Sarang Ahuja | Finance

Leader, Financial Expert, Game Changer

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How To Educate Employees on Personal Finance

How To Educate Employees On Personal Finance

Personal finance is one of the most important subjects to learn about. There are many who struggle to understand the different aspects of personal finance in their lives. Many companies are starting to invest in training resources for employees on this subject.

There are several studies that show employees who struggle with their personal finances are less productive at work. Looking at the situation from this viewpoint, it makes financial sense for companies to help employees with their finances.

Debt

Perhaps the biggest area of concern for many people is high levels of debt. The average student graduates with thousands of dollars in debt from college. Few people make a concerted effort to immediately pay this debt.

In addition, the average credit card balance is starting to increase again. This is a major warning sign for the overall economy. Teaching employees about the dangers of debt is a great way for them to take this problem seriously. The average person can pay down a lot of debt in a short period of time if they just get organized.

Employees should be taught to write all of their debt down with the amount next to it. From there, they can plan how to attack the debt to pay it off. Working an extra job is a great way to pay down debt quickly.

Investing

Few people are investing enough money to reach their financial goals. Investing is the best way to build wealth over a long period of time.

One of the biggest reasons that people do not invest is that they do not understand it. Few people want to risk their money in the stock market, and it is hard to read about investing theories if you have no background in the subject.

The good news is that investing is more simple than many people realize. Instead of risking money in speculative investments, employees can make a lot of progress simply by investing in a 401(k) option through work.

Getting Organized

There are many people who make enough money to reach their financial goals if they stay organized in this area.

However, without organization, it is hard to develop a plan for the future. Companies that invest in the education of employees will see a high return on investment. Not only will employees be more productive at work, but they will also have higher morale. This is a great way for companies to make a positive impact in the lives of employees.

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.

Personal Finance for Children

Kids and MoneyIt has long been discussed at what age people should start learning how to manage personal finance. It was only recently that some high schools began to require personal finance courses for graduation. Also, of course, there is the ever-popular list circulating the internet stating ‘Things I Never Learned in High School,’ most of which is related to personal finance. High schoolers, college students, and recent graduates are almost demanding that some personal finance that will be pertinent to the future is taught in school, yet the question of how early to start teaching it still remains. A new report suggests that the ideal time to start teaching personal finance may be earlier than anyone has thought before.

This Building Blocks Report, by the Consumer Financial Protection Board, makes the assertion that personal finance should start being taught at age 3. That’s right; preschoolers should be encouraged to practice make-believe play in order to develop their executive functioning. Executive functioning is, in part, learning control and how to plan, which is very helpful in budgeting. It gives people the willpower to maintain control over their actions, so, the sooner it is developed the better. Some make-believe activities that may help children to develop this section of mental processes are setting up a pretend supermarket in your home, playing accountant, and giving children calculators.

Of course, preschoolers will not be able to understand more complicated personal finance lessons, but they will understand basic concepts. Some things that should be impressed upon them include exchanging money for goods and saving money to get something better later. Remember that this is only the first phase of personal finance lessons.

Once children reach their pre-teenager stage, allowance can be used to further teach about personal finance. For example, requiring those receiving the allowance to save a portion of it each time it is given will teach how beneficial saving can be. It can also instill in them the sense that impulse buys, while fun at the time, are not always the best choice. When kids reach their teenage years, purchasing decisions can really start being discussed. At this age, it is recommended to discuss spending habits in all family activities, from filling up on gas to eating at a restaurant. Teenagers should be helping the family make spending decisions, which will ultimately prepare them for making spending decisions with their own finances in the future.

While it is great that some high schools are making personal finance courses standard, it is clear from the above report that personal finance learning should begin even soon. For more information, check out this Forbes article.

Financial Tips For Young Professionals

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The best way to prepare for one’s future is to start saving money early in life. Today’s millennials face several obstacles on their path to financial stability, including substantial college loans and an unsteady job market. In a recent study published on Forbes, it’s predicted that 30% of millennials would sell an organ to alleviate their debt for $30,000.

While many young people do not see financial planning as a feasible tool in their early careers, there are simple steps that making planning for the future manageable. Here are four tips that all millennials should consider implementing today.

1. Set Up A Savings Account (Or Two)

Whether you’re just starting out or are launching into your next career opportunity, the number one priority for achieving financial stability is creating an emergency fund. Savings accounts are critical to the health of your bank account and to all aspects of your life. They provide individuals with more flexibility, ease of mind, and most importantly, a nest egg of support for when life throws you a curveball. The easiest way to make this happen? Place a small amount of money from each paycheck directly into your bank account. In time, the fund will grow and offer a stronger net of support.

Once the safety fund is underway, millennials should consider opening up an IRA. This is a great way to prepare for long-term future.

2. Find Ways To Make Budgeting Fun

While creating a budget is not a novel idea; it will absolutely save you money each month. Tech-savvy millennials should capitalize on the inventive nature of online banking apps, like Mint. Mint make budgeting simple by linking the user’s bank account with their credit cards to provide a comprehensive outlook on their current financial state. The application also provides a wealth of tools to help users save money each month, like a free credit check and ways to achieve long-term savings goals. In addition, Mint users can set individual budgets for specific categories, like groceries or dining out. Once users exceed that budget, Mint will send them an alert. Online banking is a great way to stay on top of your money and budget more efficiently.

3. Invest In Yourself

Young millennials may feel under qualified to apply for jobs that offer a higher income, but by investing in themselves during their 20’s, they will be able to develop skills that will aid them in their future. Many local colleges or technical schools offer night or weekend classes or workshops. In addition, those looking to earn an additional income can look into secondary jobs. Bartending, babysitting, and freelancing are all excellent supplemental positions that offer flexibility and added income. These jobs may require long nights or weekend work, however, individuals will benefit from the added income and development of professional and creative skills.

4. Seek out Alternative Solutions

Finally, many young professionals crippled with student loans can often lessen their monthly payments or find alternative solutions to paying it off. Refinancing private loans may be a huge help in terms of monthly payments, and many startups are making the process easier and more attainable. Likewise, students with federal loans may also apply for restructuring their payments through the government. The internet offers a vast resource on ways to consolidate debt so young professionals can focus on saving and preparing for the future.

While saving and creating budgets may not be the most exciting activities for young professionals, these habits will offer benefits for years to come.

Warren Buffett’s Best Advice on Successful Investing

Noted businessman, investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett joined Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan in Gaston Hall at Georgetown. During this talk, Warren Buffett discusses his background, work experience, and various insights in the wonders out investing.

The Guide to Investing: Part 2

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When it comes to money, investing can oftentimes be a scary thing. The main thing you can do to best benefit your financial future is to understand, prepare, and strategize various ways to optimize and leverage your financial portfolio each and every month.

In my last article, I went over some of the red flags novice investors do when building up their financial portfolio. As much as we want to focus on the do-not, you also want to make sure you are focusing on the dos, or action plan, when planning your financial investment.

As stated in my previous article, I cannot stress the importance of learning. No matter what the situation is, knowledge is power. The most important thing you can do for your financial portfolio is to never stop learning. Assume the mentality of a student and constantly absorb the information and news around you. When it comes to investing, it can be a long winded and complicated process. That is why I recommend doing your homework and researching the ins-and-outs of every financial opportunity. If there is at any point where you do not understand a particular step, stop and research until you understand it. The biggest risk you can take in compromising your savings is by not understanding what you are getting into.

Once you are able to understand the foundational background of investing, try putting that knowledge into real life situations. This will require you to pick your own personal investments and manage your campaign yourself. While you pick your investments, make sure you are strategic and consistent with your financial plan. The simpler your plan is, the better. The most important thing with your plan comes down to your financial goals. Any miss-targeted-dates, whether it is weekly or monthly, can compromise your long-term goal. To help alleviate this problem, try setting up an automatic investment plan. This will allow you to stay consistent with your savings each and every month.

Now, while investments may take you on a roller coaster of a ride, make sure you stick with it. Yes, this can be stressful, but continuing with your plan in the long run will prevent any unfavorable consequences. For any short-term drops or short-term changes with your financial plan, this can require a large buy-out fee and penalty fees that can set your financial goals back a couple months, or worse, a couple of years. Just be confident in your decision and continuously update yourself with any relevant information that can prove that your investments are safe and secured.

If, however, you are uneasy about how things are going, you can always turn to a professional. Contacting a financial advisor can only benefit than hurt. At some points in our portfolio, we are unsure how to best optimize our campaigns in the most fruitful and lucrative manner. That is when a financial advisor can help you allocate necessary funds for your best interest. Before committing to a financial advisor, be sure to do your homework. Ask a lot of question and research their educational and financial background. To learn more about how to find the best financial advisor for your particular situation, research the qualities here.

TED Talks: Katherine Collins and the Nature of Investing

Katherine Collins is Founder and CEO of Honeybee Capital, dedicated to pollinating ideas in pursuit of optimal investment practices. Katherine has over twenty years of professional investment experience. At Fidelity Management & Research Company, she served as portfolio manager for a number of multi-billion dollar equity funds and as head of equity research, leading one of the largest buy-side research teams in the world. As her interest in sustainable and regenerative finance grew, Katherine set out to re-integrate her investment philosophy with the broader world, traveling as a pilgrim and volunteer, earning her MTS degree at Harvard Divinity School, and studying the natural world and biomimicry as guides for investing in a valuable and integrated way, beneficial to our communities and our planet. Katherine is an alumna of HDS and Wellesley College, and is a CFA charter holder. In this TED Talks, Katherine discusses the the background, history, and strategy behind investing. 

TED Talks: Chris McKnett and the Investment Logic for Sustainability

TED Talks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives and profession experience within a 20-to-60 minute presentation. For this particular Ted Talk, Chris McKnett argues the case of why an investor needs to look at a company’s environmental, social, and governance structure as well as its financial status.

Investing 101: the Pre-Work

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Whether you are investing in a friend’s startup or in a fortune 500 company, it is absolutely imperative that you do your due diligence and learn more about the organization that you are investing in. When making that commitment, you need to understand that it is not an easy decision. Buying any type of equity from a company is not just a simple piece of paper. Rather you are being part owner. For these reasons, it is important that you spend the time researching and evaluating the company’s background, financial history, and future goals before making your decision to invest.

Below, I have outlined a strong attack plan to help direct you into making a well-informed and well-adequate decision. This plan will highlight various points when researching your company. At the end of the day, you want to make sure you are making the right decision. Just evaluating a company’s current and present status is not enough to foresee its financial future. To truly understand what business you are getting into, dive in from the beginning and read about how the company came to be, where it has gone, and what it wants to achieve. Remember, while there is no such thing as a sure thing, there is always a way for you to improve the odds.

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Research the Chief Executive Officer

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the most senior corporate administrator or executive in charge of managing the overall organization. When starting your research, begin here by understanding what type of leader is running this business. We have seen countless times how damaging a CEO can be to a business from the likes of Yahoo and Twitter. Make sure there is a strong and trustable leader behind the company. To evaluate this, ask yourself a series of questions:

  • What is the CEO’s professional and academic background?
  • What is the CEO’s vision for the company?
  • Do you share the same vision and goals for the CEO?

If you are finding conflicting issues with any of these questions, do not invest. If however, you are seeing certain similarities, dive in deeper and extract their overall financial plan for the next five (ten, twenty) years.

Evaluate the Company’s Financial Health: Net Income, Revenue, and Cost

Having a strong holistic view of the company’s finances is incredibly important for any investor. Even though a company is currently successful, you want to make sure you understand the ups-and-downs of their business and how they were able to any financial hurdles in the past. By evaluating those situations and numbers, you will be able to gain a sense of security of the overall company. In addition, make sure you review and assess the company’s financial health. To do this, evaluate and understand the Net Income, Revenue, and Cost figures. Revenue, by definition, is simply the raw amount of money the company made from salves of its products or services. If there are any gaps in the revenue, try asking what could have caused those changes. Afterwards, look into their cost. Cost is the value of money that has been used to produce the company’s products or services. This can range from obligatory expenses like employee salaries or rent to miscellaneous expenses such as snacks or office supplies. Make sure that the company is wise with their money and they are not spending their money on frivolous items. Last but not least, gauge the overall profit and profit margins the company makes quarterly and annually. See where they are going to go with this and what they will potentially do with those numbers to grow and scale for the future.

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Analyze the Company’s Business Model

Similar to the CEO section, you want to gain and overall understanding of the company’s business model. A business model (business plan) breaks down the background, history, vision, goals, finances, and future plans of a company. Start off by asking yourself those hard-hitting questions of whether or not you are interested with the company. Go even as far and question if you agree with its vision and beliefs. Remember, like we said above, when you are investing, you are not simply getting a piece of paper. Instead you are becoming part owner. Make sure the company fits your own personal and professional interest. This will allow you to become more engaged with its news if you share more of a common interest.

Investing by the Age

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