Should I Use an Expat Recruiting Agency?

Expat Recruiting Agency

Expat recruiting agencies are often a first choice for many prospective expats. This is because new expats are usually not familiar with the expat recruitment process. Such applicants generally prefer a guided approach because it can be quite a daunting process trying to land that first expat gig.

Additionally, a quick search for popular expat locations in Asia, the Middle East, etc. often yield results replete with expat recruiting agencies at the top of the list. It doesn’t take long at all to encounter one of these companies in the course of your expat journey.

Expat recruiting agencies can and do serve a vital role in keeping the expat employment world revolving. They employers fill critical roles in a short period of time. They assist job-seekers in finding rewarding careers in the expat space. And, they bring a holistic awareness to the ins and outs of expat employment.

As with all things I like to approach everything from a balanced view. Making a decision to use an expat recruiting agency should be met with careful consideration. So let’s examine some pros and cons before I give my final verdict on the matter.

Pros of Using Expat Recruiting AGencies

Safety And Security

Working with an honest, reputable recruitment agency may save you a lot of time, headache, and stress when dealing with overseas employment. This is because you don’t have to worry about safety and security issues related to shady “employers”.

There are many suspect characters in the world of expat recruitment. Every job announcement is not what it appears to be. Keep in mind that anyone can post a job advert online if they have the money to do so.

In general, you will find such recruitment ads on shady classified ad listings. However, sometimes they may spring up on otherwise well-known and reputable job boards.

Short of visiting the country and employer yourself, the next best option to avoid recruitment schemes is through an expat recruitment agency. These agencies typically do a thorough investigation of employers to ensure the safety and security of job applicants.

Most reputable expat employment agencies have a long-standing relationship with the employers that they work with. They also have a comprehensive screening process when they intake new employers. The process generally involves a site visit, background check, licensure qualifications, and other measures to determine the legitimacy of the employer.

Access to Expat Employers

Expat recruiting agencies sometimes have access to job postings that are not available to the general public. Some expat employers exclusively use recruiting agencies, which means that that they have little to no direct contact with prospective job candidates. Other employers may only use recruitment agencies for specific jobs within their organization.

In other instances where employers recruit directly and use an employment agency, job applicants may still have some contact with the recruiting agencies during the hiring process. Therefore, using a recruiting agency is a way to get maximum exposure to the expat job market.

Free Guidance and Resources

Expat recruiting agencies are generally a powerhouse of guidance and resource accessibility. Recruiters tend to work with hundreds of employers and job applicants. So they are well aware of what employers are looking for in the ideal candidate.

They often spend time prepping and guiding qualified candidates about how to approach specific employers. Expat recruiting agencies also generally publish a great deal of employment advise to prospective candidates in the form of a blog and/or newsletter. They may also host information sessions or have other forums for educating job candidates.

All of these resources are typically free to job seekers. This is because their goal is to present highly qualified candidates to employers. Therefore, they often provide a host of resources to help you grow and succeed in the job search.

Cons OF USING EXPAT RECRUITING AGENCIES

Salary Negotiation

Recruiting agencies are paid a fee to procure talent for jobs. Sometimes their fees are taken from your negotiated pay and other times they are paid directly by the employer. Either way, you stand to get shortchanged in the salary department when going through a recruitment agency.

If employers pay a significant fee to the recruitment agency, they may offer job candidates less pay and/or fewer benefits to make up for the difference. This means that your potential earnings may be slightly or considerably less than that of a direct hire. Therefore, you do need to be weary of pay differences when you choose to use recruiter.

Employer Prioritization

Job seekers are not prioritized by expat recruiting agencies – the employer is the recruiter’s primary concern. Prospective candidates should never pay a fee to the recruitment agency because they are paid by the employer.

Because the employer often pays hefty fees to the agency, they get most of the recruiters attention and their loyalty. This means that no matter how talented you are, the employer’s needs and desires will always reign supreme.

Fraudulent Agencies

Just as there are shady “employers”, there are likewise fraudulent recruitment agencies in the expat space. Not all agents are what they appear to be. Some agencies may use less than scrupulous tactics in the hiring process such as:

  • Posting bogus recruitment ads
  • Illegally charging fees to applicant
  • Encouraging applicants to be dishonest
  • Making false promises related to pay or benefits

And the list goes on. Therefore, you should likewise be weary of recruitment agencies as you are of employers.

The Verdict

Expat recruitment agencies are a great option for prospective job seekers in the expat workspace. These agencies can provide you with assistance and guidance that may be of use to you for years to come. They can help you land the perfect expat job and start you on your way to a truly fulfilling expat journey.

You can likewise find the expat job of your dreams through other job search efforts. There is really no right or wrong way to seek out expat employment. The ultimate goal is to find the right job that suits your needs and desires.

In order to do so, you need to do your research no matter which direction you choose. As mentioned above, there are nuisances involved in either method you choose to use. The key is to ensure your safety and security while pursuing your passion.

Why I am Not a Proponent of the Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) Movement

Because I am a financial coach, most people assume that I am a strong proponent of the FIRE movement. If you have never heard of it before this acronym stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early. The FIRE movement started gaining momentum around 2010 and since then has taken off in millennium communities around the globe.

Although anyone can technically embark on a FIRE journey, it is primarily appealing to younger individuals who have a significant amount of time to save for and enjoy an early retirement. These individuals usually start their FIRE journey in their early work life and are able to retire in their 30’s or 40’s. Of course, this is significantly earlier than the traditional age of 65.

Some individuals in their 30’s and 40’s are also starting their own FIRE journey in hopes of retiring in their 50’s. Regardless of the age or stage in life the goal of FIRE is to save and invest enough money so that you can retire early.

This generally involves taking very aggressive steps to save and invest 50% or more of one’s income. Typically, these individuals find ways to cut corners in every way. This usually means not dining out, not enjoying fee-based entertainment, not accumulating debt, etc.

Individuals in the FIRE movement are also highly encouraged to increase their income. This generally means having a side hustle or starting a business. Having more finances means being able to save more money, which can help one achieve retirement much sooner.

What I Like About the FIRE Movement

Now before I get to the reasons why I don’t support the FIRE movement, I want to share what I do like about the movement. It definitely espouses many of the financial principles that I believe in.

The FIRE movement promotes saving and investing, which is something that I encourage all of my clients to do. Embarking on a FIRE journey requires you to take a critical look at your finances, which can help you make sound financial decisions in the long run.

You can quickly see and eradicate excessive spending habits when you commit to a strategic savings and investing plan. This can quickly eliminate poor spending habits that lead to insurmountable debt.

The FIRE movement also promotes financial independence, which typically leads to entrepreneurship. I am a strong proponent of business ownership because it often leads to self-reliance. It also gives you the freedom to pursue your own vision that can easily be aligned with your value systems. Because you are free to set your own schedule and work according to your own terms you don’t have to depend on others for financial security.

Start LLC for $0 at IncFile

All of these aspects of the FIRE journey are very commendable. In fact, I teach these very principles to my clients. Yet, I do so from a liberating and sustainable perspective.

Why I Don’t Support the FIRE Movement

In many instances a FIRE journey equates to extreme deprivation. This means giving up the things that you most enjoy in life. Such deprivation is generally inordinate and often leads to major issues in other areas of your life.

I believe that any financial journey should be about achieving and maintaining freedom and enjoyment in every area of life. Extreme self-deprivation is not conducive to creating such an environment.

FIRE is Counterproductive to Holistic Well-Being

Skimming back on luxuries or slimming down your budget is one thing. But completely giving up everything that is not 100% necessary to your physiological well-being is extreme. We have other needs in life which include our spiritual, emotional, and mental well-being. Typically, a FIRE lifestyle doesn’t support these other areas of need which are detrimental to our holistic well-being.

Sometimes we need to celebrate small and large victories in our life. In today’s society that often means celebrating through the purchase of items like clothing, accessories, food, etc., going out with loved ones, engaging in self-care, etc. These things generally cost money, which is typically not an allowable part of a FIRE budget.

Balance is necessary for us to enjoy a happy, fruitful existence. This means that we should not be at the extreme end of the spectrum in any regard. If you deprive yourself of life’s basic pleasures like enjoying good food, socializing, and other activities that make you human this can lead to mental imbalances. Most often it leads to depression and anxiety and sometimes even more severe conditions.

As mentioned, the FIRE movement is counterproductive to maintaining a holistic sense of well-being. There are more effective ways to control your spending while simultaneously caring for your whole self.

FIRE Promotes the Elimination of Credit Cards

Many promoters and adherents of FIRE generally denounce the use of credit cards for any reason. This is not realistic in today’s society. Credit cards are not only useful but they are necessary in some instances. Credit cards can make your life a lot more efficient on many levels.

While I don’t advocate debt accumulation, I do advocate responsible credit card usage for many reasons. Credit cards are great credit building tools when used properly. Credit card reward programs can save you money in many instances. Credit cards can also protect and defend you against financial fraud.

As with many FIRE proponents, I absolutely believe in spending only money that you have in most instances. However, this can easily be achieved with the use and implementation of a sound credit card plan of action.

FIRE SElls a FAUX Retirement Plan

The average person must have a six-figure income in order to comfortably retire early when implementing the FIRE method. Otherwise, early retirement generally looks a lot like life prior to retirement for the average person who uses the FIRE method.

This ultimately means living a very frugal lifestyle in which you are not able to spend on amenities. If you earn an average salary of about $50,000 you will have about $37,500 per year to live off of during your retirement years. And that’s if you are able to save at least 75% of your salary annually during your working years. Also, keep in mind that this money will need to last for the duration of your “retirement years”.

Of course, the figures above represent the average person who only puts their money in savings. These figures are not inclusive of compound interest earned from investments or other sources of income. Likewise this amount is for the average person who is able to save at least 75% of their income, which is typically an unrealistic feat. This means that a vast number of FIRE adherents won’t even be able to save this much each year.

In which case, many who embark on a FIRE journey end up quitting their full time job and making their side hustle or business their full time gig. This means that they are still effectively working.

Summary

Starting a financial independence journey is admirable in many regards. Doing so effectively helps to improve our lives on many levels. However, achieving financial freedom should never be an extreme or overwhelmingly painful endeavor. There will definitely be times on such a journey that require you forgo things that you may want but this should not be at the detriment to your overall health.

Saving and investing should be an intuitive and enjoyable process. Otherwise, it creates drudgery and resentment for the average person. In which case, one may give up altogether instead of investigating more sustainable ways to secure their financial future.

Need more financial coaching advice? Contact us for more details about our coaching services.

4 Steps for Successfully Changing Careers

In today’s workforce, changing careers is virtually inevitable for the average person. Many people end up changing careers out of necessity because of the many technological, cultural, economic, geographical, and other forces that constantly shape our world.

Other people change careers out of desire. It is common for the average middle-aged person to have an urge to transition to a different career field. This is often because of the many changes that they have experienced throughout life.

Around mid-life the average person doesn’t have the same influences or mitigating factors that helped them to make their first career choice. Typically, these individuals are more financially stable and socially empowered to decide on the career path that they are truly passionate about.

If you are one of the many people considering changing careers either by choose or force, here are some steps you should take when making your career move.

Assess Your Career Aptitude

The average, traditional college student selects his or her career major based on financial or social influences. They usually select a career field in which they can easily find a job and earn a decent salary. Typically, they are heavily influenced by their parents or guardians and/or their peers.

When this happens, the average person doesn’t usually select a career based on their innate passion. They decide on what is convenient from a variety of aspects. They may go on to have a fulfilling and pleasurable career. However, they may not have made the best career choice according to their natural aptitude.

When changing careers, this is something that you should think critically about. Does your chosen career field align with your natural aptitude and desire? If not, you will probably be setting yourself up for disappointment.

There are a number of ways that you can assess your career aptitude. You can take a career aptitude test. There are many free and fee-based aptitude tests available online or through college career service centers. Such tests can give you a basic foundation in which direction to go in when selecting a suitable career path.

Another great way to dig deeper into your career aptitude is to work with a career or life coach. Working one-on-one with a coach can help you discover your passion and purpose on a deeper level. The right career coach can give you substantial feedback in an unbiased and professional manner.

Research Your Desired Career Sector

Once you decide on which career path you want to take, you need to do some research. You need to understand how the career field works and how you plan to navigate through the career path.

All careers aren’t created equal and all career paths aren’t for everyone. You may feel a burning desire to pursue a career that just isn’t a good fit for your age or your life path. You must consider your financial situation and responsibilities when changing careers.

Some career transitions may necessitate a pay cut, schedule change, etc. that may interrupt the flow of your life. These are things that you need to be aware of before moving forward.

Get the Proper Education and Training

When it comes to changing careers, you should never shortchange yourself when it comes to education and training. It may feel daunting or overwhelming to think about going back to school or completing an entry-level training program but it may be necessary.

In some cases you may be able to transition to a new career field without much time or effort. But the average person will spend about one to two years preparing for a career transition.

The good news is that it is not a long period of time in comparison to years of joy and fulfillment that you experience in your new career. Anything worth having is worth waiting and working for.

Redefine Your Personal Brand

Finally, you need to redefine your personal brand when changing careers. Most likely your career portfolio is solely based on your previous or current career. You will need to fine tune your career portfolio and your sense of self in order to access opportunities in your new profession.

In order to do this you will need to take inventory on how your past education and experience integrate with and complement your new skillset. In essence, you need to reinvent yourself. Not just on paper, but you need to reinvent your person.

Changing careers comes with new demands and requires a different way of relating to yourself and your work. Chances are you won’t be able to show up in the same way unless your new career is closely related to your previous or current one.

It is a good idea to work with a professional such as a career counselor or coach to help you redefine your personal brand.

Why It Is Important to Have a Legitimate Business

Business Coaching Price List

As more people enter the side-hustle space, many often grapple with the idea of establishing a legitimate business entity. This is usually because their side-hustle is all about making extra money to supplement or enhance their income. On the other hand, establishing a business entity means paying fees and taxes that can chip away at extra earnings.

Thus, it is easy to understand why a new entrepreneur would be hesitant to go legit at first. But it is important to remember that having a legitimate business has more perks than downsides. So here are a few reasons why you should legitimize your business.

Avoid Legal Issues

Any time you earn money you must report and pay taxes on that income. In order to pay taxes on money that you earn as part of your entrepreneurship endeavors you must have a taxpayer identification number (TIN). For sole proprietors this is generally their social security or individual taxpayer identification number.

However, for many business entities an employer identification number (EIN) is required for tax reporting and paying purposes. In order to have a legitimate business entity you must obtain this or some other identifying number for your business.

In addition to a TIN you will also need to do the following to establish a legitimate business:

  • Select a Business Structure
  • Register the Business in Your State
  • Get Necessary Licenses and/or Permits
Main Page

Completing these steps will keep you in compliance at the state and federal level. You can thereafter easily report and pay your business taxes without having to worry about fines or imprisonment.

Protect Yourself Against Litigation

In addition to avoiding tax-related legal issues, you can potentially protect your personal finances against legal action when you establish a legitimate business. Certain business structures such as limited liability companies (LLC’s) or corporations legally shield business owners’ assets from being seized in law suits.

Establish Your Business Identity

It is also important to establish your business identify so that you can avail opportunities to help you business grow and expand. Setting up your business bank account is one of the most important things that you need to do in order to access funding for your business.

In order to get loans, grants, credit cards, lines of credit, etc. most lenders or grantors require that you have a business bank account. You must have a legitimate business entity in order to set up a business bank account. Banks require that you present your articles of organization and business licenses to establish a business banking relationship with them.

You will likewise need to have a legitimate business structure in order to process credit cards, digital payments, wire transfers, etc. Also, in order to legally hire and pay employees you must have a legitimate business structure.

Thus, it is better to start your business ownership journey off on the right foot from the beginning. This way you don’t have to waste precious time doing these things once your business starts to generate revenue.

Improve Your reputation

The average consumer prefers to do business with a legitimate, reputable operation. This provides them with protection against fraud and abuse. Establishing a legitimate business entity can give your customers the confidence to do business with you.

Your social media presence is also an important aspect of establishing and improving your business reputation. Without a legitimate business operation, it is not very wise to establish a social media presence for your business. You can easily subject yourself to legal troubles as mentioned earlier.

Main Page

Should I Opt for a Career as a Digital Nomad?

Digital nomad

Living and working as a digital nomad is growing in popularity as internet capabilities expand globally. If you have incurable wanderlust you are in for a treat with such a career move. Working as a digital nomad or virtual expat gives you the opportunity to quench your travel thirst in dynamic and exciting ways.

Now before I dive too deep into this topic let me clarify what I mean by a digital nomad. For definitive purposes, a digital nomad is an individual who utilizes technology as their primary means of maintaining a location independent lifestyle. This could be through employment, entrepreneurship, residual income, or retirement.

For the purpose of clarity, I use the term digital nomad and virtual expat interchangeably throughout this post. However, keep in mind that a digital nomad does not necessarily have to live outside of their passport country. Though, living abroad is generally accepted as a major part of this lifestyle.

Digital Nomad Pathways

In general there are two main pathways to becoming a digital nomad. The first option involves being a virtual employee or entrepreneur while living outside of your passport country. In such a scenario, an expat can work for an organization within or outside of their host country.

For instance, you may move from America to the UK and work as a virtual graphic designer while working for a UK based company. Conversely, you may work as a virtual graphic designer in the U.S. for a U.S. based company and decide to move to Thailand while continuing your employment.

The second option for digital nomads is to work remotely for an international company as a expatriate employee while living in your passport country. Remote or virtual work still gives a person the chance to travel domestically or internationally at their leisure. Though I know that some may not deem this as a “true” expat or digital nomad experience.

However, such an individual may be considered an expat based on their employment classification. This has become more common in light of recent travel bans. This is primarily due to the need for countries that depend on expat labor to find innovative ways to attract and retain such employees. Also, this situation still qualifies one as a digital nomad based on the definition.

There are many pros and cons to both of these options. Deciding to embark on a digital nomad journey is simply a matter of which option is most beneficial for your particular needs.

Pros of Being a digital nomad

Cost of Living

One of the most common reasons that people choose to work as a virtual expat is to enjoy a better standard of living. The average income of a worker or retiree from a developed country can typically go a long way in an underdeveloped or developing country.

This is why many remote employees and entrepreneurs choose to live in foreign countries with a lower cost of living. They can enjoy a higher standard of living while being able save, pay off bills, or otherwise accumulate cash reserves.

Location Independence

Another benefit of being a digital nomad is the ability to be location independent. You can travel to and/or live almost anywhere as a digital nomad. So this option is perfect for someone interested in exploring multiple locations without being tied to a specific geographical region.

More Opportunities

Being a virtual expat opens the door to more employment opportunities. The virtual work space in general has literally changed our definition of when, why, and how we work. So digital nomads are often able to find or create unique and innovative career paths.

Freedom

Being a digital nomad is all about freedom. In many instances you have the opportunity to choose when, where, and how long you stay in a given destination. Depending on your work situation, you may also be able to choose your own schedule. This could mean spending early mornings relaxing at the beach. Or it could mean taking long drives up the coast in the middle of the workweek.

Unique Experiences

Being an expat in general often comes with its share of unique and exciting experiences. Expats tend to spend a good portion of their time exploring and learning about new places and meeting new people.

Working as a virtual expat has the propensity to expand your ability to explore and learn to a much higher degree. Since you are not bound to a traditional office setting you can have the freedom to move around more frequently. This ultimately means more time for adventures and exploration.

Cons of Being a digital nomad

Infrastructure Issues

The digital nomad space can also present its share of challenges. In particular for those who rely on steady and fast internet capabilities to perform their duties, infrastructure issues can present major problems.

This is especially the case for expats who live in areas that consistently have issues with the electricity and/or internet grid. Unfortunately, such issues are very common in underdeveloped and developing regions of the world. These issues can make the digital nomad life extremely difficult or outright impossible in some cases.

Loneliness and Isolation

Being an expat already comes with its own share of issues related to loneliness and isolation. Engaging on a digital nomad adventure can easily amplify such issues. When you work remotely you typically work in a bubble even if you communicate with your colleagues on a regular basis.

If you spend the majority of your day online while living in a foreign country it is easy to feel isolated. Undoubtedly this contributes to loneliness. When loneliness lingers one can easily begin to experience mental health issues. So this is definitely something to consider especially if you tend to be the loner type.

Visa Complications

Another issue for digital nomads is securing visas for long term stays. Digital nomads who work for organizations outside of their expat country usually have issues securing work or other long term visas. This is because they don’t actually work for an organization within the country.

Therefore, they either have to make visa runs, apply for a business visa, or secure a long-term visa through other means. In most instances, such situations can prove cumbersome and daunting over the long haul. This can easily fatigue even the most adventurous person.

Dating and Romance

Loneliness and isolation can also bring trouble in the romance department. Not being around other people on a regular basis obviously diminishes your chances of meeting someone special. Couple this with language and cultural barriers and you have a recipe for dating disasters.

Though all is not lost for virtual expats, it can be challenging for them to find suitable mates. Dating can be even more challenging for digital nomads who move around frequently. It is very difficult to maintain long distance relationships over the long haul.

Being Misunderstood

When someone chooses not to live a traditional lifestyle, they are often misunderstood by society. While being non-traditional is more fashionable than ever before it is still taboo to break away from some societal norms. Living as digital nomad is one of them.

Your family and friends will probably often question your desire to roam the world. Many of them won’t understand why you don’t want to settle down. So you may often feel like the black-sheep of the family if you choose this lifestyle.

The Best Pathway

As always, my advise for choosing any option is what’s best for your situation. The digital nomad life is the only way to live for some. For others, not so much. You need to do some deep digging to determine if the above-mentioned and other pros outweigh the cons for you.

When Should I Use My Emergency Funds?

The answer to this question might seem obvious. You should use emergency funds during emergencies, right? Well it is not always that simple in everyday life. And it gets even more complicated in the midst of an unprecedented and particularly daunting economic crisis.

In order to adequately answer this question you must first define what constitutes a financial emergency in your life. Then, you should exhaust all other means of resolving the financial emergency. Finally, you need to decide how much of your stash you should use toward the emergency.

Here are a few tips to help you make the right decision.

What is a Financial Emergency?

When you first establish your emergency fund you need to outline specific situations that you deem to be emergencies. Every financial hiccup is not an emergency and should not be viewed as such. Financial emergencies should generally be viewed as situations that substantially and adversely impact your physiological well-being.

In other words, does the circumstance adversely impact your ability to provide food, shelter, and clothing for yourself and/or others. While our other needs are definitely important they generally don’t provide a basis for utilizing emergency funds.

Even within the context of your physiological well-being an emergency generally involves situations that impede your ability to provide the basics – not luxuries. For instance, if you don’t have enough money to feed your family regular, home-cooked meals it may be time to dip into your emergency funds.

Going without basic nourishment definitely impacts our ability to function properly at every level. It is therefore a justifiable emergency.

However, if you can’t afford to eat at your favorite restaurant this is generally not considered a financial emergency. As such, you should continue to save and find creative ways to enjoy restaurant-style meals at home.

Love getting high returns for your money? Of course – who doesn’t? Earn up to 1.05% APY with My Savings when you open a My Checking account and set up a $1,000 direct deposit.

Alternative Options

Every bona fide situation that impacts your physiological well-being doesn’t necessarily require accessing emergency funds. Sometimes it can be solved through alternative methods, which can allow you to extend the life of your emergency funds for when you truly need them.

For instance if you are having issues paying your rent or mortgage, downsizing may be a viable option. If you still have the means to afford housing it may be better to look for more affordable housing. So instead of paying for a $2000 mortgage or rent payment, you may be able to find suitable housing for half the price.

Not only will you save on housing, you will also extend the life of your emergency fund reserves. If you have to spend your emergency funds on a high mortgage or rent payment for several months, your emergency funds will become depleted much faster.

If you find more affordable housing, you may not need to use your emergency funds at all. But if you do, it will be less taxing on you in the long run. You could potentially extend your emergency funds twice as long in such a situation.

Of course, there are also other solutions in this scenario. You many consider moving in with family or friends, applying for governmental subsidies, getting payment extensions from your landlord, etc. The key in this and other financial emergencies is to exhaust all options before using emergency funds. Your ultimate goal should be to maintain your emergency funds for a truly rainy day.

How to Use Emergency Funds

You should see a theme developing my now. The idea of using emergency funds is to keep as much money on reserve as possible. So the goal is to spend the least amount of money that is necessary to cover an emergency situation.

For this area I will use the final physiological need – clothing. In modern, western society clothing is rarely considered an emergency need on a day-to-day basis.

However, situations such as fires, theft, natural disasters, etc. sometimes result in people losing all of their possessions. In such instances, they usually have to replace their clothing. This definitely constitutes an emergency.

As stated earlier, you should first exhaust all other means before dipping into your emergency funds though. In such scenarios there may be clothing available through donation-based organizations or from family and friends. So the first option should be to use alternative sources so that your emergency funds can be used for the most important expenditures.

However, if you need to use your emergency funds for clothing you should be conservation with your spending. Start with the basics. You don’t need a wardrobe full of designer apparel to get back on your feet. It is fairly easy to get away with buying 1-2 weeks worth of clothing until you get settled again.

You can generally get quality, affordable items through thrift, second-hand, or discount department stores. Such items are usually suitable for your immediate needs. It is definitely not necessary to use all of your resources on clothing.

Instead you should keep as much as possible to cover your other physiological needs. In this way you can and should use your emergency funds to keep yourself afloat.

The Money Market account is designed for members who want the security of a traditional savings account, but with higher returns. Plus, with a suite of complimentary digital banking tools, you can access your funds wherever you are.

How to Prepare for a Career Change

Career Changers

Changing careers can be a daunting task for someone who has spent 20 or more years in the same occupation. Admittedly, it takes a lot of courage and strength to leave your comfort zone and possibly even your paycheck to start a new career later in life. But the good news is that plenty of people have successfully achieved this accomplishment numerous times over.

A career change most likely will not occur over night but with proper planning and steadfast action it can be done. The ultimate goal is to get it done without trying to take shortcuts. And I know that this may sound frustrating to some who have already spent years obtaining their education and even longer honing their craft. But, it is not always easy or efficient to simply uproot your career without taking the proper steps.

I was faced with this same dilemma a few years ago when I decided to transition into coaching. I have over 17 years of experience as a health science educator. My bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees are all aligned with my previous career path. When I felt the need to venture out on my own and start my own business I did not want to spend a great deal of time studying or learning a new skill. But, I had to in order to be successful at what I currently do.

Though I had a number of years of experience in career coaching from my previous career, I knew very little about business or financial coaching. So I dug my heels in and started learning the necessary skills for becoming effective in these areas a well. It took me about two years of planning, preparation, and practice to get to a level where I felt confident in starting my own business as a coach. But, I did it and so can you if you follow these steps.

Start Your Education

In order to successfully transition into another career path you must become knowledgeable in the key skills that it takes to properly execute the new career path. This may be in the form of going to trade school, college, or university.

You must have a license or certification in order to legally practice in some professions. Even if you already have a terminal degree in your current profession, you may need to get another degree in order to enter a different career field. For instance, you may have a master’s degree in cyber security but you desire to become a registered nurse (RN). Even with a strong educational background in cyber security, you will still need to complete the appropriate amount of college credits and internship hours in nursing school in order to qualify to sit for the RN exam.

It typically won’t take you as long to complete another degree if you already have one. You may be able to complete a bachelor’s degree in two years or less if you already have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a different discipline. So the good news is is that you may not have to start from scratch.

However, it is not always necessary to get a formal education in order to become proficient or to legally practice in certain career fields. You may be able to take a few online courses, read some books, or study under a guru in order to efficiently transition into a different career path. For instance, you can make a lucrative career in web designing but it doesn’t require any formal training to start a career in this profession.

So your education should start with researching the requirements for entering into the career path that you choose to transition into. Thereafter, you will need to plot the best plan of action for accomplishing your education goals.

Complete an Internship or Apprenticeship

Gaining experience in a new career field is an invaluable asset for making a smooth transition. In many cases colleges and universities provide internship or apprenticeship experiences, which makes a strong case for getting a formal education in a career field. On the other hand, there are a number internship and/or apprenticeship opportunities for prospective career changers that are not linked to formal education programs.

If it is difficult to find such opportunities, volunteer experiences can also provide you with valuable experience in your chosen discipline. This can be in the form of volunteerism through established organizations or volunteer opportunities that you create on your own.

When I decided to transition into coaching I started off by volunteering my services to family, friends, and various organizations. I provided my coaching services to my family and friends without charging fees. I also spoke at various events related to my coaching areas. This gave me the chance to hone my skills and get some constructive feedback on how to improve.

Connect with a Career Coach

Another valuable asset in the career change process is a career coach. A career coach can point you in the right direction so that you can make the most efficient use of your time and resources. Such a professional can help you get through the challenging seasons of your career transition when you feel like giving up or when you start to feel stuck. A career coach can give you encouragement, support, and advice on may levels.

A career coach can also help you develop a stellar portfolio including industry-specific resumes and cover letters that can help get you noticed. Many career changers end up selling themselves short when they start their job search. They may play down their previous experience that is not related to the career they are transitioning into or they may not properly emphasize the new skills and traits that they have gained. This is why having someone with an objective eye is critical in the job search process.

A career coach can also help you prepare for important interviews or salary negotiations. Oftentimes career changers do not truly understand their value when they transition into a new career path. They sometimes ask for less than what they deserve because of their career path trajectory.

For instance, I have had clients who have transitioned from roles in retail management to roles that require a college degree. Oftentimes these clients feel that they should accept an entry level salary in their career field simply because they don’t have experience in the new profession. They fail to properly valuate their transferable skills in the transition so they aren’t confident enough to ask for what they truly deserve. That’s were I come in. I help them to assess their real value and prepare to them to negotiate like a pro.

Need more career coaching advice? Contact us for more assistance.

Should I Get a Credit Card if I Have Poor Money Management Skills?

Credit Cards and Budgeting

Credit cards are a vital part of everyday life for the average person because they have become essential tools in the online marketplace. So based on the wide-spread scope and use of credit cards I wholeheartedly recommend that every independent adult carry a credit card. This simply makes life easier from many perspectives.

The benefits of owning a credit card are plentiful and include:

  • More efficient purchasing transactions
  • Safer and more secure financial transactions
  • Greater variety of payment options
  • Low or no interest fast-track credit
  • Card rewards and benefits
  • Credit building resources

While credit cards can be great tools, I emphatically recommend exercising sound financial management strategies when using them. This means that you need to plan and budget properly to avoid getting into debt or paying high interest rates. Obviously this isn’t easy for someone who has poor money management skills. However, all is not lost just because you may be a bit deficient in your budgeting skills.

There are ways that you can monitor and limit your own spending when you obtain a credit card. Such tools can help you take advantage of the many benefits of having a credit card while still enabling you to avoid or decrease credit card debt. So if you desire to have a credit card but you are have troubling keeping track of your finances, here are tips that can assist you.

Credit Alerts

If you are concerned about spending too much on your credit card from month-to-month you can set spending alerts on your card. Most major credit card issuers have this functionality on their online card management portals. You can simply set alerts to be sent via email or text message for you or secondary cardholders.

For instance, if you want to keep your spending limit to $500 per month you can set an alert to remind you when you reach this amount. This way you can curtail your spending before you reach your limit.

These types of alert systems are great for people who have challenges keeping track of what they spend but are easily able to control their spending. I personally like these type of reminder systems because they allow me to use my card while staying on track with my monthly budget. This way I can keep my credit profile active, yet not overspend or go into unnecessary debt each month. Also, I can earn cool cash, point, and travel rewards while staying within my budget.

Spending Limits

Another option is to set hard spending limits on your card that don’t allow you to go over the spend amount at all. Unfortunately, this option is only available if you are a secondary user on someone else’s account. But it is still a great option if you have issues with money management. You get to take advantage of this credit building tool while learning the art and science of money management.

Credit alerts give you soft reminders that you are approaching your credit limit. However, you can still go over the alert limit without interacting with your credit card management system.

If you are an authorized user on someone else’s account, they can set a spending limit for you which will not allow you go over this limit. They will have to change the limit in order for you to go over the spending limit. This option is great for young adults who are just starting out in life. They can be added to their parents or their spouses accounts even if they have no credit history.

This feature is not available on all credit cards so you need to check with your card issuer before applying if this is something that you are interested in. American Express is one of the few card issuers that has this feature on all of its cards. However, there are a few other issuers that have this feature for some of the cards in their product lines.

I have limited the spending limit on my children’s accounts since they are in the process of learning about money management. I give them a monthly budget and spending parameters so I set their spending limit to ensure that they don’t surpass their budgets. As they grow and become more responsible I plan to expand their spending limit.

Credit Freezes

Whether you have your own credit card or you are an authorized user on someone else’s card, a third option is to freeze the card. You can freeze your own account if you are the primary cardholder and you can freeze the accounts of authorized users. Freezing a credit card means that it can’t be used for new purchases by one or more authorized users. However, any prior authorized purchases or recurring payments from the card will continue unless you stop them.

This is a very effective option if you want to have a credit card handy for large or unexpected purchases. If you don’t use your card on a regular basis freezing it can also help protect it from fraud. This is also useful for those who have issues with controlling their spending.

Because I have several personal and business credit cards, I have frozen one of them that I don’t use on a regular basis. I actually plan to close the account before it incurs the annual fee payment at the end of this year. However, since I don’t use it and still want to have the credit line available to me for a while I have frozen it for me and all authorized users. This way I don’t have to worry if it gets lost or stolen since I don’t carry it with me like my the other cards that I use on a regular basis.

Need help managing your finances? Contact us and we will help you develop the right skills to secure your financial future.