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The Working Woman’s Guide To Financial Planning At All Stages Of Life

These days, more women are working toward their own financial independence than they ever did in the past.

It’s not unusual to see young women focusing on their ambitions with a drive and passion that was previously reserved only for their children or spouse, as well as working women who manage to find a balance between family and career.

While it’s great to see that so many of us are taking charge of our earnings and savings, we’re still lagging behind in one key area – financial planning.

This has traditionally been considered a man’s domain, but we can never be truly independent and self-reliant until we understand and implement the right moves on our own.

Achieving Financial Bliss Through Effective Money Management

Managing finances effectively goes far beyond planning a monthly budget and sticking to it. It’s also a little more complex than saving a little extra money every month.

Don’t get us wrong, savings are great, but they aren’t enough on their own. You also need the right investments and strategies to achieve your financial goals.

As working women, it’s critical to gain more insight into financial responsibility and money management. With basic financial literacy and some smart investment choices, nothing can stand between you and your goals at any stage in life.

The best part is, you won’t have to depend on anyone else to make your dreams come true!

6 Different Life Stages And Financial Planning Tips For Each Stage

Your needs and wants keep changing with time.

The decisions you make while you’re in college will be quite different from those you make when you’re planning a family, and what you want while starting a career will be a far cry from what you want when you’re near retirement.

Just like your personal goals, your financial goals will evolve at each stage of life.

Here are some tips that will help you achieve them by managing money better:

  1. Late Teens & Early 20s

At this stage, you’re probably pursuing higher education or have just completed it. Depending on where you went to college, you might have an education or student loan you need to start paying back.

You may be considering moving out of your parents’ home and renting your own place. Perhaps you’re even looking to buy a vehicle, save money for travel, or invest in professional courses to help your career.

This is the stage where you learn how to live within a budget as well as understand what you can afford to spend on and what you cannot. Keep track of your expenses and avoid the temptation of using a credit card or personal loan for unnecessary spends.

You don’t really have major financial responsibilities right now, but it’s the perfect time to start planning for the future in a smart manner.

  1. Mid-20s to Early 30s

This is the early career stage, where you’re beginning to find your feet professionally as well as personally.

Your financial goals at this stage might include making a down payment on your own home, paying back loans or credit card debt, saving for a big wedding or starting a family.

You might also want to put money aside for holidays, travel and personal interests.

While career growth, marriage and family become important for most working women around this stage, it’s essential to look even further.

This is the time when you want to start making investments for retirement instead of just saving money.

Not only will this help you be more comfortable and independent later, but it can also help you save on taxes. Make sure you’ve invested in insurance as well!

  1. Mid-30s to Early 40s

For most women, this period is generally defined by family obligations. Even working women usually juggle career and family at this stage, so they can help raise their children and give them a good education.

Even if you haven’t gone the family way, you might be supporting your own parents around this time. Don’t let your financial goals slide, though.

This stage might place a heavier burden on you, especially if you have home loans, car loans and other debt to pay off. Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to joint and personal goals.

If you haven’t started making regular contributions to your pension plan, repaying debt and building some assets in your own name, consider getting investment planning advice from an expert.

  1. Mid-40s to Mid-50s

These are the pre-retirement years for most people when they take a serious look at how much they have saved, invested and accumulated over the course of their career.

This is the time to review your insurance coverage as well, since health issues are likely to start showing up, and unexpected medical expenses can wipe out your savings if you haven’t protected against them.

Depending on your lifestyle and income, you may have some decent savings in your nest egg already. If you aren’t on track with your retirement goals, take a good hard look at your expenses and cut down where you can.

Unless you want to be working all your life, it’s essential to make some changes to your incoming and outgoing funds so you aren’t dependent on anyone else as you get older.

  1. Late 50s to Mid-60s

Early retirement is usually the time when you can spend more time doing what you love instead of worrying about how to make ends meet. Of course, this will only happen if you’ve saved and invested wisely.

This is the time when you should have a passive income from your nest egg, so you can travel, take up a hobby or even look into starting up a new business in retirement.

By now, you have probably managed to build up a good credit score and you may have access to a personal line of credit for emergencies or investment opportunities.

Your children, if you have any, have grown up and might even be starting families of their own. This is a good time to review your will, health and life insurance coverage, emergency funds, and what you plan to leave behind for future generations.

  1. Late 60s and Beyond

The later stages of retirement are generally not as carefree as early retirement years since age-related issues make it difficult to do everything you’d like.

This is the time when most women become dependent on their children or other family members for support, especially if they haven’t planned their finances to outlive them instead of the other way around.

Even if you don’t want to be a burden on your loved ones, you need to consider your safety and security at this stage. You may lose your spouse at any time, and single older women become targets for all sorts of foul crimes in our society.

It might be a good idea to consider living with your children or other trusted relatives, especially if you can help them share expenses instead of living “off” them.

No matter what stage of life you’re at, your financial independence and security should be considered the most important goal. Learn about different kinds of investment options and how they work, and start managing your finances more effectively from the day you start earning. There’s plenty of help and advice available, but no one else can make your decisions for you. At least, no one should!

Shiv Nanda is a financial analyst who currently lives in Bangalore (refusing to acknowledge the name change) and works with MoneyTap, India’s first app-based credit-line. Shiv is a true finance geek, and his friends love that. They always rely on him for advice on their investment choices, budgeting skills, personal financial matters and when they want to get a loan. He has made it his life’s mission to help and educate people on various financial topics, so email him your questions at shiv@moneytap.com

10 Creative Marketing Tips To Find Clients For Your Freelance Business  

Marketing is a vital part of growing a freelance business to reach new target audiences and present new services to existing customers.

A surprising fact about the freelance lifestyle is most people’s time is spent marketing services to potential clients. The rest of their day is used to complete assignments for clients.

Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are 10 creative ways to help you start marketing your freelance business offline and online.

  1. Re-use Old Content

One of the tricks of the top freelancers is using recycled content in an article or blog to a new marketing platform. It can help you save time in research to create new content to send to customers, clients and potential customers.

Here are a few ideas to help you recycle content:

  • Turn an article into an e-book
  • Turn a blog into a podcast
  • Use points in a listicle into a one pager
  • Use a listicle for a PowerPoint presentation
  1. Self-promotion

When some of us hear the word self-promotion we think of television or radio station advertisements that are costly.

Self-promotion is free, and it is something that most entrepreneurs do every day whether they start a conversation with someone at the grocery store and mention their business or meeting new people at a networking event.

The key to self-promotion is to be personal, ask questions, use listening skills and build a rapport with people. Here is a list of marketing techniques to use:

  • Be Social:

In a casual or professional environment, you can start a conversation with like-minded people. Ask people about the personal interests, their line of work, and their extracurricular activities.

In return, people will be interested in learning about you which gives an opportunity to speak about your freelance business.

  • Follow-Up:

After you meet new people, send an email or call them after a week. You can meet them at a coffee shop to discuss your services. A phone call to find out if they had a chance to look at your website is helpful.

  • Use Social Media:

You don’t need an education or years of experience to successfully communicate with social media users.

All it takes is creativity in sharing your blogs, capturing moments of you working with clients in photo’s or posting YouTube videos of trending news topics.

It is important to find the social media platforms that prospective clients use the most.

  1. Start a Blog

One of the best ways to direct traffic to your site is by writing regular blogs on topics that will help readers solve a personal or business problem.

For example, if you are a freelance human resource recruiter, starting a blog to help organizations with employee engagement tips to lower high employee turnover rates can potentially attract new clients.

Think of a blog as an online conversation with customers. The readers that appreciate your advice can help share it with other businesses, which is free exposure for your company.

  1. Co-Marketing with Competitors

Jim Henson once said, “if you can’t beat them, join them.” In business, working together with a more experienced freelancer in your industry can improve marketing outreach.

It can reduce the cost of spending money on expensive advertising if the competitor has an established and larger audience. An example of co-marketing is spending 50% of the cost to set up a booth with a competitor at a seminar.

Another example is writing a paragraph to add to a competitor’s email marketing campaign with a link to your website that will be sent to their customers. The competitor in most cases will ask for a percentage of revenue.

  1. Be Active in the Community

If you are in graphic design and are invited to do a presentation at a community event, bring marketing materials that include business cards, brochures, and a one-pager of what you offer.

Another idea is to attend seminars that potential customers will attend. For example, if you are a consultant for retail businesses, attend business events that present information on the retail industry.

There’s a chance that you’ll be one of the few consultants in the room to meet new clients.

  1. Start a Podcast

A Podcast is an effective way to connect with non-freelancers in your industry. You can interview clients to share their customer success stories after working with you.

In a podcast, a discussion about changes in the economy or technology that has an impact on your business is another idea.

You can promote the podcast using social media and add a link to your website. It will present you as a subject matter expert, strengthening a prospect’s confidence that you thoroughly understand your products or services.

  1. Price Comparisons

On your website you can write an article of the benefits people can gain from using your services over a large organization. A respectful way of doing this is to add a bullet list that includes the following:

  • Pricing
  • Services
  • Products
  • Turnaround time to complete work

The idea in price comparisons is to not write negative comments about competitors. It is a way of highlighting each section to show what you can offer in a better way compared to a large company.

  1. Live Stream Videos

A marketing technique that can gain online attention is to film a live stream video of you completing an assignment. It can be a video of you at an industry event interviewing public speakers to offer tips for customers.

If you are an independent realtor, live streaming a video of on-site at a new real estate development project in the neighbourhood can attract people to contact you to learn about the opportunity.

Think outside the box and film video content the competition is not posting online. Here are some tips to create effective Facebook Live videos.

  1. Education and Certifications

As a freelancer, you may not have plans to complete a Bachelors or Masters degree. However, online learning programs offer certifications for you to gain new technical or education related skills.

Most certification programs are inexpensive and depending on your tax situation, you can deduct education on your taxes. We highly recommend that you speak with an accountant for more information.

  1. Personalization

Personalized marketing is a simple task of using the personal information of customers to surprise them by thanking them in a creative way.

A few examples of personalized marketing strategies that can help customers remember you is to send thank you notes in the mail to long-time customers.

A ‘Happy New Year’ email with the name of a client in the messaging. An unexpected gift card mailed to a customer for their birthday.

A freelancer’s business plan needs a marketing strategy that fits within a budget. A few questions to ask yourself before you get started are:

  • How can I add value to my customers?
  • What are the customer demographics?
  • What marketing strategies are trending this year?
  • Can I use more transparency to connect with new audiences?

The more information you know about what stimulates the interest of your customers, it will be easier to use a series of marketing strategies that will help you increase business revenue.

If you want to learn more and uplevel your marketing strategy, this Entrepreneurs’ Marketing Guide will show you how to market your business yourself, in as little as 30 minutes of work a day.

Marketing a small business is an art unto itself. It is the first and most critical step to gaining new leads and customers and is the cornerstone for success. Effective marketing can mean the difference between a business just getting by, and that same business thriving.

You’ll learn powerful, proven and inexpensive techniques to market your business. Taught using easy-to-understand terms and with practical examples, we’ll demonstrate how virtually anyone can apply the same marketing techniques that the pros use, regardless of budget.

Download our new ebook, “I Want To Work From Home: A Guide To Legitimate Work-From-Home Options In India” and get over 30 legitimate work-from-home job options to help you earn money from the comfort of your living room couch.

10 Creative Marketing Tips To Find Clients For Your Freelance Business  

How To Keep Your Child Safe On The Internet

The internet is a boon for those who use it the right way (for searching information, for their academic pursuits, or to inform a curious young mind).

It’s no surprise that children have taken to the Internet in a big way and that India’s urban children spend over 4 hours a day on the mobile internet.

Whether on the internet or on social media sites, young millennials rely on their smartphones for every type of decision-making – food, entertainment, social life, or fashion.

This also means that they are exposed to the negative side of the internet. Pornography, dubious characters, misinformation, cyberbullying and hate speech – all of these can impact the formative years of children and teens and leave lifelong scars.

With about 134 million Indian children coming online in 2017, the online ecosystem needs to be made secure enough for them to browse freely without any harmful effects or negative sentiments.

The extent of the menace

While there are many forms of cybercrime (hacking. phishing, or copyright violation), perhaps the vulnerability of children to social media offences is the most prominent.

Though the legal age for many social media sites is 13 years, it is not surprising to see children as young as 9 years have their own active accounts on these platforms.

As parents too, we are seldom aware of the harmful repercussions of posting messages and photos on the social media. From paedophiles to cyber bullies, there are many waiting in the anonymity of the internet, to access materials that could compromise your child’s identity and safety.

The most common forms of harassment against children online include cyberbullying, online eve-teasing, and impersonation. Add to this mix the youth-centric functional model adopted by some sites like Snapchat, and we see a whole new level of safety issues that we need to address as a modern-day parent.

Some children may face acute bullying, sexual harassment, or other forms of online exploitation, thanks to the ephemeral nature of content within apps like Snapchat. It is no wonder that 32% of the parents interviewed in a survey said that their children faced a negative experience online in the past.

Here are some ways you can protect your child from negative experiences online.

  1. Lay down ground rules

As a parent, you need to set the standard for safe internet browsing rules at home. Imagine if you’re letting your child play in a new park or garden. Wouldn’t you stick around and check out at the different rides and swings to ensure their safety? The same principle applies to the internet.

Ideally, you have to be around them when they are browsing online. Once they turn 12 or more, they may demand privacy to do their own thing. It is completely natural for them to want that, but privacy is earned.

So don’t let them shut the door. Keep checking on them at frequent intervals. This way, you can be certain that you are there for them without being ever-present.

  1. Make your devices child-safe

You need to child-safe your child’s mobile device, computer and search engines to ensure that your children aren’t exposed to the dangerous side of the Internet. You can download a kid-safe browser for Android devices or iPads.

For Internet Explorer, you can traverse to ‘Tools -> Internet Options -> Content -> Content Advisor’ to filter out aspects like language and nudity. You can tune up your Google search with the SafeSearch option that only returns results that are suitable for younger children. The good news is that both these settings are free to use.

You can also subscribe to and encourage the use of child-safe websites over their more popular alternatives. Examples include YouTube Kids (instead of YouTube, for videos). You can also download parental control apps for iPhones and Android devices.

  1. Monitor ‘ephemeral posts’

The short life of posts on platforms like Snapchat is a major cause of worry for parent across the globe. The ephemeral content posted on Snapchat means that other children, adults, and criminals can traumatize your child and get away with it, with nary a trace of their shenanigans.

If you’re worried about the time your child spends on Snapchat, look to counter potential issues with the best snap spy apps. While Snapchat automatically deletes snaps after a few seconds, you can download these apps and track the content that your child received.

  1. Educate yourself

The large-scale and rapid proliferation of the Internet means that children have received little to no sensitization and training on internet browsing best practices.

A good remedial first step towards educating your child about basic protocols on the internet and digital safety would be to fortify your knowledge base first.

For this, you can refer to this handy app. The IT Act, 200 & Cyber Law India app has a repository of knowledge around cyber laws and best practices.

It also has a separate section about cyber safety tips for children. As a concerned parent, you can check out this section and help your child be a better Netizen.

Now that you are aware of the laws, you can teach them basic rules like

  • Not disclosing name, address, contact number, school name, etc. without checking with you
  • Not opening emails from strangers
  • Not responding to hate messages or bullies
  • Not agreeing to meet face-to-face with someone they have recently befriended.

The internet has a lot to offer in terms of learning enhancement and virtual social interaction. However, it can also turn out to be a damaging experience, if you’re not careful.

With these tips, the Internet need not become a scary technology for your young kids. Help your child have a safe browsing experience with these handy tips.

Got any other exciting ways to protect the internet safety of your child? Want to share them with us? Do comment below and let us know your own tips for staying safe online.