We are in the middle of a short series of segments entitled Dealing with Financial Difficulties. Last week we covered Divorce. This week we will discuss losing a job.Another emotionally difficult life and financial issue is losing your job. It’s hard to keep your wits about you when you hear the news, but the calmer you can stay, the faster you can take necessary steps to move towards a better day.Assess- What do you have in the bank? How much do you owe this week? What might you have been in the middle of buying that needs to be stopped? House, car, furniture, communicate with the shop right away. Are you eligible for unemployment benefits? If so, apply immediately. You will want to investigate carrying over your health insurance – if your job was vital to the family’s coverage and investigate COBRA. This allows you to buy group rate health insurance for a limited time.Communicate- Let friends and family know the situation as soon as possible so that ears can be listening for job openings and opportunities. Communicate with utility companies and others about your situation. Many of them, when made aware of the situation, will do whatever they can to work with you, as long as you communicate! New direction- Is this an opportunity to go back to school or change your skills? Is your former job in an ailing industry or is this just a temporary setback? Try to take a reasonable and unemotional view of the future. Stay active even if is in small opportunities. You need to not be home sulking but working wherever you can doing whatever you can find. Stay positive, stay focused on others so you can get plenty of rest and get going tomorrow. It will all work out!Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.comCheck out or website that includes weekly streaming video.WWW.NorumbegaFinancial.comVoted Bangor’s Best Financial Planning Firm 2009 by Market Surveys of AmericaIn compliance with requirements from FINRA, all e-mail sent via the WSFG domain will be subject to review and archiving by Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. Email management, archiving & monitoring technology powered by Smarsh, Inc. Disclosure:Only securities and advisory services offered through Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Norumbega Financial and Wall Street Financial Group, Inc., are separate entities, independently owned and operated.
By- Marion SyversenNot everyone enjoys finance, though as this segment of the news states I think Finance is FUN! To try to help, and with the encouragement of WABI-TV5 staff, I wrote a book that mixes ‘Finance with Chocolate SauceTM’ and also includes home and garden improvement tips.What’s the book about?Making your money count by understanding some cost-cutting and savings tips for your present- home and garden improvement- and your future- retirement planning.Will it hurt to read?NO! And there are plenty of pictures and graphics. Plus it has plenty of ‘Marionisms.’Who’s the reader?Well, it’s for folks at any age who want some encouragement. I spoke to a Senior Symposium in Boston and will be speaking to college students. You read it Catherine. Who do you think would like it?Where can I buy the book?Amazon or for autographed copies www.MarionSyversen.com I can speak for no cost to you church or group. Contact me on the web site to register.Disclosure:Only securities and advisory services offered through Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Norumbega Financial and Wall Street Financial Group, Inc., are separate entities, independently owned and operated.
Life is not all lollipops and sunshine. You already pragmatically address some of the daily down-side issues of life with the purchase of Band-Aids and toilet paper. But what do you need to plan for your ultimate earthly future?In the book Ahead of Your Time authors and local business owners, Dick and Sue Coffin, provide stories, insights and specific planning strategies to take control, of your final arrangements. Though this is an vitally important topic it is often ignored. Planning is the best gift you can give to your grieving loved ones. This week and next we will cover some of the tips offered in this essential book. (Available from Rogan’s Memorials and at www.aheadofyourtime.net
Life is not all lollipops and sunshine. You already pragmatically address some of the daily down-side issues of life with the purchase of Band-Aids and toilet paper. But what do you need to plan for your ultimate earthly future? In the book Ahead of Your Time authors and local business owners, Dick and Sue Coffin, provide stories, insights and specific planning strategies to take control, of your final arrangements. Though this is an vitally important topic it is often ignored. Planning is the best gift you can give to your grieving loved ones. This week and next we will cover some of the tips offered in this essential book. (Available from Rogan’s Memorials and at www.aheadofyourtime.net
Getting ready for retirement and our years in retirement, which thanks to longer lifespans, now account for a lot of years and work best with important planning. Here’s a look at of the typical journey. Fantasy- The 15 years before retirement people begin to fantasize about what they’ll do – on not do – in retirement. This group have high expectations but according to studies, less than half in this age group believe they are saving enough. Excitement- 5 years before retirement there is a growing excitement. In surveys, people have what I would consider, unrealistic expectations about how great retirement will be. As one researcher put it, “Boy, when I get out of work, I’m going to be soooo happy!” The Big Day – The next 2 – 15 years is a readjustment of your previous expectations. Optimism drops from 80% to less than 65%. 25% of retirees are totally confused about their role in life. Peace- comes about 15 years into retirement. It could come way earlier than that for others. (Your emotional readiness and preparation plays an important role in your contentment.) Later Years- Three times as many retirees worry about paying for health care as worry about dying. Plan with that concern in mind. Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
We spoke a couple of weeks ago about the changing credit card laws that will restrict issuance of cards for anyone under 21. So how can you help younger students learn good credit habits? here are a few suggestions from the Wall Street Journal. Test Drive a Debit Card- I’ve spoken with middle school kids explaining to them the difference between credit cards and debit cards because they appear the same to the unschooled or inexperienced. But we know that debit cards draw money from a bank checking account. If you can teach kids to manage a debit account, that could be a good first step in helping them get the hang of not using cash. Authorized user of one your card- the author of the WSJ article suggests that making the child an authorized user of ‘one or more of your cards’ – I can’t imagine why they’d need to be an authorized user of more than one card, but in this way the ‘payment history of the card will appear on the child’s credit file and help him or her build a good credit history-assuming, of course, that the parent handles the card responsibly,’ according to the article. Secured Credit card- secured cards put cash down. They are like a pre-paid phone and allow you to use only up to the amount deposited with the credit card. If you pay the bill you have whatever available credit remains and you are able to establish credit history. A few years of these ‘guardrail’s can really help kids get a more solid footing and help them with their credit futures. Citations:WSJ
Family living on one income might be a decision made because of values or a situation thrust upon you because of circumstance. Either way, these tips will help you live well on less. Be thoughtful – Think about the family’s real needs. If you consider earlier generations and how people in other countries live you’ll realize that cable is not a necessity. Convenience foods, some paper products, downloaded music and frequent movie rentals may need to be eliminated from the budget. How many cell phones are really needed and is texting really necessary? Homemade lunches are yummy! Proud to be frugal- Not proud because you are superior to others, but don’t be ashamed to simplify life so that owning and maintaining stuff has become your reason to go work every morning. Be organized- With someone staying home as their new job, make time to plan menus, make homemade meals and get to the library for the movies and magazines available for free. Make-ahead meals cooked in bulk saves energy but to do that you need to plan. Be creative- Involve the whole family by letting the kids in on the cost cutting. As it gets darker earlier, help them make a game of shutting off lights in rooms when no one is using them. Make homemade pizza and have game night instead of more costly pursuits. Maybe other families will have a game swap so that you can pass along games that you have played and trade those for ‘new’ games. have the kids help cutting cost at the grocery store by unit shopping and coming up with healthy snacks ideas. Get involved volunteering in the community to help families who may be worse off than you so you can foster a selfless attitude in everyone. Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
If you hold a credit card you’ve probably noticed that you rates have increased. That’s in anticipation of legislation signed May 22nd that became effective August 20th. Regulations are phased in and the final portions take effect February 22, 2010.Wonder how your increased rate compares with others? According to the Washington Post Pew researches reviewed the lowest advertised rates of nearly 400 credit cards and found that they rose two percentage points, a 20 percent increase, since December. 45 day notice- for rate hike or other significant changes- you can decline the rate hike and pay off the card. Any new charges to the card would be at the new rate. Old requirement was 15 days notice. Bills arrive – the old rule was 14 days until the bill was due, the new rule is 21 days Rate increase for late payment AFTER 60 days instead of effective immediately and must be lowered after 6 months of paying on time. Under 21- Co-signers for those under age 21- and credit card companies on college campususes must disclose agreements with those schools and no ‘free gifts’ for signing up. Other inclusions: Bill will indicate when the balance will be paid off at the present rate. Payments will be applied to highest rate balances- such as a cash advance. Citations:
Why going back to school is good for businessItâ€™s that time of the year again — back to school time! If youâ€™re currently in business or considering starting a business now is a great time for you to head back to school! Like anything your chances for success in business can be greatly improved with education. Here are five other reasons why going to school is good for business.One – Small businesses classes can teach you specific things you need to know to successfully start and run a business.Two – By taking a class you can more easily figure out what parts of your business you do well and what parts you should have others do for you.Three – Youâ€™ll meet small business experts and service providers who can become great resources for you going forward.Four – Speaking of resources – small business classes are a great way to learn about the many resources and programs that exist to assist small businesses.Five – By attending classes youâ€™ll meet and network with other like minded individuals.To find a class near you check with your local Chamber of Commerce, economic development agencies, colleges and universities and this website www.mainebusinessworks.comSo grab your lunch box and get back to school!Iâ€™m Deb Neuman for WABI TV 5 News
By- Marion SyversonÂ Berenstein Bears â€“ â€œTrouble with Moneyâ€, â€œDollars and Senseâ€ and â€œThink of Those in Needâ€ are three of the Berenstein Bears series of books that teach children (suggested ages 4- 8) about a variety of ways to understand the topic of money. Those familiar with theÂ series may know that other titlesÂ such as â€œThe Trouble with Choresâ€, may also tie into the money lesson.Â Cat in the Hat- This series called The Cat in the Hat Learning Series includes the title, â€œOne Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Centâ€ (suggested ages 4-8) Â and explains the history of money, bartering, currencies, banking and paying interest.Â The Everything Kids Money Book- For ages 9-12 this book with games and simple graphics, explains a plethora of money subjects such as minting coins, coin collecting, banks, interest, allowances, borrowing, practicing charity andÂ how toÂ shopping a sale.Â Since books of this kind are generally not big sellers local outlets seldom have them readily available. But they can easily be ordered.Â Disclosure:Only securities and advisory services offered through Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Norumbega Financial and Wall Street Financial Group, Inc., are separate entities, independently owned and operated.
On a recent vacation I was shopping downtown and made a purchase at a retail store. When I checked out the owner gave me a coupon for 10 % off several other downtown businesses and suggested why they were great places to visit. It worked! I went right next door and enjoyed a great lunch for 10% off and visited a gallery I hadn’t planned to visit! This practice of businesses sending customers to each other is called Fusion marketing. Here are tips for making fusion marketing work for youâ€¦One – Identify businesses that share the same customers as you but who aren’t in the same business as you. Examples include stores, restaurants and museums partnering, landscapers with builders, wedding photographers with florists and so on. Two – Determine what each participating business will offer the customers.Three – Write up a simple agreement between the partnering businesses that states what role each will play and what they will offer.Four – Develop marketing materials to promote the program benefits to customers.Five – Combine customer mailing lists with your partners and get the word out via email, the web, word of mouth and flyers.In today’s economy fusion marketing is a great way to work collaboratively with other businesses to bring business to both your doors at little or no cost.Try it and see what happens!I’m Deb Neuman for WABI TV5 News
When I was a kid and the family would drive by a school- any school- I would hold my breathe until we’d pass it. It wasn’t learning that bugged me, it was the routine of school. But it’s getting to be that time again: time for school shopping. We’ve talked before about helping kids learn about money by giving them budget information so they can take an active role in making purchasing decisions. They will also learn about every family’s finite school budget. Don’t think they will be traumatized by the information. They will be empowered and will prioritize what item of clothing or technology really deserves a higher level of expenditure. Spending is becoming the activity of choice among kids- Born to Buy, by Juliet B. Schor, compiles some alarming trends with kids and shopping. American kids, according to Schor, believe ‘that their clothes and brands describe who they are and define their social status.’ She goes on to state that, ‘Children’s social worlds are increasingly constructed around consuming.’ (Emphasis mine.) Schor cites data compiled in 1997 showing how kids spend their time. Kids – ages 6 – teens- spend about 2.5 hours shopping per week. That is many times what they spend per week in art, talking to family, reading, outdoors, and studying. It is also more time than they spend in religious activities. (Younger children spend even more time shopping.) Kids might know a lot about stores and ‘cool brands’ but they have little idea on how much money is available for school shopping and how that compares to the long list of things they want. Just a reminder, don’t take any griping about the size of the shopping budget as a personal insult. Kids may whine about a lot of things, it doesn’t mean anything personal. Here are a few ideas for helping kids learn about money during school shopping trips: Have a shopping strategy- talk about the size of the budget before you head out to the stores. Use the internet or store fliers to get an idea of the prices of hoped-for items. Prioritize- How many outfits can be made from the separates you’re planning – or thinking- of buying? Go to the library, or check the internet, or have a fun day with friends making new outfits from just a few pieces of clothing. Be Sensitive- It is the culture of kids to feel that their WORTH comes from the brand. It is not correct that they feel this way, but they feel this way regardless. Help them know that their worth is intrinsic. Juliet B. Schor, Born to Buy, page 13 Schor, pg.11Schor, pg. 30 Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
A recent study conducted by a Professor at the University of Calgary indicates that we’re procrastinating more than we used to. The study shows that back in 1978 -fifteen percent of us were guilty of it. Today that number is more like sixty percent. If you find you’re among the many saying “I’ll do it later” here are five tips to help you step procrastinating and get it done now!One – Tackle the hardest things you have to do first thing in the day. That way they won’t be nagging at you and you’ll feel better knowing it’s done and out of the way.Two – Schedule time on your calendar to take care of a task you’ve been putting off and only focus on that task until it is done.Three – Post reminders everywhere. A post it note by the front door, on your fridge your laptop or dashboard will not only remind you about something you need to do but all those notes may annoy you enough to get it done!Four – Enlist support from others. Ask a friend, partner or colleague to remind you about a task you need to get done. A little peer pressure can go a long way in reducing procrastination.Five – When you accomplish that task you’ve been putting off. Reward yourself! Chocolate ice cream can be a great motivator to get something done that you’ve been putting off!I’m Deb Neuman for WABI TV5 News
I recently received a question from a client about tools to help her daughter figure out her budget. Here are some online tools to help. Mint- is a popular, free tool that links your investments with your checking accounts and bills to help you see how you are doing on spending and savings goals. The service is free because sponsors pay for the privilege of selling you on a cheaper mortgage, higher interest rate savings account, etc. Those sponsors don’t have direct access to your info, but Mint interacts with you on their behalf suggesting cheaper loans. The service is free and confidential. Buxfer – also free and a direct competitor with Mint, Buxfer has a secret storage place using Google to help you feel even safer. It does the same things with some interesting add-ons such as Twitter and is also iPhone accessible. There are several other online services available as well as Excel-compatible programs. Not much work to have a good vision of your finances. Being organized saves money! Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
There is one four letter word that every entrepreneur is familiar with – that word is risk!The key to success as an entrepreneur isn’t necessarily having a high risk tolerance – it’s more about having confidence in your ability to manage risk and being flexible enough to handle challenges. To assess your ability to manage the risk associated with starting or expanding a business ask yourself these 5 questions.One – Are you confident your business will succeed? Have you conducted the research necessary to determine if a market exists and that you can you compete with your competition? Two – Are you able to adapt to change and persevere if things don’t go exactly as planned? Three – What do you stand to lose if the business fails and are you willing to risk that? This could include money, personal and business assets, even relationships.Four – If you have a family, consider how they will tolerate the risk and challenges associated with operating a business.Five – Does taking risk thrill you or scare you to death. If you know it will keep you up at night with worry – you might want to reconsider.Risk can be a very good thing. Great rewards can come to those who take risks. Keep in mind that most successful entrepreneurs take calculated risks not foolish ones. I’m Deb Neuman for WABI TV 5 News
Many businesses in Maine are doing business internationally. If you are planning to travel overseas to conduct business there are things you should know and do to insure that your business trip will be a successful one. According to my friends at the Maine International Trade Center here are some things to know before you go First – what is considered appropriate business attire in the country you plan to visit? You don’t want to show up wearing khakis and a shirt in a country where appropriate business attire is a suit and tie. What is considered a proper greeting in the country you will be visiting? Handshakes are universally acceptable but touching is not. While a friendly pat on the back may be acceptable in the US it may be considered a violation of personal space in other countries.Don’t assume or be presumptuous in thinking that everyone speaks English. Take the time to learn some words and phrases in the language of the country you are visiting. Your hosts won’t expect you to master their language but you will win their respect for making the effort.Another great business tip for traveling overseas is to create a business card with your contact information in English on one side and in the language of the country you will be visiting on the other and present the card with the language spoken facing your recipient.For more tips and advice when doing business internationally – contact the Maine International Trade Center at www.mitc.comI’m Deb Neuman for WABI TV 5 News
EVALUATING A BUSINESS IDEA:I got a call a call from a viewer asking me to help him decide which business he should start. He had about ten very different ideas and hoped I would instantly know which one he should pick. My answer to him was I can’t tell you that but I can tell you how you can decide that for yourself.And here’s howâ€¦First of all narrow down the business ideas to those that you are the most excited and passionate about. Be sure you understand all of the duties and responsibilities required to successfully run the business and decide if it’s something you really want to do. Next ask yourself which idea is the most feasible. How much money will it take to start up and do you have it or can you access it? What skills are necessary to run the business and do you possess those skills or can you acquire them? Do you have or can you find the right location suitable for your business idea?Third and really the most important question to ask yourself when evaluating a business idea is this – is there a market? Will people pay you money for the product or service you will offer. You also need to determine if the business can be profitable by estimating your expenses and projected revenues.Having many great ideas for a new business is a very good thing but it can be challenging too. By applying these questions to your ideas you can better determine which idea is the one most likely to bring you success!I’m Deb Neuman for WABI TV 5 News
Jobs- Increasing unemployment numbers continue to weigh on markets and on employers. Even if business is good for us we perceive news reports as more indicative of how things are really going. Unemployment figures are lagging indicators, which means that even as other areas of the economy recover job losses may continue to rise. Oil- Oil prices which had gotten a bit over $70 a barrel dropped to below $65 a barrel because of concerns that if folks are out of work they won’t travel as much, there will be a lower demand for oil. That matters to us as consumers, because we like low oil prices. But local employers, such as Cianbro, who are developing oil refinery rigs, have potentially more work when oil prices are higher and the risk of development is rewarded with higher profits. Housing – Figures for Maine are mixed with May sales for Penobscot county up. Figures statewide show sales over a three-month period declining. Prices also continue to drop but they are down by 12% over March, April and May. What does it all mean? Things aren’t great, but they aren’t continuing to nosedive. They seem to be more stable. Be cautious and steady in your finances. Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
Here are some tips on creating a life that allows you Financial Independence! Marry a true partner- Peace at home and unity in making big decisions will simplify your life and save you money. Respect each other. Never be a bully. Being a bully means you are pushing through a decision that isn’t one that your loved one agrees with but you force it on them. Not good. Life’s not about the money- True happiness isn’t a life filled with possessions. True happiness is found in loving others. Stop collecting expensive things to fill your life. That means being smart about spending on your house, car, and other possessions. I have beautiful things, but I didn’t pay a lot for them. Debt- If you are not working to live, but because you HAVE to take a job you don’t like or one that has too much pressure just to pay your bills and debt, you’ll soon see the wisdom in having – or paying off your debt. Having lower expenses or less to no debt allows you to have a job that you enjoy. Start saving- Just the discipline of saving $5 a week will be rewarded. We’ve all read about folks with simple jobs who squirreled away small amounts of money that added up over time to provide a surprise inheritance. Monthly bills aren’t a stress-filled event when you live a bit more simply. Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
It’s likely that at this very moment – someone owes you money! I’m hearing from many business owners that one of their greatest challenges in today’s economy Is collecting receivables. Here are some tips to help you reduce your receivables and collect more of the money that is owed to you.One – Start by reviewing how much credit your business has extended to customers and how that’s impacting your cash flow. You may want to renegotiate some of your terms with existing customers and limit the credit you extend to new ones.Two – When offering discounts to customers who pay early write on the invoice the actual dollar amount they would save rather than a percentage. For example if you pay by September first you owe one hundred dollars – by September thirtieth one hundred and twenty dollars. Seeing actual dollar amounts greatly improves the chances your customers will pay you sooner rather than later.Three – Be willing to negotiate a payment arrangement with slow paying customers who are good customers. Collecting something is better than nothing and it creates goodwill with good customers who may be experiencing temporary cash flow set backs.Four – Bill often. Rather than billing once a month – establish a payment schedule with the customer from the beginning that’s based on certain milestones or deliverables and bill accordingly. Staggering your billing among many customers will help to improve your cash flow.And finally if you’re slow paying your bills because others are slow paying you contact the people you owe money to and discuss a way to resolve the situation. They’ll likely be more willing to work something out with you if reach out to them first.I’m Deb Neuman for WABI TV 5 News