5 Out-of-the-Ordinary Careers Ideal for the Highly Organized

You’re so organized, people tease you for it. Translate your talent into a career that requires your organization skills. You might picture the only career for an organized person is in a general business office, but there are many options for the highly organized you might not have considered. Whether it’s been a dream of yours to work in the medical field or in the hot-button political industry, there’s a job for your talents.

Health Care

Combine your passion for helping people with your talent for organization with a career in patient care services administration that offers stable work and competitive wages. Start off as a nurse or medical assistant for insight into the demands of the jobs and for ideas on how to streamline and transform the medical facility’s practices. Focus on administration as you earn your advanced degree and become a medical facility’s go-to person for providing health care efficiently in your community.

Volunteer Coordinator

No matter the cause that speaks to you, there’s an organization that provides support and aid to address the need. Although sometimes a strictly volunteer position, a volunteer coordinator is such an essential person in the typical charity’s operations that it’s more often a paid position perfect for a highly organized individual. As coordinator, you’ll be in charge of distributing supplies, budgeting donations and tasking volunteers and employees with the work to be done. You may also be in charge of efforts to get more volunteers and spread information about the organization.

Academic Researcher

Not everyone has the drive and analytical mind required for thorough academic research, but highly organized people often do. If you’re passionate about a subject, an academic research position may prove to be an even more rewarding career for you than professor or teacher. As a researcher, you’ll be in charge of collecting and analyzing data, running trial experiments (if appropriate for the subject), pouring through previous research and sources and producing unique conclusions. You’ll write papers, give presentations and meet with other likeminded individuals for engaging discussions about your field of study.

Political Consultant

If you’re passionate about politics, put your organizational skills to use as a political consultant. Rather than tying yourself only to campaigns, as a consultant, you’ll be in a position to manage a person from her initial interest in campaigning through her campaign and even with her image after election. You can switch from one candidate to another or even from one party to another as you earn a reputation in the field. Perform market research for a candidate’s viability and the issues most important in her district, brainstorm ideas for an election and manage the politician’s public image through speeches, appearances, websites and social media.

Financial Advisor

Whether it’s a person in his twenties eager to know when he’ll be able to afford a home and how much he should have in the bank to start a family or a couple nearing retirement wanting to make sure they have enough money to live off in their post-career years, people need financial coaching at every stage of life.

As an organized person with a passion for numbers and accounting, you’ll be able to put together a viable financial action plan for each of your clients based on income, assets and financial goals. Because life doesn’t go as perfect as planned, you’ll also be expected to adjust plans as necessary to reflect a job loss or decrease in wage, a divorce or a change in goals. Because you’re highly reliable and have a keen insight, counseling people about their financial goals will prove an excellent use of your talents.

The International OCD Foundation estimates between two and three million American adults have OCD. Whether you’ve gotten an official OCD diagnosis or you simply notice you have a strong desire to keep things organized, channel your talents into a stable career. People may tease that you’re too uptight, but there are careers in a variety of skills looking for people who can commit to the hard work necessary to keep things operating and organized. Stop focusing on the drawbacks of needing organization and celebrate the advantages by looking into an interesting career.

Your Essential Guide to Cash and Investment ISAs

Individual Savings Accounts (or ISA) are a great financial planning tool. The UK government introduced ISAs in 1999 to encourage UK residents to save for the future. Although the name implies a savings account, ISA is not a regular savings account. ISA offers a tax-free way to save and invest. You’re entitled to keep the money earned from your ISAs, without paying tax on interest, dividends, bonuses and capital gains.

There are two types of ISAs: cash ISA and investment ISA (stocks and shares). In the tax 2013/14 year that runs from 6 April 2013 to 5 April 2014, you can invest up to £11,520 in ISAs. You can choose to invest the full amount in an investment ISA or save up to £5,640 in cash ISA, with the remaining balance of £5,640 in an investment ISA.

With cash ISA rates low, is it better to switch to an investment ISA? Here are some important things to consider when comparing the two:

Length of investment

A cash ISA is more suitable for short-term savings and it’s a better choice if you prefer liquidity. In contrast, investment ISA is ideal choice for long-term investment if you can afford to set aside your money for at least 5 years or longer. However, the value of your investment may go down and there is no guarantee that you’ll make a profit.

ISA flexibility

Your cash ISA can include cash deposited in banking and building society accounts as well as life insurance policies, shares in companies, and stakeholder medium-term products that fail to meet the qualifying conditions for investment ISAs. On the other hand, with investment ISAs, you can buy into individual shares, corporate bonds, equities, unit trusts, investment trusts, open-ended investment companies (OEICs), exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and gilts. With so many investment products to choose from, you should keep your portfolio simple and diversified to mitigate risks.

Where to open an ISA

You can open a cash ISA account with an ISA manager such as a bank, building society, and National Savings and Investments. Select ISA managers who are approved by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and authorized by the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA). For an investment ISA, you need to be invested on an investment platform such as Interactive Investor, in order to access the wide range of investment products. The investment platform allows you to hold your investments in one place, monitor your portfolio performance and rearrange your investments. Most investment platforms also offer trading tools such as market news, company news and reports, and learning guides. Some investment platforms may offer ‘self-select’ ISAs that enable you to choose a variety of shares and securities to build your portfolio.

Different platforms offer different range of investment choices and charge differently. Make sure you find out from your ISA manager about the charges of managing your ISA and whether there are penalties for early withdrawal and switching from one ISA manager to another.

ISA restrictions

While you need to be at least 18 years or over to open an investment ISA, you can open an adult cash ISA on your 16th birthday. Many investments that qualify within an ISA carry certain other restrictions. For instance, you can only invest in foreign shares that are listed on a recognised stock exchange. You need to weigh up the pros and cons of buying individual foreign shares in your portfolio.

For tax purposes, people who qualified for an ISA include residents in the UK, a Crown employee such as a diplomat or a member of the armed forces who is working overseas and paid by the UK government. An ISA cannot be hold jointly with, or on behalf of, another person.

In each tax year, you can only subscribe to one cash ISA and one investment ISA. However, you can choose different managers in different years. Hence, there is no limit on the number of different ISAs you can hold over time.

Whichever type of ISA you choose, it is important to have a good knowledge of the investments you want to hold and design your investment strategies that reflect your desires, goals, and risk threshold. If you’ve not used an ISA before, a lower-risk cash savings option may be a good start, before moving onto investment ISAs.

Image by Images Money, used under Creative Comms license

Save Money Driving – Fuel Saving Tips 26 – 30

This is a Guest Post by Todd @ Fearless Dollar — it’s part of his 5 site series on How To Save on Gas Money.

Are you driving to see family this holiday season? Taking a road trip to see the fam can be cheaper and more (or less) convenient than taking a flight.

If you haven’t noticed, in the past 10 days fuel prices have dropped 50 cents in many areas across the country. But don’t be deceived, they’re still a lot higher than they were just 5 years ago.

If you want to save money on driving, here’s our 5 site series on saving fuel. I’m posting across five websites, so make sure to check out all the tips!

Fuel Saving Driving Tips

Tips 1 – 5 Fearless Men

Tips 6 – 10 Fearless Dollar

Tips 11 – 15 AllThingsFinance.net

Tips 16 – 25 American Debt Project

Tips 25 – 30 Daily Tips Blog

What burns gas more than anything?

A. Frequent and sudden acceleration

B. Frequent and sudden braking

C. Excessive idling

These are the main reasons city driving cost so much more fuel than driving on a highway. What are the best ways to save gas?

26. Maintain your car

In every sense of that statement, utilize and maintain your car as your machine of choice. Because it is!

Maintaining your car according to its schedule will not only lengthen how long you can use it, but will help retain its fuel efficiency.

27. Know the season

Avoid prolonged warming up of engine. Aside from getting your heater blasting, modern cars don’t need more than 30-45 seconds of warm-up time.

Make sure you don’t use deep-tread tires or snow chains when you don’t need to. These will guzzle up the use of gas!

28. Buy a fuel efficient car

The next time you’re on the market for a car, keep in mind its fuel-efficiency, especially when looking at used cars. You’ll eventually resell it, and moving forward cars with poor fuel efficiency will be harder to sell.

29. Buy gasoline during the coolest part of the day

The cooler the temperature, the denser the gas. Meaning when you fill up, you’ll be getting a little bit more fuel.

30. Cut down on frequent and excessive acceleration and braking

Speeding up and then coming to quick hard stops is not only wearing on your car, but burning up fuel unnecessarily.

Checkout gas saving tips 1 – 5 on Fearless Men!

[Featured image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/cmogle/]

5 Surprising Ways to Turn Your Finances Around

Many hardworking men and women are finding that money is extremely tight in today’s economy. Even those people who have started working second or third jobs are frequently living from paycheck to paycheck. In many cases, there are not enough hours in the day to bring in additional money. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to maximize your income as is. The following are five somewhat surprising ways you can save your hard-earned money — and begin to experience financial freedom.  

Make Charitable Donations

If you are trying to get your finances in order, it’s likely donating to charity isn’t the first thing on your mind. While it may seem counterintuitive, making charitable donations can actually save you money. Donations to charity are tax deductible, and by keeping track of each donation, you can receive a sizable tax refund at the year’s end. Additionally, donating to people in need is often a catalyst for financially responsible living, as it helps you to better assess your wants against your needs.

Donating your car to charity is one of the most financially rewarding donations you can make. This donation will qualify you for a major tax deduction, and will also eliminate the costs of driving and maintaining a vehicle. Once you find the best place to donate a car in New York or wherever you live, the process is simple. The donation center will handle the details, leaving you to enjoy a life free from the costs of gas, insurance, and car loans. Additionally, by donating your car and choosing to walk, bike to work or use mass transit, you can dramatically improve your health, reducing your health care costs over time.

Take Advantage of Deals

Keeping a sharp eye on sales, searching through the bargain bin and clipping coupons are simple ways to save in a dramatic way. Grocery expenses can add up quickly, so before heading to the store, gather all the coupons you can. Planning your meals around items on sale can prevent a shopping spree from leaving a hole in your wallet. Another way to save at the grocery store is to join a discount club that offers savings on bulk items.

You can also save money on your clothing purchases by paying attention to discounts and sales. One way to significantly cut back on clothing costs is to shop out of season. Look for a bathing suit in December or a winter coat in July, for instance. Once the appropriate season comes along, you’ll be glad you have weather-appropriate clothing that you were able to purchase at half the price.

Do It Yourself

If you are faced with household projects that will cost you a pretty penny, consider taking them on yourself. In many cases, tasks such as fixing a dishwasher or dryer are simply a matter of having the right tools and a little direction. Many home improvement stores offer weekly workshops on do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. This is a great time of the year to jump on the DIY bandwagon, as projects to winterize your home can become costly when hiring professionals.

Go Green

Environmentally conscious living is a terrific way to save both the planet and your finances. There are several ways you can go green to save money, not the least of which is cooking your own food. According to Forbes, Americans spend nearly a thousand dollars per year on dining out for lunch alone. Cooking at home lends itself to nutritious eating and will make you more aware of the food you are buying, how it was grown and its effect on the environment. Growing a vegetable and/or herb garden is another great way to help protect the earth while cutting down on food costs. As winter approaches, also consider turning your heat down before bed and using an extra blanket. When your electric bill arrives in the mail, you’ll be glad you took this small step.

Eliminate Clutter From Your Life

Decluttering your home and your life is one way to gain perspective on what you do, and do not, need. You can make decluttering financially beneficial by adding up the amount of money you spent on all of the items you are now throwing out. This is money you can save in the future by cutting down on unnecessary purchases. If you cannot donate the items you are looking to get rid of, sell them on eBay or Craigslist. Even if selling your belongings doesn’t make you a fortune, at the very least, it will provide you with a little extra money to put toward savings.

For many Americans, hard work and extra hours are not enough to get out of a financial rut. By implementing these five tips, however, you can turn your money troubles around. Start making these small but powerful changes, and begin your journey to a financially stable future today.

About the Author: Mary Goldman is a contributing writer and financial adviser.

[Featured image by 123RF]

The Importance of Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is often perceived as an ‘additional cost burden’ by most travelers. Interestingly, even travel agents tend to downplay the role of travel insurance – due to the fear of the increased package pricing and hence losing customer base – wherever it is not mandatory.
Whether you are a domestic traveler or international flyer, the travel insurance offers the following benefits and major coverage (actual benefits may vary based on your chosen package)

  • Health (dental/medical) coverage during your travel and at your destination
  • Accident related coverage is must for any type of travel
  • Loss of baggage cover and theft related coverage
  • Legal support cover during your stay abroad
  • Emergency evacuation and delayed departure cover
  • Death related and funeral expense cover
  • Natural calamities (earth quakes, flood, volcanic) related damage cover

In addition, there may be optional coverage benefits such as car rental, war and terrorism related coverage, adventure sports coverage based on what you opt for.

With airline and hospitality industry fighting margin pressures and economic slowdown related issues, the need for traveling related insurance coverage gets all the more important. Flight cancellations and reservation issues are becoming a daily affair these days, isn’t it?

Travel Insurance Tips

Just like any other insurance coverage, the travel insurance too comes with a lot of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ and hence it’s very important to pick the right plan.

Firstly you need to consider a travel insurance plan based on your trip frequency. For example, if you are frequent traveler to a particular country you have to opt for multi trip insurance plan rather than a single entry plan. Similarly if you are more of a domestic traveler, then you need domestic travel insurance.

Next, it is important to make sure that you have the right medical coverage as part of your plan because your domestic medical coverage just does not work in a foreign country.

Once the medical part is taken care of you need to worry about the purpose and duration of your visit. If you are going on a long vacation that involves a lot of traveling from country to country (e.g. a Europe vacation for a month) you need to make sure that your coverage is valid with respect to the prevailing situation and rules of all those countries.

If your purpose is to be part of any extreme sports, then you need to opt for such special coverage and pick the insurance company that offers the same as an option.

If you are visiting a country affected by terror or war situations or wherever travel advisory has been issued, then it is important get that option covered as well.

It is also important to cover for very expensive cruises and luxury vacations. Obviously, you don’t want to lose money on additional expenses such as hotel stay, travel to main port etc without having travel insurance while going on a life time cruise that costs $20,000 – Just in case of a cancellation for example.

Essentially, you must get coverage for most important scenarios such as health, flight cancellation, baggage loss etc and on top opt for coverage for those prevailing conditions. A good travel agent can always help you with the situational requirements while a good insurance adviser would help finding the right plan.

I hope the importance of travel insurance is very clear now!

Investment After Retirement

So you have accumulated a handsome amount of your money in your retirement savings and you are eligible for Social security. Now the question from most retired people is ‘What are the best investment options after retirement?’

Before answering this question, let us talk about what factors post retirement could affect your investment decisions.

Risk: After retirement, since you don’t have a regular job that brings in monthly income, you may want to go for conservative investment (low risk) options that do not deplete your original investment.

Maintenance effort: Some investments such as real estate may require a lot of human effort to take care of it in terms of maintenance. If you don’t have energy and people around you to manage the same, you better avoid such investments. Retired life is meant for peace and not to generate additional headache and pressure.

Frequency of returns: Your post retirement investment should offer regular returns so that you can meet your monthly budget requirements with the same.

Your monthly budget: What’s the amount of money you require for a typical monthly budget.

Excess money saved up: What’s that excess amount of money that you have saved up beyond what’s required for your retired life (Read: How much money do I need to retire?)

Your best investment options

The following are some of the investment options for your retirement life as they offer less aggressive and low risk route.

  • Monthly Income Plans
  • General Bond funds (short term)
  • Government Bond funds (short term)
  • Bank Savings accounts

Ensure that you check out the Morning Star ratings your instruments before making an investment decision.

Avoid these investments

The following is only a guideline on investment types to avoid. Of course, if you have several millions in your hand after all those regular income investments and wondering where to throw your money, you may consider one or more of these as well.

  • Stocks, shares and other equity market linked products
  • Illiquid investments
  • Real estate
  • Precious metals and stones
  • Forex

In summary, enjoy your retired life without taking risks with respect to your investments.

How much Money do I need to Retire?

Retirement planning is a real headache for even the most proficient financial adviser or retirement planning professional simply because of the uncertainties involved in life. First of all nobody really knows how long he or she will live and how many defendants he or she might have at various points of time. On top of that, there are varying factors such as economic recession, critical illnesses, unprecedented calamities etc that can spoil all your calculations.

However, there are ways to calculate how much money you will need (roughly) under normal circumstances in order to retire gracefully and lead a peaceful life thereafter. All these calculations are always based on optimistic known factors and under predefined conditions, though. Also, the earlier you retire the more error prone your retirement calculation will be, because you have more years to live than you already did and the sample figures can go wrong.

Money needed to retire

The main assumption parameters for any retirement planning are the inflation rate, return on your current investments and average life expectancy

For example, in the US, the average life expectancy is around 78 years but most retirement calculations will assume a safer value of 85 years so that you don’t end up outliving the money. Similarly the inflation rate is typically capped at 3% for most calculation purposes in the US though other countries might have much higher inflation rates.

Since the amount required post retirement is a huge figure, you have to plan for your retirement from the day you get your first job

Calculation

First you have to figure out how much you will spend. This is not an easy thing to do but you can still calculate it based on where it stands today. Post retirement, mostly you will end up spending a lot less than you spend today because usually expenses such as gas, work clothes, lunches out etc. On the other hand your health care expenses or cable TV expenses might go up. Based on your priorities, you may arrive at a monthly expense figure for your retirement life. This may be up to 20 or 25% less than your current monthly expenses. Let us call this figure ‘x’. You have to calculate the annualized (multiply by 12) number to arrive at an annual retirement budget or 12x.

Next you have to figure out how much more will you need per month apart from your social security and annuities to meet the ‘x’ mentioned above. For example, if your retirement benefits per month amounts to y, you still need (x – y) per month which you can call the shortfall per month.

The retirement planning is all about covering for that shortfall annualized and multiplied by the number of years after your retirement and till you die.

i.e. 12 * (x – y) * your remaining number of years. Let us call this value ‘z’.

Basically, you have to find a way to cover for this shortfall of ‘z’ using your 401-k plans, interest on your savings account or any other income that you might have and saved up. This is exactly the money needed to retire.

Consuming your retirement money

Researches show that if you are retiring at normal retirement age group (i.e 60 to 65), you can withdraw up to 4% of your retirement money per year parked in various accounts. For example, if you have retired with one million dollars, you can withdraw $40,000 in your first year post retirement. However, if you are retiring at a ‘young’ age of 45 or 50, you cannot afford to withdraw more than 3% per annum to meet your post retirement life. These figures are based on research data for the past several decades.

Please note that the calculation will hugely vary for those countries that have very high inflation rates. Basically in that case, the returns on investment is way below the skyrocketing living expenses and hence take the help from a financial adviser in your area to plan your retirement life.