Maybe Cash Should Still Be King…

Ronda swipes her card to pay for gas at a different gas station then she usually goes to because she spent the night at a friend’s house. Later in the day, she goes about her usual routine and goes to buy groceries on the way back home. When she gets to the front of the line, she swipes to pay and the cashier says that the card is declined and please call the bank. Ronda is thoroughly confused because she just got paid yesterday. She calls the bank and they inform her that there was a hold placed on the account due to possible fraudulent activity. After checking the account, she discovers there have been five charges in New York since 9am, while she is in Detroit and has been all day. She explains this to the bank and they take care of the charges from New York, but now she has to go in and get a new card or wait for one to come in the mail. Meanwhile, she cannot purchase anything unless she pays with cash. Luckily, the bank does not hold her responsible for those odd five charges, but her whole day or week is thrown off and now she continuously worries if someone has any more of her information. Just imagine if she hadn’t checked the account for a month… what if the bank didn’t catch it either?

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Identity theft, credit card fraud and a breach in data security at major retailers like Target, Neiman Marcus, and P.F. Chang’s has everybody second guessing the “swipe” method of paying for goods and services. It is very convenient that credit and debit cards are easy to use. They eliminate the need to carry large amounts of cash, and are accepted practically anywhere. It may also be making you the easiest target for thieves. Many retailers only require the card number, expiration date and the security code on the back. When you hand your card to the cashier, that information can be copied very easily and quickly. Not to mention, if someone hacks into your computer… you pay bills online, send gifts to friends and family all over the world by online purchase; and you can save your account information on any site and simply pay at your leisure. All of these things makes us easy targets for hackers, data thieves and fraud experts.

Yes, many banks and websites have “protection’ in place and there are even companies keeping a watchful eye on your accounts. The problem is, most of these preventative measures are only effective after your information has been stolen. Many financial experts applaud the convenience of using your cards, but believe that cash is better and can save you money in the long run. Some even believe that carrying cash will help you to save. The idea is – if you pull out just enough money for the week, you will not overspend on needless things. When your weekly allowance has been spent, then you don’t buy whatever new trinket you are looking to buy right then. Maybe we should go back to the days when Grandma said, “keep a few dollars on you at all times, you never know what you may need.” So, protect yourself. It may be cumbersome to re-enter information every month or to change your passwords that often, but it is worth it.

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I Want To Be A… When I Grow Up

Working day in and day out at a job you hate, making just enough money to get by and hating every minute of it! How did you get here? Bills, responsibilities, family, and the company that offered you this “great” job – that is how you got here. The good news? You can change it all – now.

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A career choice is one of the most important decisions that has to be made in life. That is why it is so unfair that a person is forced to make that decision at the age of 18. As soon as you graduate, everybody starts asking, where you will go to school and what your major will be. Some people, luckily, know exactly what they want to do at a very young age. You’ve heard doctors, policemen, and actors say, “I knew that I wanted to do this since I was 4 years old.” Not everyone is that lucky… or are we? Think back as far as you can remember – what games did you love to play? Were you always the teacher when you played school? Were you always the doctor? These are hints to what you were born to do. Everyone has something special, something that makes them smile just thinking about it. You smiled didn’t you? What were you thinking about? Most likely, that is your passion, now follow it.

Okay, now fast forward to high school. What were your favorite subjects? What were you particularly good at? Where was your joy? Do you get that joy anymore? Probably not.

So sad, right? Now, that you have thought about it and looked into your heart and you know exactly what you want to do, how do you get there? It is never too late. There are so many degree programs that cater to working adults and now, you know exactly what you want. Going to college as an adult may give you a greater advantage. You will study harder, enjoy yourself, and gain the necessary education to get the career YOU want. You can finish up the degree in a short amount of time, plus have work experience already under your belt. Trust me, I went to class two nights a week, had a full-time job, and four young children at home. I graduated in three years – magna cum laude. So, it is very possible.

If school is not an option, then there is another option. Research the field that you love and find your dream job; find out what the requirements are, polish your resume and highlight the parts that match the criteria. You may not get the dream job at first, but you can go to work for the company that has that position. Once, you get your foot in the door, find a mentor and work your way up. Read and study everything that you can get your hands on till you become an expert. Do things that other people will not because it’s “not in their job description.” Pick your mentor’s brain every chance you get. Ask about the company from someone on the inside. Learn the inner workings and how promotion opportunities are selected. Be the best at what you do, but learn as much as possible about the job you want. There will come a time when the company will see your efforts and you will be on your way to the top.

There is also another option. Start your own business doing exactly what you love to do. Employ the method of deliberate practice – seek out the areas that interest you and be very specific about your weak areas, then sharpen them. When people look for someone to help them in an area, they want help from the best. Deliberately be that person. You will be able to provide a unique spin on the field because there is only one you in the entire world. With that in mind, you have just found your niche. Now learn how to market it.

Okay, so the steps to become what you always wanted to be are:

  1. Get to know you – what you like, what you are good at, what you see yourself doing
  2. Learn, study, grow – learn as much as you can about the field, the company you want to work for, and the position that you want
  3. Be willing to start small – you may have to start at the bottom, but you can jet to the top because you want it more than anyone else
  4. Go for it – fear stalls so many people and there is no need… you are still paying the bills, just having more fun now
  5. Do it for yourself – you have to want it so badly that you can taste it… when you do, nothing can stop you

You only have one life – there is no need to hate the thing that you will spend so much time doing. On average, people spend about 30% of their lives working, do you want to hate that much of your life? Of course not, so what do you have to lose? Simply put, you can do whatever you want to do – the only thing stopping you is you.

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Entrepreneurship Corner: Today’s Tip – Vision Flows Into Mission

Mission is defined as: an important assignment carried out for a certain purpose.

You have the vision down, but how will you get to it? Say your vision is a world with no hunger – what steps do you take to get there? What will your company do for people? Do you just feed them? Do you teach them to cook? Do you deliver groceries? Figure out what steps you want to take and write them down. Then, trim it down to a sentence or two that encompasses everything you want to accomplish. For example, our company’s mission is to collect, organize and distribute meals to the poor once a week until no one goes hungry in our community, city, state, country, then finally, the world.

Your mission statement can be a couple of sentences or a couple of pages, but it must show people how you will accomplish your goal. It drives the company. Some companies make their employees all learn the mission and recite it in order to engrain in them why they are doing what they do. It becomes a road map for the company’s direction. Whenever you get frustrated, tired, angry, and want to quit – your mission should be able to revive you. Simply, think about what a mission is – usually heroes go on quests or missions to save the world; religions have missions to save others; nonprofits have missions that provide help for the helpless. What is your mission?

All I’m really saying is, know and believe in what you are trying to do and why and how – others will get on board if you are genuine.