Financial Designations

Finding the right financial adviser can be a daunting task, given the sea of insurance agents, commissioned brokers and fee-based money managers who are out there competing for your business.

Financial designations — the alphabet soup that some advisers append to their names — can help narrow the field a bit. But it’s important to know what the most common designations mean, and what they don’t mean, before you base any part of your decision on them.

For starters, it’s important to realize that no single entity has a lock on conferring the seal of quality on financial advice. The International Association of Registered Financial Consultants counted at least 89 designations, certifications and degrees that were available in the financial industry, provided by 87 different financial services organizations and institutions.

At the very least, most financial designations indicate that an adviser has practiced their professional trade for a minimum number of years, and that they have attained some measure of education beyond the level they needed to pass the National Association of Securities Dealers’ Series 7 exam, which is the minimum baseline requirement for licensing in the securities industry.

Some designations require their applicants to invest hundreds of hours to attain a broad-based education in the financial fields. Others are more narrowly focused, or require far less work to attain.

Here’s a look at some of the most common designations in the retail securities and financial advisory fields, along with their acronyms:

Certified Financial Planner (CFP): Awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. Available to advisers with three years of experience and a bachelor’s degree, or five years of experience with no college. Requires passage of a fairly demanding and broad-based exam, along with 30 hours of additional coursework every two years.

Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC): Issued by The American College, an accreditation and education institution for the financial services industry. Requires 75 hours of coursework and passage of an exam covering issues such as estates, taxes, portfolio management and financial planning. Can take years to obtain; most commonly held by people in the insurance industry.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA): Awarded by each state’s board of accountancy. Generally requires passage of a rigorous exam demonstrating proficiency in tax and accounting issues and Continuing Professional Education, but doesn’t indicate any particular proficiency with financial planning or portfolio management. However, CPAs with some planning experience can go for a CFP or apply for a Personal Financial Specialist, or PFS, designation from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, if they pass an exam and earn recommendations from clients and colleagues.

Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA): A pair of exams, along with some on-site and independent study coursework, is required to get this designation from the International Management Consultants Association. Applicants need three years of experience and must show that they have no criminal history, regulatory violations, civil actions or formal customer complaints on their records.

Registered Financial Planner (RFP): No exam is required here from the Registered Financial Planners Institute, but applicants must have two years of experience, complete 120 hours of coursework and agree to adhere to a code of ethics.

How to Expand Your Business Internationally

Expanding your business internationally is a significant undertaking. You need to understand how it could disrupt your existing business activities and weigh up if there is more to gain than lose.

Stakeholders across the business need to take on more responsibility to continue executing daily activities as well as those related to the expansion. For expansion to be successful, you need a deep understanding of targeted markets, your competition, and what’s needed to launch and drive growth.

1. Perform due diligence

You need to fully understand the impact going global will have on your business. This means doing a market segmentation analysis to find out if your product will sell in the local market. Is there a demand that can’t be filled by a local company? How does your product compare with local products in terms of price etc.? What is the size of the market?

2. Develop a strategy and business plan

Cultural, economic and political circumstances affect local markets. You need to develop a localized strategy – both online and offline, and business plan, although it still needs to be part of your overall business strategy and objectives.

You need to set reasonable short, medium and long-term goals to measure your progress. Decide whether you need to set up a branch, a sales office or a separate company to achieve these goals. You need to develop an annual budget and a tactical project plan.

3. Make sure you’re prepared legally

Strong legal processes must be in place to minimize unnecessary risks. Government agencies usually have strict requirements that legal documents are in place before you start operating in a country. Create localized commercial agreements, review regulations and obtain any certificates you need.

Prepare for immigration, customs and shipping. Make use of local agents to get passports expedited. For example, a passport agent in Franklin County can get a passport expedited in as little as 24 hours.

4. Put the right management team in place

Trying to quickly build a local team from scratch or launching with executives from the parent company is not the best idea. Rather outsource interim leadership to executive leadership organizations or use interim executives with local expertise while you look for the right senior management team.

This allows you to hit the ground running and drive key readiness initiatives while you’re looking for the right people for your team.

5. Ensure your products are ready

Take steps to make sure your products are ready to make the highest impact. Make sure that you’re complying with government and industry-specific regulations. Pay attention to the local translation of the name of your product and whether any localization of your products is needed.

Start testing and quality assurance reviews based on local standards. Consider who will sell your products and start setting up distribution networks and local influencers on social media.

6. Prepare your organizational operations

Implementation of your policies and procedures must satisfy local requirements. Compensation packages should be based on local standards and be competitive. Benefits should be designed to attract qualified local employees.

Find out whether your information technology infrastructure will work in local conditions. Think about outsourcing human resources and payroll functions. Make sure proper tax and finance infrastructures are in place to comply with local policies and procedures.

7. Create a supportive ecosystem

A supporting ecosystem of complementary services and products through third-party relationships can offer a competitive advantage. These relationships can support the scaling of your business while minimizing your financial risks.

Expanding a business overseas is a complex affair that’s not for the fainthearted but it can offer greater opportunities for growth. By paying close attention to all the details and outsourcing certain administrative functions, your business expansion can offer great results. 

Time to Rediscover the Watch

If diamonds were a woman’s best friend, then a man’s watch evolved into his own fashion equivalent, and it was just as pricey. Alas, if you wanted a classic, like the stylish Ulysse Nardin, then the three month’s salary rule came into play. Most of the rest had all the elegance of a Timex. (Remember father’s desk and that drawer full of dead and dreary watches.) But as the century turned, a fashion miracle occurred; mainstream designers, from Hugo Boss, to Fossil and Guess, revolutionized wrist watches by making whole lines of handsome designs, with open faces, elegant numerals and stately bands. Kenneth Cole too has an excellent set of time pieces, and all of these lines run around one hundred dollars.

So what happened to the watch? It was your cell phone or PDA and its ubiquitous time display, of course. What a sad irony, that as soon as one of man’s fashion fundamentals becomes both everyday affordable and stylish, it is obliterated by a crackberry addiction. The cellphone or the PDA will never become an accroutrement, no matter how often you glue it to your ear. Just remember how women take measure of a man; from his shoes to his watch, shoes/watch, shoes/watch. So think about life on the run like you would service in a restaurant; you won’t get any if you are not wearing shoes. By putting a watch back on your wrist, you might not feel so naked, or lonely, out there.

Quick advice: before you pull out your gold Rolex knock-off, or that Swiss Army standard from the day, use the Internet to check out the new styles. Go to a high-end site like watchshopping.com to see what you like.

How to Get the Best Financial Stability Discount

Are you looking for car insurance? Lots of insurance companies have taken on a rating system that is based on your credit score. The rating system is called a financial stability discount, or an insurance credit score. It is important to keep your credit score at the highest possible level to qualify for the best financial stability discount. Getting the absolute best credit score is tough and it takes time. Work at it little by little and follow these five rules to help you get the best financial stability discount on insurance.

  1. Pay Your Bills On Time
    A huge factor in your credit score is whether or not you pay your bills on time. One late mortgage or car loan payment can make a huge dent in your score. Set up your payments for automatic withdraw and coordinate with your bank to cover you for any overages or better yet just make sure you have enough money in your account to cover your payments. It is critical for your credit score’s health for you to make your payments on time one hundred percent of the time.
  2. Do Not Open Lots of Credit
    Every time you open a new source of credit it nicks your credit score. Opening one account won’t drastically affect your score, but multiple credit inquiries can. Use new sources of credit sporadically. Department stores lure you in with a discount for opening a new account; however, its best to keep it to your favorite store if you want to keep or improve your credit score.
  3. Do Not Max Out Your Credit
    Maxing out your credit is bad for your credit score. One of the factors calculated into your credit score is how much credit you have versus how much you owe on that credit. For example, it is better to have a credit card with a $10,000 limit with only $2,000 charged against it versus two $1000 credit cards maxed out.
  4. Use Credit Periodically, Don’t Stop Using it Altogether
    If you stop using credit altogether, it’s going to be difficult for the credit bureau to determine your credit worthiness. Lack of credit can negatively affect your credit score. Using a credit card periodically and paying it off on time is the best way to keep your credit score intact.
  5. Pay off Past Due Debts
    It is going to be very difficult to improve your credit score if you have unpaid bills lingering on your credit history. If you truly want to reap the benefits of a good credit score you need to buckle down and get your past due debts paid. Clearing up old debts can increase your credit score immediately.
  6. Don’t co-sign for Unreliable Friends or Family
    If you have been working hard to improve your credit score the last thing you should do is take on someone else’s debt. If a friend or family member is having trouble getting a loan it is because the lender has deemed them a high risk. By putting your name on their loan you are putting your credit score at risk for disaster. Be extremely cautious co-signing for a friend or family member.

Check your credit score at least once a year to see where you are at. Changes are coming so that your actual credit score number will be available to you for free. Even though insurance credit scores are not identical to your true credit score, they do correspond directly with one another. Keeping your true credit score up will most definitely keep your financial stability discount up. Knowing how to get the financial stability discount is the first step to getting the cheapest insurance possible.

Flower Color Meanings and Symbolism

Flowers delight our sense of sight and smell, but they also tell a story. Each type and color of bloom has a meaning. The right combination of colors and flowers can tell the recipient what you’re thinking or feeling without saying a word. 

Blue

Blue is a peaceful, calming color that conveys openness and serenity. A bouquet of blue flowers may be sent to someone who needs to slow down and relax. 

Blue flowers can also convey intimacy and are a great option for long-term couples who wish to show their partners that they love and trust them. 

The love and peace offered by blue flowers also makes them a great option for get-well and sympathy arrangements.

Purple

Purple is a royal color that symbolizes success, tradition and dignity. Purple flowers can also convey admiration and adoration, or accomplishment.

A bouquet of rich purple flowers can make a strong romantic impression, or they can be used to help celebrate an important life transition. 

Pink

A delicate hue, pink symbolizes happiness, gentleness and love. As a romantic flower, pink flowers are often included in bouquets given to lovers and spouses. Alternatively, pink blossoms can also be used to convey innocence, youth and joy.

Traditionally, pink flowers have been associated with femininity, but in modern times, the color has also been associated with spontaneity and thoughtfulness.

White

White flowers are often associated with innocence, humility, purity or sympathy. From fragrant gardenias to white roses and lily of the valley, a white flower bouquet can represent modesty or elegance.

These blossoms may be included as part of a sympathy or wedding bouquet. They represent pure and thoughtful love. 

Red

Red flowers have a strong association with romance and love. The vibrant, passionate color can also symbolize respect, courage, admiration, constancy and desire. 

Whether it’s a classic rose bouquet, tulips or gerbera daisies, red is the closest symbolic likeness to the heart. 

Orange

Vibrant, passionate and bold, orange conveys excitement, enthusiasm, happiness and joy. A bouquet of warm orange flowers sends a message of love, but it also sends a message of adventure. Send these bright, beautiful flowers as a message of spontaneity, or to send your love to someone you care deeply about.

Yellow

Yellow flowers represent happiness. They symbolize friendship, pride and success. These bright, vibrant blooms are sure to put an instant smile on the recipient’s face and evoke feelings of joy.

Yellow bouquets are a wonderful choice for get-well flowers, but they also work well for those “thinking of you gifts” sent to close friends. 

Green

Green is synonymous with nature and the perfect color to complement other blooms. Green flowers symbolize health, good fortune, resilience and youth. An arrangement of green blossoms shows that you wish the recipient good health and luck in the coming year. 

Flowers come in a variety of bright, vibrant colors, and each color has a meaning. Choosing the right bloom and hue is important in conveying a message to the recipient. Whether it’s romance, sympathy or to cheer someone up, you can convey your feelings and thoughts with a bouquet of flowers.

The Future Of Cryptocurrency

The discussion about the future of cryptocurrency is so engaging such that many players in the industry are coming up with predictions with indications that the future of business will be entirely on blockchain and cryptocurrency technology.

The fundamental conviction we should have is that going forward regulations will get tighter and tighter.

As the regulations tighten, the government will begin to accept the use of cryptocurrency, and people will start saving their money in the form of cryptocurrency.

By the year 2017, no one could imagine coming across a bitcoin ATM.  Currently, many countries are welcoming the cryptocurrency networks in their homelands, and Bitcoin machines are slowly becoming a commonplace thing.

Is The Future Predictable?

Deciding conclusively about the future of cryptocurrency is quite tricky, but numerous predictions are emerging. 

Some of them may appear insane and untenable, but the power of positivity in the crypto world is terrific.

There are extreme predictions that people will start using cryptocurrencies in place of fiat money very soon. The change to embrace Bitcoin and other cryptos will happen spontaneously, and users may not even recognize their exact points of transition from fiat money. 

There is anticipation that by the year 2030, people will start saving their high-value funds in bitcoin from other gold. The rate of appreciation will be attractive up to some point where the cryptocurrencies will reach saturation point. At this point, the world will have a reserve cryptocurrency, and smaller cryptos will be used as daily means of exchange and referenced to the reserve crypto,( which is profoundly foreseen to be the bitcoin.)

Five years ago I never imagined of getting bitcoin near me, but currently, it has become so typical to pass by a crypto-ATM just across the street. 

In a similar measure, five to ten years to come will make very significant alteration to the crypto scene such that the percentage of people using cryptocurrency will exceed that of people who do not use it.

What Will Happen To The Fiat Currency?

If banks start accepting bitcoins and other cryptos as stores of value, the disappearance of fiat currencies will be imminent and definite.

The flexibility of trade across borders will attract many users. 

As we know, the use of smartphones has taken center stage, and most of the people in the business world are carrying out their banking activities online. That is a clear indication that blockchain technology will take over the banking and financial sector within a few years from now.

What Will Happen To The Entire Crypto World?

Many cryptocurrencies will come up. 

They will have high quality and with more security features. These cryptos will ensure high availability of trading alternatives. 

Another remarkable axiom is that trading blocks will tend to form in a way that a particular cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin gets more acceptance in some countries than others while being rejected in some regions. Due to this, the banking and financial sector will suffer from more devastating effects. Customers will start to open Cryptocurrency accounts, and instead of having the current fiat currency debit cards, people will acquire cryptocurrency debit cards.

Financial transactions will entirely migrate to online platforms with no hard cash transfers taking place. Banking halls will transform into customer care centers without any cash transactions taking place.

Since the circulation of cryptos will accelerate, their volatility will also remain elevated. 

A metamorphosis of e-commerce to c-commerce is also hugely projected. Most people involved in e-business will prefer to keep their business transactions online, and the money involved in these trades kept online too. The competition will shift from local to global. Cybersecurity will become a very lucrative career, and specialization in this area will increase, and institutions will be forced to increase their cybersecurity budgets and staffing.

How Professional Certifications Benefit the Entire Company

There are several reasons workers pursue specialist certifications. Obtaining a certification confirms the individual’s high level of experience and provides prestige. There is, of course, the simple fact a professional certificate can also yield a salary bump and normally elevates them above their fellow workers for promotions.

However, were you aware that there are also advantages for your company as a whole? Below are just four reasons helping employees make a professional certificate could be advantageous for your company:

Leads to happier workers — that stick around

Assisting your staff in getting industry designations like a Project Management Certification reveals to them your interest in having them be the very best they could be. Individuals are happier working for associations who are spending time and money on their professional improvement. Happy employees are more likely to work longer at the company which in turn reduces one of the biggest headaches and expenditures — employee turnover.

Encourages greater peace of mind

Licensed workers learn the importance of adhering to specific professional standards. You can more easily and confidently rely on your team’s capacity to satisfy business benchmarks and count on the work being of a much higher and more consistent quality. That peace of mind is well worth investing in. Managers who promote professional development have the ability to acquire the most out of their team members. 

Gives your clients greater confidence

Allowing your employees to earn a professional certificate will inform your clients that your company retains its staff to the highest professional standards and may take excellent care of them. Your customers will feel safer and more secure knowing they’re in accredited hands.

Boosts productivity

Studies by a variety of organizations have proven that employees with a specialist certification tend to be more effective. That’s because certificates better prepare workers to deal with day-to-day challenges and get the most out of new technologies. Licensed workers often work more efficiently than uncertified colleagues, and their presence can aid in improving the productivity of team projects.

Investing in Multifamily Properties

Through no fault of their own, new investors hear the words multifamily property investing and instantly create a stigma; they are immediately convinced that their experience, or absence thereof, would keep them from getting involved in the multifamily industry. After all, its very name suggests a degree of technicality that only experienced investors could try, but I digress. Multifamily property investing isn’t any more difficult than the most basic property investment. In fact, I’d assert that multifamily property investing is maybe the very best way for new investors to start in the industry.

Let’s Look at a Few of the most important reasons new investors should think about buying multifamily properties:

  • Gives people the capacity to reside in one unit whilst renting out the rest.
  • Tenants will help investors pay down their mortgage.
  • Reduced upkeep expenses.
  • With numerous tenants, investors are able to mitigate leasing risks.

Multifamily properties have a tendency to come with greater financing options than single-family houses because they are considered more risk-averse.

For starters, multifamily real estate investing awards savvy entrepreneurs the capability to simultaneously live in one unit whilst renting out the remainder. Should you invest in a two-unit construction, as an instance, there’s no reason you can’t reside in one half of the property whilst renting the other. In the right market, the money that you accumulate in rent could offset the amount you spend on the mortgage and then some. 

Besides getting your renters to pay down the mortgage, multifamily real estate investment equates with much less maintenance than that your typical single-family leasing unit. Even though you may have multiple units, chances are you simply have to worry about one roof, one HVAC unit, 1 yard and a single foundation. Multifamily property investors do not have to run the gambit of mending over several big-ticket items; you don’t have to worry about fixing more than one roof, yet you are collecting many rents. And while there are exceptions, done properly, you can significantly decrease the total amount of maintenance to expect on a property.

For those investors with large dreams, which I trust is everyone reading this, multifamily homes are also a great way to scale your own rental portfolio. If for nothing else, it is a whole lot simpler to acquire a six-unit apartment building than six individual single-family homes. Buying six different properties means six unique closings; that indicates you’re signing six unique contracts, shutting six unique escrows and working with six unique sellers. However much experience you have, something like that will take some time. A multifamily property, on the flip side, could give you as many resources with just investing a sixth of time in this particular scenario.

Maybe even more importantly, acquiring six units through a multifamily property will most likely require one loan. In buying six single-family homes, you’ll probably need multiple financing options. In the amount of time it might require you to just receive approval from only 1 creditor, you might potentially have a multifamily unit under contract and ready to move on.

5 Signs That Your Business Needs An LMS

For any progressive business, organization or business, growth and expansion are critical. So, the training of its personnel is essential. Therefore versatile, easy to use learning management processes are vital. However, over time, your teaching and coaching procedures may begin to fail the test of time. When monitoring your operations, you will observe a few aspects that will indicate that your organization or business needs a learning management software.

You Spend Money Training Personnel Remotely

If you are sending out your teams for training at a cost, you need to implement a standard internal procedure to assist you in handling inhouse pieces of training. Especially if your business has branches in different places, it is easier to use a pre-installed training system that has a user portal where employees can log in at no cost. Here they will be trained, and at the same time, you receive instant feedback from all the company’s subsidiaries without incurring overhead costs.

Difficult To Coach Specialising Trainees

In your teams, you may have personnel who require specialized pieces of training. Therefore one-on-one training them would mean holding separate training sessions for each person. As the business expands, this process will become very tedious, expensive, and almost endless. To curb this nightmare, you can set up a well established learning management system where each person accesses the portal for a specific course they require, take tests, and get certified online.

The Requirement For Compliance Training In Your Industry

Various industries require compliance training. Be it banking, oil, and gas, construction, medicine, transport, among other sectors; compliance training is inevitable. As you continue expanding your business, it becomes tiresome to move around all business subunits training your staff. The time it takes to compile lists of untrained personnel, and certifying can be shocking. Therefore, a well-articulated training management system will help single out personnel who are not trained and promptly highlight the ones who require a refresher course. It becomes easy for your business to avoid paying non-compliance penalties because the learning management system enables you to schedule these pieces of training in good time.

Impossibility of Integrating Your Training Systems With Mobile Platforms

Many people prefer using online systems that they can easily access from their mobile phones and tablets. An ingenious system that allows the user to access it from anywhere using any device is advantageous because several trainees can access it at the same time informally. Rigid systems that trainees can only access within a specific micro-network limit the primary goal of knowledge transfer. Therefore, if such a system is improved to run on various mobile devices with open network access, more trainees will be reached, and you will meet the primary objective without having trainees in a formal classroom.

Obsolete Or Ineffective Training Platforms

Progress of your organization and getting an edge in your niche is significant. Investing in training programs that do not yield actionable results is discouraging because it will be a loss to the business. Lack of visible impacts on the company after training staff implies a dead learning system that requires an immediate overhaul. Such a system will not only be wasting the company’s financial resources directly but also frittering precious production time by sitting for obsolete training.

Final Word

Any learning management software that does not offer flexible and understandable means of use will be inappropriate for a progressive business.

Versatile and affordable learning management systems are available in the market. You will not fail to find a system that suits you at a price within your reach.

Comparing the price of a learning management system to the costly fines, lack of knowledge, and loss of business; you better put in place a reliable learning management system, instead of incurring these unnecessary costs

How to Handle the Stress from Work

Few people can say that they never experience work stress. Your situation in work is stressful because you work under pressure and have to conform to deadlines. Often, you have to work with people with whom you do not see eye to eye.

The stress factor is normal in a work environment. However, it can go beyond being typical and become a threat to your health. Stress, combined with poor diet, can lead to conditions like hypertension and diabetes. It can also lead to depression.

If your work stress has reached abnormal levels, what should you do?

1. Leave your job at the office

This is a sweeping statement that is easy to make but not so easy to implement. When talking about leaving your job at the office, it includes the stress it causes. You could say that you’re already doing this because you don’t bring work home. But it’s not your work we’re talking about here; it’s your job.

Do you bring the frustrations of your day home with you? If you do, you’re likely lashing out at the wrong people. Instead of addressing the person at work who is causing you stress, you take it out on the people closest to you.

2. Unwind

Stress takes a physical toll on your body. You might feel that your muscles are very tense, especially those in your back and neck. This can, in turn, lead to tension headaches that are hard to shake.

There are several ways to get your body to relax. You could start with a hot bath. Using some lavender products in your bath is also good for relieving stress. 

A deep massage machine can help to relax the tense muscles in your body. What you should not do is turn to substances like alcohol to help you unwind. While they might seem effective, the long-term consequences can be far-reaching.

3. Talk about it

A burden shared is a burden halved. Bottling your stress up and not finding a release for your feelings is bad for you. It has adverse physical and psychological effects.

One of the best ways to deal with stress is by talking about it. You might choose to confide in a friend or family member. They may have some advice to offer you about how to cope with what is happening. Even if they don’t, the mere fact that they’re prepared to listen will help. If you feel that the situation is getting out of hand and you are not coping, it might be time to seek professional help. A therapist can help you learn how to process and deal with the things that are making you feel stressed.

4. Look after yourself

Stress harms your body, so you need to look after it. Here are some things you need to do:

Eat healthily

Make sure you are eating a diet filled with wholesome foods containing the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your body needs to function optimally. Avoid processed foods as they contain many additives and colorants that are bad for you.

Sleep well

Even if you’re managing to get enough sleep, work stress can have a negative impact on the quality of your sleep. You’ll wake up feeling tired and struggle to get going in the morning. Take measures to make sure you not only sleep through the night but that you sleep well.

Exercise

Frequent exercise helps you process the stress you’re feeling. A lot of people report that they can work through their problems while they exercise. Others say that exercise distracts them from their problems.