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4 Steps to Take When Comparing Insurance Companies

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At some point in your life, you’re going to need to put thought into the type of insurance you have. You’ll need to choose car, health, life, and home insurance; making so many decisions between a variety of companies can feel overwhelming, especially when it’s such important protection for various aspects of your life. Here are some tips on how to choose the best insurance for your life and make these major decisions a little less daunting.

Carefully compare the coverage

People too often simply go with the first coverage they look into and that seems to fit into their lifestyle and budget. It’s easy to choose insurance so you’re done with the decision and can move onto other important tasks you need to do, but the type of insurance coverage you choose to go with is incredibly important, even if it doesn’t seem like it affects your day-to-day living. As you’re looking at different insurance companies, write down the options, costs, and details of each company and plan. Then, you can compare them all side-by-side and see which works best for you.

Talk to actual agents

While it’s convenient to get a quote or find details online, it’s also vital that you speak with actual agents for the company. You need to know whether or not you’ll get quality customer service from the business and how easy it is to file a claim or ask any questions you may have. If it’s too difficult to get in touch with a real person, you may want to consider going with a different company. If the business has local branches, visit an office in person and ask any questions you may have.

Read client reviews

An insurance plan could seem wonderful and you may feel comfortable with the agents you spoke with, but if all of the customer reviews are negative, it’s probably not a company you’ll want to go with. Look online to see what the reviews are for the business and what common complaints people make. A few complaints could simply be one-time problems, but if there are recurring complaints about a specific issue, it’s a red flag.

Think about your lifestyle

When you’re looking for insurance, you’ll need to know what your budget is and what protection you’re looking for in your insurance. If you rarely drive, you can dial back on car insurance and get a basic plan. For home insurance, think about the various threats in your area and then make sure any policy you chose has those coverages.

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5 Ways to Foster Your Creativity at Work

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Regardless of the industry you work in or what your position is, creativity is vital to your job. However, when you’re putting in full work days, it can feel like you’re simply doing enough to finish all your tasks in the day and get by. Even if you enjoy being creative, you can’t force it and you won’t feel creative every second of your work day. Instead of giving up on using creativity in your job, find ways to foster it and use it to your advantage. It’s time to snap out of your mundane routine and take back your creativity. It’s important to always work on your creativity and find new ways to do your job that make you and your work more effective.

Start your morning strong

If you’re rushing around in the morning to get to work on time, it can throw your mind off for the entire day. Even setting your alarm back by 15 minutes can make for a better day. Consider using a sleep tracker to find out when the best time to wake up is and set your alarm for that. Then, once you’re up in the morning, spend time doing something interesting, such as reading an intriguing article, writing, or some time exercising.

Keep learning

We should all strive to embrace lifelong learning. You do not have to go to school your entire life to keep learning; you can achieve this goal without ever leaving your home. There are plenty of online resources, such as webinars or classes that you can take to learn something new. You can also take single classes at a local school or attend workshops. Find a way to stay creative and learn something new and you’ll see the benefits at work.

Do something on the side

Whether you get a side hustle or a hobby that allows you to embrace creativity, doing something outside your regular job is beneficial. It can be an alternative way to earn income or it can just be something interesting. You have a chance to take a break from your regular job and learn new skills that could help you there.

Schedule time to brainstorm

If you want to foster your creativity in your current position, find time to brainstorm. It can seem a bit forced to schedule time for creativity, but it simply means you’ll stop what you’re doing and give yourself time to take a break and think instead of rushing through your to-do list. Giving your mind time to wander can have fantastic results for your creativity.

Find inspiration

Whether you find inspiration through other people or something else is up to you. Surrounding yourself with creative people helps foster your creativity and can motivate you to work harder on creative projects. You can also find inspiration through books or images; surround yourself with what helps you be more creative.

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6 Benefits of Open Office Setups

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Open office setups – your employees either love or hate them. People have drastically different opinions about open offices and sometimes these opinions can change in a matter of hours. However, there are lots of benefits to open office setups. If you manage this type of office layout correctly, you’ll see the many benefits and help your employees see them as well. If you have a smaller company or lots of younger workers, an open office plan is definitely worth trying out and can work well for your business.

Easy collaboration

Collaboration is the key to innovation in an office. When everyone is hidden away in their own offices, it’s incredibly difficult for employees to make the effort and collaborate on projects and ideas. Making it as easy as possible for employees to work on projects together encourages collaboration and the quality of work.

Flexibility in movement

There’s flexibility in movement for employees and for the physical aspects of your office. If desks need to be moved around because new teams are formed or the office grows, an open office plan makes reorganizing simpler. It also makes it easier for employees to switch to new seats or simply get a change of scenery while working.

Less of a hierarchy

While those at the highest levels of management may still have an office, individual managers and supervisors can sit with or close to the employees they’re managing. Instead of closeting away your entire management team, an open office reduces the sense of a hierarchy and makes management seem more approachable and leads to open discussion of issues.

Improved mental health

Being around other people means employees are less likely to feel isolated and struggle with mental health issues that go along with that loneliness. An open office allows workers to feel connected with the people around them and supported. Sitting close to other people means employees feel less alone and better connected to those around them.

Networking in the office

In more closed-off offices, it’s incredibly difficult for employees to get to know one another, especially if they work in separate departments. An open office makes it easier for employees to talk to one another and simply just identify other people who work at the company. Employees can network with each other, find new opportunities, and share useful information.

Better communication

A major issue in many offices is that people simply do not talk to one another. If people communicated better, many issues could be avoided and more easily resolved. An open office makes is easier for someone to simply walk to another desk to discuss a question or idea instead of trying to communicate over email.

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4 Financial Goals for People in Their 30s

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Financially, your thirties are the ideal time to start building wealth. In people’s 20s, they typically spend that decade growing a professional career and identifying financial best practices. Many people in their 20s are occupied with paying off student loans and saving up what money they can to travel or to eventually purchase a home. As you get older, you’ll learn financial best practices and have greater earning potential.

With age comes wisdom. While twenty-year-olds are worried about making ends meet, paying rent, and finding a job they love, thirty-year-olds are generally more established in these areas. Anyone approaching or well into their 30s should be dedicated to becoming financially stable. It’s never too early to set ambitious financial and professional goals, but your 30s are the primetime to do so.

Move up in your career

30-year-olds are well aware of their skillset and have several years worth of job experience under their belt. Now is the time for them to advance their careers by pushing forward in their professional life. Whether this advancement takes the form of a promotion in the office or a complete career shift, this period in one’s life should be dedicated to professional advancement.

Evaluate your budget

With more money comes more goals, as well as more responsibility. While it’s common for one’s budget to change from year to year, as people reach their thirties, they may need to radically reevaluate their spending. During one’s thirties, it’s time to consider altering their budget to accommodate getting married, starting a business, or having children. A new budget helps determine where and how your income will be divided over the next few years.

Rethink your insurance coverage

As you enter your thirties, you’ll realize that you have more assets to protect. If you’re married and have children, it’s even more important that you have adequate insurance to take care of your family. Now is the time for 30-year-olds to rethink their insurance coverage to make sure that they are properly protected. Depending on an individual’s family and home life, they may need to consider auto insurancehome or renter’s insurance, or life insurance.

Increase the emergency fund

Your thirties should bring financial security. Gone are the days of living paycheck to paycheck and skipping meals until payday. You should take advantage of any excess income by growing your emergency fund. An emergency fund with enough money for three to six month’s of expenses is the ideal goal and can help if you lose your job or have surprise medical bills.

Your thirties begin the start of a new financial journey. Follow these four tips to ensure financial stability and start building wealth.

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3 Tips for Paying Off Debt

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For some people, debt is an inescapable part of their everyday life, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Tackling sky-high credit card bills and paying-off those never-ending student loans really is possible for the most money-savvy amongst us. It might seem like you’re bogged down with debt and you’ll never make a significant dent in it, but there are certainly ways out if you take it one step at a time. Read on for some of the best tips for paying off debt.

Understand that every dollar matters

Making the most of each dollar is the first step for anyone trying to get out of debt. While it’s tempting to subscribe to the attitude of “treat yourself” when it comes to splurging on luxury items and expensive products, in order to save as much as possible and get rid of debt, it’s essential to cut back in your spending. Start this process by putting together a detailed budget.

According to NerdWallet, it’s a good idea to use the 50/30/20 budget. This method focuses on spending 50% on essentials, 30% on wants, and 20% for paying off debts. For individuals that are truly committed to lowering their amount of debt, it is beneficial to tap into the “wants” percentage for extra funds.

Embrace the side hustle

The concept is simple: make more money, pay off more debt. Embracing the side hustle lifestyle allows you to have multiple streams of income, in addition to your regular paycheck. Though these side hustles will add several hours to your weekly schedule, the extra income can have a major impact on the amount of debt you’re paying off if you’re using that money wisely.

The best side hustles to consider are part-time or one-time opportunities that tap into an your particular skill set or resources. For example, homeowners looking for extra income can turn to Airbnb, just as writers with a knack for creating quality content opt for freelance blog writing.

Take a hard look at your values

Many people want to save more, but can’t get over the hurdle of cutting back on their monthly expenses. For most people, putting limits on spending means downsizing and no longer spending as freely. Individuals that would rather “keep-up appearances” find themselves at odds with the mindset required to follow a strict budget. However, budgeting is an important part of spending less and saving more.

In order to change one’s spending habits, you need to align your money mindset with your values. Someone that truly values being debt free will be able to overcome looking less than luxury as they try to save more.

Getting over debt is possible. Put these three strategies into practice to start getting over debt today.

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4 Great Books on Finances that Every Financial Enthusiast Must Read

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Managing finances is one of the most critical skills that all individuals should aim to possess, especially once they start working and earning a paycheck. Eventually, you’re going to have money that you need to decide how to spend. If you’ve never received any kind of education on how to best manage money and ensure your expenses are covered, it’s important to learn as soon as possible to avoid colossal debt. Here are some of the best books on finances you can read and learn what to do with your hard-earned cash.

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Probably one of the best-selling finance books in the industry, Rich Dad Poor Dad, compares two families: one that has less money and family that would be considered middle-class. The book highlights that individuals should not only learn how to plan their finances but should go further and instill financial knowledge in their children. This teaching helps guarantee that children have financial knowledge when they grow up and can avoid mistakes their parents may have made.

Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis

This book is a critical finance book that offers insights to individuals who want to learn more about the bond market. A bond is a financial instrument that is used by the government to control inflation and interest rates in the country. Any person who is interested in matters concerning inflation and interest rates on loans should go ahead and buy this book. The book goes further to explain the causes of the market crash several years ago, which was facilitated by the housing market.

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt

This book is a finance book that addresses the common aspects that individuals experience on a daily basis concerning money management. The book does not focus on solving a particular market but helps educate an everyday person in making sound financial decisions with the aim of getting the best value while at the same time minimizing expenses. This book goes further to help homeowners and real-estate agents on how they can get the best deal possible when searching for property.

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

This book is a personal finance book that offers insight to individuals on how to deal with different financial situations on a daily basis so that they can make accurate decisions. The personal finance book is handy for borrowers and creditors as well. According to this book, managing finances professionally is an essential factor as it helps individuals to retain their wealth and can prevent you from making costly mistakes.

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3 Tips for Keeping Your Smartphone Secure

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Your smartphone may be a small device, but it is a powerful piece of technology that you can use at your disposal to access the Internet, make important phone calls, and a litany of other things to increase your productivity. However, if you are not careful, your information and other pertinent features can be compromised by would-be criminals. Smartphone security is so very important, but not many know how to adequately make sure their phones are secure. Here are the best ways to go about properly securing your phone.

Make your PIN strong

Your smartphone’s PIN number is the first line of defense for security. If you are able to properly make a PIN that no criminal would be able to guess, you can protect your smartphone from infiltration. You have to make sure that your PIN isn’t short or predictable. Avoid making this number a date of graduation or a date of birth. The general rule of thumb is to make a PIN that is at least six digits in length. There are also smartphones that have multi-faceted security checkpoints such as facial ID and touch ID, so take advantage of those as well. The harder it is to unlock your smartphone, the more secure it’s going to be.

Avoid Third Party Stores

While you may have heard the temptation to download apps from third-party stores that are not a part of your smartphone’s main software, this could potentially lead to malware or other viruses being downloaded onto your phone because it is considered foreign material. This issue bodes especially true for iPhones, because the possibility exists to “jailbreak” it, causing it to be exposed to a many more harmful viruses that wouldn’t otherwise have access to it. Stick to your main party’s app store and platform, and do not run the risk of third party apps.

Permissions

By knowing how your phone’s permission system works, you can limit how much data a certain app can collect from your person and who can access it. These limitations can be extremely important, because sometimes the app will request permission to access complementary features on your phone such as the camera and microphone, and that can be used to collect data without your consent, even when you aren’t using the app. Go to your “Settings and permissions” tab to undo anything you do not want to subscribe to.

Follow some of these tips, and increase your smartphone secure today. Avoid having your private information stolen.