best life. Hence a lot of people in their 20s and 30s are living with their parents, with siblings or with roommates. They don’t drive. They value leisure time more than making money.

For better or worse, while trying to hire someone for weekend work, I realized that this is not my or my parents’ workforce.