Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Monday, March 03, 2014
Being organized has never been a negative for anyone, in fact being organized leads to success more often than not! But how about organizing life like we organize everything else? What about our life’s TO DO list. Here are something we should not miss out on!
Make time for yourself:
Yes, you had struggles to get through, troubles to overcome, loved ones to deal with, and goals to achieve. But a break from it all is more than necessary. It’s perfectly healthy to stop and let the world spin on without you for awhile. It’s good for you to spend time alone. It gives you an opportunity to discover who you really are, and to figure out why you truly are always alone.
Credit your effort despite the result:
Failure keeps you grounded, success keeps you alert, but only faith and determination keeps you going. So stay focused, and celebrate your efforts, not your outcomes. Challenges are what make life interesting, overcoming them is what gives life meaning. Remember that the opposite of failing is not succeeding; the opposite of failing is trying.
If you can change your thinking, you can change your life. You have a thought process which you ride on when you are alone and quietly thinking. The worth of your life to yourself and others, as well as the happiness it brings, depends upon the way your process works, the baggage it carries, and the emotional space through which it travels. Between life’s stimulus and your reaction is where this space exists; within it is your power to choose how you react, and in your reaction lies your growth, freedom, and happiness.
Listen to your inner voice:
Some people will kill you over time if you let them; and how they’ll kill you is with tiny, harmless phrases like, “be realistic.” When this happens, close your ears and listen to your inner voice instead. Remember that real success in life isn’t what others see, but how you feel. It’s living your truth and doing what makes you feel alive.
You deserve a day when worries don’t get in the way of your happiness. A day where, even if some people are insensitive or unkind, you’re not going to mind because you realize that the blessings you received are far more precious than the burdens you once experienced. You can create a day like this for yourself. There is power in positivity.
Focus on the next logical step forward:
There are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them. So keep your hope alive. Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energy moving forward toward a solution. If you take full responsibility for yourself and your current situation, you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams, and you will discover a way to get there.
The best choice you can make is to be genuinely respectful and authentically kind. Though your kindness will not always be returned, it will certainly be noticed. And even when it’s not fully appreciated by others, your kindness will always inject more positive value into your own life. What you give comes back to you in ways that are impossible to predict. So give your kindness as often as you can, and enjoy the more positive world you are helping to create.
Appreciate people, those that have earned it:
You develop three kinds of friendships in life: friends for a reason, friends for a season, and friends for a lifetime. Take note of who these ‘lifetime friends’ are and never overlook their worth. Just because they are reliable and there when you need them, doesn’t mean you should fail to give thanks and appreciation on a regular basis. To value someone too lightly is to risk missing their goodness before they’re gone.
Be grateful for blessings:
We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. What if you gave someone a gift and they neglected to thank you for it? Would you be likely to give them another one? The daily events in your life respond the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must be grateful for what you already have.
In between all your goals, priorities, obligations, and everything else that might appear on one of your upcoming to-do lists, there are moments called ‘life’ that still have to be lived and enjoyed. The trick is to make the best of each moment, and value it for what it’s worth. In other words, don’t wish all your time away by waiting for better times ahead. Smile, right now, because you can.
We all know that money can’t buy happiness … but many times we act as if we’d be happier with a bit more money. We are conditioned to want to be rich (when we know the rich aren’t happy either); we are trained to want the latest gadget or style that television tells us to want; we want to earn more money because then we’ll have the good life.
But none of that will bring us happiness. No matter how much we earn, no matter how much we have in the bank, no matter how nice our clothing or cars or toys, none of it will make us happier. And the sad thing is that it could take us decades of pursuing wealth and luxury items before we realize this.
So what will bring us happiness? Luckily, it’s three things that don’t cost a thing. These three things have been proven by research — surveys of hundreds of thousands of people about what they have, what their lives are like, and how happy they are.
Here they are, the Three Secrets to Happiness:
1. Good relationships. We have a human need to be close, to be intimate, with other human beings. Having good, supportive friendships, a strong marriage or close and loving relationships with our family members will make us much more likely to be happy. Action steps: Take time, today, to spend time with your loved ones, to tell them what they mean to you, to listen to them, and develop your relationship with them.
2. Positive thinking. Positive thinking is the best way to achieve your goals, but it turns out that it can lead to happiness too. Optimism and self-esteem are some of the best indicators of people who lead happy lives. Happy people feel empowered, in control of their lives, and have a positive outlook on life. Action steps: Make positive thinking a habit. In fact, this should be one of the first habits you develop. Get into the habit of squashing all negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones. Instead of “I can’t” think “I can”. It may sound corny, but it does work, every time.
3. Flow. This is a popular concept on the Internet these days — the state we enter when we are completely focused on the work or task before us. We are so immersed in our task that we lose track of time. Having work and leisure that gets you in this state of flow will almost undoubtedly lead to happiness. People find greatest enjoyment not when they’re passively mindless, but when they’re absorbed in a mindful challenge. Action steps: Find work that you’re passionate about. Seriously — this is an extremely important step. Find hobbies that you’re passionate about. Turn off the TV — this is the opposite of flow — and get outside and do something that truly engages you.
These are Three Secrets to Happiness. Don’t waste them!
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
10 Simple Steps To Financial Security Before 30
By Ken Hawkins on
October 20, 2009
Being financially secure enough to enjoy your life in retirement is the last thing on the minds of those under 30. After all, with the stress of all the expensive "firsts" that often come about during this period, like purchasing a car, buying a house and starting a family, it's hard to even think about saving for the future. However, working toward financial security need not be an exercise in self-deprivation, as many people assume. Attaining this goal even has some immediate benefits, as financial insecurity can become a serious source of stress - something 20-somethings have enough of already.
So can you achieve long-term financial security without sacrificing your short-term goals? Read on for 10 tips on how to do just that.
1. Have Fun
Enjoy yourself while you are young - you will have plenty of time to be miserable when you are older. Living a successful, enjoyable and happy life is about achieving a proper balance between time with family and friends and between work and leisure time. Striking a proper balance between your life today and your future is also important. Financially, we can't live as if today was our last day. We have to decide between what we spend today versus what we spend in the future. Finding the correct balance is an important first step toward achieving financial security. (For further reading, see Budget Without Blowing Off Your Friends.)
2. Recognize Your Most Important Financial Asset: Yourself
Your skills, knowledge and experience are the biggest asset you have. The value of your future earnings will dwarf any savings or investments you might have for most of your career. Your job and future career is the most important factor in achieving financial independence and security. For those just entering the work force, future career opportunities are as bright as they've ever been. The large number of retiring baby boomers is expected to create labor shortages. There will be room for advancement as companies scramble to fill the positions held by these aging baby boomers. Those who are in a position to take advantage of these opportunities will benefit the most.
Look at yourself as a financial asset. Investing in yourself will pay off in the future. Increase your value through hard work, continual upgrading of skills and knowledge, and making smart career choices. Efforts to improve your career can have a far bigger impact on your financial security than tightening your belt and trying to save more. (To learn more, see Should You Head Back To Business School?)
3. Become a Planner, Not a Saver
Research has shown that those who plan for the future end up with more wealth than those who do not. Successful people are goal oriented: they set goals and develop a plan to achieve them. For example, if you set a goal to pay off your student loans in two years, you'll have a better chance of achieving this goal than you would if you merely said you wanted to pay off your student loans, but failed to set a timetable.
Become a planner. Set goals and develop an action plan to reach them. Even the process of writing down some goals will help you to achieve them. Being goal oriented and following a plan means taking control of your life. It is an important step toward improving your financial independence and security.
4. Set Short-Term Goals - Long-Term Goals Will Take Care of Themselves
Life holds many uncertainties - and a lot can change between now and 30 years into the future. As such, the prospect of planning far into the future is a daunting task and in many ways, it's often an exercise in futility for young investors.
Rather than setting long-term goals, set a series of small short-term goals. These goals could be a simple as trying to pay off credit card debt or student loans in a matter of months. Maybe your goal is to contribute to your company's pension plan with a set salary reduction contribution each month. Setting short-term goals that will help you to advance in your career is important in helping you get ahead. Remember, these short-term goals should be measurable and precise. You can't win a race if there's no finish line.
As you achieve your short-term goals, set other short-term goals. Maybe you want to buy a house, earn a promotion at work or buy a new car. The constant setting and achieving of short-term goals will ensure that you reach your longer-term goals. If your goal is to be worth a million dollars by age 40, you cannot achieve this without first achieving smaller goals like having $10,000, $50,000 or $500,000.
5. Planning For Retirement: Fuggetaboutit?
Just out of school, retirement planning is the last thing on your mind. So, if you have to for now, just fuggetaboutit. If you follow the other tips, you will not only be more financially secure and prepared in the short term, but you will also be financially prepared for the distant future as well.
However, if you take a few steps now to start saving, like setting up automatic monthly contributions to a retirement plan like an employer-sponsored 401(k) or your own Roth IRA, compounding will work in your favor, which makes reaching your goal much easier.
If you implement this pay yourself first ideal, you won't have to worry about how much you're contributing; the most important thing is to develop the habit of saving. The rest will take care of itself. You can increase your contributions when your income rises or when you've achieved more of your short-term financial goals. (To learn why starting now can save you thousands later, see Understanding The Time Value Of Money, Compound Your Way to Retirement and Delay In Saving Raises Payments Later On.)
6. Make Sure Your Lifestyle Costs Lag Your Income Growth
Many new graduates find that in the first couple years of working they have excess cash flow. Still used to their more frugal student spending habits, it is easy to make more money than they need. Rather than using excess income to buy new toys and live a more luxurious lifestyle, this excess could be put toward reducing debt or adding to savings. As you advance in your career and attain greater responsibility, your salary should increase. If the cost of your lifestyle lags your income growth, you will always have excess cash flow that can be put toward paying down debt, making investments, saving for a home, or achieving any other financial goals you may have.
Where many people get into trouble is that they feel entitled to a standard of living that exceeds what they can afford. However, if you keep your standard of living below what you earn, you won't have to cut back to accumulate money; instead, you will naturally have excess cash flow because you earn more than you need to live on. In addition, keep in mind that trying to keep up with the Joneses is always a recipe for financial failure. For all you know, you may make more than the Joneses, who may be funding their lavish lifestyle with debt anyway. (For more on this topic, see Stop Keeping Up With The Joneses -They're Broke.)
The good life should be a reward for your hard work, good fortune and successful planning, not something that you are entitled to. Once you have established a certain lifestyle, it is psychologically difficult to lower it. It is very easy to raise it.
7. Become Financially Literate
Making money is one thing; saving it and making it grow is another. Financial management and investing are lifelong endeavors. Making sound financial and investment decisions is important for achieving your financial goals. The more knowledgeable and experienced you are in financial matters, the fewer mistakes you will make.
Research has shown that people who are financially literate end up with more wealth than those who are not. There is a strong monetary incentive for becoming financially sophisticated. Taking the time and effort to become knowledgeable in the areas of personal finance and investing will pay off throughout your life.
8. Seize the Opportunities: Take Calculated Risks
Taking calculated risks when you are young can be a prudent decision in the long run. You might make mistakes along the way, but remember, mistakes are the lessons of wisdom. You often learn more from your mistakes than from your successes. Also, when you are young, you can recover faster from financial mistakes, and you have many years to recover. (Keep on reading about this in Retirement Savings Tips For 18- To 24-Year-Oldsand Retirement Savings Tips For 25- To 34-Year-Olds.)
Examples of calculated risks might include moving to a
Taking calculated risks when you can afford to do so is necessary to get ahead financially. Playing it safe might be the bigger mistake in the long run.
9. Borrow Money For Investments - Never to Finance a Lifestyle
As mentioned before with the Joneses, you should never borrow to finance a lifestyle you cannot afford. Using credit for a life you feel entitled to is a losing proposition when it comes to building wealth. The constant borrowing will assure that there is no money available for investing, and the added interest expense of borrowing further increases the cost of the lifestyle.
Borrowing money should be used only for investing - where your gain will outrun your borrowing costs. This might mean investing in the literal sense (for stocks, bonds, etc.) or it might mean investing in yourself for your education, extra training, to start a business or to buy a house. In these cases, borrowing can provide the leverage you need to a reach your financial goals faster. Borrowing to meet short-term desires is counterproductive. (To learn about your borrowing options, see Different Needs, Different Loans.)
10. Take Advantage of Financial Freebies
Not many things in life are free. If you belong to a company pension plan, take the free money it offers and make sure that you contribute at least up to the maximum of what your company will match.
You can also look for (legal) ways to take advantage of tax laws. For example, contributing to an individual retirement account (IRA) will result in a tax savings - in effect, the government is giving you free money to provide an incentive to contribute. There is also an incentive to invest in stocks because of favorable tax treatment on capital gains and dividend income.
Achieving financial independence is a goal most people strive for. It is not necessarily easy, but it is achievable if you understand your priorities, set achievable goals and take the proper steps toward reaching them.
Saturday, February 01, 2014
DNA shows ancient hunter had blue eyes, dark skin
Frank Jordans (AP) / 31 January 2014
A hunter-gatherer who lived in Europe some 7,000 years ago probably had blue eyes and dark skin, a combination that has largely disappeared from the continent in the millennia since, scientists said on Tuesday.
The discovery, published in the journal Nature this week, was made by scientists from the United States, Europe and Australia who analysed ancient DNA extracted from a male tooth found in a cave in northern Spain. “We have the stereotype that blue eyes are found only in light-skinned people, but that’s not necessarily the case,” lead researcher Carles Lalueza-Fox said in an interview on Tuesday with The Associated Press.
Lalueza-Fox, who works at the
in Institute of Evolutionary
Biology , said the man’s skin
would have been darker than most modern Europeans, while his eyes may have
resembled those of Scandinavians, his closest genetic relatives today. The combination
of blue eyes and dark skin, which is sometimes seen in people with mixed
European and African ancestry, may once have been common among ancient European
hunter-gatherers, he said. Barcelona, Spain
The researchers also found the man had genes that indicated he was poor at digesting milk and starch, an ability which only spread among Europeans with the arrival of Neolithic farmers from the
Middle East. The arrival of this
group was also believed to have introduced several diseases associated with
proximity to animals — and the genes that helped resist them.
But the hunter-gatherer whose remains were found in the La Brana caves, near Spanish city of
, already had some
genes that would have helped him fight diseases such as measles, flu and
smallpox. This came as a surprise to researchers, indicating that the genetic
transition was already under way 7,000 years ago, Lalueza-Fox said. Leon
The lack of such genes among pre-Columbian populations in the
was one of the
reasons they were so susceptible to these diseases when the Europeans arrived. Americas
Researchers are hoping to make further discoveries from a second skeleton found at the site, said Lalueza-Fox.
Beth Shapiro, an associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the
, said the paper
showed how old DNA could be used to learn more about the appearance and traits
of ancient populations. University of California Santa Cruz
“I anticipate that this is just the beginning and am excited to see these sorts of analyses taking place,” said Shapiro, who wasn’t involved in the study. “I look forward to what else we will learn once we have population samples of paleogenomes (ancient DNA).”
Monday, January 27, 2014
Tips to improve Fuel Economy of your vehicle
Here are some very good tips on improving your vehicle's Fuel Economy / Increase Fuel Efficiency / Mileage. With increasing fuel prices it is becoming more and more prudent to use them.
Use your gears wisely
Driving in the highest gear possible without laboring the engine is a fuel-efficient way of driving. A vehicle traveling at 60kmph in third gear uses 25 percent more fuel than at the same speed in fifth gear.
Think ahead! By applying light throttle and avoiding heavy braking, you can reduce both fuel consumption and wear and tear. Try to predict traffic at junctions and when in queuing to avoid accelerating and then braking. Research suggests driving techniques can influence car fuel efficiency by as much as 30 percent.
Switch off your engine
There are two schools of thought on this one. Switching your engine off for short periods of time can actually increase fuel consumption, as it requires more fuel to get the engine started. Also your catalytic converter will no longer be running at full temperature and so your car will be less efficient, increasing the amount of pollution you cause. However if you are stopped for more than a few minutes then your car will simply burn less fuel with the engine stopped.
Drive off promptly to prevent wasting fuel
Don't leave your engine running when you first start up. Drive off straight away if you can, but drive gently until the engine has reached its normal operating temperature. This doesn't increase fuel efficiency as such, but it does mean your engine is switched on for less time.
Lighten your load
Think carefully about what you need on a journey. If you do not need something, do not pack it. Remove roof racks if not needed. The lighter the load, the lower the fuel consumption and emissions, and the higher the fuel efficiency.
Tyres effect fuel efficiency
It is estimated that about 50% of tyres on the road are under inflated. Aside from increasing the rate of wear, this wastes fuel and decrease your fuel efficiency. Check your tyre pressures every fortnight. Worn tyres will also decrease fuel efficiency (and your safety!); so check the tread regularly. If you are replacing tyres then consider some of the newer 'Eco' tyres that are designed specifically to increase fuel efficiency.
Driving with your windows open drastically reduces your fuel efficiency, far more so than putting the air conditioning on when motorway driving. So in those hot summers (?) preferably keep the windows shut, and the air conditioning on if you want to keep cool. Of course the air conditioning decreases fuel efficiency too, so try not to over use it.
Invest in a new fuel efficient car
New cars come in all shapes and sizes, but it is possible to pick a new car that can greatly reduce your fuel bill, and your fuel emissions.
Size matters. Choose an economical car - small cars are more fuel efficient and produce lower emissions than large cars.
Drive the most fuel-efficient car that meets your needs. Compare models and classes. Even similarly sized cars can vary in fuel efficiency by up to 45%.
Consider diesel engines (with a particulate trap), and LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) and CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) fuelled cars - all have lower CO2 emissions than standard petrol cars.
Consider 'hybrid' vehicles - they combine a conventional engine with an electric motor and battery. These offer reduced fuel consumption and CO2 with potentially lower emissions of all pollutants.
If you are going to buy a diesel engine car, ensure it is a new 'common rail' type, as these are approximately 10% more efficient than older diesels. Also replace (or clean if applicable) air cleaner elements as often as is required by your vehicles servicing schedule.
Regular Maintenance maintains fuel efficiency.
One of the most common reasons for a drop in fuel efficiency is a dirty intake filter. This will decrease the amount of air entering the cylinders of the engine resulting in incomplete combustion. Check the filter regularly to ensure that it is clean.
Ensure your spark plugs are in good condition. Renew the plugs and wires at intervals specified by the owner’s manual. This will keep all cylinders firing properly resulting in higher efficiency.
Change the lube oil at intervals specified by the owner’s manual. Use the recommended oil only especially in newer cars. Use of an engine flush before changing the oil will help to get rid of a lot of the dirt that collects in the engine that a normal oil change will not remove. On older engines it is advisable to use an oil treatment agent. This basically thickens the oil which creates a better seal between the piston and the liner, preventing blow past and consequent loss of combustion pressure, resulting in higher fuel efficiency.
Exhausts alter fuel efficiency
Most cars have special sizes for the exhaust. When cars are reasonably old, the silencers have to be changed. The garage people always try to fit a size that they have in the garage itself. Which might not be the exact size recommended for the car.
The wrong size, a bigger or smaller silencer size, has an adverse effect on the MPG (Miles Per Gallon)of the car and the HP (Horsepower) of the car. It may be cheaper to put another size than your recommended size for your car, but on the long run it will cost you more in many ways, especially on fuel consumption.
Always put the recommended size of the exhaust that is indicated in your car manual because the car company knows how to optimize the performance of your car.
Cash Flow: liquidity problems and how to solve them!
Objective: to know different reasons for liquidity problems.
There are many reasons for liquidity problems (i.e. the problems associated with not having enough liquid assets, or cash). These include;
1. Overtrading – a feature of new, rapidly growing businesses, this involves the attempt to fund large volumes of production with inadequate working capital.
2. Investing too much in fixed assets – fairly new businesses may be better to lease fixed assets so that resources/working capital is not drained.
3. Stockpiling – holding stocks of finished goods and raw materials is expensive. Money tied up in this way is unproductive. Stock control is an important aspect of business.
4. Allowing too much credit – failure to control debtors may lead to ‘bad debts’. However, important to maintain good relationships with customers.
5. Taking too much credit – this can help cash flow, but there are drawbacks. Credit might mean higher prices, fewer discounts, bad name in the trade.
6. Overborrowing – can threaten the ownership of the company. Growth needs to be funded in a balanced way, for instance by using capital from share issues.
7. Underestimating inflation – inflation causes costs to rise. Currently 2.9%. Periods of high inflation are accompanied by high interest rates which puts further pressure on costs.
8. Unforeseen expenditure – provision must be made for the unexpected. Equipment breakdowns, taxes falling due, workers strike, etc.
9. Unexpected changes in demand – fashion, health scares (beef). Recession can get in the way – people reduce spending. This can affect some markets more than others.
10. Seasonal factors – Christmas card manufacturers! Needs careful management.
11. Poor financial management – weak understanding of the working capital cycle (the lags in the system of payment)
Solutions to a liquidity crisis…
Stimulate sales for cash
Sell off stocks of raw materials
Sell off fixed assets and lease them back
Chase up overdue accounts
Sell debt to a factoring company
Only make essential purchases
Extend credit with selected suppliers
Reduce personal drawings from the business
Negotiate additional short term loans.