Sarang Ahuja | Finance

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Sarang Ahuja—5 Books to Change Your Financial Perspective

5 Books to Change Your Financial Perspective

Finance is not something to be singularly studied and then mastered. It takes time to adequately comprehend everything that feeds into finance and economics, and even more time to keep up with the worldwide and personal changes that can affect the way your spend and make money.

When you’re on the beach this summer, consider mixing up the usual lineup of pulp thrillers with one of these great books on money.

Spend Well, Live Rich: How to Get What You Want with the Money You Have by Michelle Singletary

This is the kind of book that you can judge by the cover. Unpretentious, straightforward and practical, Singletary brings her years of journalism experience to bear on Spend Well. The focus of this book is on common financial questions, with the author providing relatable advice that anyone can follow. If you’re looking to improve your debt situation and spend less, this is the book for you.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

In the wake of the Great Depression, impoverished journalist Napoleon Hill sought the secrets of wealth, interviewing numerous wealthy individuals over the course of two decades. It doesn’t just offer insight into how to be smart with finances, it’s an inspirational book as well, telling the stories of men and women who grew out of their humble beginnings and made names for themselves.

The Devil’s Financial Dictionary by Jason Zweig

Tongue-in-cheek and humorous, Zweig paints a picture of a hostile and unforgiving Wall Street, deciphering jargon while tearing down the individuals that have made finance so difficult to process for many. It’s a survival guide to a dangerous reality, one that can be navigated with a lot of savvy and perhaps a good sense of humor.

Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons In Life by Richard Branson

Written by the founder of Virgin, contrary to what the title may suggest, Branson calls for a more holistic approach to building business based on moral values and environmental preservation. Branson talks about the people that inspired him and how he experienced and overcame numerous obstacles on his personal road to success, with the hope that he can spur others to do the same.

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Kiyosaki tells the story of his two dads, his own, and his “rich dad” who was actually the father of his best friend. He contrasts how both approached money and spending. It teaches paths to financial freedom and the mindset necessary to not spend beyond one’s means. It’s a great way to change one’s mind about how wealth is generated and spent.

Financial Recovery (1)

Financial Recovery—Acknowledging Your Money Missteps

When it comes to personal finance, it can be easy to continue spending on something that offers you little to no value with a disproportionate level of attachment due to resources you’ve already expended. This is known as the sunk cost fallacy and can cause individuals to act against their best interests and spend more than necessary. When this happens, the best course of action is to ignore the amount already spent and move along, even if this is difficult. Similarly, if you’re caught up in another bad financial habit, the solution is always to acknowledge the issues with your behavior and adjust accordingly. With that in mind, here are a few financial mistakes that are easy to make, but also easy to recognize and fix.

Not planning for a major life change

When something major occurs in your life, you should attempt to anticipate and deal with it as soon as possible. Changing jobs and careers is perhaps the most jarring financial change to make, but the expenses and time associated with major events such as weddings and the birth of a new child can tax you more than you’d expect.

Take advantage of the time you have before the event occurs. When it comes jobs, don’t quit until you’re absolutely certain you’ll be able to support yourself between jobs. Setting up a new job is half the battle, but the other half can often involve pursuing other sources of income that can support you in the interim.

Not tracking online payments

When it comes to online payments, never assume that payments are being made automatically. Even with autopay on, make a list of websites that will be charging you and find time to check them after every payment is made. It can help save you from unexpected late fees and save you the hassle of having to call companies to talk about your payment.

And, as previously stated, never hesitate to let go of a recurring payment if you feel you are no longer gaining value from it.

Not having a budget

Building a budget may seem like a daunting prospect, but there are tried and true rules that can help you easily plan out where your money goes every month. One of the most prominent is the 50/20/30 rule, which states that you should allocate 50% of your monthly funds to necessities, 20% to retirement, savings, and debt payment, and 30% for lifestyle expenses, which involve everything else. You’ll need a way to track this budget, and some online services make it easy, but much of this can be done by writing down relevant information.

Not building additional sources of revenue

Sometimes, time limitations make this difficult, but securing or setting up alternate streams of income can give you more breathing room month to month. This can involve taking on freelance projects, securing a part time job, or even selling old items that you no longer need. Be flexible, and ensure that you have the time to properly dedicate to side projects.

Not having long term goals

Things like retirement can seem like ages away, but knowing the eventual outcomes you are trying to achieve go a long way toward your planning tactics. For that matter, it’s not enough to simply have a goal; you need to know the steps that you want to take to reach that goal, and do the proper research and preparation to ensure that you’ll be able to act on it when the time comes. This can involve managing your debt, creating an emergency fund, and putting serious thought into where you allocate your savings.

Everything you need to know about the Brexit

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On June 23rd, 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. While the actual cessation of membership in the EU will unlikely to happen before 2018, the news itself has led many investors, especially those in the United States to sell their stocks in fear of a plummeting market.

While there have been various talks about Britain leaving the European Union in the past, it was hard to conceptualize that the actual act may be put into place. The referendum, a vote in which everyone of voting age can take part in, was held on June 23rd where the ‘leave’ won by 52% to 48%. The referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting. But to understand the overall gravity of this move, we have to understand the importance of the European Union.

The European Union, often known as the EU, is an economic and political partnership involving twenty-eight European countries. It began after World War II to foster an efficient and effective economic co-operation, with the idea that countries that trade together are more likely to avoid going to war with one another. Since World War II, the EU has grown to become a single market, allowing goods and people to move around as if the member states were one single country. This was also attributed with the EU’s own currency, the Euro where it is heavily and traditionally used by its members.

Now for the U.K. to leave the EU, it has to invoke an agreement called Articles 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which gives the two sides two years to agree on the terms of the split. While the U.K. government itself has campaigned against leaving the EU, warning the Brexit would kill U.K. jobs and plunge the country into a recession and create currency turbulence, the people and the powers above have made it adamantly clear about the split.

As for the economic warning for the Brexit, there was a dramatic fall in the value of the pound against the dollar and in share prices in the immediate aftermath of the vote. Britain also lost its top AAA credit rating, meaning the cost of government borrowing will be higher. While international relations and investments are still up in the air, the share prices in the U.K. had seemed to recover. Still, the overall ramifications this can have are something that the general public cannot ignore. Not only has the value of the pound have fallen greatly, but also the day-to-day spending impact is likely to be more significant. Even if the pound regains some of its value, currency experts have already expected it to remain at least 10% below where it was on June 23rd. Now the price rises may not kick in immediately.

While many people are asking if there can be a second referendum, the chances for that voting to happen seem highly unlikely. As for now, all we can do is watch and wait to see the over impacts Brexit can have on the rest of the world.

The Real Truth About the 2008 Financial Crisis

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. The Great Economic Myth of 2008, challenging the accounting to accounting principal.

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