Home Buyers Seeking the Jetson Life
Just a few short years ago, nobody had ever heard of a “doorbell camera” or a “smart thermostat.” Today’s home buyers expect these features as a given, and real estate experts say buyers are willing to pay extra for them. Aside from the added convenience, smart home technology can save homeowners money in the long run. Here are a few popular upgrades.
A smart security system allows you to monitor your home through an app while you’re away. Features such as live camera feeds and remote-operated lighting can also reduce homeowners insurance.
You can schedule times to raise and lower your blinds with a phone app or remote. This relatively inexpensive upgrade enhances home security and peace of mind while cutting down on energy costs.
Automating things like sprinkler systems and home theater equipment can distinguish your house from the competition. Enhancements like these simplify daily life while adding an element of luxury to your home.
Thinking of Starting Your Own Business?
If you’re considering joining the 5 million people who started a new business last year, maximize your chance of success by starting with a strategic plan. In a recent Inc.com interview, business founders and venture capitalists recommended asking yourself these 10 questions before you take the leap.
- What’s your “why?” Define your purpose.
- What worries keep your customers up at night? Identify the problem.
- How can you help your customer alleviate or eliminate their pain? Find the solution.
- When is the best time of year or ideal launch point in the business cycle? Time your launch.
- Where do your customers hang out, both in person and online? Find your market.
- What are your competitors missing? Find the weaknesses or gaps that you can fill.
- What’s the best way to monetize? Design your business model.
- Who are people you like who have the skills you need? Build your team.
- What systems would work best for you? Track your financials.
- What photos, drawings, letters, or mission statement can you keep in front of you every day to keep you focused and motivated? Realize your vision.
Why Choose a Credit Union?
The difference between banks and credit unions is simple: One is for-profit, and the other has broader motivations. Banks are either privately owned or publicly traded, so they’re all about the stockholders. But credit unions are member-owned, so they focus on member needs. Membership can revolve around a common industry, company or location.
Credit unions often offer better rates for products like CDs and auto loans. Their fees are usually lower than competing bank fees, and they offer some nice perks.
Many credit unions belong to the Co-op Shared Branch network, providing access to over 5,600 branches and 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs at other credit unions. Credit unions insure customer deposits through their equivalent of the FDIC.
Contract vs. Full-Time Work
Gig work may be giving full-time jobs a run for their money, but today’s economy needs both.
Bringing home some extra income is making freelance work an attractive possibility for more and more professionals. This earning potential, coupled with greater flexibility and control over the amount of work accepted, has led many people to consider freelancing as a viable option.
According to a recent survey of 6,000 working U.S. adults conducted by freelance platform Upwork, the share of workers categorized as freelance, which includes all types of gig workers, remained steady at 36% in 2021. However, the number of skilled workers within that group — those providing high-demand services like computer programming, writing, business consulting, marketing, and information technology — grew significantly.
While the survey results confirm a shift in the makeup of today’s workplace, the need for full-time, in-office workers remains strong. A full-time employee is an integral part of a company and can often help guide corporate decision-making. In-office workers can also positively influence the culture by forming productive and lasting working relationships with their peers.
Career choices are as diverse as the people who fill the roles. What’s fulfilling for one might not be for another. Thankfully, the definitions of “worker” and “workplace” are expanding to accommodate personal demands and stretch a company’s success by employing happy, hard-working people. It certainly can be a win-win for all.
Choosing the Right Travel Rewards Card
Travel rewards cards often have enticing perks and benefits. The better defined your travel goals are, the easier it will be to pick a card that works for you.
If you’re interested in international travel, look for cards associated with airlines that feature routes to the places you want to go. Infrequent travelers should consider cards that base points on mileage or dollars spent rather than on a per-trip basis. When comfort is your top concern, find cards that offer first-class upgrades or access to VIP airport lounges. Airline-specific cards work well for those who primarily fly on one carrier.
Zeroing in on specific travel goals is the best way to weed through the mounds of offers. Steer clear of any cards with annual fees that exceed the value of your expected rewards.
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