Creating Your Financial Buffer: Your Emergency Fund

Whether or not you believe money makes the world go round, there’s no doubt how important it is. Being responsible and on top of your finances gives you control of your life and means a potentially stressful situation can be avoided. As well as making sure you have enough funds to cover your outgoings each month, it’s important to be prepared for whatever life throws your way, After all, life isn’t always sweet, so we need to be ready when things don’t go to plan! Here are just a few of the reasons you should have an emergency buffer.

Losing Your Job

There are plenty of reasons you could lose your job. While we’re over the worst of the recession, companies every day are still being forced into administration taking the jobs of their workers with them. You could face disciplinary action and be fired, you could be made redundant or become injured or ill. While there are personal injury lawyers who can work to get you compensation if it wasn’t’ your fault, you’re still not going to be able to work while you recover. Losing your job can be incredibly stressful and even demoralizing, the last thing you need on top of this is worrying about how you will pay the bills while you find something else.

Disaster Strikes

Investing in bricks and mortar is a wise choice, and does give you financial security and stability. However, it’s not completely foolproof. If something happens to your home, you can find yourself in a real pickle without an emergency fund. Perhaps a flood, fire or other natural disaster does some serious damage? Maybe even criminal damage like arson can leave your property in ruins. You could be burgled or your home could be seriously vandalised. While you should have all of the relevant insurances, if these things were to happen having an emergency buffer in the bank can make the process much smoother. You may need to stay in a hotel for the night or purchase a couple of essential items before being refunded by the insurance company. Most households claim they would be in financial trouble if a bill higher than $300 came through unexpectedly. Let alone if something more serious happens where you need to fork out thousands.

You Car Breaks Down

Car trouble is an absolute nightmare, and when something goes wrong with your beloved motor, you can bet it’s not going to be cheap to fix. Whether you’ve had an accident and your car has been written off, or it’s broken down to the point of no repair, a new car is incredibly expensive. If you rely on your car for work or other commitments, it’s not going to be something you can live without. Having some money saved allows you to cover any repairs right away, or replace your car entirely if it’s a write-off.

Do you have an emergency fund? If one of these situations were to happen, would you have enough saved up to be able to cover it?

Does It Matter How You Dress at Work?

Most people reading this will agree that it matters what you wear to a job interview when you are looking to impress a panel and be offered a job, but what about the way we dress at work? How we should dress at work is a hotly debated topic in many industries, with some arguing that it doesn’t matter what we wear as long as we are good at the job and others believing that it’s important to dress in a certain way for certain roles, but which view is right?

We Should All Dress Appropriately for Work

Personally, I believe that we should all dress appropriately for work, but what this might look like will vary significantly between industries and roles. For example, if you are working on a construction site, dressing smartly isn’t going to be an issue, but wearing a hard hat and protective work boots certainly is. Similarly, if you work as an investment banker and you want clients to trust you with their money, turning up to work looking slovenly and disheveled isn’t going to cut it. For many other industries, there is a gray area as to what is acceptable, which means most of us will have more leeway when choosing what to wear.

Tips for Dressing Appropriately

Because workplace dress codes can be a gray area, here are some tips to help you determine how to dress:

Do You Have to Face the Public?

If you work in a role where you will have to meet with clients or interact with the public, your clothes should be on the smarter side. Depending on the exact nature of the job, this could mean smart casual attire or a business suit.

Will You Be Working in a Manual Role?

If you are working in a manual labor job, then wearing casual clothes is going to be a good idea. Not only will they be more comfortable, but it won’t matter so much if they get messy, and there’s a good chance they will in many manual jobs. When you’re working in a manual role, wearing comfortable footwear is also important. You can find reviews of the most comfortable work boots here, and boots are a good choice for such jobs, being safe, supportive and hard wearing, as they are.

Are You a Senior Employee?

If you’re a senior employee, even though the average employee at your place of work may err towards casual dressing, it’s probably a good idea for you to dress up a bit more. Senior employees tend to liaise with clients more often, which means they need to create a good impression and that means looking smart for the most part.

Do You Work in a Creative Industry?

If you work in a creative industry, you are less likely to need to adhere to a smart dress code. Many companies like Google and Facebook are fine with all of their staff wearing comfortable casual clothing that they feel comfortable in and which reflects the creative, modern nature of their businesses.

The bottom line: What you wear at work matters to some extent, but it isn’t as important as many might think. The most important thing is to dress appropriately for the job you do.

Is Foreign Real Estate a Viable Option for You?

Most people realize that real estate is the single biggest investment they are likely to make in their lives. For folks thinking of purchasing a property abroad, this can be a terrific investment opportunity, provided things are done correctly. For starters, not every seemingly attractive real estate opportunity is worthy of consideration. Multiple factors need to be taken into account, including the economic stability of the country, the political system, the cost of living, et al.

These are but a few of the many factors that must be weighed up before taking hard-earned money and investing it abroad. Believe it or not, investment in foreign property can have significant profit potential. Many investors have been known to generate a substantial net worth by carefully picking their real estate investments abroad. Unlike e-commerce which is limitless in possibilities, land is limited. It is a finite resource that is never going to increase. With a burgeoning population, demand for land has only one way to go. Tremendous value stands to be gained from investing in emerging market economies like Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – the BRICS countries.

Consider Investments in BRICS Countries

As a case in point, consider the tremendous returns that are possible with a small down payment on a condominium in Brazil. Investors routinely generate returns in the region of 50% – 70% over relatively short periods of time. And all of this is possible with a 20% down payment. It comes as no surprise that in an inflationary climate, real estate tends to hold its value and appreciate over time. The same cannot be said of money in the bank, cash under the mattress, or other traditional safe-haven assets like gold, silver, zinc and the like.

True, property bubbles occur from time to time, but the asset remains regardless of the price fluctuations. Unlike stocks which can be wiped out overnight, a home remains grounded in rock solid foundations. In time, most real estate investments will eventually appreciate and revert to the mean in terms of value. Outside of first world countries like the US or Canada, there are many lucrative investment opportunities for people seeking such options.

Real Estate Remains a Viable Option for Many Investors

Contrary to popular opinion, most Brazilians are now in the middle class. A burgeoning credit market has opened and clients – domestic and international – have access to lines of credit for mortgages. Rising demand in emerging markets has fueled a rush of foreign investors to purchase property abroad. Sometimes these markets are not as stable as they appear on the surface. Brazil has been rocked by malfeasance and scandal at the highest level, and currency instability is indeed a source of concern.

However, for foreigners coming with USD, GBP, EUR, or JPY, this is a godsend. If you’re thinking of plowing money into an emerging market economy, be sure that the capital is geared at high value transactions. Real estate is certainly a viable option when you’re looking to diversify your portfolio and generate tremendous returns. Always be sure to use professional money transfer services when you’re conducting foreign real estate transactions. There are many swindlers out there, pretending to be land owners with title deeds to properties that you want to purchase. Everything should be done through a solicitor, or a licensed company.

What Are Some of the Benefits of Purchasing Real Estate Abroad?

For starters, land can be used for multiple purposes. It can be used for tourism purposes, business purposes, or for agricultural usage. It is no surprise that more people in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, China, Russia, and South Africa are moving into the middle class and consuming more high-value foods such as beef, lamb, pork and the like. Land that is purchased for these purposes is certainly valuable. Perhaps the most beneficial reason people purchase land abroad is cash flow in an alternative currency. This is known as portfolio diversification, and it warrants careful consideration.

You should always evaluate your appetite for risk when diversifying your portfolio into real estate holdings abroad. Sometimes, this proves to be the best option given your unique circumstances. We have already alluded to real estate being a hedge against inflation, and it is certainly better than investing in a foreign country’s currency. Land is a finite resource, and provided you purchase appropriately (location, location, location), you can turn a handsome profit.