Category Archives: Your Financial Portfolio

How to Financially Prepare for Maternity Leave

Pregnancy is often a very exciting time in the lives of soon-to-be-mothers. However, like all things, a degree of preparation is always in order and appropriate. While some employers and places of business do grant their workers paid maternity leave at the appropriate time, this is not the case with all institutions. Therefore, if a woman’s company does not pay for her maternity leave, she will inevitably have to do some financial planning of her own. Thankfully, there are a series of well thought out steps that expecting mothers can take to ensure that all goes well during their leave from work.

Start A New, Separate, Savings Account

Although having a new baby can be very exciting, it can also be very expensive. The added costs of childcare combined with the reduction in income can serve as a major blow without the proper funds. According to U.S. News, one of the best ways to financially prepare for maternity leave is by putting aside extra money into a savings account. Ideally, this should occur prior to the time in which the woman takes off for maternity leave. Starting months in advance or even as soon as the pregnancy has been discovered can be very helpful in the long run. Baby-related expenses add up extremely quickly. Preparation is absolutely imperative.

Try to Build A Strong, Support System

Having and caring for a baby within the first few days and weeks can be an amazing experience, but also very overwhelming at times. Having the support of a spouse, in-laws, or other relatives can make all the difference in the world. It can also cut back on childcare expenses which would likely follow after the new mother returns to work.

Financial reasons aside, a strong, reliable support system always makes a difference in the lives of new parents. Raising children is a journey and as the old saying goes, it takes a village.

Put Together A Budget

Prior to maternity leave, putting together a strategic and reasonable budget is going to be very important for soon-to-be-mothers. Not only does this allow the review of income, expenses, and other matters, but it also allows women to track patterns and specifically understand how their baby will impact them financially. Of course, there is no set number and many variables which will impact the budget which needs to be set.

Some women decide to meet with financial advisors as they work to put together the right budget for themselves and their families. However, this is optional; with or without a budget, moms-to-be can still take the right steps, thus ensuring a smooth and stress-free maternity leave.

A Final Word

Regardless of how much planning takes place, maternity leave is likely to present its own unique and likely unforeseen occurrences. However, with the right financial planning and a strong support system of loved ones, any potential challenges which may arise can be easily handled and dealt with. Finally, talking to other women who have experienced pregnancy and maternity leave can also make a tremendous difference.

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal

An Overview of Freelancing and the Gig Economy

As the world changes, so do work options and the workforce in general. The inevitable emergence of artificial intelligence and automation has also played a role in the shift and perception of work. Traditionally, when most people thought of work, they were reminded of a specific place where they went to offer a particular service or product. However, this, too, is changing. More and more people are rejecting notions of traditional work and pursuing other options and avenues such as freelancing and the gig economy. Findings from the Harvard Business Report moreover affirm that over 150 million individuals across North America and West Europe are pursuing the aforementioned work avenues.

Thriving in the Gig Economy/Freelance Market

Many people dream of a carefree lifestyle where they can work when they want, how they want, and where they want. Despite the possibility and attainability of the foregoing lifestyle, it does not come without hard work. The first year as a freelancer can be most challenging. It takes time to network, get work from various customers, and build up a network of clientele. However, with persistence and gumption, it can be done.

One of the most important, yet frequently overlooked requirements for freelancers is the ability to work well with others. While many freelancers can work from their laptop in any location with internet access, they still have to interact with the clients who are contracting their services. The clientele is absolutely paramount to success in the gig economy. Without clients, freelancers have no business or autonomy.

Freelancers and others who work in the gig economy must also meet deadlines, complete assignments, and communicate with their customers. All of this goes back to the ability to work well with the clientele that breathes life into the freelancer’s ability to do what they do. The preceding requirements are applicable regardless of whether or not one is a freelance writer, editor, graphic designer, etc. While each field varies, the general must-haves remain the same across the board.

Getting Started in the Gig Economy/Freelance Market

When breaking into the gig economy, one of the most important factors entails knowing where to begin and how to reach clients. Thankfully, there are many job platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer which are excellent for freelancers at all levels. Not only do the aforesaid platforms connect freelancers with clients, but they also allow freelancers to market their skills and abilities on their profiles. Clients who have worked with freelancers can then leave feedback on their profiles. If the feedback is positive, it may result in additional work. Feedback from past clients can also impact whether or not future prospective clients choose to do business with a freelancer or move onto others. As previously stated, clients are the ones who make it possible for freelancers to succeed in the gig economy.

A Final Word

There is no step-by-step success manual on how to succeed in the gig economy. Each freelancer will inevitably encounter their own difficulties and struggles that they must overcome in order to enjoy the perks. While each journey varies, the right tools, a strong work ethic, and the determination to succeed will make all the difference in the world.

Authored by: Gabrielle Renee Seunagal

How to Convince Your Boss to Give You a Payraise

Virtually everyone would love to receive a pay raise from their employer. Whether or not said raise is deserved or feasible depends upon many factors and circumstances. However, there are still certain steps that employees should take when they are pondering asking for a salary increase.

Consider the Value You Bring to the Company

Like virtually everything else in life, a pay raise has to be earned. The odds of employees successfully receiving higher pay from their boss is almost zero to none if the employee is unable to effectively show how their value or work for the company has increased since being hired. Fast Company furthermore affirms that when asking for a pay raise, the numbers make all the difference in the world. Contributions to the company’s financial growth, salary rates of other colleagues, and profit numbers engendered by one’s work can greatly impact whether or not an employer feels inclined to honor the request of an employee who desires higher pay.

Pick the Right Time and Place

Similarly to an employee’s company value, the time and place which in they decide to ask their boss for a salary increase is a considerable, determining factor. Although seemingly apparent, workers should abstain from asking their employer for pay raises in front of other colleagues or at a time where the employer appears busy, frustrated, or otherwise preoccupied. Requesting a salary increase at the wrong time can result in a resounding no, even if the answer might have been yes under different circumstances. The right time and place are equally as important as the ability to present the numbers.

Ultimately, each employee will have to make the judgment call regarding the best time to request a pay raise from their boss. However, setting up a meeting is arguably one of the most appropriate occasions to ask for a salary increase. Not only does this circumvent the employer being busy or preoccupied with other matters, but it also conveys professionalism. During the meeting, employers should preferably come with a portfolio showcasing the aforementioned numbers and anything else which may help their cause in terms of securing their desired pay raise.

Always Maintain Respect and Professionalism

No hardworking person enjoys being turned down for a pay raise, but unfortunately, it still occurs sometimes. An employer may decline a worker’s request for a salary increase for multiple reasons. Sometimes the pay raise may simply supersede the company’s budget. In other situations, the boss may simply feel as though the worker requesting a raise has not earned it or they just may feel like saying no. Regardless of the outcome, the employee still has a duty to remain respectful and professional at all times. Whether he or she is told yes or no, the meeting should always end with a handshake and a ‘thank you for your time.’

In the event that an employee is turned down for a raise, they will have to decide whether or not they wish to continue working for the current company. If so, they should continue performing their duties to the best of their ability. If not, the employee then has the responsibility to respectfully turn in their two week’s notice to the boss.

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal

 

Basic Money Handling Tips

The ability to handle money appropriately has never been more imperative. In this day and age, people who are aware of just the most basic ways to manage capital do significantly better than individuals with poor money management skills. The perks of managing capital appropriately are well documented. Any individual who is serious about his or her financial future would do well to learn some of the most basic, yet paramount money handling tips.

Don’t Spend Every Dime You Earn

Virtually everyone has heard someone say that they want to “make more money.” The desire to increase one’s earnings is universal, however, the manner in which one handles the extra capital is what truly makes the difference. Far too often, when someone’s earnings increase, so does their lifestyle. For instance, an individual who receives a raise from his or her boss may then feel the inclination to spend more money. In their mind, why shouldn’t they? They’re making more money and can afford to be less frugal, right? Wrong! Far too many people have this mindset and it hinders them from considerable financial growth.

As the old saying goes, “if you make a million and then spend a million, you’re still broke.” A person who is serious about handling money appropriately should first and foremost put more money aside towards savings or fruitful investments when they see an increase in their earnings. This is not to say that one can never upgrade their quality of life, however, it needs to be done in moderation and with steady progression. Anything more is a recipe for financial disaster.

Don’t Go Into Debt

Similarly to saving and investing capital, landing in debt is another one of the most common financial traps that many people fall into at one point or another. It is only human nature to desire nice things and enjoy a certain lifestyle, however, the finer amenities of life must be earned. This is a concept that many individuals fail to realize. The temptation to swipe one’s credit card repeatedly feels great until the bill comes due and the person can’t pay it. All of a sudden interest kicks in, on top of the original debt, and the cost of a $400 wallet is now $20,870.76 by the time it is completely paid off.

Debt and interest are the enemies of financial success and should be avoided at all costs. Those who wish to experience the best that life has to offer must do so by increasing their earnings in one way or another. There are many ways to create passive income streams, including driving for Lyft or Uber in one’s free time, renting out spare rooms on Airbnb, or doing freelance work on a site like Upwork. Regardless, debt should never be incurred. Persons who are already in debt should work to pay it off immediately.

A Final Word

While the list of money handling tips could go on indefinitely, not spending every earned dime and abstaining from debt are two of the most crucial methods of achieving financial success. Although the foregoing changes can be challenging at first, they ultimately depend upon one’s level of discipline, wisdom, and execution.

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal

What Self-Employed People Need to Know About Taxes

Virtually everyone dreads tax season and the inherent complexities which often accompany it. The process of doing one’s taxes have become so difficult that many people hire professional accountants or tax specialists to take care of the procedure. However, taxes are somewhat different for self-employed individuals and whether they choose to do their taxes on their own or employ the services of a professional, it is still critical for people in business for themselves to have certain tax-related knowledge.

Self-Employment Taxes Vary from Person to Person

The amount of taxes that self-employed individuals will have to pay depends upon many factors. Taxes for sole proprietors will vary from taxes owed by LLCs, S-corporations, etc. Another important factor is income. Generally, people who earn more money owe more money to the government, although deductible expenses and applicable tax write-offs can decrease taxes for self-employed persons.

The Balance moreover cites increasing one’s business-related expenses as the most efficient ways for self-employed individuals to reduce the amount of taxes that they owe to the federal government. There are many applicable deductible business expenses including, but not limited to, insurance, advertising, rent, security, travel, etc.

A full list can be viewed by clicking here.

Preparing for Taxes Can Make a Considerable Difference

According to TurboTax, one of the best ways for self-employed individuals to prepare for taxes is by using a Schedule C. Not only does this somewhat simplify the process of doing taxes, but it also allows the individual to see how much money they earned or lost. As a matter of fact, the use of a Schedule C is mandatory for sole proprietors.

Self-employed individuals are also advised to prepare for tax season by securing a personal tax ID number and a business tax ID number. This truly comes in handy if business owners are mandated to provide their employees with W-9 forms.

Finally, the use of online financial tools like Quickbooks and Mint are excellent for helping self-employed individuals track their income, business expenses, and growth. Each of the aforesaid elements will play an integral role during tax season.

Knowing Whether or Not You Fall into the “Self-Employed” Category

Believe it or not, sometimes people mistakenly classify themselves as self-employed when they are actually employees. This mistake can severely complicate the process of doing taxes during tax season.

According to additional reports from The Balance, the official definition of self-employed individuals reads as follows:

“If you are in business for yourself, or carry on a trade or business as a sole proprietor or an independent contractor, you generally would consider yourself self-employed.”

A Final Word

Tax season can be inherently challenging for even the savviest business people. This is why many people choose to hire accountants or tax specialists. Although this option is available and often advisable, self-employed individuals who have, at least, somewhat of an understanding of taxes will be infinitely better off than their completely unaware counterparts.

There are many benefits of being self-employed. As the world of work changes and evolves, going into business for oneself is an avenue that more and more individuals are venturing towards.

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal