What a 401K Can Do For You

When you get a job straight out of college it is important to find the right mix of salary, benefits and experience to launch your career. And if you can find a company with a 401K plan, that is even better. You want to make sure that your employer will match your 401K contribution and you want to max out your contribution in order to get to that match. Get as much money from the company as you can. That is free money. You can’t do better than free money.

When you take the match from your 401K, you are growing the base of the account that is going to grow and grow and grow and provide you with real money in your golden years. And when you get enough money in your 401K, you can start trading it on your own. As long as you roll it into your own IRA style account. Or even if you want, you can trade your own stocks in the 401K that you own. You just might lose the match.

So you have to make your own decisions about how you want to manage your 401K. You can take the passive investor approach, where you let your company’s 401K plan administrator manage all the money. And you check it quarterly. Or you can take a more active approach and go on your own.

But the most lucrative and smart approach may be to create your own brokerage account on the side and start day trading. That way you keep your day job, contribute to a 401K and learn how to day trade on the side. If you put in a lot of effort and learn the right strategies and techniques, you can become a profitable day trader. You just have to take the online classes and stuff your head full of the terminology. It is helpful to be able to spend a lot of time in front of screens, learning the trends and patterns.

Day traders are hunters of volatility. You are always on the lookout for more stocks making big moves throughout the day. You need to have the right plan to be able to take advantage of these opportunities. The best way to do that is to learn risk management. Have a plan for each and every trade that you make and make sure that you have a stop-loss on each trade. So that if a trade goes south, you have a built in mechanism to sell the shares before you lose a lot.

The best way to get good is to start paper trading. That means practicing in a simulated trading environment where you are trading virtual currency. That gives you a chance to learn on the job without risking your real money. You can practice trading and learn risk management in a simulator that trades at the speed of the regular market. It is invaluable experience.

So that is your choice. Take the passive approach, get a good job and keep giving to your 401K. Or do that, and get yourself a day trading gig on the side.

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Are Your Products Flowing Smoothly? : Supply Chain Management is Important to Your Business

Most people in business recognize that supply chain management is crucial to their success, profitability and customer satisfaction. There are numerous benefits to ensuring your supply chain is properly managed and serves to provide a structure to your business that is efficient, productive and progressive. There is also the fact that as business has become more competitive in recent years; it’s now harder than ever to stand out from the crowd. Supply chain management is integral to achieving this as it provides a solid structure from which to offer a high-quality service to your buyers.

Here we take a closer look at the distinct advantages of good supply chain management:

Improves Customer Service

Everyone knows that the customer is king when it comes to business and delivering good quality products, goods or services in an efficient and cost-effective way, ensures repeat business going forward. Customers want to know their orders will be delivered to the right location at a time that is convenient to them and without having to wait too long. Ensuring your operation is streamlined to deal effectively with individual orders will keep your customers happy and more importantly, make them come back for more.

Reduces Operating Costs

Your supply chain is as important to your retailers and suppliers as it is to your business. Keeping a close eye on product inventory in terms of stock and distribution should be well managed as part of your supply chain strategy to ensure consistent and smooth flowing fulfillment of orders. If you have a product that is particularly popular at any given time, your supply chain should be set up to make sure there’s enough stock at outlets to meet demand. If your supply chain is efficiently managed, you can significantly reduce your operating costs.

Improves your Financial Position

An efficient supply chain is often a good way to streamline costs and boost cost-effectiveness of your operation. Naturally, it goes without saying that if you are making savings in one area of your business, you’ll notice a corresponding increase in revenue. Good supply chain management protects your business from overstocking and wastage and consequently boosts your bottom line.

Increases your Cash Flow

A good supply chain is responsive to orders as they arrive, so that they are fulfilled within the quickest time. Obviously, if you can get your goods to your customers in ten days rather than twenty-eight days, you can invoice them sooner and benefit your cash flow.

How to Achieve Good Supply Chain Management?

You understand how your business works better than anyone and also the buying behavior of your customers too. In order to understand how to best organize your supply chain, you need to undertake some supply chain analytics, to help you create a clearer picture of how you can best serve your customers by improving your supply chain. The difference between good and bad supply chain management can mean the success or failure of a business and so this is an aspect that requires closer attention.

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Self Employed Home Owners and Mortgages

Mortgages are an incredibly useful tool for anyone to set a foundation for owning a home. Unfortunately, lenders have made it difficult for the self-employed to get a mortgage. What this means is that – on average – for every 10 quotes someone gets in a salaried position, a self-employed person will only get 6.

At times it can feel impossible to prove that you have the income and stability to be an attractive prospect to a mortgage lender. What, then, can a self-employed person do to get mortgaged? Don’t fret – there are plenty of ways to convince lenders that you’re a reliable borrower.

Types of Lender

The good news is that since the financial crash of 2008 and the ensuing recovery, lending has been relaxed once again (to a degree). Accordingly, there’s been an upwards trend in new lending businesses and also a diversification in the types and size of loans offered by the established companies.

The result is that there’s a great depth of mortgage companies each with their own benefits and particular areas of expertise. If you do a good bit of research and are willing to put time and focus into finding the right company, there should be a company out there that will listen to the case you make.

Preparing Your Documents

Keep an absolutely comprehensive record of all of your incoming and outgoing funds is essential. What is more, you may also want to look into hiring a qualified accountant to help you go over your books. If you’re able to find one with a specialization and experience in dealing with mortgage lenders, you will be able to create a targeted document to ensure you get a good deal.

Income Reporting

Given the various tax loopholes and allowances, you need to take advantage of getting the most out of your income as a self-employed person; many self-employed people will report income differently. Whilst this is often necessary, it can affect your chances of getting a mortgage if it appears that your income is lower than it should be.

Again, you need to find balance. Get quotes and advice from the lenders, and assess your financial management scheme to make sure that you’re maximizing your income without jeopardizing the superficial appearance of your accounts.

Self employed people have historically suffered when asking for credit. Similarly, the financial crash brought about less favourable conditions. However, banks are tentatively dipping their toes back in the water, and if you have a solid case, you can get yourself the funding you need for your new home.

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Supporting Your Local Businesses:  Why Should You Buy from a Local Dealer?

When purchasing new or used vehicles, consumers have many different choices. It is often tempting to buy from a chain store or other branch, because such outlets offer substantially the same experience at each location. Furthermore, they are more well known, because they have large advertising budgets.

But buying that vehicle from a local dealer is usually a better choice, although the reasons are not always apparent.

Economics

Franchise businesses send a good portion of their earnings out of the community, but locally-owned businesses reinvest almost everything they earn back into the local community, and that benefits everyone. Moreover, according to one study, local businesses generate 70 percent more economic activity than franchises.

There are advantages in terms of payroll as well. Most all local businesses employ mostly local workers, and in many cases, the wages and benefits are higher. Additionally, local businesses are much more likely to use local banks and other nearby institutions.

Finally, local businesses foster competition. If there are many small or medium-sized outlets competing over the same business, consumer prices are lower and business innovation is stronger. Furthermore, to gain an edge, local businesses often offer better customer service.

Service

There is much more to say with regard to that last point. Customer service at a franchise is either totally outsourced to another location or probably performed in accordance with regimented standards that have nothing to do with the local community.

In contrast, almost everyone who works at a local business, from the very top to the very bottom, is heavily invested in the community and knows the customers that patronize that business, so the experience is much more personal.

Inventory

Most people believe that franchises have more selection than independent businesses, and while that may be true in terms of the cars on the lot, that’s not necessarily true overall. Typically, small business owners have direct access to vendors, so if there is a specific item that you want to purchase, that item will be available much more quickly at a small business than a large dealership.

Furthermore, contrary to popular myth, prices are usually no lower at a franchise location than they are at a local business, because for the most part, vendors set the prices for their products and they do not like discounts.

Generally, most business owners are willing to go the extra step to earn a customer, while that same urgency is not always present at a franchise location.

Community

Local businesses give communities a unique look that would be sorely missed if those businesses disappeared. Many people recognize this fact, as in one survey, only a desire for more restaurants eclipsed a desire for more local businesses among community residents.

For local businesses to contribute, the community must rise up. If a franchise location has a slow month, the financial loss may hardly be a blip on the radar. But if a local business has a slow month, the impact could be significant, and if that business closes, there is not always another one ready to take its place.

Do your community a favor and shop local.

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3 Ways O-rings Revolutionized the World

O-rings are tiny, but their importance is immense. The global gasket and seals market, worth $59.73 billion in 2016, will be worth $97.16 billion by 2023, with demand driven by growing automobile use and electrical and electronics applications, according to Stratistics MRC. As this illustrates, o-rings wield significance out of proportion to their size. Here’s a look at three ways the o-ring has revolutionized the world.

Empowering Aircraft

Early prototypes for the o-ring involved round, rigid rings used for purposes such as sealing sliding telescope tubes and pistons, says TheInventors.org. Today’s o-ring design was invented in 1933 by Danish-American inventor Niels Christensen, who had previously invented an airbrake system for electric streetcars. Christensen discovered that he could create a tight piston for a seal sliding in a cylinder by using a rubber ring set in a groove one-and-a-half times the length of the ring’s minor radius. After several years of perfecting his invention, Christensen applied for a patent in 1937, and received one in 1939.

In 1941, Christensen licensed his patent to United Aircraft, which planned to use it to seal off hydraulic cylinders used for controlling airplane components. But following Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government seized the rights to patents deemed critical to the war effort. Christensen received a lump sum payment of $75,000, later supplemented by an additional $100,000 payout to his heirs. His invention was shared with other military contractors, and the o-ring passed into widespread use in the aircraft industry and other industries.

Today the aircraft industry continues to use o-rings for hydraulic systems that control plane components such as brakes, landing gear, and wing flaps. Manufacturers such as Apple Rubber make specialized o-rings in over 8,000 different sizes and a wide range of materials for use in the aerospace industry and other applications.

Improving Automobiles

After World War II, o-rings came to assume an important role in automotive design. One of the most important functions of automotive o-rings is sealing fluid in braking systems. Braking systems use synthetic oil and operate under temperature conditions that can range from -40 degrees F to over 300 degrees F. O-ring materials used for braking must be able to resist temperature and chemical changes under these conditions and retain their shape and stiffness. For this reason, o-ring manufacturers use innovative types of synthetic rubber to ensure that automotive o-rings retain their properties during vehicle performance.

O-rings are also used to seal fluids in automobile lubrication circuit and air conditioning systems. As with o-rings used for braking systems, choosing the right material is essential for seals used for lubrication and air conditioning. The most common cause of air conditioning refrigerant leak in air conditioners is o-ring failure, which can hurt system performance, ice up evaporator coils and cause compressors to overheat, which can require expensive replacements. Choosing proper o-ring materials can help avoid these issues.

Allowing Undersea Exploration

O-rings have also helped make undersea exploration possible through SCUBA diving. Prior to the invention of the SCUBA tank, divers were limited by their ability to hold their breath or by the need to remain connected to air hoses linked to air pumps on the surface. In 1925, French naval officer Yves Le Prieur conceived the idea of omitting surface air pumps by equipping divers with a portable oxygen cylinders borrowed from tire manufacturer Michelin. Le Prieur’s invention represented the first self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA). However, Le Prier’s SCUBA supplied oxygen constantly, so tanks became empty quickly.

To allow more diving time, French naval officer Jacques Cousteau hit upon the idea of combining Le Prieur’s SCUBA tank with a breathing regulator that would only supply air on demand. In 1943, Cousteau tried out his invention, which he called the Aqua-Lung. The Aqua-Lung became the first practical, commercially-successful SCUBA tank, opening the way for modern diving and undersea exploration.

To keep air contained and supply oxygen on demand, today’s SCUBA tanks rely on o-rings in three key locations. One o-ring is placed in the neck of the tank, helping maintain a seal as air flows in and out of the tank. A second o-ring is placed in a valve called a pillar valve, which controls air flow in and out of the tank. The pillar valve connects the tank to the regulator that supplies oxygen to the diver’s mouth, which also has an o-ring. These o-rings allow divers to stay underwater longer and go deeper, enabling us to learn more about the ocean.

 

 

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Here are 6 Most Frustrating Driving Habits Revealed by UK Drivers

There is no such person as a perfect driver. Irrespective of your driving skills and experience, it is likely that you find in other road drivers infuriating habits. A recent survey of over 20000 drivers outlined the most frustrating driving habits exhibited by drivers in the UK.

Driving is ordinarily enjoyable but a combination of heavy traffic congestion, inadequate parking space, and bad drivers can combine to make driving a pain rather pleasure. Bad drivers exhibit varied driving habits that get on the nerve of other road users, for instance, litter dropped out of the car window can make a fellow driver suddenly swerve. So, what are the bad driving habits exhibited by other drivers on the road?

Tailgating

Tailgating is an aggressive and distressing behaviour for the driver ahead. It is also dangerous as a sudden break by the car in front can cause multiple accidents. Using the 3-second rule helps you avoid the dangerous habit of tailgating. If you want to overtake the car ahead, using your flash lights is preferable to trying to forceful push them out of the road.

Failure to indicate

Failure to indicate properly affects not allow the drivers behind but also pedestrians. Pedestrians must wait for a car to indicate properly before crossing the road. A study on failure to indicate showed that more than 2 million accidents are caused per year when drivers suddenly change lanes or make a turn.

Using mobile phones while driving

Laws on mobile phone use while driving has been in existence for several years and indeed, the fines against such behaviour was increased recently to curb motorists who can’t resist using their phones while driving. It is a dangerous habit and not without reasons, as research has shown that drivers are four times more likely to have an accident when using the phone while driving and texting doubles reaction times. The number of drivers using mobile phones while driving has tripled between 2014 to 2016.

Hasty exiting

Swooping across lanes, although generally regarded as an innocent error to take a road exit or join the fast lane is an irresponsible and distressing behaviour for other drivers. Mostly, the swooping driver is viewed as reckless and idiotic.

Hogging the middle lane

Hogging the middle lane is an irritating habit and has its dangers. Middle lane huggers often drive without a care in the world delaying other drivers who would love to speed along. If you are not speeding, move over to the left side of the road.

Littering and driving slowly

Nonchalantly dropping litter on the road while driving is a big distraction to other motorists. This may cause an accident when drivers need to swerve to avoid it hitting their vehicle.

Conclusion

The pains of driving make motorists go through a rough day behind the wheel. Most importantly, always remember this driving lesson: to anticipate the actions of other road users and to remain calm when they exhibit such bad habits.

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What Jobs Are A Good Fit For A Student?

What Jobs Are A Good Fit For A Student?

If you find yourself thinking about getting a job to support yourself while going to college, rest assured that you’re not alone. According to data from the U.S. Department of Education, over 78% of undergraduate students work, and this has changed very little since the 1990s. If anything, this number could grow as college prices and the costs of living go up. However, you also have to keep in mind that your studies require time as well, so choosing the right job is crucial.

Why Work As A Student?

Depending on your financial situation, working through college may have long or short-term benefits for your finances. Many choose to work to lower the amount they have to borrow in student loans to pay for their education. Student loan debt is one of the largest sources of debt in the country, over $1 trillion dollars, so this is certainly a wise decision. However, others who may have been able to get scholarships or other means to lower their tuition costs may choose to work to simply have spending money for various activities during their college years, similar to the role that a high-school job plays for many.

Even if money isn’t an issue (a rarity) working in a professional environment offers benefits for college students beyond a paycheck. For example, more and more entry-level jobs are demanding some experience working with top candidates. Ideally, if you can find employment in your field of choice, it will make you that much more of an appealing candidate, as well as adding a new dimension to the education you are getting in your classes. Even if your job isn’t an exact match, there are important skills to be learned. Working while you are in school can help you meet deadlines, work under pressure, and be better at managing time, all essential skills in the working world.

Choosing Wisely

Many colleges have a career development center, and while a lot of their efforts focus on your first jobs out of school, they also understand that experience during your college years can make all the difference. They may be able to connect you to relevant internships, but don’t be afraid to do the work on your own and find jobs that you think may be directly or indirectly relevant to your career path and see what they think. You may be surprised what looks good on a resume if you portray it correctly.

In some cases, companies may offer employment designed for your needs. Vector Marketing offers work for students, with flexible schedules that work around your classes rather than forcing you to make tough decisions between one or the other. Many other companies will seek out students as well, and while these may not pay the most, they do provide valuable experience. In general, one of the best things you can do during the interview process is making things clear that you are a student and know how your chosen classes will impact your schedule. Yes, this may take you out of the running for some jobs. But ultimately, these types of jobs would only lead to friction later, so consider it a blessing in disguise.

College students of all stripes are likely to pursue some type of employment during their education, whether they are trying to finance their way through college or accompany their education with relevant workplace experience. However, not every job is conducive to a student’s lifestyle. Be sure to find something that is flexible and ideally will have applications for your future career path. It can be hard to keep your eyes on the prize when daily demands pop up on your finances. But working now can pay dividends later if you find a proper balance.

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Finding Stocks To Trade

When you start out day trading, one of the first things that you need to learn is about finding stocks to trade. That is the first step to becoming a day trader that makes money and not one of the masses that lose money. More than 90% of day traders lose money. That is a fact.

But you don’t have to be one of them. The 10% of day traders that do turn a profit do it with smarts, technique and strategies taught to them by experts. And it all starts with finding penny stocks to trade and capitalizing on those hot stocks.

What is going to be key is a daily watch list. When you get involved with a day trading education site, you can get the benefits of a bevy of instructors that can teach you about momentum day trading strategies, how to spot gappers and more. But one of the most valuable aspects is being in a day trading chat room that offers a daily watch list.

Because following a daily watch list and interacting with veteran traders, in a chat room, is, especially for aspiring traders, a great way to get experience. You can see the stocks that are featured in the daily watch list, see the veterans take positions in the stocks and explain their positions and learn why and how those stocks make the daily watch list.

What you want to look for in a daily watch list is ideas beyond the typical penny stock lists of many other sites out there. You need to be looking at the market each day for opportunities to make 5-10% in profits and rack up more and more of those each day. That is how you end up with real profits at the end of the week. Building up small wins gradually, rather than taking long positions and hoping they pay off big.

And when you get very good at that, you can start looking at a gap & go strategy. That is where you see stocks that are trending up in the early morning before the opening bell, with prices above what they closed at yesterday.

You search for a catalyst in the news, like an earnings report, make sure the number of shares out on the market are low enough that they might all be traded that day and you take your position. That is a slightly higher level of strategy and one that you would wise to learn thoroughly before you begin to implement it.

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Workspace Wonders: How to Design Your Dream Home Office

When you work from home, it can be tricky to separate your living space from your working space. Creating a home office is a great first step in making sure you can tune into a working mindset when you have things to do, and back into a relaxed state when it’s time to spend time with family or de-stress. Designing your home office can be as big a project as you want, and the energy you put into it can help you be more productive and professional. Depending on the nature of your work, organizing your desk area, incorporating shelving and storage, and making the space inspirational are all important in varying degrees. It’s good to experiment to see what works best for you and suits your personal needs, but there are a few constants that hold true for almost all home offices and working spaces.

1. Create a focused space. 

Make sure your office or work room is clearly designated as a space different from all others in your home. Ensure you have a door or curtain that can shut and as much as possible avoid storing cleaning supplies, old clothes, or other clutter in your work space. Not only will it distract you and remind you of other responsibilities, but it can make it harder to find important documents and tools if they’re sharing space with shoes, bottles or boxes

2. Separate work from life. 

Treat a home office like you would a cubicle in a busy office building. Keep it tidy, have a family photo or two, and decorate it in a simple, professional way. Your office might be at home, but the more you treat it as separate, the easier it will be to tune in when there’s work to do, and to decompress when you’re finished. Stock your office with everything you might need to avoid having to leave and grab something, which can take you out of your productive state and introduce all sorts of distractions.

3. Use soothing colors and decorations.

Working buildings and professional spaces often put a lot of effort into furnishings that promote productivity. Clean lines and neutral colours reduce distractions and can have distinct psychological effects. The colour blue acts as a relaxant, as well as an appetite suppressant, so consider painting the room a shade of blue or using blue furnishings. Keeping the space cool can promote brain function and focus, so make sure you can control the room’s temperature. Comfortable ergonomic chairs and desks reduce fatigue and long term damage like back problems and carpal tunnel syndrome. Incorporate as many of these as you can to help you be more productive, and promote well being.

4. Incorporate tools for focus.

A home office doesn’t need to feel like a jail cell, so using design elements like fountains, zen gardens, or executive toys can help break up the monotony without throwing your focus. A simple indoor fountain can help freshen the space up, and the sounds of running water not only relaxes, but it can act as white noise to drown out the sounds you might expect if you have kids, neighbours, or heavy traffic near your house.

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It’s Time to Turn Your Business Website into an E-Commerce Powerhouse

The place for business in the 21st century is on the web. More and more businesses are establishing websites in order to do the bulk of their advertising and selling. If you are searching for a way to turn your business website into an e-commerce giant, you’ll need the proper software. There are a number of types of ecommerce shopping cart software to choose from. It only takes the bare minimum of research to enable you to decide which types will work best for the needs of your business. Once you know what you need, it’s easier than ever to go about getting it.

A Shopping Cart Is an Essential Piece of Modern E-Commerce Software

One of the most important pieces of e-commerce software you can order for your business site will be a shopping cart. This is the place where your customers can store items that interest them while they continue to browse around the rest of your site. Giving them a place to store these goods is an excellent way to keep them from forgetting about these items. Once they have completed their visit to your site, they can quickly retrieve their item from the shopping cart and take it to the checkout page to complete their order. Shopping carts save you sales.

Having a Shopping Cart on Your Site Will Save You a Lot of Sales

As noted above, it’s a tried and true proposition that having a shopping cart on your site will save you a great many sales. Even if a customer should forget to take that particular item to checkout, you can still make it the basis of a reminder email that you send to them later on. A quick email with the item and a message along the lines of, “Don’t forget about me!” can save you a lot of sales in the long run. A shopping cart is an e-commerce item that serves many functions and will more than repay the initial investment you make in order to add one to your official business website.

It’s Time For You to Show Your Competitors Who’s the Boss

If your website has been losing ground in favor of your competition, the reason is as clear as it is simple. Your site simply isn’t up to snuff. You’ll need to overhaul it in order to feature all of the latest e-commerce software. Your competitors have already done and are reaping the benefits of their foresight. It’s time for you to make up for lost time so that you can get back to challenging them for the crown.

Order Your Shopping Cart Software From a Professional Provider Today

It’s an excellent idea to order your shopping cart software from a professional provider as soon as possible. The sooner you do so, the more your productivity and profitability will increase. E-commerce software enables your business to interact with your customers in real time so that you can quickly get a reliable feel for what items interest them the most. There are a thousand other benefits that come with these valuable e-commerce software items. A shopping cart and official web store are two of the most important ones that no modern business website can afford to be without.

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