Are You Fit For Business?

Some of the key focuses of my blog are: Careers, Financial Literacy and Money, and Health and Wellness. In addition to the valuable experience gained from competitive athletics in a particular sport, sports in general can teach participants several other valuable skills which transfer to the business and work arenas. The following contributed post discusses this, and is entitled; Are You Fit For Business?

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When you work in a hectic workplace, there is nothing more important than finding a hobby where you can de-stress at the end of the day. It’s no wonder that sports classes, gyms and team games are becoming more and more popular with adults. However, while sports tend to be perceived as a relaxing tool that keeps you healthy, many forget the numerous advantages of a sporty activity in the workplace. Indeed, too many professionals consider sports as an essential factor of mental and physical health, which enables them to be in the best possible conditions to be performant in the office. But what if, doing sports, could be a factor of success in itself for your professional career? After all, when professional skills are transferable from a career to another, why couldn’t sport skills improve your day-to-day work too? Forget your gym membership: It’s time to explore the full potential of new activities.

Climbing improves strategic thinking

Learning to plan your next move
Climbing is an activity that engages both the muscles and the mind. Indeed, most climbers talk of approaching the wall or the rock – depending on where you choose to climb – as a problem. Their goal is to climb the problem is the best and most-suited way for their physical abilities. Consequently, the mind needs to plan ahead. You can take adult climbing lessons in most indoors and outdoors centers, starting by learning how to choose the equipment – from the best climbing harness for beginners to professional shoes for experienced climbers – to developing the right mindset for each surface. Your instructor can teach you the techniques through alpine climbing and lets you build your strategy with boulder activities – bouldering is harness-free, meaning that you need to stay focused just like with business management.

Learning to work as a team
Working as a team requires a mixture of effective leadership, mental toughness and collaborative approach. It is the sort of skills you develop in team sports, such as basketball. Contrary to what common sense dictates, a successful team doesn’t have to be the most talented team. The secret to unlocking high performance is to leave your ego aside and combine efforts unselfishly. On the field or in the office, being willing to share the effort and keep your team’s interests at heart can make a great deal of difference. There is, after all, no I in team.

Learning to be disciplined and focused
How long can you stay focused on the same task? Most people drop their concentration within 15 to 20 minutes, which can lead to interruption and a loss of productivity for the team. Unlocking self-control and self-discipline can help you to complete complex projects in a timely and error-free manner. Indeed, you can waste a lot of time when you lose focus and let errors go unnoticed. Sports that develop self-control, such as martial arts and dance, can train your mind to stay alert for a longer period of time. Additionally, discipline also provides you with a cool head when things get hectic!

Sports activities are essential health factors to help the body and the mind to relax. But the activities you choose can also make you better at what you do in the workplace. From better team collaboration to developing a strategic approach, sports can boost your professional career with transferable soft skills.

The Three Biggest Sources of Money Stress

Two of the main focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy and Money. The following contributed post was written by Faye McDonald. It discusses The Three Biggest Sources of Money Stress.

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Most of us have felt it at some point or another. When you’re facing money trouble, stress becomes a real factor in your life. It can affect your sleep, your work, your relationships, and even your health. Here, we’re going to look at some of the biggest sources of money stress and what you can do about them. After all, the impact of money troubles goes a lot further than your bank account.

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Income
A lot of importance is put on getting a job with a good income. It’s true that if your paycheque is big, you’ll have an easier time managing all your costs and putting together savings for your future. However, while working on your career should be a focus, it shouldn’t be the only one. There are other paths to take to financial security and prosperity. It’s all about planning better with what you have. By creating a budget, it’s easy to find the little extra savings that you can contribute to long-term goals. These investments from Profitable Venture show that you can even start contributing them to strategies that can see them playing a part in growing your wealth outside of your job. Investments allow you to diversify not only your income but also your reserves for retirement and bigger investments in the future.

Debt
The fear of debt is often a lot worse than debt, itself. There are a lot of different strategies to try and handle it. None of them involve ignoring the problem and hoping you don’t get noticed, which is unfortunately what most people in a panic tend to do. There are options to help control it like debt consolidation loans from Buddy Loans, but you should always try talking to your creditors first and foremost. If you begin to suspect you will have trouble repaying your debts to the letter of the agreement, you may be able to negotiate it with them. You might not always have your debt reduced, but you can get your repayments restructured. Most creditors don’t want to have to turn to collectors just as much as you want to avoid them.

Insecurity
If you’re living on a low income, one of the biggest fears might be the risk that an unexpected cost could bring with it. If you suddenly have to pay for major car repairs, would it put you in debt? Besides insurance, building an emergency fund is one of the best ways to ensure that you at least have some safety nets to stop you from going into freefall. Contribute a little bit of your income every month towards a fund that can cover all of your expenses lasting three-to-five months. That way it can cover not only unexpected costs but some of the danger of being put out of employment, too.

Don’t forget that there are resources like the Money Advice Service that you can turn to when you can’t see any options that can help your financial situation. It’s easy to feel like you’re stuck in a downward spiral, but if you’re not a financial expert, there may be solutions and plans that you haven’t considered.

The Best Influence: Saving Money As A Father

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy and Money. The following contributed post was written by Emma Morgan. It discusses The Best Influence: Saving Money As A Father.

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When you’re trying to be a great dad, having little to no spare cash during the year makes it a challenge to stay positive, and money worries are often a cause of family quarrels and arguments. Therefore, it’s worth looking into ways you can be thrifty, and save money each day in your home and lifestyle. It’s never too late to begin making wiser, considered choices regarding your finances, so make plans as soon as possible to start making positive change.

You can put your excess cash into savings for next year and the future, or your money can go towards covering the cost of family life, and ensure that you and your kids want for nothing. Being smart with money is also a great thing to instill in your children; they’ll be influenced by your good habits. The following are some ideas, tips, and advice for fathers looking to cut back their spending, and ensure their outgoings aren’t too much, by making little lifestyle changes that will add up to making a big difference.

Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-rich-travel-shopping-33250/

Family Transport

Vehicles can cost a lot to maintain, so it’s worthwhile reducing the family’s car to just one, and figuring out how you can reduce using them regularly. It’s also worth checking out a car payment calculator so that you can get a better idea of your monthly outgoings regarding your car, for more successful budgeting.

Your daily commute might be costing you heavily in fuel, especially when you’re stuck in traffic. Therefore, many are choosing to cycle to work, and bikes are a common sight on the roads during rush hour. Public transport passes work out cheaper if you buy them in bulk, and many services will get you to work far quicker than if you were in a car on the roads, so this could be another option for you if you’re not confident when cycling.

Family Food

Often, it’s easy to get home and realize there’s nothing in the fridge to eat, and end up ordering an expensive takeaway. The same goes for when you’re out in the day; you can end up spending a lot of cash on food from shops and cafes. Therefore, when you write your weekly grocery list; make sure you meal plan each day for the family. If you have the ingredients ready to use when you get in or can create a tasty lunch to take to work; you’ll reap the savings every day.

Family Budget

Sadly, it can sometimes be easy to find yourself in debt, especially when you’ve had unexpected costs to fork out for, or you’ve got behind with payments on something. Therefore, it’s crucial that you create a detailed account of what you’re bringing each month and compare it to your outgoings. This is the best place to start regarding how you can make changes to improve things long-term, so make sure you include everything, right down to the last cent. You can begin to change your monthly budget and improve family life in the meantime, for a bright future as a father ahead.

The Signs You’re Carrying Far Too Much Debt

Two of the main focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy and Money. The following contributed post was written by Emma Morgan. It discusses The Signs You’re Carrying Far Too Much Debt.

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We live in a time of consumerism and most of us have a mindset of ‘I need it now’, which makes us impulsive when it comes to credit. The problem with credit, though, is that we can have whatever we want, and the consequences come later. While credit seems like a great idea in the moment, when you’ve got too much month at the end of your money and you can’t make your repayments, it becomes a big problem.

Debt is, for most people, a very unfortunate part of life. Buying a house, a car and even getting an education can put you into debt. While these are the debts you’d want to have, rather than because you couldn’t put the Manolo’s back at the store, it’s still not nice to have to deal with debt in that way. Having a house is a good thing, until you can’t make the mortgage repayments and you’re getting help from DoveBankruptcyLaw.com/chapter-13-bankruptcy to get you back on track. There are some signs, though, that can tell you whether you are carrying too much debt. It’s time to get your head out of the sand and start sorting out your finances, because they’re not going to sort themselves.

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1. The first sign you’re carrying too much debt is that this is where your money goes. You should have enough money to cover your mortgage, your bills and your savings before having a portion for disposable income. If your disposable income is covering the minimums on your loans and cards, there’s an issue. Working to pay debt is not living, and you need to start making some adjustments so that this is no longer the case for you.
2. The next sign is that you won’t ever pay off your debts early, because the money that you have can only cover the minimum payments. Get onto the creditors that you have and ask them to lower the repayment amounts for you. Creditors are not easy to deal with – in your head. In reality, if you have a good history, they’re usually more than happy to help you out. As long as they are getting paid, they will work with you and not against you.
3. Your health is important, but if the stress of debt is starting to manifest physically, you’re going to suffer. Your sleep, your happiness, the jumpy feeling you get when the doorbell goes? All of these things are not healthy, and they can be affected by debt.
4. Trying to get a consolidation loan to cover your debts is the move that most people make so that they can pay things off quickly. However, if you’re being turned down even for this, then you’ve got too much on your plate. The more debt you have, the harder it is to get credit.

It’s important to recognize when you are carrying too much debt as much as it is to know where to ask for help. Don’t suffer alone – get the debt help you need now to lessen the burden on your shoulders.

Seven Times You’ll Be Glad You Have An Emergency Fund

Two of the main focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy and Money. The following contributed post was written by Faye McDonald. It discusses the Seven Times You’ll Be Glad You Have An Emergency Fund.

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You can’t always predict what’s going to happen in life, but you can make your finances disaster-proof. The best way that you can do this is by having an emergency fund to back you up every step of the way. Ideally, you should already be managing your money each month and budgeting for savings, but you should also be paying into a separate savings account for emergency reasons. Obviously, you won’t be putting in the same amount each month because you need to be able to keep living the way that you want to live. However, there will be times you will be exceedingly grateful that you had an emergency fund to fall back on and below, you can find seven times in life you’ll be whispering thanks to yourself for your own forward thinking!


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Job Loss. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in your job, no one is safe from being made redundant or losing their job. Companies fold all the time due to tough economic times and you have to be prepared for this. Losing your job means that you will be behind financially, and your emergency fund can save you from that.

Divorce. There’s something horribly stressful about a broken marriage. Divorce is costly, and your emergency fund can back you up while you’re paying for lawyers.

Accident. Being in financial difficulty when you’ve had an accident is stress on top of stress. You can speak to Tenge Law Firm, LLC when you need to figure out if you are due compensation from your accident. There’s no need to get behind on bills if you don’t have to!

You Quit. Sometimes, you don’t lose your job due to the recession or the fact your company is folding. Personality clashes mean that you could find yourself out of work off your own volition and you decide to quit.

Disaster. You can’t control mother nature and she is a fearsome beast. An emergency fund can be there for you if you lose your home or are dealing with a flooded house after a disaster. You can incur costs when you go through a natural disaster, and your emergency fund can absorb those.

Supporting Spouses. If your other half is out of work suddenly, or takes ill, you are the main breadwinner. Your savings could keep you above water if your money isn’t enough to support the pair of you.

Widowed. If you find yourself in a situation where you are suddenly without a partner at all, and they have passed away, you will need to have your emergency fund supporting you through a funeral and the expenses incurred there.

You see, an emergency fund isn’t something that is an inconvenience. On the contrary, it will be there for you for when life becomes an inconvenience instead. Most of these situations happen to us in life, it’s important that you manage your own money and keep yourself safe at all times.

Should HBCUs teach their students financial literacy and about the business of higher education?

This piece was originally published on Dr. Matthew Lynch’s online publication The Edvocate back in May of 2015. It was entitled Thoughts on Why HBCUs could use more Alumni than Graduates, and Financial Literacy. I decided to republish this story after the new President of my alma mater, Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU), recently visited our Washington DC alumni chapter to discuss his vision for the university which is currently on probation due to financial distress.

A lack of alumni giving has long been a major issue for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Something our new President Clarence Armbrister shared with us that I didn’t know, was that securing funding from Corporate America is difficult if alumni aren’t already giving significantly. Donors in fact inquire about alumni giving when deciding to give money themselves confounding the problem.

What’s at the heart of this conundrum? I think a major piece is that the concepts of wealth-building aren’t passed on in the ecosystems many HBCU students come from. When I say ‘ecosystems’ in this context, I’m referring to the environment the students have come from prior to matriculating into their particular schools – their home, their social circles, their church and the school system they’ve come from – in some instances where the goal is simply survival.

Coincidentally when you start studying money, a common theme you see is the importance of giving. Since many of these students are not receiving this information from wherever they come from, perhaps our HBCUs should consider planting these seeds in their student’s minds before they graduate – weaving it into their curricula somehow. After all, higher education is actually a business, and it isn’t free as someone somewhere has to pay for it.

In a previous post regarding the Tax Reform and Jobs Act, I discussed my alma mater being on probation, and challenged other HBCU alums to take some of the money they’ve received from their tax break and passing it on their alma maters – something which may have upset some readers. In this piece, I suggest that the HBCUs themselves should proactively arm their students with information which will not only empower them during their working lives, but also compel them to give support back to the places which gave them their start, allowing other kids to have similar opportunities.

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Being highly involved in the Washington DC Alumni Chapter for Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU), I’ve become keenly aware of the issues facing Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCUs). As an education advocate and writer, I’ve helped promote the “Quotes for Education” collaboration between Allstate and the Tom Joyner Foundation the last two years. In numerous interviews with Allstate’s Senior Vice-President and Florida A&M University alumnus Cheryl Harris, the importance of HBCU alumni giving back to their alma maters was stressed. In addition to the other pressures these institutions are facing, one of the more significant problems is the lack of alumni giving.

At an Executive Board meeting, our Chapter President Robert Ridley shared with us an idea he read stating that, “A graduate is someone who gets a degree from an institution and never looks back. An alumnus is someone who gives their time and money back to their alma mater.” This was an important distinction that I’d never heard before, not even when I was a student at JCSU. It’s an important concept that arguably should be introduced from day one at our HBCUs.

Why is it important for graduates to give back to their alma maters? The main reason is to give future generations a fighting chance to succeed. This is particularly important for Black America. Secondly, institutions of higher learning rely on state, federal and extramural funding from private donors. Many HBCU’s are “Land Grant” institutions and their funding has been decreased ironically under the Obama Administration, in addition to the tightening of the borrowing criteria for the “Parent Plus Loans” which many HBCU students and families heavily relied upon.  Thus donations from alumni have become more important.

As unofficially told by an insider, for the 2014 fiscal year, less than 14% of my class of 1999 gave anything back to JCSU, a staggeringly low number. When our school President Dr. Ronald Carter gave an overview of the current health of the University here in Washington, DC, he cited low alumni giving as one potential threat to the University’s future. A key piece of that evening was encouraging alumni to consider cutting back on certain luxuries to free up money to give back.

Why don’t HBCU Alums give more to their alma maters? Why would only 14% of my class give back to the University? One reason is that many students who’ve attended HBCUs feel as though they’ve given enough of their money to their alma mater when pursuing their educations, and don’t feel inclined to give anything else after graduating. Another reason is hard feelings towards one’s alma mater. Many graduates feel bitter about their experience for one reason or the other as well. I’ve heard this personally and read about it in other articles.

Another piece to this puzzle though is socioeconomic. Of the many curses to being born black in the United States, a key one is starting from lower rungs on the economic ladder than our counterparts of other ethnicities. If for example, your parents planned ahead and saved a college fund for you, your economic burden will likely be lessened or non-existent upon graduation as discussed by Georgette Miller, Esq. in Living Debt Free. You’ll have less debt and more disposable income (some to donate) after starting your career.

“They just weren’t thinking that way,” my father said in a discussion about my grandparents in a discussion about mortgages. I stumbled upon the basics of financial literacy by accident (from books like Rich Dad Poor Dad and The Millionaire Next Door), and wondered why my parents didn’t teach me more about the vital knowledge shared in these books. They didn’t know themselves and I think this is true for a lot of African American families in the United States.

Likewise, I hypothesize that many other college graduates from my community have a low level of financial literacy and that in part drives this lack of giving that we see from alumni towards their HBCUs. In other words, they know how to lavishly spend it, but not how to gradually save and grow it. If my hypothesis is true and many students are matriculating into our HBCUs with a low level of financial literacy, HBCU’s may do good to start educating their students on these topics from day one and also stressing that higher education is in fact a business. A good place to start would be Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU), or something similar.

I honestly didn’t seriously start giving to either of my alma maters until going through the FPU class taught at my church. In FPU, I learned that the greatest misunderstanding about money is that one of major keys to building and maintaining wealth is blessing others. Put another way, sustained financial health and giving are a function of one another, and in order for one to be able to give, one’s own financial house must first be in order.

Student loan debt can also help explain the lack of giving, but my suspicion is that there’s a percentage of graduates that once they get established, their finances aren’t situated so that they’re able to give back, or giving back just isn’t a priority. Coming from the African American community, there is truth to the myth that we as a community often collectively make poor financial decisions, particularly when ‘keeping up with the Joneses’, ‘signaling’, and trying to portray a certain image. For this reason, and because so many of us don’t get it at home, HBCUs once again may do good to expose their students to a financial literacy a curricula such as FPU which ultimately stresses sound financial decision making and ultimately charitable giving.

So why give back? Giving back to our alma maters, especially HBCUs is important if we want to see future generations grow and thrive. One of the keys to advancement of the African American community in the United States is financial stability as a group. Likewise the community itself has a responsibility to give its younger generations a fighting chance to participate in our new global economy. In the United States, economic power influences everything else. Regarding my own graduating class of 1999, we can do better than a 14% rate of participation in terms of giving back to our alma mater, as can graduates from other institutions.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. In you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy:

What are your plans for your tax cut? Thought on what can be done with heavier paychecks and paying tax
Who will have the skills to benefit from Apple’s $350 investment?
Challenging stereotypes and misconceptions on household income and wealth building
We should’ve bought Facebook and Bitcoin stock: An investing story
Your net worth, your gross salary and what they mean
The difference between being cheap and frugal

If you’ve found value here and think it would benefit others, please share it and or leave a comment. To receive all of the most up to date content from the Big Words Blog Site, subscribe using the subscription box in the right-hand column in this post and throughout the site. Lastly follow me on the Big Words Blog Site Facebook page, Twitter at @BWArePowerful, and on Instagram at @anwaryusef76. While my main areas of focus are Education, STEM and Financial Literacy, there are other blogs/sites I endorse which can be found on that particular page of my site.

My personal experience with Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball revisited

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” – Proverbs 22:7

One of the principles of my blog is the “Teaching of Wealth Building and Financial Literacy”. A key component of Financial Literacy is understanding debt – specifically what happens when you carry too much of it. I painfully learned what it’s like to carry exorbitant amounts of debt – a place I hope never to return to.

I got out of debt because some friends graciously shared Dave Ramsey’sFinancial Peace University” with me. While there are supporters of Financial Peace University and Dave’s “Debt Snowball”, I found that there are also detractors and critics. I wrote the following piece on the Examiner in early 2016 after someone else wrote an article about why she quit her Debt Snowball. I didn’t write this to rebut the author in a confrontational way or to discard her experience altogether, but instead to share an alternative perspective. By the way, to read about how to prolong your Debt Snowball, see my Mother’s Day 2017 blog post.

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Over the holiday season, an article appeared on my Twitter feed from another passionate Financial Literacy writer (there are many) titled; Why I Gave Up on Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball. Being a coordinator within the Financial Peace University ministry at the Alfred Street Baptist Church, and also in the final stages of my own Debt snowball, the article resonated with me and prompted the crafting of this piece. This piece won’t refute Jennifer Calonia’s experience, but will actually agree with some of her points and discuss my own experiences.

No one plans to go into crippling financial debt which usually occurs because of a lack of Financial Literacy; living above one’s means, or something else such as today’s soaring costs of higher education. Many people don’t understand what they’re doing and the long-term ramifications as was in my case. Roughly nine years were spent completing my Ph.D. and then the two and a half years of subsequent training – all on a taxable graduate stipend which ranged from $17,000-$22,000, and then a postdoctoral salary of $37,000. During that time, my expenses often exceeded my income for a number reasons. My old Saturn SL2 was bought with my father’s credit card. It was maintained using another credit card whose balance eventually ballooned to $8,500 (just paid off this month). An unhealthy relationship or two also contributed to the bonanza.

After starting my first real job in the Federal Government, my debt swelled at least two to three times due to wanting to learn to invest in real estate, and wanting to do too much too soon money-wise. It was a good idea but the trainings came at a steep price which in hindsight could’ve been obtained for less money. Those who gave those particular trainings dangerously encouraged us as students who didn’t have tens of thousands of dollars saved up, to use our credit cards, under the assumption that the costs of the classes would get paid off relatively easily once we some real estate deals were done (to be covered in depth in a later piece).

After accumulating my mound of debt, my life was blessed when two friends (from the same trainings) discovered and shared Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU). Just briefly, four of the key components of FPU – the cornerstones of Dave’s “Baby Steps” include:

• Saving an Emergency Fund – one month and then four to six months
• Learning how to budget
• Using cash instead of credit cards and debit cards
The Debt Snowball

The Debt Snowball is a strategy for eliminating debt. The individual lines up all of their debts smallest to largest, steadily paying them off one by one using the money from each paid off debt on the next one, steadily increasing the size of the payments on the larger ones until everything is paid off using “Gazelle Intensity” as Dave Ramsey calls it. Dave Ramsey uses the parable of the Gazelle who represents consumers who are preyed upon by the Cheetahs who represent credit card companies, banks and marketers.

Jennifer Calonia’s points are honestly all valid. My own Debt Snowball has taken two to three difficult years (and that’s without children), and it is easy to feel like quitting. Life continues to happen not just to you, but those around you – some of whom aren’t making good financial decisions and ultimately need your help – often unexpectedly. There is also the pull to do what others are doing – taking lavish vacations and acquiring luxury items for example. Finally, because you’re living on a fixed income when doing the debt snowball, some people may conclude that you’re “strapped” for cash which can be hurtful if you’re sensitive to the words of others.

These are all reasons why Ramsey discusses prayer when pursuing this effort (if that’s in your value system of course). From experience, when doing the Debt Snowball, one has to know that there are times when this financial plan can and must be altered temporarily – the holiday season for example. Furthermore, periodic rewards are realistically a good idea too (within reason). In other words, if you’re doing the Debt Snowball, you have to allow yourself some fun, or else you’ll stop it and never go back.

Much to my surprise, Dave Ramsey does have his detractors and critics as does every author/speaker/guru. There is for example a second method to paying down debts which involves paying down the highest interest rate obligations first. Some consider this more financially intelligent than the debt snowball which is powerful because of the ‘emotional’ effect of seeing the debts go away.

“We’re going to live like no one else, so later we can live like no one else,” Ramsey says frequently during frequently during FPU meaning that some sacrifices are initially involved, for greater gains and a comfortable life later on. Money is an emotional topic and as with most things, everyone has to make the best decisions for their own lives. Being on the cusp of completing my own debt snowball, it admittedly wasn’t easy, but if one can find a way to stick to it, it does work.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you enjoyed this one, you might also enjoy:

Chris Brown discusses true stewardship and financial peace
Your gross net worth, your gross salary and what they mean
The difference between being cheap and frugal
Mother’s Day 2017: One of my mother’s greatest gifts, getting engaged, and avoiding my own personal fiscal cliff
Father’s Day 2017: Reflections on some of Dad’s money and life lessons
We should’ve bough Facebook and Bitcoin stock: An investing and technology story
Challenging misconceptions and stereotypes in class, household income, wealth and privilege

If you’ve found value here and think it would benefit others, please share it and/or leave a comment. To receive all of the most up to date content from the Big Words Blog Site, subscribe using the subscription box in the right hand column in this post and throughout the site. You can follow me on the Big Words Blog Site Facebook page, and Twitter at @BWArePowerful. Lastly, you can follow me on Instagram at @anwaryusef76. While my main areas of focus are Education, STEM and Financial Literacy, there are other blogs/sites I endorse which can be found on that particular page of my site.

Why SEO really is the key to a successful online business

Regardless of what your business is, or what your content is as a writer, it’s critical make your presence known and easy to find. The following guest post comes courtesy of Michael Kordvani. It discusses importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for the success of online businesses. Michael Kordvani can be contacted at michaelkordvani@gmail.com.

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When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), many are aware it’s something that’s supposed to help their online business but very few make time to learn anything about it or to even try. Many tell you they rely on word of mouth marketing or paid advertising that can take a chunk out of your business budget.

It’s a shame that SEO marketing is misunderstood and underused. SEO is a series of techniques designed to make your website easier for both search engines and your visitors to understand. Since search engines don’t see and understand your web pages the way a human can, SEO helps them ascertain what each page is about and why it’s useful to its users. Then it helps the search engines bring their users to you.

5 Ways SEO Helps Your Online Business Succeed

While there are many ways SEO can benefit your online business, here are five of the top ones.

More Clients: With so many websites available for any given product, service, or niche, getting clients can be a challenge. Using solid SEO techniques will improve your ranking in the search engines and make it easier to find. The easier your site is to find, the more potential customers you will receive. With the increased traffic, you will see more conversions.

Mobile Friendly: According to Hitwise, as much as 58% of all search engine queries are conducted on mobile devices and that number will continue to grow. How does SEO factor into that? An entirely new set of SEO techniques, like local search optimization, have been developed to help businesses get their products and services in front of the mobile audience. Choosing to ignore this particular trend is allowing your business to fall behind and out of the minds of today’s consumers.

Reputation Building: Reaching the first page of a search engine is quite an accomplishment and much more than something to brag about. Greater consumer trust is given to pages that are highly ranked. For many customers, if they can’t find a business on the first page of their Google search results, it’s not good enough. SEO boosts your website’s ranking in the search engines, gradually helping you move towards the top of users’ search results.

Brand Awareness: Another great benefit of SEO is that it lets your site appear on relevant pages of the search engines. As your ranking goes up, your site will appear more often at the top of user searches. That increases awareness among potential customers, more of them being aware of you means a higher conversion rate. Getting your SEO optimized content on social media channels too will also help increase your brand’s awareness and inspire consumer trust and loyalty.

Cost Effective: People are often afraid of investing in SEO because they don’t understand it. In educating yourself about the true power potential of SEO, you’ll see that such investment is much like investing in real estate. If you invest wisely in SEO, you get more from it. The remarkable thing is that a huge investment isn’t necessary and it’s very cost effective when compared to what you’d pay for PPC and social media marketing.

A Cryptocurrency App Case Study

The following guest post comes courtesy of Al Hill, Co-Founder of www.Tradingsim.com. It focuses on a case study for Cryptocurrency Apps – a topic related to my posts which discussed both Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology. While this post discusses Apps for financial transactions using Cryptocurrencies, it worth noting that the Big Words Blog Site is not involved in giving personal financial advice to readers and is not liable for any financial decisions made by readers. This post contains several infographics. Click on the images to enlarge them.

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Why do a case study on cryptocurrency apps? Well, it wasn’t up to me. There is just too much demand according to the number of searches from Google.

There are a lot of case studies on the web related to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies apps, so we wanted to do things slightly differently by defining a methodology to remove any inherit bias from the equation.

The study focused on 4 main factors on a normalized exponential scale of 1 to 100.

• Social Power
o Social power is a custom ranking metric we created by weighting the            numbers of followers across social networks: Facebook (45%), Twitter            (35%), and LinkedIn (20%)

• Total Number of Installs (provided only by the Google Play App Store)
• Total Number of Reviews
• Rating on the Google Play App Store (the IOS App Store only provides “4+”)

So, after inputting these data points into our algorithm, what did we come up with? An awesome top 10 list for you to explore!

The top graph depicts the overall rating based on our methodology. Now, if you are a true data geek like me, please have a look at the supporting numbers in the table below.

As you can see, the methodology did create some separation between the best in breed.

Blockchain is the clear technology leader providing a framework solving many business challenges, one of which is the cryptocurrency market, so the 100 rating was not a shocker.

Some of the other apps are news outlets or provide the ability to track the value of currencies, which won’t measure up in terms of value add against apps that allow you to buy cryptos or use them as a form of payment.

But what makes Coinbase so popular?

The real story with Coinbase is the large number of reviews for their app.

With the largest count of over 600k reviews, this was not by chance. Coinbase has a clear growth strategy focused on 4 pillars:

1. Create a simple retail exchange that allow consumers to invest in digital currency
2. Enable professional traders and institutions to trade digital currencies
3. Create an interface for people to make payments with digital currencies and developers to build applications that utilize this payment network
4. Simplify the development process and even invest in some partners that have awesome ideas

This approach creates evangelists that not only use Coinbase’s products, but also scream about them from the rooftops.

You of course will need to determine which app works best for your needs, but how people are sharing and using the application is likely a great measure.

To access the full case study, please visit: https://tradingsim.com/blog/crypto-apps-study/

Al Hill
Co-Founder, Tradingsim.com

The Best Apps for Crypto Investment

I am pleased to present my first guest post for the Big Words Blog Site. It comes courtesy of Michael Kordvani, the Head of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of the App development agency Fueled, and it discusses the best Apps for ‘Cryptocurrency’ (Crypto) Investment – a topic related to two of my posts which discussed both Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology. While this post recommends the best Apps for financial transactions using cryptocurrencies, it is worth noting that the Big Words Blog Site is not involved in rendering personal financial advice to readers and is thus not liable for any financial decisions made by readers.

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There are now loads of different cryptocurrencies to invest in, but how do you keep track of all your investments, and the changes in the market?

No doubt you’ll want to use your smartphone to manage your crypto investments. While we’re not always in front of our PC, we’ve usually got our smartphone to hand, and when it comes to cryptocurrencies, things can change fast. Being able to access your investment data quickly, any time you like, wherever you are, is pretty much vital.

Blockchain development has been highly concentrated in the area of crypto investment apps, so you have plenty of choice when it comes to apps to use. Here’s our pick of some of the best apps for managing your crypto investments…

Coinbase

If you’re new to crypto investment, then Coinbase is a good choice as it’s very easy to use. Setting it up and then making sense of the information displayed is very simple. It’s very popular at the moment with more than 10 million customers using their system.

Gemini

Gemini is another popular choice, and currently benefits from slightly lower fees than Coinbase. This is an intuitive app with lots of reporting capabilities and some great graphs to help you make sense of all the information it presents.

Blockfolio

Blockfolio is particularly useful for anyone with a diverse portfolio. It’s a powerful tool that can seem complicated at first, but it’s well worth spending the time getting to grips with it if you’re dealing with a wide range of investments across several cryptocurrencies. Blockfolio tracks more than 800 different cryptocurrencies and sends push notifications to your smartphone when levels reach your predetermined threshold.

Investing.com Cryptocurrency

If you tend to trust apps from long established companies, then take a look at Investing.com Cryptocurrency. This company has been giving us investment advice for over 10 years now so it’s no surprise they’ve moved into the cryptocurrency market too. Through their app you can track 1300 different cryptocurrencies in real time, and you have the advantage of seeing historical data too. This app will also allow you to set alerts for when your goal price has been reached.

Bitcoin Wallet from BTC

This app from BTC is easy to use and is nicely designed to be simple yet efficient. It’s very secure and has reasonable transfer fees. It offers a good backup system, so you’ll never lose your data, and you can also transfer Bitcoin via QR reader. This app only deals with Bitcoin though, so if you’re investing in other altcoins, then you will probably want to look at our other recommended apps rather than this one.

Xapo Wallet

If security is top of your priority list when choosing a crypto investment app, then they don’t come much more secure than Xapo Wallet. The Wall Street Journal described their security as ‘the Fort Knox of cryptocurrency storage’. It gives you three layers of security and it’s also very easy to use with a smooth interface.