Saturday, August 13, 2016

Subisu Had A Hilarious Response To This Guy’s Complaint

I never have had a chance to use any of Subisu ‘s services yet, fortunately. Just kidding! I would love to. (Ahem!) Anyways, but from what I have heard of and read about its services, I will definitely be thinking for at least a billion times before using them. Wondering why would I say that? Take a look.

These are just a couple of tweets out of the millions.

Anil Katwal, a Facebook user, decided to teach Subisu a lesson and that’s why he messaged them:

“Oh Subisu. Ke Ho I am hearing too many complains of your users,” he wrote. “What kind of service do you provide?”

To this, Subisu had a hilarious reply. This is what they wrote back:

Dear sir, we provide internet, cable TV, clear TV, IP Transit, Email Hosting and other network related services.”

EPIC!! Somebody give Subisu the award for the best troll of the year.

Here’s the screenshot of the conversation.


The post Subisu Had A Hilarious Response To This Guy’s Complaint appeared first on NeoStuffs.

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11 Reasons You Should NEVER Visit Pokhara. Nope, Just Don’t Even Think About It!

If you have visited Pokhara, we are sorry, you had to go through such a pathetic time. And if you haven’t, great, and don’t even think about going to this horrible, horrible place. Why? Alright, we will give you eleven reasons.

1. Ugly Landscapes

Look at this ugly view. I mean, who would want to travel all the way to see such an ugly view of a lake with the reflection of some stupid mountains in it. Like seriously!

feat pkr

And this!

Pokhara_ Bhakta Tamang

Photo: Bhakta Tamang

And in the evening, when the lake looks even uglier. Urgh!

anton jankovoy 3

Photo: Anton Jankovoy

2. Awful Sunsets & Sunrises

Just look at this sunrise. Who would instead of just sleeping, wake up early to see this? Pfft!

anton jankovoy 4

Just some white plain mountains, a sun and the same boring sunrise.

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And then this sunset behind the lake. B-O-R-I-N-G!!

Pokhara_ arun sharma

Photo: Arun Sharma

3. Lame Adventure Sports

Pokhara is also known for the adventure sports it offers for all the adrenaline junkies.


Pokhara_ raaz kc

Photo: Raaz KC



Zip Flyer!

pokhara zip flyer


Pokhara_ pokhara canyoning ram gurung

Photo: Ram Gurung

And there are some more as well, such as ultra flight, heli ride, stand up paddle-boarding, para-hawking among others that I definitely don’t give a damn about. Who in the world would instead of finding all of them Pokemons, would be interested in such ‘useless’ adventures? WHO????

4. Dull Hiking

Another ‘useless’ stuff that people say is the best thing to do in Pokhara is hiking. I don’t even understand why would people want to walk a hill just to see such lame scenes.

Pokhara_ gobinda timilsina

Photo: Gobinda Timilsina

Seriously, what is wrong with the people? Haven’t they got anything better to do?

Pokhara_ Pratap gurung

Photo: Pratap Gurung

Pokhara_ drishti ummid

Photo: Drishti Ummid

Walk the whole goddamn mountain to reach Peace Pagoda? Hmm? Just go and sleep, and it will be peaceful anyway.

5. Boring Lakes

There are like eight lakes in Pokhara and the neighboring municipality, Lekhnath. So what? What do we do with them?

Pokhara_ sulabh bhattarai

Photo: Sulabh Bhattarai

Pokhara_ Vivek Shrestha

Photo: Vivek Shrestha



6. Gateway to Dumb Trekking Circuits And Villages

Annapurna Base Camp, Jomsom, Lo Manthang and various of other lame places can be reached from Pokhara. NOT EVEN INTERESTED, DUDE!

pkr 1

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And some ‘beautiful’ villages such as Ghandruk, Dhampus and Sikles among others. NO, THANK YOU!



7. Irksome Caves

Mahendra Cave, Bat Cave, Gupteshwor Cave and Kumari Cave are some of most popular tourist destinations in town. Seriously, dude? Who do you think I am? Flintstone? Ain’t nobody going to these dark and creepy dumb caves.

cave pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Wandering Marathoner.com

Photo: Wandering Marathoner

8.  Annoying Davis Fall

And then there’s this mundane water fall. Seriously, who has got so much time to go and see this dull fall?

davis fall youtube

Photo: YouTube

And then some people have so much time that they go inside a cave to watch this tedious fall from back. Pfft!


To make it even worse, there’s this wish pool around . Buhahahaah!

Pokhara_ rupace isar

9. Bird Watching For Boring People

With hundreds of species of birds found in and around Pokhara, some people love to go on bird-watching trips for days. Hahahahaha! Dude, from when did watching birds become an interesting activity?

bird rspb

Photo: RSPB

10. Unpalatable Food

The food is just Eew! Definitely not eating these.

food byanjan

Photo: Byanjan


11. Dreary Night Life, Music & Festivals

They say music runs in the veins of the people from Pokhara. Very funny, where does the blood run then, in pipe lines? Haa!


Pokhara_ diwas baral            shutterpsycho2015shutterpsycho2015DSC_5405


You have been warned!

All the photographs apart from the ones with credits mentioned are taken by Rishav. Follow him on Facebook & Instagram.
Cover Picture: Anton Jankovoy

The post 11 Reasons You Should NEVER Visit Pokhara. Nope, Just Don’t Even Think About It! appeared first on NeoStuffs.

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How to Get a Ton of Extra Value Out of Earning a College Degree

How to Get a Ton of Extra Value Out of Earning a College Degree

When I first attended college some number of years ago, I really didn’t take the experience as seriously as I could. I kept my grades high enough to maintain scholarships and loans, but I often glossed over my classes and completely skipped out on optional things unless they came with free pizza.

The handful of smart things that I did do stand out like a beacon from those years. It was those good moves that really made a difference in my life – most of the rest was, frankly, rather wasteful.

Yes, I walked away with a degree, but I did not extract nearly as much value from my college degree as I should have. The college experience offers the opportunity to build lifelong relationships that can continually benefit you personally and professionally. It can teach you invaluable time management skills along with the ability to process and use information quickly. It can build a deep foundational understanding of your academic area of focus. It can help you add a ton of amazing elements to your resume beyond that boring educational section. It can lay the foundation for a great career or an entrepreneurial direction. I tapped very little of those things and, in the rare cases where I did, they really made a huge difference.

If I were suddenly decide to return to school for a new degree, here’s the approach I would take to the whole thing.

Use Smart In-Class Behavior

My simple mantra for participating in a college class would be to treat it like a business meeting because, in essence, that’s what it is. You’re in a business arrangement here where you’re exchanging money for the education being provided, and you’re being given the opportunity to get the maximum amount of value out of it. Here’s how.

Show up. I can’t even tell you how many half-empty college lectures I attended. The professor would show up and deliver the materials to the half-empty hall, but that professor would often deliver a bunch of extras along the way such as unplanned “bonus quizzes” to earn some extra points and a lot of extra attention and focus given to the students who cared enough to simply show up. Be one of those students. It will be valuable to you over and over and over again.

Be alert and well rested. Don’t show up half-awake and pass out in the back of the lecture hall. If you’re going to be in school, take it seriously. Show up to your classes well rested, alert, and ready to learn something. If you’re finding that difficult, then consider rearranging the other elements of your life that are keeping you from doing this.

Turn off your devices and take handwritten notes. There is extensive evidence – and my own personal experience matches this – that taking handwritten notes is far better for retaining knowlege and comprehending ideas than simply listening to lectures or taking notes on an electronic device. Take advantage of that – turn off your digital devices when you enter the room and take notes in a notebook using a trusty pen or pencil.

Sit near the front of the class. By sitting in the front of the class, you’re able to see all of the lecture notes and chalkboard notations very clearly. You’re going to be in the professor’s clear line of sight. You’re also going to be in a position where you’ll know, on some level, that you shouldn’t be dozing off or distracted and thus you’ll stay on task better.

Write questions throughout your notes. Whenever you take notes on anything, use a second color of pen and write questions that pop up in you head as you go along. Sometimes, those questions are answered further along in the lecture; other times, they provide the foundation of further reading or investigation. Spending a bit of time after the lecture answering the questions in your head makes the lecture come together much more clearly.

Ask questions after – and even during – the class. Obviously, it’s a bad idea to disrupt the class with every question you might have. However, if you have a key question that’s causing you to lose track of the direction that the entire lecture is going, don’t be afraid to ask it. Similarly, don’t be afraid to ask questions directly after the lecture. This also helps the professor know who you are specifically, which can help with grades and other factors.

Use Smart Online Class Behavior

Many classes today are held online, which means a very different structure, but many of the same principles for offline classes still apply. Be as focused as possible by closing down as many other distractions as you can. Take handwritten notes with questions interspersed. Answer those questions for yourself after the lecture.

Beyond that, be heavily involved in the class discussion forums. This provides many of the same benefits as asking questions during and after the class lecture – filling holes in your information, getting to know the professors better, and so on. Just as in real-world lectures, students who participate in online discussion forums for their classes tend to stand out to their professors while also understanding the material better.

Attend Office Hours, Even If You’re Confident in That Class

A natural extension of participating in the actual lectures is to take advantage of the class office hours. Office hours provide a genuine opportunity to interact more with professors, and relationships with professors tend to be invaluable in terms of mentorship, references, career guidance and advice, and potentially even employment.

The vast majority of students never bother with this. I’ve attended office hours for a 300 student lecture before and been the only person there. It’s an incredibly effective way to stand out and get individual questions answered while also building a bit of a relationship with the professor. Here’s how.

Know about the professor. Before you go, have some idea about who the professor is and what his or her research interests are. If that professor has published papers, what were the areas of focus? What kind of questions might you have to try to understand those areas better? This is a great conversation starter with almost any professor beyond the strict area of class topic discussion; it demonstrates your further interest and gives them an area to discuss that they’re naturally interested in and excited about, which is always great for building a positive relationship.

Collect notes questions you haven’t answered yet. If you’re looking for things to discuss within the class itself, whether you’re actually looking for help in the course or are just looking to extend your knowledge beyond the course materials, a powerful place to start is to gather up the unanswered questions you have from your lecture notes – the questions written in a different color of pen mentioned above. Make a list of them on a page to take with you to the office hours and ask all of them!

Hunt Hard for On-Campus Work Related to Your Studies

Most college students need a job to make ends meet. If you can possibly find a job that relates to your major, that’s a huge victory because it fills that role of earning a few bucks while also counting as professional resume-worthy experience. Here are a couple of strategies for making that work.

Talk to your academic department about on-campus work opportunities. If you have strong grades in coursework related to your major (and you probably do if you’re following the earlier steps), stop by your department office and look for opportunities for working on campus on anything related to your major. Be open to work directly for the department, work with professors, work with graudate students – anything. All of it is excellent resume fodder and excellent for building connections with professors and graudate students.

Talk to individual professors who are engaged in research close to your interests, particularly if you did well in their class and attended their office hours. If you did well in a professor’s class and built some kind of positive relationship there, don’t hesitate to talk to a professor directly about hourly employment opportunities, either with them or with others in the department. This is true for any professor you built a relationship with and with whom you performed well on classwork.

Join Extracurricular Groups

Connecting with professors is valuable, but so is building strong friendships and relationships with other students who are also interested in getting ahead in your career path. Many of these students can help you build a professional network that you can rely on for years, particularly as you begin to establish your own network based on your area of employment.

Join any and all groups related to your area of study. If there’s a club related to your major, join it. Get involved, go to the meetings, and be involved in leadership and in projects related to the group. Not only is leadership in such a group great for a resume, it also gives you a ton of opportunity to build connections with other students interested in your area of study who are also focused on success.

Join selected groups related to extra skills you want to build, such as leadership or public speaking or IT skills. These groups tend to be filled with career-oriented and personal growth oriented people from all sorts of different majors – in other words, people who are useful to know. Membership and especially leadership in such groups provide a great way to build those skills and also directly indicate your efforts toward building such transferable skills on your resume.

Join the Greek system or other purely social groups, but know what the benefits and drawbacks are. The Greek system is a powerful social organization that can help you with some professional connections, can sometimes involve you in great charitable groups, and can help build social skills in a very positive way, but they can also be incredibly expensive, require a lot of time, and can sometimes have a culture of alcohol and drug abuse. They’re a good fit for some and not a good fit for others.

Treat Class Projects as Portfolio Builders

Many students treat class projects as simply something to complete and get out of the way. A much better approach is to treat them as a career warm-up and, ideally, as something you can post on a resume or a website.

Look at every significant class project through the lens of whether or not you would want to show it to an employer, and if it falls short, it needs more work. Would you want to show the results of your project to someone who might employ you? If the answer is no, then your project needs improvement. This isn’t about a grade; this is about preparing yourself for a professional environment as much as you can. If you have a source that can help you refine things to a professional level, use that source, because what you learn about those finer skills will be utterly invaluable and will show in your final project. Don’t be afraid to include your best projects on your website and point at them with your resume, as they’ll provide evidence that you have some of those finer skills.

Attend Events Related to Your Department

One of the biggest advantages of being in a college environment is that it provides a perfect mixture of educational and social networking opportunities. Some of the best opportunities are put on by the departments and colleges themselves.

If your department puts on public lectures, events, or presentations, make it a point to go to them and take notes on them as if they were your coursework. Write down key points and ideas in your own words, jot down questions that come into your mind, and try to absorb the ideas. This will not only improve your own knowledge and give you things to follow up on when you go back to this later, but it will also embed most of the key points into your head so that you can discuss them effectively afterwards.

Stick around afterwards to mingle, and use your best “How to Win Friends and Influence People” skills if you don’t know how to talk. People almost always mingle after these meetings. Stick around and talk to people about the lecture and, perhaps more importantly, about each other. Apply the key principles of How to Make Friends and Influence People here: namely, when you’re uncomfortable or in doubt about what to say, ask someone else about themselves or about their opinion. Also, if you “click” well with anyone, exchange contact info and consciously send a follow-up or two and an invitation to do something simple like get coffee or a meal together. It’s a powerful way to build relationships with involved people.

Get on college and departmental mailing lists informing you of such lectures and presentations. How do you find out about such events? The easiest method is to simply get on mailing lists where such events are sent out. Look on your college and department websites for email lists about meetings and lectures and get on those email lists. Add them to your calendar when they pop up. They’re fertile ground for being exposed to new ideas and meeting people with similar interest and openness to new ideas.

Fill Every Downtime with an Internship or Something Similar

If you have more than a few days out of class, you should be filling it with some sort of professional growth opportunity, such as an internship.

Never stop looking for opportunities for every single break. Winter break, summer break, spring break, all the breaks – fill them with some sort of opportunity to develop your professional skills. Even if it’s just a few weeks, many organizations offer some sort of internship program during that time. Internships related to your desired career are golden.

Maximize the value of your internship. There are two reasons to do an internship. One is to build positive relationships with people actually working in your field. Two is to be involved with some sort of project that builds skills you can market and perhaps a result you can describe on your resume. Almost all internships have the first one; many have the second. Those are the reasons you take on an internship, so make them the focus. Build lots of relationships and try to learn something from every moment you’re there.

Use Internet Forums and Social Media

Social media and internet forums can provide a great targeted way to build relationships with other people who share your professional interest as well as an opportunity to hone your own knowledge and skills. Social media outlets like LinkedIn and Twitter have thriving communities related to virtually any professional path, and sites like StackExchange and Reddit have great forums for deep discussion of professional issues. Both can be valuable, not just for your career, but also for your classwork.

Use internet forums and social media discussions related to your topic as a study aid. Look through archives for people talking about the specific thing you’re studying, because reading different people’s takes on a topic can often reveal new angles to you that can vastly improve your understanding of the material.

Give more than you take while participating, as explaining topics to others helps you master them and builds goodwill and a positive reputation. It’s great to ask questions, but it’s also great to take the time to give clear and well-articulated responses. Those types of responses are gold, not just for the person you’re answering and future readers, but for you as well. For you, it helps you master the topic by getting you to explain it in your own words. It also helps build a positive reputation for you because you’ve helped others.

Create lasting resources to help those forums, such as FAQ or wiki contributions. Lasting resources, especially those with your name attached in some fashion, are valuable for the reasons mentioned above, but it’s amplified in every way. Lasting resources tend to be an extended exercise in mastering a topic in enough depth to explain it, but they also tend to stick around for a very long time and help a lot of people. However, they also take a long time. When I’ve done these in the past, I’ve made sure to include my name and contact info in the document so people can find me and it’s actually helped build some positive professional relationships.

Use Job Listings as a Guide

If you’re unsure as to what you should be doing, turn to job listings. Job listings can be an incredibly powerful tool for helping you to plot your next move while in school.

Look at listings for jobs that you’d like to have and do what you can to fill in those blanks during your studies. What would you like to be doing when you graduate? Go directly to those job listings and see what they look like. What skills do they want? More importantly, which of those skills can you directly acquire in college, whether through your classes or through the techniques mentioned above? You’ve got a checklist of what you need for a job, so use it!

Don’t overlook the “recommended” or “desired” attributes; meeting just the “required” attributes usually isn’t enough. Many people apply for jobs when they just meet the “required” attributes, but they don’t come close with the “recommended” or “desired” attributes. The candidate that wins the job is going to have some of those attributed, and if you don’t, you’re probably not winning that job. So, make it your goal to pick up those skills, too.

Supplement with electives that build transferable skills. Extra skills that you can mention on a resume or online application are always valuable, and you can learn many of them in classes or other venues while in college. Skills like public speaking, lifeguarding, self-defense, leadership, and so on can be earned through classes, organizations, and other college experiences, so take advantage of that and add some of those sweet transferable skills to your mix.

Live Minimally

College provides an open door to digging yourself into a giant pit of debt – and we’re not just talking about student loan debt. Costs such as housing, food, and other expenses can really add up over the course of a college career. Keep them low. Here are a few tips on how to do that.

Focus on your studies, your experiences, and your useful long-term relationships, not on acquiring stuff. Keep minimal possessions and a minimal wardrobe. You honestly don’t need much more than what can fit in a backpack and a duffel bag to succeed at college, as those can contain a reasonable wardrobe, a laptop, textbooks, and school supplies. Things beyond that are largely unnecessary.

Eat free food on campus whenever possible. Food can become a real expense whether you’re eating in the dining halls or dining off campus. One great strategy is to eat as much as possible at other on-campus events. If you’re attentive, you can attend a lot of club meetings, get free food, build some friendships and professional relationships, and possibly take the leftovers with you, all for free.

Live in a tiny place. You don’t need a big apartment. You don’t need more than a bed, a shower, a sink, and a couple electrical outlets, really. Keep your living quarters as minimal as you can during your college years and keep that rent low, whether that means living in a communal spot with a lot of people or in a tiny space by yourself.

Start Building a Side Gig

It is never, ever a bad idea to start building a side gig. A side gig is one where you devote some of your spare time to an activity that’s money positive, meaning that you’re left with more money than where you started and often have built the foundation for even more money. Running a Youtube channel, for example, is a good side gig.

Look for any and all opportunities to build things related to your area of study that can earn income now. Is there anything you can take from your studies that you can use for income building right now? Can you make Youtube videos where you explain key concepts from your area of study in plain language? What about a blog in a similar area? Is there something you can make to sell with your burgeoning skills, such as a smartphone app? Doing these things allows you to use your skills and knowledge that you’re learning, refine it in that learning environment, and immediately start earning money from it.

Incorporate those things into your studies and coursework whenever you can. Often, you may find opportunities for your side gig to aid you with your studies, such as situations where you can apply new lessons from your coursework into your side gig or when some aspect of your side gig can be used as part of (or all of) a course project. Let the synergy flow.

Final Thoughts

Many people view the primary goal of a college education as being the extraction of a degree with the minimal amount of effort possible. Treating college with that perspective not only runs a significant risk of underperforming academically (and possibly investing money without receiving a degree), but it also misses out on a ton of additional value that college can provide.

If you’re borrowing money to earn this degree, get every single dime of value that you can from the money you’re borrowing. Even if you’re not borrowing money, take the opportunity of this college experience and get everything out of it you can.

You won’t regret it for the rest of your life.

Good luck.

The post How to Get a Ton of Extra Value Out of Earning a College Degree appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

This Bird In Nepal That Was Thought To Be Extinct Has Been Spotted Again After 178 Years

The red-faced liochichla (Licocichla Phoenicea) was thought to be locally extinct in Nepal as it had not been seen in last 178 years. But a group of Nepalese ornithologists led by Tikaram Giri, a senior field ornithologist, spotted these birds in Chitwan in May this year.

Tikaram said the group group was trekking through the dense mountain of forest of Upardang Gadi when they first saw the red plumage of the red-faced liocichla. The species that is widely distributed throughout Vietnam, Bhutan, Laos, Myanmar and Bangladesh; had been recroded in eastern Nepal for almost 200 years.

“When we confirmed it was the red-faced liochichla, we all felt so happy – we were so excited,” Tikaram told Australian Geographic. “We never thought and never expected to see it so easily.”

They initially saw just two individuals, but upon returning to the area the next day, they spotted eight of these birds, including a male-female pair.

“We had a very good view,” Tikaram said.

Here’s the picture of the bird taken by him.


Welcome back, you cute little colorful bird!

The post This Bird In Nepal That Was Thought To Be Extinct Has Been Spotted Again After 178 Years appeared first on NeoStuffs.

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FedLoan Servicing: Working With Your Student Loan Servicer

Ready for a shock? Seven million Americans are currently in default on their student loans. A whopping 40% of student borrowers aren’t making any payments at all. That can have far-reaching consequences on your credit history and your life. Federal student loans generally don’t appear on your credit report — unless they’re in default, and that’s going to put a serious drag on your credit for years to come. One way to avoid getting into that kind of hot water is working with your student loan servicer — in many cases, that’s FedLoanServicing (or PHEAA), one of the largest servicers of federal student loans.

Remember: Your student loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. Unless you qualify for a federal student loan forgiveness program, you will have to pay them — even if it’s over many, many years through an alternative repayment program. The sooner you get started doing that, the better.

What Is FedLoan Servicing?

When you take out a student loan, your loan gets assigned to a servicer. This company doesn’t hold your loans, but they’re basically in charge of everything related to the processing of the loan. That’s who’s sending you the bills in the mail.

All told, there are 10 different student loan servicers approved by and working with the U.S. Department of Education, including FedLoan Servicing, CornerStone, GSMRGreat Lakes Educational Loan Services, and MOHELA, among others. What’s more, your loan might get transferred between one servicer and another at some point during your repayment schedule.

Anytime you need to talk to someone about your payment schedule, repayment plans, consolidation, or loan forgiveness options — or even if you just need counselling on how to best manage your payments –you should start by talking to your loan servicer.

That’s why it’s important that you know who your servicer is and how to contact them. Staying in touch with your student loan servicer is especially important if you’re having trouble making payments.

How Can Your Loan Servicer Help?

As you can see above, lots of Americans have trouble making their student loan payments. This is especially true when you first get out of school. You might not get a job right away, and even if you do, that job might not be paying you enough to cover your rent, bills, and student loan repayments.

Fortunately, if you call your loan servicer, they can help you to stay on track, even when you can’t make a payment. That’s a lot better than defaulting on your loan, which can impact your credit score, lead to seized assets, or even end with your servicer confiscating your tax refund in extreme cases.

Some options at your disposal include:

  • Income-based repayment: This program caps your payments at either 10% or 20% of your discretionary income.
  • Forbearance: Your payments are delayed, usually for a year, but they still gather interest.
  • Deferment: Your payments are delayed, usually for a year, but they do not gather interest.

The federal government has a website designed to help you figure out which repayment plan is best for you. Just answer a few questions, and then you’ll have a sense of your options when you call your student loan servicer.

How Do You Pay Down Your Loans Faster?

On the other hand, once you’ve been working for a few years and you’re more established in your career, you might want to do the opposite — to pay down more than you’re required to on your loans just to get them out of the way and avoid paying all that interest.

If you want to pay down your loans more aggressively, you need to specify which of your loans you want your extra payment to go to, otherwise they’re evenly distributed across all your loans. You want to pay down the highest-interest loans first, then move your way down the line. You’ll need to talk to someone at your student loan servicer about that.

Another option is student loan forgiveness for public service. Again, you need to talk to your servicer about how to comply with the terms of this program — you don’t just get the benefits automatically. It requires some legwork on your part.

Bottom line? Know who your student loan servicer is and how to contact them. That’s as important as knowing who to call when you lose a credit card or your power goes out.

Related Articles:

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At Peace with Being ‘Cheap’

A few years ago, I wrote and published a book entitled 365 Ways to Live Cheap. It’s a fairly straightforward guide to frugality that delivers exactly what the title implies – 365 tactics that people can use to reduce their living expenses.

It was an enjoyable book to write and a fitting “first book” for someone writing a personal finance website. However, there was one little hitch along the way: I intended to call the book 365 Ways to Live Frugally.

The publisher felt that the title wasn’t catchy enough and insisted on the title change. Their arguments made sense – a single word change in the title could make a huge difference in attracting attention on the bookstore shelf.

So, I relented.

That didn’t change the fact that I hated the title 365 Ways to Live Cheap. Every time I saw that book on the bookstore shelves for years, that word grated at me.


I viewed myself as “frugal,” not “cheap.” Cheap is a word that had some very negative connotations for me, connotations that frugal just didn’t have.

To me at the time, cheap meant that I was so obsessed about saving money that I missed out on even the simplest pleasures in life. Cheap meant that I put out shabby things for the guests in my home in order to save a buck. Cheap meant that I put the virtue of my account balances above virtually everything else in life.

On the other hand, I proudly thought of myself as “frugal.” To me at that time, frugal meant finding the best value for the buck. It meant cutting back on the things that were relatively unimportant to me so that I could preserve the things that were more important to me. It meant finding ways to be a great host without just throwing fistfuls of money around.

I was frugal. I wasn’t cheap. And seeing the word CHEAP in bold letters right above “Trent Hamm” on that book cover really bothered me.

Over the ensuing years, though, my attitude toward “frugal” and “cheap” has changed a fair amount. When I see that cover today, I actually smile a little because the book reminds me of a very happy time in my life.

What changed?

Over time, I began to realize that worrying about the words “frugal” and “cheap” meant I was worrying a lot about what other people thought of me. Quite honestly, outside of the core people in my life, I don’t care that much what other people think of me. I hope that they will treat me well and I strive to treat them well as per the golden rule, but what they think of me? That’s the domain of their own thoughts.

The truth is that I can’t really control what other people think of me. All I really can do is treat other people in a kind and respectful fashion, to listen to them, to put a nice plate of food in front of them if they’re a guest in my home, to laugh with them, to respect our differences and celebrate our respective humanities.

I can’t control what they think. I can’t control what labels they apply to me.

However, I don’t act towards others in a fashion that I would define as “cheap.” If that’s a label that someone else chooses to apply to me in a negative fashion, then that’s their own choice. It is my belief that I don’t treat others in a “cheap” fashion and I am content that I treat others in a way that I would like to be treated, so if someone calls me “cheap” in a negative way, it doesn’t really bother me at all at this point.

I suppose that I could work hard to treat them in a way that would cause them to not call me “cheap,” but why? Why would I treat them in a way that’s different than how I would like to be treated? I could foist an elaborate homecooked meal on them to impress them, but I genuinely wouldn’t want the same treatment in their home. I’d far rather enjoy a very simple meal and have them in the room with me for some pleasant conversation.

So, am I “cheap”? I probably am “cheap,” at least to some people. I don’t spend a lot of money on some things that I see other people spending tons of money on. I drive a 13-year-old car I bought off of Craigslist that has a bit of rust on it. I buy a lot of store-brand items. I often make really simple meals for guests and serve it in humble earthenware bowls made by an old family friend so that we can sit around the table together and laugh and tell stories for as long as possible without me having to constantly run back to the kitchen. We have some beat-up furniture that shows the wear of years of children bouncing around on them.

But if you are a guest in my home, I will serve you the best foods from my garden. You will be as welcome as can be and as comfortable as I can make it. I can’t guarantee perfect cleanliness – no one with three children and without a cleaning staff can guarantee such a thing – but I can guarantee that I’ll be as attentive as I can.

If you are a close friend of mine, you can call me any time you want for any thing you can think of that I can help you with, whether it’s a ride to the airport or a few days of pet sitting or a person to talk through your troubles with, and I’ll do everything in my power to give that to you.

Sure, I might have a store-brand type of hand soap in the dispenser in our bathroom. We might have a few scuffs on our couch.

But are we “cheap”? I don’t think so.

If we’re “cheap” by your definition, then I don’t feel bad about it, honestly. I’ve done everything I can to treat you in the way I would like to be treated, and that’s all that anyone can ask for.

All of this brings me back around to the title of that book. Sure, 365 Ways to Live Cheap offers up a ton of tactics that a cheap person might use, but using those tactics doesn’t define you as cheap. That’s a label someone else applies to you, and as long as you live in such a way that you treat others in a way you’d like to be treated should you be in their shoes, then that’s all you can ask for.

Cheap is just another meaningless word, really. It’s a word that only defines you if you let it.

What actually defines you is the way you actually treat others. Do you treat them in a way that you would be happy with? When you’re in public, do you act towards others in a way that you’d like strangers to act toward you? When someone comes to your home, do you act toward them in a way that’s similar to how you would like to be treated in their home? When you go out to lunch with a coworker, do you do things in a way that you would like a coworker to act when they’re with you?

If you can honestly answer yes to those questions (and many more like it), then the negative label of “cheap” is just another useless label attached to you by people whose opinions you will never change. So why worry about them?

Be frugal. Get the most bang for your buck. Cut back on areas less important to you.

At the same time, live the golden rule. Treat others as you would like to be treated and they will usually do the same in return.

Cheap, as a negative word, only matters to people who don’t do those things.

When I see 365 Ways to Live Cheap today, I see a cute title, one that doesn’t define me as a cheapskate, but as a person who might use cheap tactics in some portions of my life. Those tactics don’t take away from how I treat others or how I treat myself – they just help me to build a better life.

Cheap? Who cares?

Related Articles: 

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Prabal Gurung x Toms Collaboration Ensures A Minimum of $20k Contribution To Charity In Nepal

Prabal Gurung is undoubtedly one of the most noted and loved Nepalese personalities around the world. The Nepalese-American fashion designer might be residing hundreds of miles away from his home-land, but he has never for even a second forgotten about the place he has come from. And that’s the very reason he has always done what he can to support Nepal and its citizens during the hard times.

In 2011, Gurung founded a charity organization named Shikshya Foundation Nepal that has been working towards providing education to the impoverished children. Post Nepal earthquake 2015, the organization has also been helping aid relief efforts in this South Asian nation.

Gurung has recently collaborated with the philanthropic shoe company based in California, Toms Shoes. The Toms x Prabal Gurung Alpargata line has recently come up with four different styles of shoes. For every pair of Toms x Prabal Gurung shoes purchased, $5 will be donated to Shikshya Foundation Nepal; with the commitment of minimum contribution of USD 20k.

These pair of shoes cost $59 (Black & Red Fair), $65 (White Snow Leopard), $98 (Black Snow Leopard) and $129 (Black Suede Contrast) each. See the details below.

toms shoes

You can visit the official website of Toms to get more details and shop – HERE.

The post Prabal Gurung x Toms Collaboration Ensures A Minimum of $20k Contribution To Charity In Nepal appeared first on NeoStuffs.

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Til Death Do Us Check? When a Joint Bank Account Makes Sense

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes… a joint checking account. Combining assets when uniting as a married couple seems only natural, and often it is a wise idea. Other situations may also come about when sharing an account with someone else makes perfect sense. On the other side of the coin, caveats arise, and there are definitely times when having a joint checking account can do more harm than good.

Let’s take a look, then, at the practical uses of joint checking accounts and the potential downfalls.

Joint Checking Accounts for Couples

Couples uniting their assets has been a common practice for generations. The reasons for two people in the same household to share a checking account are many. One checking account for buying groceries and paying bills makes it easy to keep track of where all of your money is going.

Financial experts say this set-up is also healthy for most relationships. “I think it’s important to have both names on every account,” Keith Klein, a financial planner with Turning Pointe Wealth Management in Phoenix, tells U.S. News & World Report. “It eliminates some trust issues.”

Couples who aren’t married but still share financial responsibilities can also consider a joint checking account. About 8.3 million Americans lived together as unmarried couples in 2015, according to Census data.

For these folks, it can make sense to have two checking accounts: Each person can keep a personal checking account, but they can also set up a joint account in both names. Money can be set aside from each partner’s paycheck for the joint account — to cover rent, utilities, and shared goals such as vacations — while some assets can remain with each individual.

“Once you’ve determined how much each of you should contribute, you can start paying into that shared account. You can then use that money to cover rent and bills and save up for travel, big purchases, or emergencies,” writes Amelia Josephson on SmartAsset.

At the same time, each partner can have another account to handle assets he or she would rather not share with a partner. The important thing, Josephson notes, is to make sure you’re telling each other how much you’ll be putting into the joint checking account and how much you’ll be keeping. This goes back to maintaining trust in a relationship.

When joint checking accounts don’t make sense for couples: Finances have been known to put a strain on even the strongest relationships. While joint checking accounts can alleviate some of the angst, they can also contribute to it.

Women often give up rights to the checkbook upon marriage, said Emily Sanders, managing director of United Capital in Norcross, Ga., in U.S. News & World Report — and that can lead to resentment. Having dual accounts gives each person in the relationship a sense of control over their finances, she notes.

Another potential problem with joint checking accounts can arise when one partner spends differently than the other. One, for example, may prefer to squirrel away money, splurging infrequently and only for very special occasions. The other may not be a total spendthrift, but still might spend a little frivolously on the weekends as a way of cutting loose.

Disparate spending habits can lead to tension, according to Kelsa Dickey, a financial coach and owner of Fiscal Fitness Phoenix. With separate accounts, people can spend according to their personality, she told U.S. News & World Report.

Joint Checking Accounts with Elderly Parents

With people living longer, they sometimes reach the point where they can no longer handle their finances on their own. If they’re living at home, they may not be paying attention to when bills are due. If they’ve relocated to an assisted living facility or a nursing home, more financial burdens may occur that can lead to confusion or uncertainty. In such instances, having an adult child share financial responsibilities may be advisable.

When joint checking accounts don’t make sense between adult child and elderly parent: Take note that many financial advisers warn against such a set-up, or at the minimum stress extreme caution.

“While adding a child’s name seems like a harmless, familial gesture of love and trust, the financial consequences can be extremely negative to both parent and child,” financial expert Eve Kaplan writes for Forbes. Unexpected gift taxes can be assessed, Kaplan notes, and there’s also the possibility of shared liability if either person on the account runs into financial problems.

For these and other reasons, some experts believe establishing power of attorney for a parent and requesting access to financial assets such as a checking account is the safer way to go.

Joint Checking Accounts with Minor Children

Teenagers can typically open checking accounts, but parents have an obligation to keep track of what is going in and out of those accounts. This is a great learning experience — for both parents and children. The young person responsible for the checking account must learn to deposit, write checks, and balance the account; the parent must learn to oversee the process while still giving independence to the child.

Some parents may decide to create a joint checking account with children as a way of monitoring the account. “Having a joint account with your child can help build trust. It can give you both ease in knowing the other person is responsible with managing money,” according to the blog of Maryland-based law firm Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby (BSGFD).

When joint checking accounts don’t make sense between a parent and a minor: The firm points out, however, that many negatives can occur when a minor and an adult parent share a checking account. Irresponsibility on the part of the child can lead to a drained bank account and financial issues for the adult. Personal liabilities, such as credit card issues, can be assessed to both people on a joint checking account.

In any situation, weigh the pros and cons of having a joint checking account. As the legal experts at BSGFD advise, “The only time you should ever open a joint account with someone is when you have absolute trust that they won’t take advantage of you.”

Related Articles: 

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sandeep Pokhrel To Represent Nepal At ‘Man of The Year’ Pageant In Indonesia

This year’s ‘Man of The Year’ male pageant that is going to take place in Pekanbaru, Indonesia will have over 20 delegates from around the world. Sandeep Pokhrel will be representing Nepal at the pageant that is scheduled between 13th to 22nd of August.

The 22-year-old originally from Gorkha, Sandeep is currently based in Kathmandu. The winner of the Mr. Nepal World 2015 title had also won three other titles of Mr. Personality, Mr. Handsome and Mr. Physique. He had bagged the second runner up title at ‘Face of Panache Season 2’ earlier this year. The BBA student who stands 5’11” is also a theater actor who had played one of the major roles in Nepal version of William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ drama. The play that had Arpan Thapa and Shristi Shrestha in lead was performed in London as well. He has also been a part of various TVCs and print advertisements so far, and is looking forward to enter the film industry later this year.

Sandeep leaves for Indonesia on Friday.

sandeep 6

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The post Sandeep Pokhrel To Represent Nepal At ‘Man of The Year’ Pageant In Indonesia appeared first on NeoStuffs.

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Watch: Viber Releases A Cute Promotional Video For Nepali Stickers

Instant messaging and VOiP app, Viber, has always been one of the favorite smartphone apps of Nepali users as it’s a convenient medium to get in touch with their family and friends living around the world. The app which has over 300 million registered users around the world has become more popular recently among its Nepali users after Nepali stickers were launched. Texting has become even more interesting with the stickers that express almost every kind of mood that one may have at any moment.

A short promotional video for these Nepali stickers has been recently released by Viber. One of the most popular songs of the recent times, ‘Funtastic’ by Almoda Rana Uprety, has been used as the background music for the video that shows a chat-box with the conversation between two people chatting using the stickers. It’s definitely a creative and fun video that will make you want to download all the stickers right away, if you haven’t yet.

The stickers can be easily downloaded from the app itself or can also be downloaded from the official website HERE.

Watch the video here and let us know what you think of it.

The post Watch: Viber Releases A Cute Promotional Video For Nepali Stickers appeared first on NeoStuffs.

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The Six Things I Care About Most When Looking at an Investment

For most people, one of the most intimidating parts of signing up for a 401(k) or a Roth IRA or another investment account is looking at all of the investment options. How do I know which one is right for me? How do I compare them?

I remember exactly how that feels. When I signed up for the retirement plan at my very first job after college, I was hit with a plethora of investment options. I had no idea what to pick, nor any idea of how to really compare them. It was intimidating and because of that intimidation I just chose the option that our retirement advisor suggested.

Luckily, the option he suggested was one of the best ones, but I didn’t realize that at first. Instead, I worried about it. Did I choose the right thing? Should I be invested in something else?

So, I started to do some homework. I actually read through several prospectuses (for those unfamiliar, those are the fairly long booklets that describe in excruciating detail all of the specifics of a particular plan). More importantly, I checked out some books on investing from the library and devoured them cover to cover.

The key thing that I learned? Investing can be an endless rabbit hole of complexity, but for most personal investors, it doesn’t need to be that difficult.

Today, I generally ask myself six questions about any investment that I’m considering. In truth, I don’t consider new investments very often at all, as I subscribe to a “buy and hold” strategy. Once my money is in an investment that survives these questions well, I don’t really have any reason to move it.

Here are the six questions I ask myself about any investment.

#1 – Do I Understand It?

For me, the threshold of understanding something is that I can explain it in one sentence and then answer follow-up questions on any aspect of that sentence. If I can’t do that, then I don’t understand it.

When I first started looking at investments, I really had no idea what they were at all. For example, my understanding of a “target retirement” fund was that it was something that you put money into if you were going to retire in a certain year, which is true, but any further understanding crumbled under any further questions.

So, what actually is a target retirement fund, then? It’s a mix of investments that’s designed to provide a high average annual return with low variance at the target date of the fund. How is that done, then? (Hey, look, a follow-up question!) It mixes several investment types in various amounts (depending on the exact fund, this will include stocks, bonds, real estate, possibly precious metals, and other things in varying amounts) so that it’s fairly high-risk and high-reward when you’re far from that date and it slowly shifts to lower-risk and lower-reward when you get closer so that you don’t lose those earlier gains at the last minute to a market hiccup.

If I cannot understand an investment to the point that I can explain what it is in a succinct way like that and also handle follow-ups, I won’t put my money in there.

Having said that, I don’t need to know everything about an investment. That’s actually impossible – you’ll just find yourself going down an endless rabbit hole of details. I just want to be able to understand it well enough to explain it simply and handle an initial wave or two of follow-up questions.

How do you get those follow-up questions? For me, the source of those questions is my wife. She wants to know those kinds of things and is always asking for details like this.

What if you don’t have an immediate person available who can ask those kinds of questions? Honestly, I’d look for the person in my social network who would seem to have the most experience with such things without also having a business motive and talk to that person. Take them out to lunch and then ask them for some insight into your investment plans. They’ll ask you questions and if you can’t answer them, then it’s a sign that you need to look into things more carefully.

#2 – The Expense Ratio and the Transaction Fees

This is basically the “cut” that the investment house takes each year out of your investment. It’s how they make money.

So, for example, let’s say that you have an investment that has a 1% expense ratio. That means that, over the course of a year, the company that runs that investment is going to take 1% of the value of that investment for themselves.

On the surface, in an investment that typically grows by 7% a year, that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it adds up to a lot of money over time. You’re essentially knocking that 7% return down to 6%, which means you’ve shifted the number of years it takes for that investment to double from 10 to 12 years (roughly). Over the long haul – say, forty years – the 7% investment will be worth about 60% more than the 6% investment. That’s likely hundreds of thousands of dollars just due to the expense ratio.

The transaction fees, on the other hand, are a one-time fee that’s charged to you as soon as you buy into a fund. This is often a commission to the person who sold you the fund or a brokerage fee of some kind.

Generally, when you have someone else invest for you, there are transaction fees involved; when you do most of the work yourself and go directly to the source of the investment, you eliminate transaction fees.

So, for example, if I went down to my local Edward Jones office and made an investment of some kind, there would be a transaction fee involved because the broker/investment advisor there would earn some money from the transaction. On the other hand, if I went to vanguard.com and invested directly with them into a Vanguard fund, there wouldn’t be any transaction fees.

I prefer no transaction fees and the lowest possible expense ratios. For me, this is perhaps the most important factor when buying into an investment. As I’ve stated many times, I don’t really believe that anyone can consistently “beat the market,” so what I try to do is look for investments (usually index funds) that “match the market” – something that I figure out from step #1 when I’m trying to explain the investment – and then I look for ways to get index funds without fees and with the lowest possible expense ratios. This is what Vanguard specializes in, so I tend to take my money directly to them and buy into their index funds for almost all of my investing needs.

#3 – The Average Annual Return

Honestly, the first two factors are the most important ones for me, but I do look at the remaining four factors when comparing somewhat similar investments.

The average annual return is simply how much that investment has returned to investors each year on average since the investment launched. While you can never perfectly gauge future returns based on past performance, the average annual return does give you a solid way of assessing differences between seemingly similar investments and it does give you a thumbnail sketch of what you can roughly expect from it.

I don’t simply chase the funds with the highest average annual return. I mostly just use it as a way to compare funds that seem similar to me, meaning that I describe them (remember #1) in a similar way.

As a very general rule, the higher the average annual return, the higher the volatility (which we’ll talk about in a minute). This is basically just a fancy way of saying “low risk, low reward; high risk, high reward.”

Let’s move onto volatility and talk a little more about that.

#4 – The Volatility in That Return

This is the one that’s perhaps the hardest of all to figure out here, and it’s the one part of all of this that requires real number crunching since most websites and online tools don’t really calculate this. If this section is a little complicated for you, don’t sweat it – it may be the least important factor of the six.

All I do is I go and get the closing balance of an investment each year over the lifetime of the investment, then I fire up Excel and do a simple calculation as described here:

To calculate volatility of a given security in Excel, first determine the time frame for which the metric will be computed. A 10-day period is used for this example. Next, enter all the closing stock prices for that period into cells A1 through A10 in sequential order, with the newest price at the bottom. In column B, calculate the interday returns by dividing each price by the closing price of the day before and subtracting one. For example, if a security closed at $5 on the first day and at $6.50 on the second day, the return of the second day would be (6.5/5)-1, or .3, indicating that the price on day two was 30% higher than the price on day one. Volatility is inherently related to standard deviation, or the degree to which prices differ from their mean. In cell C10, enter the formula “=STDEV(B1:B10)” to compute the standard deviation for the period.

I’m looking for that standard deviation, which essentially tells me how much the annual return could reasonably change from year to year. So, what I might do is take the closing balance at the end of each of the last ten years and use those numbers as described above. Let’s use the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index as an example. Here, I’m taking the end balance at the end of each year plus the yield for that year (the dividends that it paid out), and we’ll just look at the last five years to keep it simple.

12/31/2011 – $31.30 (plus 2.01% yield) – $31.93
12/31/2012 – $35.65 (plus 2.09% yield) – $36.40
12/31/2013 – $46.69 (plus 1.81% yield) – $47.54
12/31/2014 – $51.60 (plus 1.78% yield) – $52.52
12/31/2015 – $50.79 (plus 1.94% yield) – $51.78

The standard deviation of the annual returns over this period is 13.2% (calculated using Excel and the STDEV function, explained above), which is pretty high. (A quick note: in the real world, you should use as much data as possible to calculate the standard deviation, so I would actually use the full history of the fund and use the ending balance of each year to calculate the standard deviation, not just five years – five years is a simple example.)

What that means is that, in a given year, I can pretty confidently expect the average annual return to go up and down by 13.2%, which means that a return one year of 10% might see a return the following year of -3.2% and that’s completely normal – in fact, that’s as normal as it gets. Some years might see less change than that while others might see more, but 13.2% is the standard change. I can completely expect that investment to go up 13.2% or down 13.2% (or less) in a given year, and that occasionally it’ll be more than that.

I would then compare it to the same exact results from other, similar investments. What is their volatility?

In general, if an investment is very long term, I want the highest average annual return as I can get – that’s over the long haul of more than ten years. If I get to the ten year mark, I want the highest average annual return minus that calculated standard deviation for volatility. I want tha to be as high as possible for shorter-term investments.

This is a very simple calculation, of course, but it shows me what I need to know, which is a thumbnail sketch of how relatively risky an investment of mine is over the short term. Investment professionals use much more nuanced calculations to look at variance and change in stock prices over time, but this simple calculation is enough for me to get a rough idea of what’s going on, which is enough for my purposes.

#5 – Liquidity

The liquidity of an investment is simply how easy it is to turn that investment back into cash with minimal penalty.

Money in your checking or savings account is very, very liquid. All you have to do is make a withdrawal.

Money in the stock market is also pretty liquid. You can just sell those stocks through your investment house and have cash from that investment within a few days.

Money in a retirement account might be able to be retrieved quickly, but it usually comes with a stiff penalty for early withdrawal, so it’s a little less liquid.

Money in real estate might not be very liquid at all, as you need someone to buy the property in order to be able to sell it and that process can take a while. The same is true for things like art or other collectibles.

When you invest in yourself, such as through a college education, that investment isn’t liquid at all. You can’t simply sell your college education to get a return on your money – it’s now a part of you and can’t directly be sold.

In general, the more liquid an investment is, the better. The easier and faster it is to convert that money into cash with little or no penalty, the better it is for you solely due to convenience.

Remember, there will come a time where you need the money you’ve invested, and when that time comes, liquidity is going to be very important to you. It might not seem like a big deal initially, but that moment when it becomes a big deal, it’s a huge deal.

I tend to be wary of investments that aren’t very liquid unless I’m buying them for other purposes. For example, I wouldn’t mind owning a rental property because it’s returning some income to me while I hold it. On the other hand, I’m going to be very careful about investing in education because unless I can get a better job, it’s not going to be a worthwhile investment. (Sure, it might be good for personal enrichment, but that puts it closer to a hobby or entertainment.)

#6 – Tax Benefits

Whenever you sell an investment, you’re going to be hit with taxes on that investment, usually in the form of long term capital gains tax. If you buy an investment for $100,000 and then sell it for $250,000 a few years later, you’re going to have to pay capital gains tax on the $150,000 you earned, and that might be as much as $30,000 handed over to the government. Ideally, you want to avoid that tax (or minimize it) in order to keep that money right in your pocket where it belongs. There are several ways to do that.

The most common way is to save in a tax-advantaged retirement account, like a 401(k) or a Roth IRA. In general, Roth accounts are funded with money out of your pocket today but you don’t have to pay any taxes on the money you earn inside that account provided you follow the withdrawal rules (waiting until you’re at least 59 1/2 years old is the big one). Other accounts, like a 401(k), work in the opposite direction, meaning that you don’t have to pay any income taxes on the money you put in to begin with, but you pay upon withdrawing the money (when your income is likely lower and thus you’re paying less in income taxes).

There are other tax advantaged accounts out there for other situations, like a 529 college savings account (which is like a Roth IRA except the tax-free withdrawals occur when you use the money for education) or a health savings account (the same except for health care expenses).

There are still other investments with special financial benefits, like municipal bonds which can avoid some types of taxes depending on the offering, but they often have lower returns to begin with and that counterbalances the tax benefits for most people.

Taxes can take a real bite out of your investments if you’re not careful. The thing to always remember is this: unless you’re using a special account, you’re going to almost always have to pay taxes on what you earn, which eats into your returns. That’s why a Roth IRA is such a good deal.

Final Thoughts

For an individual investor like myself who isn’t incredibly wealthy, reviewing and understanding these basic factors tells me almost everything I need to know about an investment and gives me enough to go on to make decisions on my own.

If you want to understand these factors better, I recommend hitting the library and checking out some good books on investing, such as The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing by Larimore, Lindauer, and LeBoeuf. The more you learn about investing, the easier it is to make sensible investment decisions on your own behalf.

Good luck!

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Do You Hate Your Job — or Your Boss?

At least half of workers have left a job “to get away from their manager,” according to a Gallup report from last year. If you’ve had a bad boss at some point in your career, that won’t come as a surprise.

It’s hard to enjoy your work when you hate your manager. You could have an office with a window, a cereal bar, and a ball-pit filled with stock options and free candy, and you’re still not going to love your job if your boss drives you crazy on a regular basis.

In fact, managers are such an integral part of our work experience, sometimes it’s hard to separate your actual job from your working relationship with the boss. It’s worth figuring out, though, because the fix for your situation might look very different, depending on whether it’s the gig itself or your supervisor that’s the issue.

A Few Signs That Your Boss Is Actually the Problem

1. He micromanages you.

Ideally, managers should tell workers what need to be done, provide a clear framework for success and the means to achieve it, and then get out of the way. But you couldn’t prove that to the micromanaging boss, who never met a detail he didn’t want to supervise.

Micromanagers suck the productivity right out of the work environment by keeping tabs on every little thing their employees do. In their minds, they’re making sure things are done right; to their employees, it’s clear the boss would be happier cloning himself and dispensing with all these incompetents who work for him.

Not exactly a situation that inspires anyone’s best work.

2. He’s never around when you need him.

Equal and opposite from the micromanager is the boss who’s completely inaccessible. Whenever you have a question, concern, or idea, his door is always closed. He might not even be behind it.

Of course, everyone’s busy, especially as their responsibilities multiply. But a good manager should make time to connect with his reports one-on-one, so that they can communicate effectively about what needs to be done and how to do it. Otherwise, you’re left guessing.

3. He’s a bully.

Unfortunately, we don’t leave bullies behind when we leave school. Sometimes, they follow us into the work world.

Workplace bullying comes in many variations, but perhaps the worst is when the boss is the culprit. If your manager screams, belittles, intimidates, or undermines your work, you might be dealing with a bullying boss.

4. He’s inconsistent.

If only you could pick one of these bad-boss archetypes – but maybe your problem is, your horrible manager resembles all of them, depending on the day.

Another variation: He’s not as bad as any of these, but he’s totally unreliable. You never know on Tuesday whether Monday’s plan is still in effect.

5. You don’t have trust.

This problem doesn’t even require a monster boss; sometimes, you just don’t connect. If you don’t trust your boss to have your back, it doesn’t matter whether the problem is him, you, or the relationship. You won’t be able to get stuff done.

What to Do If Your Boss Is the Issue

If you do determine that your job problems are actually boss problems, you have a few options at your disposal:

1. Repair the relationship.

Sometimes, it’s possible to salvage a damaged relationship with your manager. It’s worth it to try. The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t work, but you’ll at least have the satisfaction of knowing that you did everything you could.

Over at the Harvard Business Review, Dorie Clark offers tips on how to mend things with your manager, starting with acknowledging your own culpability. (No one said it would necessarily be fun.)

2. Make a sneaky switch.

If you work at a company with multiple departments or offices, sometimes you can escape your bad boss without even rolling over your 401(k), just by switching teams or departments.

Most companies maintain a list of job openings on their corporate site, but you can beat the rush by networking your way into an open position before it even hits the internet. The key is to strengthen ties to other groups before you need something from them (e.g., a recommendation for a new job within the company).

Start by looking for opportunities to work with other teams on new projects, and help out where you can. You’ll develop new skills while you’re making connections.

3. Start looking for a new job.

Regardless of what else you decide to do, it’s a good idea to keep your resume up-to-date and your ear to the ground. If you’re having trouble with your boss, there’s a chance he’s having trouble with you, too.

Either way, it’s always better to be prepared to make a leap to a new gig on relatively short notice. You never know what the future might bring.

Related Articles:

The post Do You Hate Your Job — or Your Boss? appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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