Financial Advice You Can Trust: Choosing a Financial Professional

Countless Americans turn to financial advisors to help them plan for their financial future. If you don’t know a lot about financial matters, it makes sense to seek the help of a professional. However, many folks don’t trust their financial advisors. In fact, a 2016 poll conducted by the American Association of Individual Investors showed that 65% of participants mistrusted their financial professionals to some degree.
The general mistrust of financial professionals can lead to the potentially dangerous decision of making financial decisions on your own. While it’s a good idea to educate yourself about short-term and long-term financial strategies, trying to “wing it” on your own could lead to serious financial trouble. Most of us are not financial experts. Working with the right financial professional could mean the difference between a comfortable retirement or one that just barely covers the basics.
Choosing a Financial Professional
Choosing the right financial professional for the job can be intimidating. How do you find an advisor you can trust? How do you know your financial advisor has your best interests at heart? Here are some steps you can take to help you find a trustworthy financial professional. 

Choose a Fee-Only Advisor

A fee-only advisor is one who does not accept commissions. An advisor who accepts commissions could have a conflict of interest, meaning he may be more interested in lining his own pockets than choosing what’s best for your financial future. A fee-only advisor is generally paid by the hour, or they may charge a percentage of your assets.  The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors is a great resource for finding a fee-only advisor. Note that a “fee-based” advisor receives a blend of fees and commissions-definitely not the same thing. 

Know What Type of Financial Professional You Need

There are a lot of different types of financial professionals, and each one specializes in a certain area. In fact, there are actually more than 200 designations for financial advisors.  It’s important to know what you’re shopping for before you start asking questions. Here are some of the most common designations:

  •         A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is one who specializes in a little bit of everything. They will help you with your entire financial picture. A CFP has passed a series of exams that include topics like retirement and estate planning.
  •         A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) specializes in investing and portfolio management. They have passed a series of rigorous exams that show commitment to their profession and higher ethical standards.
  •         A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a tax expert. A CPA, like the ones at tempCFO, specializes in all aspects of personal, business, and executive tax planning. Your CPA will ensure that you adhere to all necessary tax regulations
  •         A Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) has specialized training in the areas of insurance and estate planning. 

Get a Recommendation

No matter what type of service you’re looking for, getting a good recommendation from a long-term client is a great place to start. Talk to friends, family, and co-workers to see who they’re using and if they would recommend them to others. 

Interview Prospective Advisors Carefully

Now is the time to be picky! You should interview several different prospects before settling on one. If you are uncomfortable talking to a certain prospect, then move on to a different one. Take advantage of any complementary introductory sessions offered to ask lots of questions. Ask about his or her background and core values, specific areas of expertise, their investment policy, and how they get paid. Be sure that you have a complete understanding of the services that will be covered before you sign any sort of agreement.
The prospective advisor should be asking you questions, too. For example, they should be interested in your goals, your income needs, your tax status, and even your age and health -especially before they start recommending any specific investments. If a prospective advisor is pushing you toward some hot investment in the first five minutes of your meeting, run the other way. 

Only Work with Investment Advisors That Use a Third-Party Custodian

A third-party custodian, such as Charles Schwab or Scottrade, will hold on to your money, instead of allowing the advisor to do it. Your account statements will come from their office instead of your advisors, too. If a crooked investment advisor is allowed to hold your money in his own custody, he could fudge your account statements and drain your savings, Bernard Madoff style. 

Do a Thorough Background Check Before Making Your Final Selection

When it comes to your financial future, there’s no such thing as being too cautious. Run a background check to look for criminal history. If your potential advisor is a registered broker, use the website www.finra.org/brokercheck to check him out. You can also check with your state securities regulator to see if he or she has had any disciplinary actions taken against them. Also, go here to view the prospective advisors Form ADV and check into their background and employment history. It’s better to find out about any skeletons in their closet now, before you are left with an empty bank account. 

Look for a Fiduciary

A fiduciary means that the advisor has pledged to act in their clients’ best interest at all times. Financial advisors who aren’t fiduciaries are held to a lesser standard. They can sell you anything they deem to be suitable for you, even if it’s not ideal or in your best interest. This point is critical. In fact, as of June 2017, financial advisors who work with retirement accounts are required to adhere to the fiduciary rule. 

Watch for these Red Flags

If something just doesn’t feel right, move on! Here are some red flags to watch out for:

  •         They make promises they can’t possibly guarantee, like beating the market.
  •         They don’t listen to you.
  •         They pressure you into taking risks you’re not ready for.
  •         Their fee schedule is confusing or they receive commissions or referral fees.
  •         They aren’t able to answer your questions and they seem inexperienced.

Following these steps will help you find an experienced financial professional that you can trust. Remember, it’s okay to be picky… it’s your hard earned money!
 

How to Finance Buying a Used Car?

When looking to buy a used car there are many things to think about such as which model to choose, what size engine, what colour etc. however, before all of these can be considered it’s important to work out how the purchase will be financed.
When working out how much to spend on a new car, it’s vital to examine all the aspects including paying for petrol, repairs, MOT and servicing, insurance and tax as you need to be able to keep the car on the road as well as buy it in the first place.

We caught up with Darren at Big Motoring World for the following advice. They have a huge selection of used cars for sale so check them out.

Buying a Used Car
There are many different ways to finance buying a used car so here are a few options:

  1. Cash

By far the cheapest and easiest way to buy a car is using your own cash. That way you don’t have to pay any interest and you will own the car immediately. If you are using savings to pay for the car then make sure you have enough to cover the full cost.

  1. Personal Loan

If you don’t have enough cash to buy a car outright, then the second cheapest option would be to take out a personal loan from the bank or other financial provider. This way you can spread the cost over several years, making it more affordable. Make sure to get the best interest rate and shop around for the best deal.

  1. Hire purchase

Hire purchase is different to a loan in that you don’t own the car until you have paid the very last payment. You need to pay a deposit and then a monthly payment until the end of the term agreed. It is usually agreed directly with the dealer and can be a competitive way to pay for new cars.

  1. Personal contract purchase

This is similar to Hire Purchase but normally involves making lower monthly payments followed by the choice to own the car with a large end payment, or to hand it back, or to roll the finance over and trade the car in for a new one.

  1. Leasing

This is a way to have a car without ever owning it. You simply pay the dealer a monthly fee for the use of the car, within an agreed mileage limit. Servicing and maintenance is included so you don’t incur all the usual costs of owning a car. At the end of the agreement you give the car back.

  1. Credit card

Depending on the price of the car, using your credit card to pay for the car in full might be a good option as it will give you protection if anything goes wrong. You will have to pay back the card payments monthly and will most likely incur interest charges during the time it takes to pay it back. Some dealers don’t accept credit cards so it’s worth checking first.

  1. Peer-to-peer loans

Peer-to-peer loans are also known as social lending and enable people to borrow from each other negating the need for banks to be involved – there are specialist peer-to-peer websites available but you will normally still require a good credit rating.

  1. Part exchange

If you are part exchanging your current car then it’s worth getting a price assessment first before going to the dealership, so that you can make sure you are getting the best price possible. The more you can earn from your current car, the less you need to raise for the new one.
If you are borrowing money from anywhere, to pay for a used car, make sure you are aware of what happens if you can’t make a monthly payment for any reason, and what options you have if there is a time when you can’t afford to pay.
It’s also a good idea to look at the bigger picture and work out how much you will pay in total, including charges and interest, if you take out a finance option compared with paying in cash. It might be that a loan is better value than using your credit card or vice versa.
You also need to make sure you can afford all of the car’s running costs, potential repairs and other issues, on top of the car payments every month as an important factor in planning your finances. It’s also important to take your credit rating into account as if you have a low rating some of the credit options might not be available to you; however there are specialist credit services available for people with a low credit score so just be careful and look into all of your available options.
Whether you are buying your used car cash, via lease, or using a loan or credit card, there are many ways to finance the purchase, leaving you free to sit back and enjoy your new car.

Retirement Planning: Where are the Entrepreneurs Going Wrong?

Besides everything else, what sets a job holder apart from an entrepreneur is the way the former plans his retirement. While as a job holder you might as well have started planning for your retirement from the first day of your job itself, an entrepreneur doesn’t really do so. While job holders are perhaps planning their retirement savings even before the day they are stepping into office, entrepreneurs are perhaps mulling quick loans online from Lendgreen to fund an immediate addition to their inventory.
Retirement Planning

Entrepreneurs are Not as Serious as Job Holders about their Savings: Why?

Owning a business is an integral part of the American Dream. Baby boomers, especially are more driven than millennials when it comes to concretizing this dream. A Kaufman Foundation report reveals that baby boomers are more likely to mull business ventures than what the millennials are likely to do. Notably, the number of 55+-year old Americans starting a commercial venture of their own is increasing with each passing day. The bad news – however – is the fact that they are not as serious about retirement planning as the job holders are. There are not one but several reasons behind the same. Here’s a look at the same.

Retirement Plans for Entrepreneurs: What Should they Know?

Entrepreneurs are actually more focused on putting back every scent on their business. They are reluctant to invest in a retirement plan because they fear that they will actually lose access to quick funds for their business. Experts have opined that each and every business out there is probably plowing every dollar back in their business. That is tantamount to a major mistake. Diversification of assets is important since it helps businesses deal with future emergencies more efficiently. Plus, there are no savings as well!

Separating your Personal and Business Finances

The very first sagacious step towards planning your retirement is to separate your business accounts from your personal ones. Your business checking and savings account should only be used to meet your business expenses. Having separate business and personal accounts will also help you with better tax planning. Entrepreneurs often end up complaining that the retirement plans are too complicated. However, speaking to credentialed financial advisors in Canada can actually go on to help you substantially in this regard. There already are pretty straightforward and simple retirement plans made available for businesses. However, even if you do come across complicated plans your financial advisor can always help you understand the same by simplifying it for you!
Another very identifiable reason as to why entrepreneurs are averse to tax planning is the lack of time. It should not really be forgotten that it actually takes a lot of time to actually get a business running. Unlike an average Canadian job holder, who dedicates around seven to eight hours every day in office, an entrepreneur ends up spending almost double that time (if not more) for his business. Needless to say, retirement planning ends up taking a backseat in the midst of such hectic schedule.

You Retirement Planning Needs you to Invest Time!

To beat the time constraint as an entrepreneur you can easily plan to eke out an hour or two each week to plan and then set up a retirement account. Sure you wouldn’t really be getting as much time to plan your account as the job holders out there but you can still make the most of the available time you have by prioritizing the most significant aspects of retirement planning including tax breaks, compound interests and wealth-building opportunities. If your business makes for a significant part of your net worth then you should ideally choose low-risk investments for money, which is in no way connected to your business. Your business should never be the sole part of your retirement plan. Contribute your own personal savings to your retirement plan as well.
The lack of proper business structure can actually put your retirement at risk as well. As per the experts, most of the businesses that start out as sole proprietors choose to stay as sole proprietors. Your choice not to structure your business into an LLC puts your personal assets at risk. This, in turn, puts your retirement at risk as well.

Money Saving Tips To A Successful Car Wash To Help Improve Car Care and Safety

Your vehicle is an expensive investment, and you spend a lot just to maintain it. You get its oil changed, your tires rotated, and regularly replace your brake pads. But have you stopped and thought that an action as simple as washing your vehicle is an investment, too? Do you really need to do it? The answer to that is yes; you need to clean your car. Most of the time, it’s apparent that you need to wash your car. However, have you thought about it as part of your vehicle’s general maintenance? If you haven’t, then maybe you should start doing so, especially if you’re living in Toronto.

Consequence Of Not Cleaning Your Car

So, you haven’t cleaned up your vehicle since God knows when. However, you still get your oil changed, replace the old parts of your car, and maintain it well to keep it running like a new one. So, why are you not cleaning your car?
Well, you should know that a filthy car does not only make your transportation smelly, but it can also damage your wallet and safety. If you don’t wash your car in Toronto:

  • Dirt can build up, which will weaken your paint job in the long run
  • Dirt mixes with pollutants and rain which may etch your paint off
  • Bird droppings and sap may ruin your paint faster
  • Too much dust on your windshield and mirrors makes them blurry

 How To Successfully Wash Your Car

  • Prepare what you need 
  • Park your vehicle out of direct sunlight

If you park your car in direct sunlight, it may leave splotches on your paint. Also, your vehicle may become hot while you’re washing it, which will make your cleaning process harder. 

Set out everything that you need to wash the car 

You should prepare your cleaning materials such as:

  • Car wash detergent
  • Supply of water
  • Hose
  • Towels or microfiber cloths

You should also prepare scrubbing materials such as:

  • Wash mitts
  • Sponge
  • Separate brush for your tires
  • Stiff scrubbing brush

You should also remember to wear the proper clothes when you’re cleaning. 

Prepare your water

You should prepare water that you’ll mix with the soap and plain water for rinsing your vehicle.

Wash your car

  • Hose off your car 

Before you start putting soapy water on your car, hose it off with plain water. Doing this will help you soften the dust and dirt. 

  • Wash your wheels first 

Wheels are usually the dirtiest part of your car. This is why it’s essential that you clean them first so that any dirt rinsed off them won’t land on the cleaned parts. 

  • Clean your car using a wash mitt. 

Before you start scrubbing your vehicle’s surface, apply soap to your car using a large wash mitt. You should never use a brush on your vehicle’s body, as this may leave streaks. 

  • Clean your car section by section 

You should wash your vehicle by section. After cleaning your wheels, clean from top to bottom. Circle your car several times, washing lower each time. 

  • Scrub off dead bugs or bird droppings 

You need extra care when removing bugs and bird droppings. Use a soft sponge loaded with warm water when removing them or use “tar and bug remover.” 

  • Keep your mitt clean 

Using dirty mitts will only result in a dirty car and may increase the risk of scraping your paint. When washing, if you can, use several gloves. 

  • After washing each section, rinse 

After you’ve washed one section, make sure that you rinse it before moving to the next part. You should also make sure that you keep your whole vehicle wet while washing. 

  • Spray water over the bottom of your vehicle

If you can, spray water to rinse the bottom part of your car from different angles. Salts and dirt might be hiding under them, which will corrode your undercarriage.

Dry and wax your car 

  • Dry your car using soft fresh towels 

Make sure that when you dry your car, use soft towels to avoid scratching them. Drying your vehicle will also help prevent rust from being created. 

  • Once you’re done the washing, wax your car 

Wax can help protect your paint from deteriorating or fading, which is why it’s advisable that you apply one layer to your car after washing.
Make sure that you only apply wax after washing your car. If the wax is not available, you can use similar polish such as a polymer. 

  • If you see any rust or paint damage, treat it immediately 

As soon as you can, treat rust and damages on your paint before they turn into significant damage.
You can:

    • Remove rust
    • Retouch your paint
    • Wash off corrosive chemicals
  • Apply water repellent treatment on your windows

Applying water repellent treatment to your windows will help them stay clean, improve your visibility and repel water. Make sure to do this every few months. 

Know your laws

  • In Toronto, you might be breaking the law 

If you’re living in Toronto, Canada, since 2000 it’s illegal for people to wash their car and let their runoff enter storm sewers. 

  • Use an absorbent mat 

If you wash your car, utilize an absorbent mat which will help you collect wastewater. This prevents your runoff from entering the storm sewer. 

  • Use a self-service car wash 

Using a self-service car wash when you’re cleaning your car will ensure that all of your wastewater will get treated. 

  • Visit your friendly car wash providers

If having a self-service car wash, an absorbent mat, or simply cleaning your car is too much of a bother for you, you can always go to the nearest car wash providers to do it for you. 

The Bottom Line

Take your vehicle to the local car wash like and get it completely washed. If you can, have it waxed too. If you don’t want others to clean it for you, get dressed in a laundry-day outfit and clean it yourself.
 

Top Tips on How Can Increase Your Earning Sources

‘A penny saved is a penny earned’. This quote rightly taps on the importance of savings. To break it down, it simply means money which is saved holds equivalence with money earned. A penny saved today will expand your financial resource tomorrow.
Best ways to grow money short term are numerous and routine. They come under saving money without investing. Hence options and tips to protect your money are going to be classified under – How to make your money grow without investment and by channeling them under right investment options. To erect a formidable financial backing, it is essential to invest smartly, for instance in less risky and tax saving investments.
Increase Your Earning Sources

Growing your money without introducing them in the pipes of investment –

In this section the need for developing the habit of savings and inculcating them in your lifestyle is stressed.
It is a simple understanding; your expenses are going to be regulated according to your lifestyle and attitude. These are personal traits which differ from person to person.
Hence, to build a sound financial health the below mentioned attributes must be considered stringently and must be adopted as well.

  • Dread the Debt

Accumulating debts block your flow of money and thereby your savings as well. Some people have a ‘marsh’ kind of attitude towards borrowing debts. They keep on borrowing new debts to fend off their old debts. This habit will definitely tug you deep inside the marsh and affect your financial standing adversely.

  • Set an Emergency Fund aside

Ideally at least three months’ worth of routine expenses coverable amount must be saved aside for basic requirements like rent, school fee etc. Helps you stay prepared and composed in case of any financial emergency. Especially for salaried individuals who can allocate a specific amount every month.

  • Devising Financial Goals

Setting up monetary goals like fund for an overseas vacation, or for further education, or for a wedding affair etc helps you save money better. The reason is you fixate a motivation in form of that goal.

How to grow your money through investments?

Once you successfully inculcate the habit of saving, you can start thinking about channeling your money in the right options. There are innumerable income tax savings to lock your money in. The most important factors while choosing an investment are: –

  • Reviews
  • Risk
  • Return

For a first timer, you must surely seek advice from experts and people who are have their heads in the current economic and financial scenario. Gather reviews from different sources about various tax saving investments with satisfactory returns.
Initially one must always opt for low risk bearing investments which remain stable even in a volatile economic environment. One must not be a daredevil at the fresher’s phase and blow away all the preciously-saved money. So, choose wisely.
And the most important factor is returns. The purpose of exposing your hard-earned money is to gain more than the invested amount. Thus, pick decent-yielding and tax saving investments.
Government of India keeps on introducing various schemes and plans to encourage people to invest and increase the circulation of money in the economy. It helps in avoiding the stagnancy of money and dead investments.
Thus, below are some of the tax saving investments which can generate decent income as well as reduce your tax burden.

  • The National Pension Scheme – By investing in NPS you are surely going to secure your after-retirement life. Apart from that NPS allows you to claim deduction under section 80C as well.
  • National Savings Certificate – Introduced by the Indian Government, NSC is like fixed deposits. They are safer than FDs since they are invested in a Government’s scheme. They allow you deduction from your gross total income u/s 80C. However, the interest earned is lesser than the interest earned on FDs and they are taxable too.
  • ELSS – Equity Linked Savings Scheme mutual funds is one of the popular tax saving investments. They bear higher risk although, but they yield higher returns as well. It is deductible under section 80C
  • Insurance plans are also among tax saving investments. Life insurance policies and health insurance plans are deductible u/s 80C and 80D respectively.

Conclusion-

Before buying a financial product or investment plan, it is necessary to know about its tax structure. But do not buy a financial product just to save tax. If you buy a pure investment or tax saving plan, the tax restrictions will be no problem as the sum assured is a high multiple of annual premium paid. When you mix your investment and insurance, this when the problems come into picture. Purchasing a life insurance plan needs a long term commitment to pay annual premium. If you have purchased a wrong product, termination of such insurance plan will lead to unintended tax situations.
This article has been written by Financegab team who are the personal financial advisor & bloggers.

7 Steps for Creating a Financial Backup Plan

Life never runs out of surprises, be it good or bad. That’s why you need to have a financial backup plan that will help you weather any storm.
You may be the most disciplined person when it comes to sticking to a budget and saving a portion of your income every month, but unexpected events may occur that can render you in financial ruins, especially if you don’t have a plan B.
Creating a Financial Backup Plan
Here are the steps you need to take to create a financial backup plan that will prepare you for the future.

  • Track your Current Expenses

Before anything else, it’s important for you to know how much you need on a daily or monthly basis. Evaluate your current and future financial situation.
How much do you currently spend every month? Separate your expenses into categories to easily visualize which ones you can trim down to lessen your expenses. This will also help you determine the amount you need each month versus the amount you want to spend including leisure activities.

  • Predict Future Expenses

If you have children, the amount you’re spending now will not be the same in the coming years. You may need more or less depending on the age of your child, so predict expenses for the future to know if your current income is sufficient to accommodate your family’s future needs.
Future additional expenses may include your child’s education, wedding expenses, or if you plan to give them a car. If your child will soon go off on their own and you don’t need to pay for the expenses mentioned above, then you may need less in the future, giving you more money to place in your retirement fund.

  • Consider the Possible Scenarios

Let’s say your plan A is to retire at the age of 60, with all your children and loved ones independent of your financial support. You’ve calculated your financial situation, and you know that when that year comes, you will have enough to get you through the rest of your life.
However, you need to take into consideration that unexpected events such as natural disasters, accidents, severe illness in the family, job loss, economic slowdown, lawsuits, divorce, and other tragedies can occur and render you in financial ruins when you’re unprepared.
Are you insured? Do you have a retirement fund and an emergency fund to help you cope with such events? Is it enough? Write down the backup plan for each situation.
Once you’ve tracked your expenses properly and outlined your family’s future expenses; you know how much you and your family need every month. Calculate how long you can survive with your emergency fund should a disaster occur.

  • Get Insured and Understand your Insurance Policy

If you’re not insured yet, then it’s time to start looking for an insurance plan that will cover your particular needs. Make sure you have an insurance plan that can cover you, your family, your vehicles, your properties, and your health.
Memorize the important details in your insurance policy. Ensure that your family members know who to call when an emergency arises, and you need to claim your insurance.

  • Evaluate your Current Financial Situation

Audit yourself and make an inventory of your possessions. What assets do you have? How much is your net worth? Look through your closet and assess your valuables—from real estate properties, cars, jewelry, designer items, and other valuable items that can be resold. Organize them and keep a list of your assets.
This will be helpful for you especially if you think that if a tragedy occurs, your emergency fund will not be enough. Should that happen, you know exactly which item to sell to a friend or an online pawning site. You may be surprised by how much you can get from your jewelry or designer handbags.

  • Complete the Paperwork

Getting all the paperwork in order may be a tedious task, but it’s something you shouldn’t put off, especially if you have dependents counting on you.
Make sure that should anything happen to you, your family members know where the documents are. This includes your will, property deeds or titles, insurance policies, bank books, and the like. Consult with an attorney or a professional if you find it too daunting.

  • Practice Good Financial Habits

Achieving financial independence takes a lot of discipline, and bad financial habits will not help you build an emergency and retirement fund.
Good financial habits you need to develop may include saving a portion of your salary, living within your means, avoiding unnecessary expenses, and tracking your expenses.
When you practice good financial habits, you can develop the financial discipline that will largely contribute to your financial success in the long run.
Every person has their own goals and dreams in life, with individual financial plans and strategies. Nonetheless, it’s important for everyone to know and understand their financial situation to be able to create appropriate financial plans.
While your ultimate dream is your plan A, you should also make sure that you have a plan B (and maybe even a plan C) so that you’re prepared for anything.
Break your bad financial habits now and ensure that you have a backup plan that won’t leave you in financial ruin.

Who Is Responsible For An Injured Worker In NSW And How To Mitigate The Risks?

All employers have a broad range of responsibilities towards their employees. The most important ones include ensuring the safety of the workers while at work. It is their job to ensure that workplaces accidents don’t happen by eliminating any such hazards that might result in one.
According to statistics reported by Safe Work Australia, 182 workers lost their lives after being injured at the workplace in 2016. Though the number might not seem much, thousands of reported and sometimes unreported workplace injuries occur every year, leaving both the worker and the employer at loss. Employers have to pay worker compensation whereas the employee or worker suffers in terms of lost time and physical discomfort for several months following the injury.
injured worker

Are workplace injuries always the employer’s fault?

Workplace accidents happen all the time. As long s the injury happens in the course of an employee conducting their normal and expected work activities, the employer is likely to be held responsible. Sometimes accidents occur due to worker’s negligence despite being warned or informed about the nature of the work. In some cases it may not be 100% clear whether  the injury caused is 100%  the fault of the employer. In NSW, where there is an air of uncertainty as to who is 100% responsible, it is worth consulting with  worker compensation lawyers in NSW.
Regardless an employee can always put forward a claim for approval, and if an employer fails to follow through and process the claim in a timely manner, they can face legal liabilities and pay fines. Even if the accident occurred because of the worker’s fault, the employer will still have to pay the medical bills since they occurred on the working premise during working hours.

Workplace Injury Hazards

Talking of hazards, it is pivotal that we take note of the most common workplace hazards that result in an injury or illness. This will help us understand the risks involved and how these can be prevented in the next section of this article.

  • Infectious diseases and biological hazards: This category involves virus like the Hendra virus and conditions like legionella.
  • Exposure to harmful chemical substances: This includes coming in contact with hazardous chemicals, asbestos and dangerous goods etc.
  • Manual task hazards: Manual task hazards includes injuries due to manual labour that exceeds beyond one’s ability to carry
  • Physical hazards: This can include injuries caused due to confined spaces, equipment failure, electrical faults etc.
  • Environmental hazards: This involves injuries caused by excessive noise, poor lighting, uneven flooring, extreme cold or heat, poor air quality etc.

How to Mitigate the Risks?

Most of the injuries aforementioned can be prevented if the employers take the following risks and ensure that all the rules and regulations regarding safety at work are followed by all workers. Risks can be managed easily if:

  1. The hazards are identified immediately and reported. For instance, if a worker notices any electrical hazards, they should immediately inform the management and have electrical cable floor covers placed for safety. Thus, the chances of electrocutions and power outage can be minimized.
  2. Control measures are introduced. Control measures include the introduction of meaningful safety gears and information related to injury prevention. Such controls can be initiated during seminars and training sessions where workers are advice on how to use technology to its best use without injuring themselves, how they should always put on their safety gear first when working in risky environments and how they should immediately report any discrepancies without delay etc.
  3. Controls are reviewed. The only way one can evaluate the effect of the controls put into practice is by reviewing the change it brings. Have the new controls resulted in fewer injuries at work? Has it made the worker more productive etc?

A more detailed elaboration of the liabilities an employer can face due to workplace accidents is available in the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. What responsibilities lie on the employers concerning the provisions of safe and fair working conditions is available in a documented form in the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.

How To Bounce Back From A Holiday Overspending

Right at the beginning of a new year, post all the celebrations, you realise how excessively you’ve spent during the holidays. It is definitely that time of the year where one finds out the precise size of their splurge when the credit card bill arrives.
Holiday season is that time of the year, which can put people off balance and sometimes they tend to go way past the budget they set for themselves. It is safe to say, this happens to all of us including the ones who are most financially restrained. At some point in our lives we all have overspent and anyone who says otherwise probably isn’t being honest or they have mastered the art of money management.
Just because you have spent too much it does not mean that you are doomed and penniless forever. All you need to do is understand the current financial situation and adapt accordingly with your needs. Cut down on your expenses and learn to spend only when you need to. To help you bounce back from the holiday spending we have listed few simple methods; follow these and make the most of it.
Holiday Overspending

Face The Fact

Do not panic! If you went overboard with spending, then face the problem instead of going into panic mode. Print out your credit card statements and look where you spent most of your money. Start by taking a look at what were your biggest splurges and later deal with spendings during the holidays; note if they were of complete utility or not. The following exercise will let you know whether or not your spending was worth it.
It will also show you where not to spend in case you have spent on unnecessary items. Restrain yourself from feeling overwhelmed because that won’t help you from tackling the problem and you will be knee deep in debt. Plan a strategy that will help you in paying off   debt and bring your financial status under control.

Pay Only For Your Needs

To stop spending on things that are not a major requirement is one way to start with your cash diet. Saving money helps you to focus on what you have and not on the endless list of what you want. When you go on a cash diet, you are saving money, which can be further used to pay off your debt.
While it may sound simple, an important step is to curtail unnecessary spending. Put yourself on a financial diet and try not to spend money on non-essential items until you catch up on any extra debt you incurred during the holidays.
Using coupons and comparison shopping for essential items and cutting extra expenses, can really make a big difference in your monthly budget. In fact, simple lifestyle changes can help you save thousands of dollars over the course of year. People prefer examples over theories, so follow the example given below to get started with your cash diet.
For instance, avoid going all berserk behind the latest trend. Do not run to buy the pair of shoe you just saw in a magazine because if you take a good look in your closet their might be pairs of shoes you have barely used. So, learn to invest only in things that you need and make this your mantra.
Saying “NO” to restaurants is another way to cut down on unnecessary expenses. Avoiding eating at restaurants will help you to not spending frivolously; and you will be surprised to see that the exorbitant amounts you save yearly by not eating outside.
Ask yourself if you really need to eat at restaurants every now and then. Instead spend time rummaging through the cabinets and prepare a great meal at home without spending too much money on outside food. Keep some ready–to-cook cans of food in the kitchen because during cash crunch, it might make sense to eat soup.
Start making coffee at home instead of stopping by at your favourite café every morning. Switch to using reusable bottles and bring your lunch to work rather than ordering from restaurants. These might seem like minor savings, but by making these changes you will surely end up saving a good chunk of money every year.
Make sure you have the cable or mobile phone bill plan that gives the most bang for your buck. These monthly recurring expenditures must be reviewed, only then will you be able to determine whether you really need unlimited text messages or those endless channels. Remember your mantra must be to pay for your need and thus, modify your plans accordingly.
Of course we’ve heard many people tell us how they cannot cut off their expenses from their leisure activities and it is simply not possible. Well, why not take advantage of free leisure activities?
Instead of fine dining and bar hopping, choose to invite your friends’ home for dinner. Visit an art exhibit or museum and maybe even go for hiking instead of attending fancy activities that require you to buy a ticket.
Get involved in local events where you can spend time volunteering and being part of activities around. Well, like they say it promises you of countless rewards, so why not try being a volunteer? Oh! Please do not skip on taking advantage of free concerts or outdoor movies in the summer. 

Use Tax Returns And Holiday Bonuses Wisely

Holiday bonuses and tax returns are two larger lump sums of money and if used wisely one can generate savings and clear debts. Gather tax documents and figure out if you have a refund from the government, if yes then file your tax return as fast as you can. Be smart when it comes to taxes, especially if you are involved into business, know all your taxes.
If you are getting holiday bonuses then ensure that you take full advantage by putting it towards credit card debt or using it to save for next year’s holiday expenses. This extra earned money is a gateway to pay off debt and boost your credit score to help meet your goals. Remember that this is not free money to spend, but money to pay debts and to save. 

Earn More

To clear all your debts or to have enough savings, you can always try to earn more. Besides the everyday job, dedicate your time to earn a few extra dollars. There are plenty of ways to earn a few extra dollars, from doing some volunteering tasks at events to dog walking and maybe even babysitting over weekends.
If you do not wish to be physically present for the job then opt for freelancing work that can be done from home and as per your convenience. Look at the bright side; the more time you spend working extra hours, the less time you have to spend money. 

Evaluate Credit Cards And Credit Score

In case you are using a credit card, be wise and make sure that you are not overusing it and paying the money on time. It is advised to eliminate credit cards with annual fees. Be spontaneous and incorporate more reward cards into your wallet, so that you can take advantage of the points you accumulate with it.
Take a close look at your credit score so you understand the baseline of where you stand and how your credit may have been affected by your holiday spending. Make sure that your credit report is accurate, essentially during the time of major use. Learn to maintain a good credit score as that will support your future investments.
Do not forget to set realistic deadlines to meet your financial stability! Follow these simple rules and measure and even before you realise it, you will have paid off all your debt and bounced right back on the stable financial bandwagon!

Defying the Odds of Spending So Much While Killing with Romance

“No romance without finance, guys!”
My Climatology lecturer made it a point to remind us in class every time he could.  Maybe he was always reminded of young love and how flaming it looked on the outside whenever he saw couples on campus. He always pointed out that, to keep whatever flame a couple has, it is necessary to occasionally use the ‘paper’ to keep fanning it.
Till date, his angle on romance and finance is one of the most interesting ones of I have ever come across
Truthfully, he has a point there if we took out his whole joke of literally associating money with a flaming love. Nevertheless, his point on money being an essential factor to romance is inevitably true. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a whole bunch of it, but a little might just be enough to set the scene rolling.
So for those who keep having this question running through their minds: Do you need to spend a whole lot to kill it at being romantic?
Odds of Spending

Keeping to a Budget

No, you don’t! You don’t always need a 5-star hotel or the fanciest eatery to show how romantic you are. Well, they say it’s easy to be caught up in the perception that romance has to be expensive. Yeah, its true expense can bring some amazing experiences, after all, money might just bring variety.
Unfortunately, people forget to remember that drowning your finances is not romantic at all. So yes you spent all this to be romantic now you can’t pay your bills?
The essence of a budget is to have control on your money instead of the other way around. If you are ever worried about your budget getting into you being spontaneously romantic, then how about you create a budget for that too – call it “Romantic Spontaneity”.
That way, the chances of you being in line with your budget are high.

Introduce Sentimentality

Sometimes, it doesn’t take much to give the perfect gift or give your partner the perfect time.  Actually, the best ones are the ones that hold sentimental value.
Well to do this, you really have to know who you are dealing with. You might not necessarily know the other inside out, but you might have knowledge of a couple of their preferences. Now, how about you skew your acts of romance to his/her preferences.
She loves Rick and Morty? Get a fake portal gun and take her to another reality.
He loves NBA? Let him “accidentally” meet LeBron / Get him tickets to an NBA game/ or even save up to “unexpectedly” get NBA 2k for him/ organize a little game time with the boys for when his team is playing.
Remember, it should all be in line with your budget

Try to Be Unconventional

Being unconventional can get you so high up the romance scale, so never underestimate this. For one, everyone would prefer if their partners were not a 100% predictable. To make matters worse, following the general norm can be as predictable as it gets.
How remarkable can you be?
Well, here’s an idea: Some months ago, a female friend showed me a “To-Do” list a guy she was dating had sent to her. On it, he had listed out a hundred cute, crazy, normal, interesting, dangerous, fun packed, and absurd (trust me, my adjectives aren’t enough) actions they’d do together.
The list had things as simple as kissing her at her workplace, to a short road trip with music she loved playing all through.
Find your remarkability, and adjust it to your already set budget to be the ideal Mr. Lover Lover.
As usual, remember it should all be in line with your budget.

Inexpensive Things Done to Stay Killing with Romance

  1. Write a poem.
  2. Bring home good coffee or a decadent sweet.
  3. Create a playlist of songs she might like
  4. Give a full-body massage.
  5. Take a moonlit walk on the beach.
  6. Kiss in the rain.
  7. Cook a romantic dinner.
  8. Pretend you’re going on a first date. Recreate the first time.
  9. Paint each other with flavored body paint. Be creative!
  10. Go Skinny Dipping Together!
  11. Go see a movie. Then, you ignore the movie and make out like teenagers.
  12. Declare your love, very publicly.
  13. Fruit or berries and freshly made whipped cream.
  14. Feed each other grapes like you’re in Ancient Rome.
  15. Try dinner on the roof – this doesn’t work if your roof slopes.
  16. Do that thing for her she’s been putting off forever (she obviously doesn’t want to do it!)
  17. If you’re meeting for dinner, get there before her and have a glass of wine waiting. (Okay so this costs money, but you were still going to order wine anyway, no?)
  18. Let her pick the movie or TV show. What I’m trying to say is, let her pick her romantic comedies or OITNB.
  19. Make her a drink (Without your shirt on? – 6 packs or 1 full pack)
  20. Tell her she looks sexy. Not cute, sexy
  21. Fix something you know she is not going to fix herself. (Bike, computer, headphones, whatever)
  22. Be nice to her friends, or if you really don’t like them, just be polite
  23. Brag about her to your friends (while making sure she is just close enough to hear).
  24. Eat the food she made and say it’s delicious.
  25. Pay all her bills and rent (ha! Just Kidding, this one belongs on another list, not romance)

Manny Obeng is a Ghanaian writer who hopes that his write-ups would serve its quota in making a world a better place, especially in Africa. With his love for creating content, he regularly writes when he’s not working with his team – Team Exhorton the best place to post job openings Ghana and Africa in general.