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Family Finances – A Role For Both Spouses

Dad mows the yard, cooks all the meals, and handles all repair jobs. Mom does all the grocery shopping, is in charge of taxiing the kids to their ‘practice du jour’, and takes care of the laundry.Division of household duties such as these sounds all too common these days. In most cases, the handling of family finances falls to a particular spouse as well. However, when it comes to the family finances, it is imperative that both spouses play a role. If not, the result could be a devastating blow when a spouse is left to pick up the pieces.The primary risk faced by a household which has one spouse managing the family financial affairs alone is that the other spouse is left completely in the dark. Being the financial decision maker in the family, if something were to happen to you would your spouse be able to step in and manage the family wealth? More times than not, the death of a spouse is the immediate situation people think of. But the same can be said about being a spouse of a soldier being sent half way around the world for the next year, or someone who is too ill to continue handling the family finances. Even if you expect your spouse will turn to a financial planner or advisor for help when you are not available, will your spouse even know where to look for such help much less what questions to ask?Taking a proactive approach to bringing your spouse up to speed on your family’s finances will pay huge dividends in case the time comes when you are not around to assist. Most financial advisors will agree that there are six questions your spouse needs to be able to answer regarding your family’s financial picture.1. Who Do I Need To Contact? This first step is the most critical. Your spouse needs to have a well prepared list drawn up for him or her listing your important contacts. These include, but are not limited to, financial planners, accountants, attorneys, insurance agents, and bankers. Anybody who has a role, as slight as it may seem, in your family’s finances needs to be on this list. For each person on the list you should include their names, company names, addresses, phone and fax numbers, and email addresses. A brief overview of what each one of these individuals has done for your family would be beneficial as well.2. Where Is Everything Located? Your next step is to outline what assets are held and where they are held. These assets include not only any personal investment accounts, but also company retirement accounts and insurance policies. Other documents of equal importance are your wills and ancillary documents, such as your Power of Attorney documents and Living Will. If you currently do not have these documents in place, it is critical you do so as soon as possible.Organization is critical. A well-organized filing system will lighten the already mounting stress felt by your spouse or loved ones forced to pick up where you left off. Start by creating folders for each investment and bank account, estate planning documents, insurance polices, etc. and be cognizant in what information is contained in each. For example you will want to keep investment account statements and trade confirmations, but you can throw away annual reports, prospectuses, and marketing material. With insurance policies you will want to keep the policy statement that is currently in force, but you can throw away older policies that have lapsed.Once this has been done, consider creating a master directory that lists all of your accounts and account numbers, names and numbers to the appropriate contact person, any website addresses and login/password information to gain access to your accounts. Store this information in an ultra-safe place such as a home safe, safe deposit box at your bank, or in a password-protected file on your computer (and make sure your spouse knows that password!).3. How Are We Doing Financially? Your spouse does not need to know about every trade you make and every stock you may own; however, you should sit down as a couple from time to time and review your current financial picture. How much do you have now and how much of that is liquid (how easily can it be converted to cash in an emergency) are just a few items to discuss. Are you on track to reach your shared goals? If not, what steps need to be taken now to get you pointed in the right direction?Deciding how much to spend, save and invest each month is a basic discussion that every family needs to have, and both partners should be involved in those decisions. There is a saying: It is best to discuss your finances on the 1st than to argue about them on the 31st.4. In What Order Should I Access Our Assets? While some of your assets can be accessed at any time, drawing on other assets may result in unnecessary fees, penalties and taxes. Your spouse needs to know which accounts and assets to tap into first should the need arise. He or she will need to know which assets are more liquid and those that are not. The standard rule of thumb is you will want to have at least three to six months of living expenses in a highly-liquid account for emergencies. Ideally, this will be held in savings accounts, money market funds, or certificate of deposits (CDs). If you are retired and are dependent on your portfolios for living expenses, a good target to shoot for is two to three years of living expenses in highly liquid accounts.5. Who Do I Turn To For Help? You may be the go-it-alone type when it comes to your investments and family finances, but it may be unrealistic to expect your spouse to follow in your footsteps. It can’t hurt to assume the possibility that your spouse will be in need of a financial planner or advisor. Start asking your friends and co-workers if they are working with an advisor or could refer you to someone.As with most professions, numerous professional designations exist in the field of financial planning. The most widely recognized is the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation. Financial professionals who carry the CFP® designation have been educated and tested in all areas of financial planning, including estate, insurance, and tax planning – not just investments. Additionally, they must maintain a required amount of continuing education each year and adhere to a very strict code of ethics. Other designations in the industry include the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Certified Personal Accountant (CPA), and the Personal Financial Consultant (PFC), and most of these designations carry education and continuing education requirements as well to maintain the credential.In the end, however, you will want to find a financial professional who shares your philosophies on life and your finances, and has experience working with others who have needs similar to yours. Professional designations are important; finding someone you trust is critical.6. Where Can I Learn More? Even with a financial planner or advisor in the wings, it is important for your spouse to know where to turn to build a basic foundation of financial literacy. For a spouse that is not used to finances, more times than not any book on basic investment and financial topics won’t fall into the ‘I just couldn’t put it down’ category…..it won’t be a fun read. Having a handful of commonsense investment and personal financial planning books will, however, provide a lot of useful information in an easy-to-digest format. A few examples are The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need by Andrew Tobias, and A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel.Another option to consider is taking a personal financial planning course at your local university or community college. Non-credential courses are very affordable and are offered at various times and days of the week to conform to your schedule. More importantly, it can provide enough information to make the transition from having never touched the checkbook to actually running the family finances much more seamless.Nobody wants to think about life without their spouse. Not having your financial ducks in a row, along with a financially-educated spouse who will be able to pick up the baton and run, will only make the transition that much more difficult…..both emotionally and financially. Take the time to sit down together and start this indispensable process.

The Difference Between Advertising Photography And Product Photographs

If you’re a business owner or sole trader then almost certainly you have had to consider the possibility of using advertising photography in some way to help boost sales or brand awareness. Advertising photography is clearly an important aspect of promoting and marketing a business, but it is also a solution fraught with a range of problems and challenges.Not only that but any cursory search online will inevitably result in a wealth of sites offering advice on how to go about advertising photography, yet much of this information conflicts. For example there are businesses, marketers and sole traders who swear by using in-house solutions rather than professional photography services.Perhaps if the company or business just happens to be a photographic studio then this sounds like a good idea, but for anyone else the chance of being able to create advertising photography that really sells is somewhat farfetched.Let’s not forget that advertising photography has been around for decades, but the concept has changed in that period of time. It has had to, simply because of the wealth of advertising and marketing messages to which we are all exposed on a daily basis. When there were only a handful of photographs advertising products, businesses or brands it was reasonably easy to achieve success simply because there was relatively little to compare it to, and little competing with it.But today so many companies are distributing so many advertising messages that there is a huge amount of competition. Every image has to compete against hundreds or thousands of other images, and so its chance of making an impact is very much diluted.But the problem doesn’t stop there, because if you do manage to capture the interest of consumer, the image then has to achieve much more than simply portraying what the product looks like. This is the real difference in advertising photography today compared to photographic marketing of even a few years ago.Today every image has to communicate so much information and so many ideas and often in just a fraction of a second. Sadly a photograph, no matter how good, that simply includes the product is often not enough. Advertising photography is different from photography, yet often business owners tend to focus only on the word photography, perhaps assuming that any photograph of a product is, by default, advertising photography.However the truth is that it is not. A photograph of a product is simply a photograph of a product. It always will be, and is unlikely to be anything else.So what has to be done in order to turn a photograph into an advert? Essentially it’s about communicating something, saying something to the consumer. It may even involve communicating grand concepts or stimulating emotional responses in the consumer, and it is only by achieving this that advertising photography can really be accepted as being distinct from merely a product photography.But how do you communicate concepts, stimulate emotional responses or otherwise actively engage the consumer on a much deeper level than merely one of retail?The first challenge is to make sure that you fully understand the consumer. Only when you have a crystal clear understanding of who your target audience is can you begin to understand how your advertising photography needs to be tailored to target them effectively. This is another shortcoming many business owners fail to appreciate.Advertising photography doesn’t just mean coming up with a bland please-all solution that will appeal to everyone. Many of the leading names create advertising messages which specifically target different parts of their target audience so that they’ll have more impact. If you’re targeting 30 something professionals then your whole approach needs to be different from an approach that would more effectively target teenagers.But whilst it’s easy to see how advertising photography needs to take into consideration the target audience and understand what are the most effective ways to market your products to them, appreciating what the tactics and tools are that will achieve this is quite another matter. How do professional photographers create a photographic image that sells a product rather than merely showing people what it looks like?To answer this would require many years’ of experience, and reams of article content to even scratch the surface. Far better than trying to blunder through the process in house is to make use of a professional photography studio and a photographer who has years of experience creating images that sell rather than merely creating images which show what things look like in an unimaginative way. Advertising photography is about selling, and it’s important to make sure that the camera is your marketing friend and not an impartial outside superficial assessment.

Making Easy Money Through Telemarketing

Telemarketing is a good way to earn some easy money quickly, provided the company is legitimate and the purpose of the telemarketing calls are specific and not just aimed at calling random phone numbers from their database for selling something. This is a job that most youngsters prefer because the basic requirement from a telemarketing executive is good communication skills. Telemarketing is a hot profession among fresh graduates who have a flair for the required language and who possess a pleasant voice.The process of recruiting a telemarketing candidate is quite easy as the applying, interview, selection and induction processes are very easy and fast moving. A telemarketing job has reasonable monetary benefits, as it not only involves the salary portion but also other compensation and benefits. Generally telemarketing job involves round the clock shifts with people rotating for the different time zones. Hence graduates, usually males, who are willing to work in the night shifts, get extra allowance and benefits. This is a huge bonus for the graduates who are just out of college and they grab the opportunity with both hands.Though there are many forms of telemarketing, sales are the most preferred option because it has the added benefits of commission rates. Each individual in the sales segment is given a particular target for a month or day and this motivates the employee to work towards his goal. If the targets are met or exceeded, the employee gets a huge percentage of commission in addition to his original compensation package. Sales, is understandably the toughest part of telemarketing, however it is chosen by many youngsters today, irrespective of the gender because it has some really attractive benefits.With the huge success of telemarketing opportunities across the globe, big brands have started to outsource their telemarketing profiles to exclusive call centers that target at reaching out to the customers. These big companies have call centers under their own brand names that add more credibility to the telemarketing job. These telemarketing jobs are not too stressful and they don’t require much of physical efforts. It is all about speaking pleasantly and succeeding in developing a customer or satisfying an existing customer.Most of the telemarketing jobs require a minimum qualification of graduation; hence there are lots of takers for the jobs. Now the telemarketing industry has penetrated deep into the marketing world and pushed the traditional marketing industry far backwards. A lot of innovative ideas have come up in this industry. Earning money through telemarketing jobs, done from home is the latest trend to catch up. Many women and senior citizens have started taking up these offers as this provides them a way of making easy money from the comfort of their homes.It is not only about making easy money; telemarketing is also about finding a job quickly. It is way easier to get into a telemarketing profile than most of the other profiles; hence this job still remains the hot favorite among youngsters.