Archive for December 2012

The Lottery Account

For those of you who may not be aware, recently there was a record-breaking lottery jackpot that caused frenzy across the country. People all across America were rushing to their local convenient stores buying handfuls of lottery tickets, with the dream of becoming an overnight multi-millionaire.  However, the fleeing dreams of many millions of people were quickly smashed as the numbers were read.

Speaking with people during the week of lottery-mania, I realized how many people saw this event not as a one time fun event, but a weekly occurrence. I never realized how many people played the lottery weekly, spending anywhere from $2 up to $100, or even more, a week. I thought this was foolish. I admit I indulge in the gamble of the lottery on occasion, but I never play weekly, and I certainly never spend $100 I learned that many people view the lottery not as a game but as a fanciful retirement account. Some people feel they have more control over their money by spending it how they want rather than allowing it to sit in some retirement account managed by a stranger. In reality you may be more in control of your dollars, but the likelihood of that control transforming into any type of return is extremely unlikely.

Instead of playing the lottery and hoping I would be able to retire early, I started my retirement savings early. I began working part time at a local electronics retailer while going to college, and was surprised to learn they offered a 401K with a generous match. I quickly enrolled, knowing I would have less in my paycheck but also knowing the small amount being removed would not make or break my monthly income. I worked at that job for 3 years and watched my 401K grow along the way. After a while you do not even remember it is being taken from your check, but the nice thing is whether you remember or not it still happens. Saving is hard for some people, so having an automatic deduction is the perfect option. I continue to add to my retirement savings and have opened multiple Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) that I add to monthly through an automatic deduction from my checking account.

I still play and check my numbers on occasion, but I always know even if my numbers don’t match, I will still be ok when I retire.

“I’m giving my two week notice”

Every employer dreads the phrase “I’m giving you two weeks notice”. It means that change is afloat the the hunt for a new employee must begin.

Last week I heard the dreaded words above and had to immediately go into overdrive seeking a replacement. There is so much that must be done before posting for a job. I had to review our current organizational needs and determine if the position and job description of the person I was replacing was going to meet our current organizational need. From there I had to then make the changes to the position and job description and figure out how I would be be able to identify good candidates.

Financial Beginnings is seeking a full-time Program Manager to join our team. I have been posting the position on all applicable job boards (within budget) in hopes of notifying qualified candidates.

Still, I think where I am going to find the best candidates is within my networks. We have over 500 volunteers in our system and many more that are on on our mailing list. These people are already passionate about financial education and Financial Beginnings. Who better to promote the new position?

Reading Brent Hunsberger’s article How to brush up on your networking and job search during the holidays this morning, I was thinking this came at the perfect time! I posted a comment on his blog too about our open position.

Brent’s article talks about how it’s worth job seekers’ time to network because this is likely how they are going to find their next job. I’m taking the same strategy as an employer. At every meeting I attended this week I mentioned the open position and immediately was getting words of excitement from people about possible candidates they were going to tell.

And this is just one more attempt to delve into my network for qualified candidates. Please spread the word about our open position!

Job Description

How savvy of a shopper are you?

With only 24 days left until Christmas it still seems as if companies are fighting harder than ever for our holiday business. Macy’s is sending out extra coupons, Kohl’s is offering 25% off everything in the store; even small second-hand stores are holding “special” promotional offers.  But are you savvy in taking advantage of their deals or are you really paying close to full price on these items?

This year I participated in Black Thursday for the first time.  Like a vicious hungry tiger pounces on an injured gazelle, I can regretfully say that I saw consumers snagging merchandise up like it was prey.  Deals seemed too good to be true that there were multiple individuals with shopping carts full to the rim. Three plasma televisions, twelve packs of socks, sixteen flannel shirts, two Dyson vacuums and plenty of other small items. Extreme shock made me put down my basket to investigate whether or not these deals were as good as they seemed. I rushed to a random display of unnecessary knick knacks (with rush and excitement) and sure enough I had followers. All I had to do was display the slightest bit of enthusiasm and before I knew it every item was in another person’s cart.

Just because there was a glittery sale price, another person wanted it and it was Black Thursday, for some reason it justified purchasing everything in sight. Be wary though, huge discounts can often be a result of companies marking up products, above their normal sale price, and then slashing the price for the holiday season. So even though you think you are getting 60% off that special item, because of high markups you may be paying close to full price and not even know it.

When venturing out these next 24 days I caution to you look at price tags and realistically ask yourself if that item is worth the price after the discount.