Month : July 2014


Business Demands Instant Communication

The modern world is being driven forward at a ferocious pace by the advent of instant communication.  It started with the telephone but it seems like all communication nowadays is expected to be instant.  Twitter has taken this need for instant information and communication to a new level, even news sites have been force to play catch up because Twitter was delivering news faster than the BBC.  Inevitably this translates (or originates, I am not sure which) to business.  Billions of pounds are being spent laying a new line between London and New York in order to save fractions of a second on global trades so that the computers that rule the stock markets can generate more revenue!  But there are other smaller ways in which businesses are utilising instant communication.


Emails can now be accessed from just about anywhere.  Boardrooms are filled with suits that are huddled over their smartphones sending emails and texting whilst supposedly listening to whatever presentation or argument is ensuing! Whether good or bad, people can now send emails from home or on the train home, they can get alerts for new emails on their phones and can reply without having to turn their computer on or be at the office.  Suddenly there is a growing expectation that emails should be replied to like text messages and not like carrier pigeons.


Much like how letters evolved into emails and texts, the humble waiter now has technology at his fingertips.  It is not exclusive to waiters, barmaids and retail assistants around the world are utilising technology to help them perform their roles more efficiently.  Gone are pen and paper in order to take orders and gone are hard copy lists of prices, instead electronic point of sale systems not only serve to reduce errors (bad handwriting is a common error) but also remove the necessity for waiters to walk from the table to the kitchen to deliver the order.  One could argue that this is not going to ‘save’ you that much…but it all depends on the situation.  Imagine a packed bar with tables, waiters can take orders and another deliver them without having to wade through the crowds.  It may in fact reduce staff needs for the managers as processes are made slicker and more efficient.  What many people do not realise is that Epos Systems provide real time data which can give the user a clearer idea of how much work or demand there is, therefore resulting in more time savings and potentially less wasted energy.


Companies no longer need to wait days for cheques to clear, although it is not yet fully instant.  However, payment between companies through internet banking is almost instant and can give the smaller companies a better idea of cash flow.  Waiting for debts to be paid can be an incredibly frustrating process for business owners and managers, thankfully there is no real excuse for companies not to pay on time!

Instant information and communication is a major aspect of today’s society.  Nobody wants to wait for anything, whether that be food, goods or a service.  Instant access to the world through smartphones and the internet!

Money Management

The Simple Truth About Building Wealth When You Have None

When you don’t have wealth it seems impossible to get. The truth is that it isn’t hard to develop wealth. The plan is easy to follow. And it doesn’t require anything more than you already have.

My Story

When I was applying to colleges I had a mentor named Steve. Steve was successful in his field. He had done academically well throughout school.

I had never been a super student. I had many interests outside of school, some of which I took very seriously. For better or for worse, I spent more time on my outside interests than I did on my schoolwork. Consequently, my grades could have been quite a bit better.

By the time I was ready to take college seriously I figured I could use all the help I could get. So I visited Steve.

I asked Steve, “What’s the secret to doing well in school?”. His answer was right to the point: “Take easy classes”.

That answer hit me like a ton of bricks. Could it really be that easy? Was that really the secret to Steve’s success?

Now, Steve obviously couldn’t have established himself professionally if he’d only taken “Wine Tasting 101”, or “Beaches and Shorelines”. He had to take the hard classes too. But his point was clear.

The problem I had was that I spread myself too thin. I had taken all advanced placement course in high-school, and had several activities outside of school, each of which required a major time commitment. I was spread too thin.

So how does this apply to personal finance?

Steve’s approach to school was basically to be honest about how smart he was and then use only a portion of those smarts to get through school. If he’d taken all hard classes he probably wouldn’t have done very well. He wouldn’t have had time to handle 4 midterms all at the same time, or write 4 papers all at the same time, in subjects that were difficult for him. And this is basically what happened to me.

By taking easy classes Steve ensured that he would have enough resources to handle the workload, regardless of what came his way.

The secrets to developing wealth are not really secrets.

  1. Save more than you spend.
  2. Earn more when you can.
  3. Spend less when you can.
  4. Earn interest on the wealth you already have.

If you do those four things, over time you’ll be wealthy. Even if you just do the first one, you won’t be living paycheck to paycheck for long.

The biggest reason people without wealth don’t start practicing those four healthy habits is emotion. If they earn a lot they feel as though they should be able to spend a lot. Or they feel that certain aspects of their lifestyle (a nice car, eating at restaurants or expensive clothes) are necessities. Maybe your tastes aren’t so extravagant. Regardless, if you’re stressing about money then you’re doing something wrong. Until you find out what it is you’ll never find a way to reduce that stress.

The simple (and hopefully not too painful) truth about building wealth is that it doesn’t happen by following some complicated process that’s only available to the wealthiest 1% of the population. The secret to building wealth is simply spending less than you earn.

Once you get the basics down, there are some more complicated things you can do to add some extra punch to your wealth-building power; 401Ks, health savings accounts, etc.. But no matter how much money you earn, if you spend more than you earn, you will never be wealthy.

So Take Heart

If you’re stressing about money, wondering why you don’t have any, thinking that things would be so much better if only you had more money coming in, don’t despair. Things can turn around quickly if you’re willing to let go of unhealthy money management habits and change your lifestyle.

It doesn’t matter how much you earn. The key to building wealth is spending less than you earn, saving money to build up an emergency fund, investing once you develop a cushion, and just letting the wealth accumulate.

If you’re willing to make the lifestyle changes to let that simple process happen, then you will be wealthy. Just have faith that it is possible and that you already have everything you need to make it reality.

Laran Evans is a software developer and entrepreneur looking to help ordinary people develop wealth with Plenty, a better personal finance tool.


Insurance For Single People

When you have a family, the need for insurance is pretty obvious, and the bill for it all can be a real expense of its own. For single folks, though, it’s easy to think that all insurance is just wasted money. Although that’s true for some coverage (most notably whole life), other forms are just as important for you as for others.


If nobody relies on your income, you don’t need to take steps to perpetuate that income once you’re gone. However, it’s good form to have enough coverage to handle the kind of sendoff you asked for in your will. If that’s just donating your body to science, you really don’t need any coverage at all. If you want an old-fashioned wake and a big marker for your memorial, a term life policy can provide the funds at a low cost.


You don’t need life coverage to handle your expenses when you’re gone, but you still need to eat and pay rent if you’re hurt or seriously ill. Disability insurance does exactly that by replacing your income while you recover. This is the only form of insurance that’s more important for single people than for people with families, since married folks can still rely on a spouse for some income while they’re ill. Inexpensive disability coverage is often available through your employer, or you can shop through a broker to get the most appropriate policy for your needs.


Single people who have bought a home should carry the same kind of homeowner’s insurance as a married couple with the same property. If you’re still renting, a renter’s insurance policy is designed to provide the same protection against theft and damage that a homeowners policy would. In most cases, this kind of policy – though very inexpensive – is usually unnecessary. If there’s a fire or catastrophe, your landlord’s insurance will cover damage to the building. As for your possessions, a typical apartment or home doesn’t have enough of value to bother insuring. Homeowner’s insurance is important because of the value of the home. The only exception is if you own collections or other items of exceptionally high value, in which case you should insure those items specifically as normal renter’s coverage won’t typically cover them.


The law says you should carry auto insurance if you want to drive, and each state mandates a certain minimum level of bodily injury coverage. However, that minimum amount may not be enough to pay for your entire recovery – including lost income – if you are at fault in a serious auto accident. It’s a good idea to increase your bodily injury coverage to an amount that realistically pays out what serious medical care is likely to cost.


Should You Switch To A Prepaid Cell Phone Plan?

Cell phone bills can be a budget killer these days, especially with the fact that you need an unlimited plan in order to use smart phones to their fullest extent. After all, why would you get a smart phone and not go online? I’m always trying to get the cheapest deal I can get and I wrote previously about a way to get a discount on your plan.

So what can you do to reduce your cell phone bill? Get a prepaid cell phone. That’s really the best thing you could do. Do I have experience with it? Somewhat, but it was 4-5 years ago. Even then it was better than I thought. The biggest thing hindering people in my opinion (and hindering me) is the thought that reception will be horrible.

So I did some research and I came to the conclusion that there is really no difference, because in all actuality all they do is piggy back off of existing towers, so there shouldn’t be any noticeable difference. And a lot of the big companies are jumping into prepaid so you won’t notice any difference. With a lot of the unlimited plans on prepaid phones at $50/month you can save a lot of money.

The only downside I can really see is the cost of phones. You’re not going to get as big of a discount as you would if you signed a contract, but if you don’t need the best smart phone around you can still get a pretty good phone.

All in all I would say if you’re not a techie and don’t need the newest smart phone, but you want to get a smart phone and use it to its fullest extent, I would seriously think about switching over to a prepaid phone.

What do you think? Have you thought about switching or do you have experience with prepaid?