3 Ways to Find Financial Happiness This Year
(Family Features) Whether a Millennial, good credit health matters. A majority of Americans feel it directly correlates with their overall happiness, too.
Three-out-of-five people say that a higher credit score plays an important role in their happiness, according to the Chase Slate 2016 Credit Outlook. Yet 30 percent of Americans have not checked their credit score in the last year and, of those, one-in-five elected to stay in the dark out of fear their score might be low.
Farnoosh Torabi, personal finance expert and Chase Slate financial education partner, suggests taking action now to let go of the fear factor and find financial happiness with these tips:
Don’t fear the future. Plan for it.
Get up-close and personal with your credit standing.
Raise your hand… and your voice.
For more tips to improve credit health and find financial happiness, visit Chase.com/news.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (couple packing)
(BPT) - The path to professional success often begins with a phone interview. Ninety-two percent of HR managers rely on phone interviews to narrow down the pool of job applicants, and 88 percent say that a first impression on a phone interview is a key indicator of whether or not a candidate is right for the job, according to research from TracFone. For those looking to secure their first professional job, rejoin the workforce or climb the professional ladder, the importance of phone etiquette cannot be understated.
To master the phone interview, follow these five tips:
* Speak clearly. Speaking in a clear, confident voice eliminates potential for miscommunication and provides a positive tone to the call. Be sure to sound upbeat and enthusiastic during the interview - you can even smile to help with this and use your voice to convey your excitement about the position.
* Stay connected with the right device. All of the interview preparation in the world won't save you if your phone fails, so make sure you're available with a secure line when the call comes through.
Consider TracFone, which offers affordable, quality smartphones such as the Alcatel 460 - the perfect tool for accessing TracFone's nationwide coverage on America's largest and most dependable 4G LTE networks. Plus, with no activation or cancelation fees and unlimited carryover to keep any unused minutes, text and data, you can change your no-contract plan as often as your needs change without penalties, perfect for the on-the-go professional.
* Keep your resume on hand. Often, hiring managers will reference your resume during the phone interview process. Having a copy handy will help you answer those questions with confidence and ease. You can even make a list of "talking points" that provide more detail about your background to reference during the call.
* Ask questions. The interview is meant to be a conversation and two-way process, so it's important to have a few questions of your own about the company and position for which you're applying. This will show the interviewer that you don't just want any job, but a long-term career at that company. It's also a good opportunity to determine if the job and the company really are the right fit for you.
* Send a follow-up thank you note. The phone interview doesn't end when you hang up. One of the most important steps to career success is the follow-up. Carefully record who you spoke with and send them a thank you note for taking the time to speak with you. If you have their email address already, use that, or research their contact information on sites like LinkedIn. Reiterate your interest in the position and emphasize why you are a perfect fit. It's an important, lasting impression that may help you secure the job and, ultimately, career success.
(BPT) - More than 663 million people around the world, nearly twice the population of the United States, lack access to clean and safe drinking water. The majority of those affected live in isolated, rural areas in developing countries. Women and children are especially burdened with the task of walking hours each day to fetch water, which is often contaminated. March 22 marks World Water Day, aimed at increasing awareness of this worldwide issue and inspiring action.
Why is access to clean water so important? According to charity: water, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations, having access to clean water changes everything, including:
* In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours each year walking to get water. Women and young girls especially bear the brunt of this work, often spending up to 3 hours each day hauling 40-pound Jerry Cans filled with water. Access to a clean water source allows people more time to earn an income, provide for their families, or go to school.
Access to Education
* Time spent collecting water is time spent out of school. Having access to clean water allows children, girls especially, to attend school on a regular basis.
* Diseases from dirty water kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Forty-three percent of those deaths are children under the age of 5. Access to clean water can save 16,000 lives per week.
* In Sub-Saharan Africa, women are responsible for 72 percent of the water collection, which
hinders them in all other aspects of life. Having access to water gives these women the chance to take charge of their futures.
The Global Water Crisis may seem daunting to overcome, but there are ways we can help. This World Water Day, Emergen-C(R) and charity: water are launching an ongoing partnership to bring clean and safe drinking water to communities throughout Ethiopia.
"Emergen-C recognizes the power of clean water," said Jennifer Holahan, marketing director, U.S. Specialty Supplements. "Our product relies on and transforms it, but we want to transform much more than water. We want to help drive change and transform lives. Having access to clean water means improved health, enhanced education opportunities and women empowerment in afflicted countries."
"We believe clean drinking water is one of the most powerful and effective ways to lift people out of extreme poverty; especially impacting women and children who often spend hours each day walking to collect unsafe water for their families," said Scott Harrison, founder and CEO of charity: water. "We're excited that Emergen-C is joining our mission by bringing clean and safe drinking water to thousands of people in need and spreading awareness of the incredible impact clean water makes within those communities."
On World Water Day, Emergen-C and charity: water are kicking off the #40Pounds Challenge to raise awareness and demonstrate the weight that women and girls carry in water on a daily basis. To participate, individuals are invited to upload a picture holding 40 pounds of anything found around the house, to Instagram or Twitter with #40Pounds and tag @emergenc. The organizations are inviting you to extend the challenge to friends or family members by tagging them as well. For every photo uploaded, Emergen-C will donate to charity: water as part of the overall effort to "lift the burden" and bring clean, safe drinking water to communities in Ethiopia. "Fuller House" actress and mother of two daughters, Lori Loughlin, is serving as the voice of the campaign.
For more information on the partnership between charity: water and Emergen-C, the official rules for the challenge, and other ways to get involved, visit www.emergenctransforms.com.
(BPT) - In pop culture, myths can sometimes be mistaken for truth. Common ones, like, "don't swim for a half hour after eating," or "we only use 10 percent of our brain," are false even though they're widely taken for fact.
The adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) earned a bad rap after the 2006 housing crisis. The problem was, before the crisis, many borrowers were able to qualify for more home than they could actually afford by using interest-only, No Income Verification or No Ratio ARM products. When the housing market tanked and many houses lost value, some homeowners with rising mortgage payments either foreclosed or walked away from their properties.
Fast forward 10 years to today. The ARM is back to show potential homebuyers it's not the villain of the housing market. It's time to debunk the myths that give ARMs the "bad guy" reputation it doesn't deserve.
MYTH: ARMs are unstable and aren't a good option while the Feds are raising rates.
This myth stems back to the days of the 2008 recession. It's like saying, "dial-up is the fastest way to access the Internet," it's just not true anymore. All ARM loans have annual and lifetime caps, so there's built in protection. If stability is what you're concerned with, consider an ARM with a longer adjustment period. For example, Navy Federal Credit Union's 5/5 ARM adjusts only once over the initial 10-year period.
Interest rates rise and fall in cycles. Even if rates are increasing now, that doesn't mean they won't be on the downturn when you arrive at your potential adjustment point. Many ARM mortgage holders never refinance to a fixed rate because the many ups and downs of the market happen in-between their adjustment points. Refinancing is always an option for those with ARMs. Just remember to calculate closing costs on your refinance to make sure you're actually improving your situation. Research and the guidance of a trusted lender will be the winning combo for saving money over the life of your mortgage.
MYTH: ARMs are only for people who want to be in a home for a few years.
Not true. ARMs have fixed intro periods that can vary from one to even 15 years. If you think you'll own that home for five or six years, a fixed mortgage rate may have a higher interest rate over that span. So why spend the extra money associated for the added security of a fixed rate?
"The potential savings on an ARM, can range from $10,000 to $20,000, compared to a 30-year, fixed rate jumbo mortgage," said Katie Miller, Navy Federal vice president of Mortgage Lending. "That's enough money for a down-payment on a car, or part of your child's college tuition."
Again, it pays to plan for various scenarios based on how long you plan to own the home.
MYTH: Rates only rise when you have an ARM.
The term "adjustable" gives the misconception ARMs are unstable. The ARM is very similar to a fixed-rate mortgage; both offer a 30-year term with no prepayment penalty and early payoff options, among other similarities.
The intro rate period (usually a lower rate) and potential rate changes (up or down) over the life of the loan is what makes an ARM unique. Knowing your cap and what the difference in payments are over the life of the loan protects you, even if rates are on a roller coaster. Knowledge is power as an ARM holder. That "power" helps you make necessary calculations to figure out a yearly breakeven point should your interest rate increase and your introductory rate savings begin to decrease. Check out an ARM vs. Fixed-rate Mortgage Calculator to see if this type of mortgage works for you
Like any myth, do your research before accepting it at face value. If you add up the ARM's initial savings plus the cost to refinance, an ARM is hard to beat from a financial standpoint, and that, is the truth.
What's In A Name? The Six Essential Elements You Need To Know
By: Susan Friedmann
Selecting a name for your new business is not easy. A name does more than identify your company. It tells customers who you are, what you do, and more than a little about how you do it. Your name differentiates you from your peers, peaks customer interest, and invites further investigation -- if you do it right.
3. Tells How You Do It: Words are very powerful. By carefully selecting what words you use in your name, you can convey a great deal about your company's image. Consider the names of three different massage and bodywork centers:
4. Differentiates You From Your Peers: Your company name is the first opportunity to tell customers how you differ from the competition. This can be done by emphasizing what makes you unique, pinpointing what aspect of your products and services can't be found anywhere else -- or that you do better than anyone else.
Consider the massage therapy example we looked at in number three. Each organization clearly has a different focus and approach to their customer base. They're attracting different types of clients, who are seeking fundamentally different approaches. All of which is conveyed in less than five words.
5. Peaks Customer Interest: Creating customer interest is an art and a science. Think carefully about your target audience. What qualities of your services are of the greatest import to your customers? What kind of words are likely to appeal to them?
Emphasize the important qualities in your name. For example, busy homeowners are drawn to the inherent promise of speed offered by "Bob's Instant Plumbing" while a reader in search of a good mystery will gravitate toward "Crime Pays Books".
Word choice is also important. Two yarn shops can both specialize in specialty fibers, but the one who labels themselves "All Hemp All the Time" will draw in a decidedly different crowd than the one named "Natural Beauty: Organic Yarns".
6. Invites Further Investigation: Customers are funny creatures. What one group finds to be funny and engaging turns another group off. You want your name to be inviting and approachable -- as those qualities are perceived by your target audience.
The best example of this may be seen in the individual investor segment of the financial services industry. Charles Schwab has spent years cultivating a classic, formal image -- but now that the consumer base is changing from 'old people with money' to 'everyone with a 401K', Charles Schwab has launched the "Talk to Chuck" campaign in an effort to be more approachable.
Make sure your name doesn't intimidate customers away! Some industries are more formal than others, but adopt pretension at your peril.
After following a series of simple step-by-step instructions to match my corporate identity with my service offering, I came up with the quintessential name: The Trade Show Coach. This name instantly tells customers what I do - assist companies with trade shows - and a little of the manner in which I do it - coach, rather than dictate, direct, guide, or organize.
See the difference? So did the buying public, some of who quickly became my best customers. The same thing can happen for you -- if you pick the right name.
Article Source: http://www.ArticleGeek.com - Free Website Content
Avoiding Common Business Loan Mistakes
By: Lee Kendrick
Surveys show that 94.7% of small business owners feel their only lending resources are local banks or personal credit cards. This common sense advice will help you avoid these common business loan mistakes, regardless of your personal credit history... and avoid pledging your personal property as collateral.
Article Source: http://www.ArticleGeek.com - Free Website Content
(BPT) - Looking to satisfy your wanderlust? There are no better travel partners than your girlfriends. From Mayo Clinic to Harvard University, research shows friendships improve health, happiness and longevity, so it is time to seize the day, or in this case, the weekend. Whether you want to reconnect or simply experience something new, planning a girlfriends' getaway will not only make you happier and healthier, but is a snap if you keep a few expert tips in mind.
Bren Herrera is no stranger to travel, and girlfriend getaways are her forte. As a private chef, Herrera's passion for food is only trumped by her desire to spend each weekend exploring the culture and cuisine from coast to coast. Her top tips to guide girlfriends to the best travel experiences include:
1. Wander for the weekend
Careers, family and other responsibilities make life busy. With so little time, a weekend getaway is an easier commitment than a weeklong adventure. In fact, more people are taking advantage of the weekends to pursue experiences tied to their passions, with travel topping the list, according to a recent Hampton by Hilton survey. These individuals are known as "Seekenders." No matter where you live, there is some place incredible to explore just a couple of hours away.
2. Create a "non-agenda" agenda
With a packed schedule, your typical day goes from one item on the to-do list to the next. Agree with your girlfriends to adopt the idea of having a "non-agenda" agenda for your getaway. That means you can relax, go with the flow and enjoy the simplicity of random exploration. You can explore a few must-see spots, but avoid over planning the trip. Spontaneous adventures make for the best memories. Don't forget free-spirited photo sessions to forever capture those magical moments!
3. Select the ideal hotel
Choose a hotel that offers friendly service and a variety of locations so the ladies have a place to primp and pamper. For example, with more than 2,100 properties globally, Hampton by Hilton is the ideal option for girlfriend getaways. Weekend wanderers nosh on Hampton's free breakfast, check in with complimentary Wi-Fi and can squeeze in a quick workout in the fitness center or take a break while sipping a freshly brewed hazelnut coffee, all at no extra cost. Visit HamptonbyHilton.com and find your dream destination and learn about the 100 percent Hampton Guarantee.
4. Forget the diet, savor the local cuisine
There's no room for a diet on a girlfriends' getaway. Forget rules and enjoy the authentic cuisine your destination has to offer. That could mean visiting a small, independent cafe for lunch and splurging on that 5-star restaurant you have been reading about for dinner and drinks.
5. Hit the city hotspots
You won't be able to explore every inch of a city in one weekend, so brainstorm with the gals and hit your must-see hotspots. You'll be surprised how much you can get done in a half day. In just four hours, Herrera and her best friend explored San Francisco, finding time to drive through the Golden Gate Bridge State Park to Lombard Street and Union Square, eat brunch at Bulga, ride a streetcar and, of course, snap a hilltop photo of Alcatraz.
As part of Hampton by Hilton's Ultimate Seekender Team, Bren will continue to embark on weekend adventures. With these tips, you, too, can travel in style and on budget with your gal pals. For some inspiration, trip ideas and to learn how to embrace your inner Seekender, visit HamptonSeekender.com.
To avoid scrambling as tax season draws to a close, here are some tips to help you prepare and file your taxes – even at the last minute.
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