University is expensive! Or is it?

University is expensive! Or is it? Here, Mike James delves a little deeper into the relative costs of enrolling in higher education around the different regions of the UK. With the help of Solution Loans, it was determined (as expected) that South East England is the most expensive place – given the living costs and proximity to London. But what about everything else? Given that a student will most likely spend their days watching Deal or No Deal in Spongebob pyjamas, what are the relative living costs for the bright hopes of the UK’s future? Rent, tuition fees, beer, weekly shop – these expenses all tally up, meaning the true cost of achieving a higher education may be far higher than estimated. Once calculated, compared and contrasted students must ask themselves; is it worth it?

is university expensive?

How does Ramadan Affect Businesses and Financial Markets?

Ramadan is one of the main events in the Muslim calendar. Plus, because Islam is a religion has around 1.7 billion followers (just under a quarter of the world’s entire population, the observation of the month’s fasting has a big effect on the wider world. But, exactly what is this effect? Is productivity lowered, or does it cause a surge in retail spending? In this post, we take a look at how Ramadan affects businesses and financial markets.

What is Ramadan?

But, before we begin, a quick introduction to Ramadan is required.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar year. This is separate to the Gregorian calendar year, and it means that the month Ramadan is held in changes every year. Sometimes it is held in summer, while other times it is held in winter.

During Ramadan, Muslims cannot eat, drink, smoke or even chew gum during daylight hours. There are, however, exceptions to this rule, and small children, pregnant women, ill people and the elderly are exempt from Ramadan.

Muslims observe Ramadan as a sign of faith, and it is not uncommon for people who are exempt from still observing Ramadan.

How does this Affect Businesses?

During Ramadan, Muslims will wake early and go to bed late in order to eat before the sun rises or after it sets. This prevents them from breaking the fast. However, in summer months, this can be incredibly early or very late, meaning that their sleep patterns are disrupted.

For Muslims in full time work, this can cause them to become lethargic during the day, lowering productivity. This was confirmed by economist Samer Sunnuqrot, who said that the productivity of workers declines during Ramadan by 35-50%.

In addition, in some mainly Muslim countries, decisions and meetings at board level are kept until after the close of Ramadan to prevent any rash decisions from being made. This can cause some problems in the forex markets (if you don’t understand forex then you can read this guide put together by CityIndex for an overview). This can lead to losses for businesses which are reflected in the foreign exchange markets; particularly because this often happens with governments. The pausing of government transactions can impact on a country’s currency’s performance, so traders must be careful, as must stock brokers who have invested in companies where the management structure will be observing Ramadan.

But is it all bad?

However, this doesn’t mean that Ramadan is bad news for businesses, as it also has a highly positive impact as well.

For example, during the holy month of Ramadan, the demand for goods and services is much higher, and so is consumption. Fasting during the day does not reduce food demand, and in some countries, food demand actually increases. This is because Muslims observing the fast will consume more on a morning to ensure they have energy throughout the day.

The increase in demand not only brings higher sales for businesses, but also higher prices. This, in turn, creates higher profit margins for businesses, as well as restaurants and retail outlets.

Overall, this level of high consumption leads to high levels of economic growth in certain countries. Admittedly, this is only a short-term effect, but it does still affect the markets, with business growth affecting shares and currency performance affecting the forex markets by bolstering the country’s currency.

To conclude, Ramadan has both a positive and negative effect on businesses in general and the financial markets. Although productivity is lower, and big decisions are often put off, increasing consumption drives growth and higher prices.

How to Balance Work, School and Leisure When Taking an Online Course

Starting your own business and pushing your career forward are great ways to earn more money. You can also achieve more by pursuing a master’s degree in the field of your choice. In fact, you can do all of these things and be that much closer to becoming financially free and independent.

Thanks to online master’s degree programs and courses, it is now possible to pursue a master’s degree in various fields such as health law and policy without moving near a university or spending a lot of time attending classes. You can pursue a master’s degree while working a full-time job or running a business. All you have to do is balance work, school and some personal time.

Set Schedules and Get Organized

Online courses give you the freedom to study at your own pace. Top programs such as the masters in health law from Hofstra Law are even more flexible thanks to the use of their online learning platforms. You can access course materials, join online courses and communicate with your lecturers at your own time.

The freedom and flexibility are there to help you get the degree you are after at your own time. That said, you should still organize your time and set schedules properly. Divide your time between work and school. Don’t forget to set aside a few hours for leisure and personal activities.

Once you have a schedule, stick to it. It is easy to postpone studying or to be laid-back with your time, but this often leads to you not being able to complete the courses on time.

Have Objectives Before You Start

Always start an online course with a clear set of objectives. What are the things you want to achieve with the master’s degree? Why is the course your best way to get to those goals? Answer these questions and figure out the goals to aim for before enrolling.

Having a clear set of goals is important to keep you motivated. This will affect not only your school life but also your work and personal life. The idea is to find balance between the three, and having a clear set of goals will help you stick to the plan at all times.

Set Aside Time for Relaxation

At some point, the burden of work and the tons of course materials you have to read before the next exam will get to you. Again, balance is very important; that includes setting aside some time for personal life, leisure activities and some rest. Allowing yourself an hour to read or watch a movie before going to bed for at least 6 hours every day is a good place to start.

Letting your body and mind rest properly will help you stay on track. You can maintain focus for longer and have the energy you need to tackle work and school-related chores. Online courses are already flexible enough for you to make necessary adjustments. All you have to do is plan a balanced schedule and you will be able to get a master’s degree without a problem.