A Brighter Financial Future is Within Your Grasp

You might not feel like it now, but it is possible to live a comfortable, financially sound life. You don’t even have to be rich or work all the hours’ God sends to live comfortably, (although it would probably help!), you just have to start and keep making sensible financial decisions like the following:

Have a Savings Endgame in Mind

Saving isn’t exactly sexy, and most of us would like to spend your spare cash on good times, great experiences and cool gadgets given the choice, which is why it’s so important that you work out why you want to start saving for a brighter financial future right now. Sit down, let your mind wander and think about all the things you could do if you had more financial security. Write them down and then work out how much money you’ll need to save to make them a reality.

Reduce Your Expenses

If you want to be better off in the future, you might just have to live a little more modestly now. That doesn’t mean that you have to give up your gym membership or drive a really old car if you don’t want to – it just means that you need to identify areas where easy savings can be made. For example, switching eco-friendly appliances could save you hundreds of dollars per year, as could car sharing and buying your groceries in bulk.

Draw Up a Budget

Yes, the ‘B’ word. I can hear you sighing from here! It’s much maligned, but a budget is the best way to take control of your finances and stick to your spending goals. Make sure your incomings are more than your outgoings and build in a little breathing room for vacations and special occasions, and you’ll find it easier than ever to save and invest more money for your future.

Tackle Your Debts

If you have mounting debts, it’s sensible to tackle them now, rather than leave them to languish and grow. Consolidating your debts is the simplest way to sort out a debt problem, but you will need to consult a professional.

What are the cheap options to fix my credit score? You’re probably thinking. There are many, but before you choose a company, check that they have a good reputation, as well as being affordable because you don’t want to get stung when you’re trying to make savings.

Direct to Savings

Once your paycheck hits your bank account, it will start to tempt you. You’ll think about buying that cute new dress or that record player you’ve been eyeing up for weeks, and more often than not, you’ll fall off the wagon and make a poor financial choice. How do I avoid this? I hear you say. Simple, automate your account so that a proportion of your salary is automatically paid into your savings account each month. It’ll be much more painless that way.

Incremental Increases

Once you’ve got into the swing of things, and you’re used to saving a lump sum each month, consider adding more and more to your savings account as the months go by, so that, when the time comes for you to work on your goals, you’ll be surprised just how much money is available to you.

Are you financially secure now? How did you get there? What challenges did you face?

The Biggest Cybersecurity Challenges Facing Modern Businesses

Today, cyber security is a bigger talking point than ever, with the cost of breaches, both in terms of finance and reputation, creating massive headaches for many unprepared entrepreneurs. While security tech is always marching forward, there are still various risks that all business owners need to be aware of. Here are some of the biggest cybersecurity challenges businesses are facing in 2017…

DDoS Attacks

Distributed denial of service attacks have struck many big names over the past few years, including the BBC and Donald Trump’s election campaign website. Unfortunately, leading experts say that we haven’t seen the end of this threat by a long way. DDoS attacks are not only becoming faster and more severe, but are also increasing in frequency at a rate that’s making security experts’ heads spin! The volume and the scale of these breaches is challenging the defenses of countless organizations, regardless of their size or niche.

The Internet of Things

Cybersecurity experts have estimated that there’ll be well over a billion connected “smart devices” in the hands of consumers by the year 2019. As these devices become more and more common, there will be more and more incidences of them being hacked. There’s also a major threat to consumer privacy, as many of these smart devices will be capable of holding a huge amount of sensitive personal information. Just like selecting the correct identity verification service for your business, you need to be thinking about the risk any smart devices are posing to your company.

Machine Learning

Generally, machine learning has been a good thing to businesses so far. This tech can be used to pick up on fraud, predict the success of marketing initiatives, and automate customer product suggestions based on their past behavior. Being able to process massive quantities of data at fast speeds with minimal manual interaction has opened up a lot of doors for companies, however, like many technologies, machine learning is a double-edged sword. Security experts believe that machine learning could be used to commit cybercrimes, such as helping fraudsters identify lucrative targets through large databases.

Mobile Device Malware

These days, a massive number of businesses are using smartphones and tablets to perform important tasks from remote locations. As this trend becomes more and more common, the likelihood of cyber criminals exploiting weaknesses in mobile networks will become greater as well. Mobile banking Trojans and mobile ransomware are being reported with increasing frequency, and if you’re not taking steps to protect your business from them, it could be at risk of a massive breach.

Hacktivists

While the bulk of cyber criminals are all about profit, there’s a growing niche of hacktivists; hackers who attack IT infrastructures for political and social reasons. Because these criminals typically seek to damage an organization’s reputation before anything else, if your business is the victim of one it can be much more costly than a breach that aims to steal your money. If your industry is the subject of any kind of social or political controversy, be sure to protect your business’s systems accordingly.

Try The Debt Free Approach To Studying

If you’re deciding whether or not to go to college or university you should know that further education is proven to increase your potential earning power by more than $19,000 per year according to the U.S. Census. There’s clearly then an advantage then to investing in yourself and your chosen studies.  But this investment leaves a lot of young people with huge debt and financial commitments before they have even secured their first job and so for some the thought of having to pay off so much debt so early in their careers is just too much to bear.

However there are some things you can do to stop yourself running up huge debt whilst studying.  Here are 7 of the best ideas for studying without breaking the bank.

  1. Consider AP or IB Level High school courses; Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses are more demanding than traditional high school classes but they offer college-grade points that mean you could reduce a future course by up to a year.  This values them at several thousands of dollars and they can be studied whilst still at school.  You will need excellent grades or have a teacher’s recommendation to qualify so work hard and you could be financially better off.
  2. Study for college whilst in high school; if you don’t qualify for AP or IB courses then you can still study towards college whilst you’re in high school.  There are plenty of online college courses to choose from or you can choose to study at a community college whilst still in high school and work towards knocking a few semesters of your future college course.
  3. Find a free college; believe it or not some colleges in the US actually offer free education so it’s worth doing your research. You can find 10 of the best free colleges in the US here
  4. Choose a prestigious university; this might not sound like good financial advice in terms of the cost of fees but many of the big 10 universities in the US have big financial donors that are willing to put their hands in their pockets to help bright students who might not be able to afford to attend university otherwise.
  5. Be honored; if you have a strong academic history you could apply to the honors programme at the university you wish to study at. If you’re successful you could get part of your tuition paid and/or money towards books depending on the terms of the individual institution.
  6. Earn a scholarship; it is good practice to apply for a scholarship as if successful you could get your courses paid in full.  There are many different types of scholarships and they are very competitive so it’s worth putting in the work to get one secured. You can find out more information on at Scholarship Finder.

 

Get a job; the most obvious way of raising money whilst studying is to work both through high school to raise funds for future study and during further education to continue to pay the fees. You could also choose to combine work and study by getting an employer subsidize your fees.