a list of great articles on Personal Finance and Budgeting for 2020
a list of great articles on Personal Finance and Budgeting for 2020
The world of work is changing all the time. In the past, people would probably choose one career and stick to it for the rest of their lives, gradually climbing up the ladder with clearly demarcated and structured relationships. They might even remain at one company throughout their working lives.
But today, people move between careers and jobs several times; they have to navigate many work-related transitions.
The problem is that career counselling hasn’t, for the most part, adapted to these new realities. In the developing world, traditional career counselling approaches are still the order of the day. Young people – usually in their second last or last year of secondary schooling, and who are able to afford such a service – consult a professional career counsellor.
They are asked questions about their personal and family history, then complete a few interest and personality inventories. They may also write a set of aptitude tests, answer questions about their study habits and attitudes, and then receive what amounts to career education or career guidance.
For the most part, this approach is no longer working satisfactorily in a rapidly changing world. I am involved in many research projects, task teams, as well as in an advisory capacity, and the situation is by and large the same everywhere: alarmingly high tertiary dropout rates are related in part to undecidedness or career indecision. As my research has shown, students often discover that the degree they’ve chosen doesn’t interest them. They become indecisive and unsure about what they want to do as a career and feel stuck.
Based on my own research, and drawing from different approaches to career counselling that have enjoyed success in the developed world, I believe that it’s time for developing countries to approach career counselling differently; more respectfully. One approach, which we tested, was having conversations with students in which they tell their stories, rather than simply writing down answers to aptitude test.
Research has shown that encouraging people to tell their stories in career counselling settings has direct, positive results. It enhances people’s career adaptability and career resilience. This makes them more employable. When people share their autobiographies, they can be helped to identify their key life themes and find out what really drives or motivates them.
This sort of approach has also been shown to improve people’s chances of finding sustainable, decent work.
“Storytelling” is already widely used in career counselling in the US, Western Europe and Australia, among other places. Some of my colleagues and I have begun to introduce it in South Africa. Our research has conclusively confirmed the vast potential of the approach.
This sort of career counselling involves asking people not just to fill in aptitude tests or assessment sheets, but to also explain what drives or motivates them. This would centre on their key life themes – for instance, a candidate who says “I want to help people who are being hurt or bullied or do not have a voice” and who talks about sympathy or compassion or caring a great deal might be well suited to law, nursing, social work, psychology, or theology.
These life themes can be uncovered by, for instance, asking people about their earliest recollections (in the case of individual assessment) or, in group-based contexts, their biggest challenges while growing up. People are, for instance, also asked to tell the career counsellor who their role models were when they grew up; who their current role models are, and what they regard as their greatest strengths and areas for growth.
The ultimate aim is to help people not only choose a career and “find work” but also to make meaning of their career lives, find a sense of purpose and hope, design a successful life, and make meaningful social contributions.
This approach calls for listening and repeated reflection. Counsellors who are trained in the method create a ‘safe’ space for people (help them feel sufficiently contained) to narrate stories about their lives and their work. Ideally, people who undergo this sort of counselling should emerge with a deeper understanding of who they are and how this might play out in their work.
Of course, it will take time and training for career counsellors to start embracing this sort of approach. It took me more than a decade and a half of applying the new approach in my private practice (and constantly refining it) before feeling that I have mastered it to a satisfactory degree.
First, relevant stakeholders will have to accept that a different approach is required by career counsellors to respond appropriately to large-scale changes in the world of work.
Second, universities’ psychology (and education) departments will need to adjust their curricula, since it is here that future career counsellors are trained. I am training Master’s students in educational and counselling psychology in this approach, and their feedback about the course is consistently positive and inspiring.
Those who are already working as career counsellors could undergo further training to develop new, different approaches that are more in keeping with the demands posed by the changing world of work.
Career counsellors’ allegiance should be solely to their clients. Given this fact, and the fact that research has shown how valuable this and other different, more modern approaches to career counselling can be, it would be good to see them more widely in action.
Most people would never dream of trying to fix a broken arm or smashed-up car themselves, but deciding when to call in professional help and who to turn to isn’t so clear cut when it comes to dealing with a financial plan that has been mangled by the economy.
With things like low-fee online brokerages, tax-free savings accounts and exchange-traded funds, do-it-yourselfers have never had more investing choices. But the array of options comes with potential pitfalls and unexpected tax considerations that can undermine financial plans, so it has also never been easier for novices to get themselves into trouble.
“People tend to overestimate their abilities with their finances,” Judith Cane, head of Antara Group, says. The Ottawa financial planner has more than two decades of experience and sits on the board of Advocis, the group that represents the industry in Canada. “Sometimes it’s good to have an outsider come in to see the things you can’t.”
The problem for consumers is that there are many different kinds of financial advisers, and they offer a range of services at a range of prices.
And not all of them act entirely in your best interests.
“Many people who call themselves financial planners don’t provide any advice, they’re really just selling mutual funds to their clients,” says Ermanno Pascutto, the executive director of the watchdog Canadian Foundation for Advancement of Investor Rights (FAIR). “They shouldn’t really be called advisers or planners or anything.”
There are as many as 100,000 people across the country who call themselves financial planners, consultants or advisers — but that’s not to say that they’re all doing the same type of work.
With the exception of Quebec, where the industry is much more tightly regulated, for the most part they’re governed by a hodgepodge of regulatory bodies and designations. The result is an alphabet soup of acronyms:
On the whole, FAIR says Canadians aren’t well served by the mishmash of designations and the confusion it breeds.
“The real problem is that people aren’t financially literate,” Pascutto adds.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty seems to agree, which is why Ottawa is spearheading a task force trying to improve that. But in the interim, governments need to do more to protect Canadians, FAIR says.
“The regulators really need to up their game and make sure the financial industry has a duty to act in the best interest of their clients,” Pascutto says. “That’s not happening at the moment.”
The first step in deciding what sort of financial help you need is to figure out what you actually need help with.
That sounds like a tautology, but many people think there’s a one-size-fits-all solution to finances. There isn’t.
If you’re interested in stock tips, for example, or getting somebody to sell you the right kind of insurance, or to help you consolidate your debt, your best bet is someone exclusively skilled in those areas, like an investment adviser, stock broker, credit counsellor, or insurance agent.
A more generalized financial planner, on the other hand, deals with broader questions like whether you should put money into an RRSP in the first place – as opposed to, say, paying down a mortgage or saving for a child’s education. They will help you figure out overall goals and a basic workable strategy to meet them, but they’re not likely going to be able to execute the entire strategy for you.
As an analogy, Cane says a financial planner is like a family doctor. “They’re great at looking at the whole picture and can refer you to specialists, but you still need to go see an endocrinologist or oncologist for specific ailments.”
Whether the person calls themselves a financial planner, or an adviser, or goes by some other helpful-sounding title, the key is to know how they earn their living. More specifically, are they being paid solely for helping you come up with a sound fiscal plan, or are they also responsible for selling you specific investment products?
“A lot of financial planners have grandiose titles on their business card, but many are no better than salesmen,” says FAIR’s Pascutto.
If you find a planner who is right for your specific needs and isn’t promoting specific financial products, “the appeal is that they have no vested interest in any door you choose,” Cane adds.
There’s no magic formula when choosing a financial planner, but two designations that specialize in developing broad financial plans are certified financial planner (CFP) and registered financial planner (RFP). That’s not to say that other designations such as CFA or TEP aren’t as knowledgeable, but their expertise is typically geared towards very specific aspects of one’s financial life.
CFPs and RFPs are regulated by the Financial Planning Standards Council and the Institute of Advanced Financial Planners, respectively, and can theoretically lose their licences for unethical behaviour. But at the same time, both are legally allowed to sell products, and as such could be biased towards a product that benefits them more than you in terms of fees.
Figuring out potential conflicts of interest in the sometimes murky financial industry is not always easy. It pays to ask some questions about the person you’re dealing with, not matter what licences they hold.
And above all, get it in writing.
“As part of your financial planning agreement, the financial planner should clearly tell you in writing how she will be paid for the services to be provided,” the group that certifies CFPs says.
Generally, financial planners get paid in one of two ways. Some earn commissions on the products you end up buying. Others work on a fee-based model where the customer pays an hourly rate for unbiased opinions, and the planner has no financial incentive to steer them one way or the other.
The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the rights to use the CFP designation in Canada. It offers a helpful checklist on its website that lists some questions to ask before signing up with a planner. It suggests asking about the person’s experience, their qualifications, how they get paid, and whether they’ve ever been disciplined for malfeasance.
Some planners who promote themselves as being fee-based have a partnership, or share office space, with a much larger firm that sells financial products.
“There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, but I think if you want real fee-based advice you need to stay away from that sort of arrangement,” Cane says.
“If somebody tells you they’ll waive the fees if you put money in this or that investment, I think you generally get what you pay for,” she adds.
In most cases, Cane says, the fee a financial planner might charge for their services is quickly made up in tax savings or other gains that are found when someone knowledgeable fine-tunes the financial course you’re on.
Ultimately, everyone’s experience with a professional financial advice will be different, but the customer who goes into the process armed with the knowledge of how the expert across the table gets paid is going to get the most out of the relationship.
“Our perspective is that when people pay fees for a service, they are entitled to know what they are paying for, and they’re entitled to get some sort of service for that,” Pascutto says.
“We think we have a long way to go [in Canada] before that’s happening.”
In the meantime, it’s prudent to take a buyer beware approach to financial planning and advice by doing your homework before choosing who to deal with.
Here are five basic things that can help you evaluate a potential financial adviser.
1. Plan ahead: The first step is often to decide what sort of financial strategy you need. Are you a saver? A buy-and-hold investor? Are you willing to roll the dice a little? Picking an adviser who is among the best in long-term thinking might not be ideally suited for your daytrading needs, for example. So figure out what your ultimate goal is, and work with someone who can demonstrate that they’ve got the expertise to help you reach that goal.
2. Ask around: Friends and family can be a great first step to finding a reliable source of financial advice. Ask around and see if anyone in your circle has an adviser they’d recommend, or tips to share. Hearing about a bad experience and what went wrong can hone your decision-making skills and help you figure out what questions to ask a potential adviser when sounding them out.
3. Get personal: Whatever you do, make sure you meet with the person face to face before making any sort of arrangement. Remember, the adviser is going to need to have very intimate knowledge of your finances, personal activities and goals, and you must be comfortable providing them with that information.
4. Follow the money: There are a number of ways that advisers get paid, and it pays (literally) to know which method yours uses. The most common is the commission-based model where the adviser gets paid a fee by the financial companies that make the products he or she sells. That’s great in principle (since the customer never has to pay directly for the service), but critics point out that it poses an inherent conflict of interest. Certain financial products pay higher commissions than others, which gives the adviser a higher incentive to move you in that direction – whether it’s a good idea for your financial plan or not. That’s led a movement toward other types of payment plans, where compensation is more up front.
Higher net worth clients often like the asset-based model, where you pay an adviser a certain percentage of your entire portfolio, so the payment grows as the portfolio grows. That gives both parties an incentive to make the portfolio increase in value.
Smaller investors might like a simple fee-based planner that charges by the hour. The cost shouldn’t be much more than about $100 or so an hour, and less and less time will likely be needed once the financial plan has been worked out and set up — perhaps nothing more than a checkup here and there throughout the year.
5. Beware the alphabet soup: From CIM, to CFA, to TEP and even RHU, there’s a dizzying array of letters signifying credentials for financial professionals. But experts say the two types that most consumers should look for are either CFP or RFP. Those stand for certified financial planner and registered financial planner. The latter is generally for more advanced investors, but they share the common trait of not actually selling any financial products. A good financial planner’s role is to guide your savings and investment strategy, not sell you individual products.
Posted May 17, 2015
When a couple decides to combine their income and assets, they consider family values, gender attitudes, and individualist or collectivist orientation. Examining partners’ patterns of money management provides important insight into romantic unions. To the extent that couples keep any of their income separate, household members do not necessarily share one standard of living. As a result, conventional measures of economic hardship based on the ratio of income to the number of household members may be misleading. Therefore, investigating how couples manage money may reveal hidden inequalities within families.
Who keeps separate purses?
Combining households does not necessarily imply pooling income. In the United States, 80% of co-residential couples (married and cohabiting) maintain a single purse, pooling all of their income (Hamplova and Le Bourdais 2009). Of the remaining 20%, about half pool some of their money and half keep all of their money separate. Couple attributes strongly influence money management strategies. In general, married couples are more likely to pool their income than are cohabiters; parents are more likely to income-pool than non-parents; and male-breadwinner/female-homemaker couples are more likely to income-pool than dual-earner couples (Hamplova and Le Bourdais 2009; Treas 1993; Vogler, Brockmann, and Wiggins 2006). Values matter, too: Couples who practice individualized marriage, fostering independence rather than collectivism, are more likely to keep money separate (Lauer and Yodanis 2011).
Separate is equal?
Financial equality in intimate relationships can be alternatively conceptualized as “equal inputs” or as “equal outputs” (Hamplova and Le Bourdais 2009; Vogler, Clare, and Wiggins 2008). Particularly when couples adopt a breadwinner-homemaker model, pooling income validates the contribution of both partners and equalizes economic outputs because each spouse can access the same money equally. In contrast, a standard of equal inputs distributes the breadwinning burden equally and emphasizes both partners’ financial autonomy.
In this sense, assuming a standard of equal inputs can be seen as rejecting a gendered division of labor within romantic relationships and embracing women’s economic independence. But unless equal financial inputs are matched by equal contributions to unpaid labor, partners’ total contributions to joint goods remain unequal.
Moreover, as long as marriage and childbearing boost men’s income and lower women’s income (Ahituv and Lerman 2007; Brynin and Schupp 2000; Budig and England 2001; Budig and Hodges 2010; Cohen 2002; Miller 2011; Waldfogel 1998), maintaining separate purses (even if done with progressive, feminist intentions) exacerbates the already-substantial gender gap in economic wellbeing. This is furthered by the unequal housework burden—women still perform a disproportionate share of household labor—and time devoted to unpaid work lowers earned income (Bryan and Sevilla-Sanz 2011).
For these reasons, gender inequality in intimate relationships increases the gender gap in earnings. Under an “equal inputs” system, the cost of a woman’s relationship wage penalty—for doing the majority of housework and care work, and simply from being married and perhaps a mother—is not evenly distributed within the couple. Nor is the man’s relationship wage bonus—rather, she simply has less spending money while he has more. Finally, in independent or partially-pooled systems, women may more often spend their personal money on joint goods (household items, children), further exacerbating the gender gap in access to discretionary spending for personal items (see discussion in Vogler 2006).
Who controls the joint purse strings?
Keeping separate purses may be problematic, but maintaining a single pool may conceal rather than eliminate within-household economic inequality. Whether money is pooled fully, partially, or not at all, men tend to have greater control over how it is spent (Vogler, Clare, and Wiggins 2008). Moreover, even when income is fully pooled, the source of the money can give it meaning, earmarking it for certain types of expenditures or granting one partner greater discretion over its use. Whichever spouse earns more is able to spend more and control major purchases and financial decisions (Lise and Seitz 2011; Vogler, Clare, and Wiggins 2008). However, making one-sided, autonomous decisions may cause or reflect problems in the relationship. When either partner (regardless of gender) makes autonomous decisions about spending, both partners may be less satisfied with their family lives, and even with their lives in general, as compared to couples who make joint decisions. Perhaps financial autonomy or disproportionate control conflicts with norms about family cohesiveness and cooperation; alternatively, less satisfied couples may be more prone to one-sided financial decisions.
Accounting has consequences
The ways that couples manage money have consequences: When couples maintain separate purses or have unequal access to a purportedly-joint account, inequality within families is obscured by standard measures of poverty and economic wellbeing. If partners differ in their spending priorities, or their altruism, one spouse may spend her or his “personal” pool of money on joint goods (including children’s expenses), potentially furthering differences in available money for personal spending.
Additionally, children and family come at a greater career and income cost for mothers than for fathers. Couples who do not fully pool income do not share this cost, leaving women with less personal spending money. Finally, when couples do not make financial decisions jointly, both partners report greater dissatisfaction with family life, compared to partners who decide together.
Ultimately, the “best” way to manage money depends on individual couple circumstances and also on partners’ philosophical perspectives about fairness. Although material circumstances—children, gender specialization, marital status—influence money-management strategies, couples’ normative values about work, family, gender, and individualism may be equally important. Philosophical beliefs about equality, family, and fairness are at least in part subjective: There may be no one “best” way to manage money.
Ahituv, Avner and Robert I. Lerman. 2007. “How Do Marital Status, Work Effort, and Wage Rates Interact?” Demography 44:623-647.
Bryan, Mark L. and Almudena Sevilla-Sanz. 2011. “Does Housework Lower Wages? Evidence for Britain.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 63:187-210.
Brynin, Malcolm and Jurgen Schupp. 2000. “Education, Employment, and Gender Inequality amonst Couples: A Comparative Analysis of Britain and Germany.” European Sociological Review 16:349-365.
Budig, Michelle J. and Paula England. 2001. “The Wage Penalty for Motherhood.” American Sociological Review 66:204-225.
Budig, Michelle J. and Melissa J. Hodges. 2010. “Differences in Disadvantage : Variation in the Motherhood Penalty across White Women’s Earnings Distribution.” American Sociological Review 75:705-728.
Cohen, Philip N. 2002. “Cohabitation and the Declining Marriage Premium for Men.” Work and Occupations 29:346-363.
Hamplova, Dana and Celine Le Bourdais. 2009. “One Pot or Two Pot Strategies? Income Pooling in Married and Unmarried Households in Comparative Perspective.” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 40:355-385.
Lauer, Sean R. and Carrie Yodanis. 2011. “Individualized Marriage and the Integration of Resources.” Journal of Marriage and Family 73:669-683.
Lise, Jeremy and Shannon Seitz. 2011. “Consumption Inequality and Intra-Household Allocations.” Review of Economic Studies 78:328-355.
Miller, Amalia. 2011. “The Effect of Motherhood Timing on Career Path.” Journal of Population Economics 24:1071-1100.
Treas, Judith. 1993. “Money in the Bank: Transaction Costs and the Economic Organization of Marriage.” American Sociological Review 58:723-734.
Vogler, Carolyn, Michaela Brockmann, and Richard D. Wiggins. 2006. “Intimate Relationships and Changing Patterns of Money Management at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century.” The British Journal of Sociology 57:455-482.
Vogler, Carolyn, Lyonette Clare, and Richard D. Wiggins. 2008. “Money, Power, and Spending Decisions in Intimate Relationships.” The Sociological Review 56:117-143.
Waldfogel, Jane. 1998. “Understanding the “Family Gap” in Pay for Women with Children.” The Journal of Economic Perspectives 12:137-156.
Elizabeth Aura McClintock Ph.D. It’s a Man’s, and a Woman’s, World Follow me on Twitter Can Money Create Inequality in Your Relationship? What’s mine is yours? It’s rarely that simple. Posted May 17, 2015 SHARE TWEET EMAIL MORE Shutterstock Source: Shutterstock When a couple decides to combine their income and assets, they consider family values, gender attitudes, and individualist or collectivist orientation. Examining partners’ patterns of money management provides important insight into romantic unions. To the extent that couples keep any of their income separate, household members do not necessarily share one standard of living. As a result, conventional measures of economic hardship based on the ratio of income to the number of household members may be misleading. Therefore, investigating how couples manage money may reveal hidden inequalities within families. Who keeps separate purses? Combining households does not necessarily imply pooling income. In the United States, 80% of co-residential couples (married and cohabiting) maintain a single purse, pooling all of their income (Hamplova and Le Bourdais 2009). Of the remaining 20%,
I like this warning about the “financial advisor” glut at banks. Really pays to do some research when investing.
Mike Black says he feels “completely betrayed” after trusting RBC Dominion Securities employees with impressive-sounding titles to manage his life savings, only to earn far below the market average for six years.
“I worked 35 years at two jobs and saved up a considerable amount due to the fact that I didn’t have a pension and would need money for retirement,” said Black, who managed to put away nearly $1 million.
An RBC “financial advisor” — “advisor” with an “o” rather than an “e” is important, but more on that later — invested his money in mutual funds, but when the portfolio performed poorly for three years and Black threatened to leave the bank, he was sent to an RBC “vice-president” who would manage his money.
Black received a financial plan that claimed his nest egg would earn “about six per cent in annual interest” when invested in different mutual funds, mostly owned by RBC. His investments actually earned less than three per cent and cost Black more than $30,000 in fees over six years.
“How is it that you end up getting a return of this kind over this period of time, when this is to be managed by a professional and we pay such high fees?”
All they are doing is selling what the bank wants them to sell.– Mike Black, RBC investor
Turns out, the RBC vice-president was actually licensed as something called a “dealing representative” — a salesperson.
“I feel duped,” Black said. “My portfolio is my pension. All they are doing is selling what the bank wants them to sell.”
In an email to Go Public, RBC said its “internal review found that the portfolio was appropriate based on the risks and objectives the client communicated to us.”
A recent report by the Small Investor Protection Associationfound there are 121,000 people registered as financial professionals in Canada, and the vast majority are registered as dealing representatives — salespeople licensed to sell financial investments.
Only about 4,000 of these registered financial professionals have a fiduciary duty, which is a legal obligation to act in the client’s best interest.
“The game today is to earn clients’ trust,” said Larry Elford, a former certified investment manager with RBC and lead researcher of the SIPA report. “And never let them know that you are actually a commissioned salesperson and you don’t have to honour that trust.”
The stakes are high, says Elford, who points out that a two per cent management fee on mutual funds typically cuts an investor’s retirement fund by about half over a 35-year period.
A common trick for misleading customers, according to Elford, is the banking industry’s use of the term “financial advisor” — spelled with an “o.” He says “advisor” is an unregulated title that anyone can use, whereas the title “adviser” — spelled with an “e” — can only be used if the employee has a fiduciary responsibility to the client.
“Advisors can sell you the third, fourth, fifth or least beneficial product to you,” Elford said. “They do that a great deal of the time if it makes them more commissions, or if their bank manager is telling them they need to sell more of the house-brand product.”
The Ontario Securities Commission confirms that “adviser” is a legal term under securities law that describes a person or company that is registered to give advice about securities, whereas “advisor” is not.
In an email to Go Public, the Canadian Securities Administratorsconfirmed that it does not regulate most titles used by employees in the financial industry.
Many bank employees who’ve contacted Go Public say they act more like salespeople than anything else because of pressures from “high up” to hit revenue targets. CBC is concealing their identities to protect their jobs.
“I would say 90 per cent of my day is trying to hit targets,” said a financial services representative at TD Bank. “I have to go [meet with] my manager daily and go through each customer that’s scheduled for me and see how many ‘units’ I can get from that customer.”
I had zero training and had to learn on the go.– TD financial advisor who recently quit
She says if a client has money in a savings account, she’s encouraged to get them to buy TD mutual funds instead of giving financial advice she thinks would be better, such as paying down a credit card or high-interest loan. “It’s completely about selling,” she said. A TD financial advisor who quit last month says he was “thrown into the role” and expected to learn on the job.
“I had zero training and had to learn everything on the go,” he said. A CIBC financial advisor says he spends his day selling investments that may not be in his customers’ interests, even though they think they’re getting impartial advice.
“The term financial advisors is bank jargon for salesperson,” he said. “At least in other industries they are more open about it. You sell cars? Well, you are a car salesperson. We are not advising people on anything. We are just trying to make sales.”
An RBC branch manager in B.C. says tellers are now called “client advisors,” and are required to get a licence to sell mutual funds.
“How do you expect a 20-year-old employee who’s getting paid $12 an hour to provide advice with the title ‘client advisor,’ when they’re really just equipped to sell? It’s not fair to anybody … you’re putting clients at risk.”
In a statement, RBC says it “stands behind the advice and support” its “investment advisors provide to clients.”
Bank employees at all levels at BMO and Scotiabank told Go Public they, too, feel their titles are misleading because they’re mostly under pressure to sell bank-owned mutual funds and other products to boost the bottom line.
In previous statements to Go Public, TD, CIBC and Scotiabank said their clients are their top priority and they expect their employees to behave ethically.
Stan Buell, founder of the Small Investor Protection Association, says he’s heard too many stories from people who thought a financial advisor was going to look out for their best interests.
“I’ve talked to hundreds and hundreds of people who’ve been victimized,” Buell said. “And every one trusted their advisor.”
He said he doubts any of the advisors were actually advisers — with an “e” and a fiduciary duty. “They’re all salespeople, trained in sales.”
He says banks and other financial institutions need tougher regulations.
“Self-regulating doesn’t work very well,” he said. “It must be an outside agency that is not composed of the industry to have the power to handle complaints, to investigate and authorize and even pay restitution for the victims of the financial institutions.”
As a start, Buell would like Canada’s big banks to be more transparent and call their employees salespeople, not “advisors” or other titles that suggest they’re working in the customer’s interest when they’re actually serving their employer.
Mike Black says he took his money out of those fee-based accounts at RBC Dominion Securities and hopes for better luck with his next investment. But his experience has left him shaken. “I’ve always been very trusting, conscientious, both me and my wife. We’ve walked the walk. And quite frankly, I feel like it’s been a hit and run.”
Go Public is an investigative news segment on CBC-TV, radio and the web.
We tell your stories and hold the powers that be accountable.
We want to hear from people across the country with stories they want to make public.
Submit your story ideas at Go Public.
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Thinking about future finances may be intimidating for most young people, but this introduction to investing makes it easy for anyone to understand the basics.
In a previous infographic, we showed you that the compound interest is the most powerful force in personal finance. But how does a young person harness this incredible potential?
The answer: investing at an early age.
In this infographic, we clarify the difference between saving and investing, and give some basic tips on how to get started in the market.
For many young people, the concepts of saving and investing blend together – after all, both are about accumulating more financial resources, right?
The terms can be used interchangeably in some cases, but they also have stark differences:
Saving is about safety and optionality over a short-term period (0-5 years). Cold hard cash can be saved to buy an important item, or to get through emergency situations.
Investing is about setting yourself up for long-term financial success. It’s the process of putting money to work over a long period, such as 10-60 years, by buying and holding assets that will grow from compound interest.
In the investing world, the returns you get are linked to the perceived level of risk.
For example, holding onto cash is extremely low risk – and as a result, it has a low rate of return. Maybe you can earn 1% or 2% in a savings account, or using other short term cashlike instruments.
Meanwhile, if you buy stocks, they come with a certain level of risk. It’s possible the company you invest in may run into problems, or even go bankrupt – but for taking this extra risk, the market is willing to compensate you by paying a higher rate of return.
Investing is about taking advantage of higher rates of return and benefiting from the power of compound interest over long periods of time. It’s also about finding the best ways to mitigate the risk (diversification, being patient, etc.)
America’s mental health crisis continues to negatively impact our communities as very few sufferers are seeking or receiving proper treatment.
Whether a person is receiving treatment or not, our mental health challenges aren’t experienced in a controlled environment. They occur in our lives as we live them. They affect our relationships. They affect our jobs. And they affect our finances.
The relationship between mental health struggles and financial struggles almost seems perpetual. A person’s mental health challenges can create financial challenges, those financial challenges can create more mental health challenges, and the cycle rarely ever stops. Assets are spent through, debt is acquired, and then financial hardships nearly surpass the mental hardships which seemed to set the whole thing off in the first place.
Sometimes the negative financial consequences of mental health concerns are directly related to the condition itself, and sometimes the financial struggles are simply the byproduct of a life greatly affected by a mental health condition.
Pete the Planner: When did banks start wanting you to spend, not save?
Pete the Planner: If it’s in a TV commercial, you can’t afford it
You may need more: How long $1 million will last in retirement
To better understand our brains and money, let’s look deep inside our brains.
It’s not uncommon for people to feel better after spending money. It’s completely natural. You can credit dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which helps control the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. It’s produced in the ventral tegmental part of the brain and is released when a person expects or receives a reward of any kind.
In this case, the reward is the rush of acquiring something new via a purchase. There’s a more common phrase for this: retail therapy. Yes, retail therapy is real. If you’ve ever gone shopping to feel better about a bad day or a bad week, you’re actually on a quest to get dopamine flowing into your brain and experience its rush of pleasure. Believe it or not, the relationship between your money and your mental health is actually physical.
What I’ve just described is a very healthy and normal process. But sometimes our relationship with money can crossover to compulsive.
Compulsive buying disorder is a very serious medical condition, which is characterized by an obsession with spending money and shopping, in spite of adverse financial, social, and personal consequences. If you’ve ever witnessed it, you might describe it as a frenzy or a mania of poor spending decisions. CBD can arrive alone into a person’s life, but it often presents itself alongside other mood and anxiety disorders, making it very difficult to treat. It’s a chronic condition which can ruin the financial life of both the person directly suffering from it, and the person’s family.
CBD knows no limit. It can wipe out a small fortune or a large fortune if not treated. Like many other mental health conditions, CBD is often stigmatized and trivialized. You see people every day celebrating their status as a “shopaholic” with a sense of playfulness. But there’s really nothing fun about it.
To make matters worse, the advent of online shopping and easy access to credit, paired with predatory lending, have stoked the fires of spending addiction. With as much consumer debt and rash consumerism as there is in the U.S., you wouldn’t be alone if you wondered where the line between CBD and nonmedical financial irresponsibly begins and ends. The American Journal of Psychiatry notes that roughly 5.8 percent of the population suffers from CBD, yet there numerous types of spending addictions and compulsions which are either isolated issues or symptoms of deeper mental health concerns.
As much as the family of those affected want to shout advice like “stop spending money,” it simply doesn’t matter. It’s just as pointless as telling someone who is suffering from depression to “stop feeling so sad.” Mental health problems must be treated — and not just explained away by well-meaning family members.
Suffering financially as a byproduct of a mental health condition is a bit more nuanced. Understanding stress and its impact on a person’s life is a great place to start. Prolonged stress can lead to increased occurrences of heart disease, depression, anxiety, diabetes, obesity, and Alzheimer’s disease. The stress that triggers all of this can show up for a bevy of reasons, but the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports that 71 percent of Americans cite their finances as the key source of stress. Think about that. Financial stress causes health problems, which cause health and financial stress, and then once again the cycle is seemingly impossible to stop.
Not only do these health conditions cause even more stress, but the cost to treat them can be crippling. Stress also can create problems in a person’s ability to earn income. Well-being experts know the impact stress and other mental health conditions have on productivity at work. These productivity issues can lead to job insecurity and eventually job loss. The fact is, neither the employer nor the employee wants the employee to suffer from mental health issues, financially related or otherwise. But if mental health conditions aren’t treated, there will be financial consequences.
I generally try to provide practical solutions and actionable tips in each one of my columns, however today’s column is strictly about awareness and support. If you are financially suffering directly or indirectly because of a mental health challenge, seek help. You aren’t alone in your desire to feel better. Everyone around you wants the same for you, and they’re willing to do their best to connect you with the resources you need to get better.
Have a question for Pete the Planner? Email him at AskPete@petetheplanner.com or visit petetheplanner.com.
Where to watch
Tune in to Pete the Planner, who also is Fox59’s personal finance expert, at 8:15 a.m. Wednesdays.
More than one in four Canadians are at “high risk” of mental health issues, but millennials, women and people with low incomes are the most susceptible, a new Ipsos report warns.
Canadians living in the west and in Ontario are also the most vulnerable by region, according to new findings released exclusively to Global News.
It’s the third year the pollsters zeroed in on their Mental Health Risk Index and the report’s release marks the start of Mental Health Week. Based on Canadians’ levels of stress and feelings of hopelessness and depression, the report classifies a whopping 41 per cent of Canadians as being at “high risk” for mental illness. That’s a “significant” increase from 2016’s 35 per cent.
“We saw that the proportion of Canadians at high risk increased overall, but really, there’s this chunk of millennials feeling the weight on their shoulders,” Jennifer McLeod Macey, vice president of the polling firm’s Health Research Institute, told Global News.
“Mental health is definitely an issue that’s increasing but as more people are talking about it, it could be that more people are recognizing it as depression or something else that they need to get help for,” she said.
Across the board, Canadians are encountering more stress, depression and suicidal thoughts, the report warned.
Thirty-six per cent of Canadians admitted that several times throughout the year, they felt stressed to the point where it impacted their daily lives.
Another 24 per cent said there were several instances in which they felt stressed to the point where they couldn’t even cope. Nineteen per cent said they felt depressed to the point where they felt sad or hopeless almost every day for a couple of weeks or more.
Seven per cent said they seriously considered suicide or self-harm more than once in the past year, too.
Millennials were the hardest hit the past year. Sixty-three per cent fell into the high-risk category compared to 41 per cent of Gen Xers and 24 per cent of Baby Boomers.
Forty-seven per cent of women were at high risk compared to only 36 per cent of men. Low-income Canadians fared the worst year-over-year, with 47 per cent of those who made less than $40,000 a year falling into the high-risk category.
When it came to regional breakdown, Ontario and the Western provinces saw the largest numbers of residents falling into the “high-risk” classification. B.C. had 49 per cent, followed by Alberta (46 per cent), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (45 per cent each) and Ontario (44 per cent).
WATCH: A new poll shows the number of Canadians at high risk for mental health issues is on the rise for the third year in a row. As Shirlee Engel explains, one age group, in particular, is being disproportionately impacted.
Only 33 per cent of Quebecers – or one in three – fell into the “high-risk” category along with 35 per cent of those in Atlantic Canada.
It makes sense that these groups were singled out as vulnerable populations, according to experts.
Millennials, for starters, are coping with a tumultuous time in life transitioning.
“We’re talking about a group who has some difficult circumstances right now: starting their lives, starting their careers, managing relationships. Things for this group have been a bit more challenging. They’re also assessing their mental health more, recognizing it and coping with it,” McLeod Macey said.
Women, as a whole, tend to suffer from depression and anxiety disorders more than men, who encounter substance abuse more. Men are also less likely to come forward about mental illness, according to Mark Henick, national director of strategic initiatives at the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Women also grapple with risk of postpartum depression after childbirth.
“There are unique challenges that women face. There’s a struggle between the workplace and home – we’re fortunate that we’re increasingly seeing more women in executive roles, for example. We’ve made a lot of progress on those fronts but it also has a lot of implications society has to deal with,” Henick explained.
Low-income households also face the pressures of paying for basic necessities, from rent to groceries and transportation. Psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy services are prohibitively expensive, considering sessions can cost between $100 and $250, he added.
“Part of mental health is stress of paying bills, feeding your family, wondering where your next paycheck is going to come from. These are large hurdles we can’t tiptoe around,” McLeod Macey said.
Don Mahleka, 27, understands the pressures firsthand.
Born in Zimbabwe, Mahleka and his mom moved to Canada when he was in grade 9. The pair moved into a one bedroom shelter and Mahleka remembers growing up with his single mom working double shifts to keep the family afloat.
“We had to start all over again and [my mom] didn’t have the full support anymore with a network of friends and friends like back at home. That played a huge factor. We weren’t aware of a lot of community services,” Mahleka told Global News.
READ MORE: Stress, anxiety plaguing Canadian youth
He was diagnosed with depression by his first year of university at 18 years old. He struggled with keeping up with coursework, looking after his family and connecting with his peers.
“I was feeling as though I didn’t belong, or I didn’t feel normal. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to pursue my dreams and be a contributing citizen. I felt like my life wasn’t worth as much,” Mahleka said.
Mahleka sought help and he’s glad he did. It was the turning point in his journey.
After he received a diagnosis from his family doctor, he worked with a counsellor and relied on peer support. He found a community of other peers grappling with similar issues.
He still works with his counsellor on follow-ups to work through the highs and lows life throws at him.
WATCH: Number of Canadian teens, children with mental health issues rising. Lama Nicolas reports.
Now, he’s a research assistant at Dalhousie University. He’s also a part of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Youth Council and shares his story at local high schools to let young Canadians know that resources are out there.
And that they’re not alone.
“At first, I felt like no one else was experiencing this so I felt isolated. Reaching out helped me see there are others I could connect with and there are others who wanted to hear,” he said.
There are some promising findings stemming from the Ipsos report, too.
Eighty-five per cent of Canadians said they consider their mental health as important as their physical health.
Thirty-one per cent said they were talking to their family or friends about their mental health, and another 23 per cent reached out to their family doctor.
“Sometimes one of the most therapeutic acts you can do when you’re struggling is to open up to others,” Henick said.
The Ipsos poll was conducted in mid-April 2017. A random sample of Canadian adults were interviewed online for the survey, which was weighted to bring it in line with Canadian demographics and which has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.
I’m 47 and I’m unemployed. I’ve been in and out of work for seven years now. This latest stint without steady work has lasted for almost two years. After submitting what feels like hundreds of applications and going through multiple five-hour interviews only to be rejected, I am plagued every day with the fear that I’ll never find a full-time job again.
There are many men out there like me. 9 million prime-age working men in our country are out of work. 7 million of them have stopped looking for work completely.
Some economists point to the recession and the slow job market recovery as the source of the problem. This has certainly been the case for me. I was born and raised in Silicon Valley, and have ridden the waves of tech growth in this area. Since various companies I worked for shuttered during the recession, I haven’t been able to reenter the job market, finding the career skills I had honed no longer relevant.
Every day I go without a job widens the looming gap of unemployment on my resume. While my family is managing financially due to my wife’s job, the stress of uncertainty has taken its toll. The sense of shame, that I’m not providing my family like I’m supposed to be, continues to deepen. For this article, I’m not using my full name — I really don’t want my friends to know the truth about my life right now.
Sometimes, I feel like I want to give up completely. And I’ve gone through periods, months at a time, where I have.
Work wasn’t always so hard to find. After graduating college in the ’90s, I was snapped up quickly by a young software company. While I majored in the humanities, I was still able to get customer support position quickly, learning skills on the job. Later, I started working in IT. Those were the optimistic days of the dot-com boom. There was plenty of turnover with companies moving out of Silicon Valley, but I didn’t worry back then — I was always able to land another job easily. Money flowed in the Valley, and I assumed that the future would take care of itself.
I never thought I would one day be in my 40s and struggling to stay afloat.
The first time I got laid off, in 2002, my wife was pregnant with our first baby. It was the most stressful time in my life. On top of the endless list of job applications, my wife and I would spend our evenings hunched over bills, discussing the logistics and finances of how we could pull off raising a child on my wife’s income alone. I eventually did land an IT job at a local company, only to find myself let go again when the company shuttered at the peak of the recession in 2009. Companies all over Silicon Valley were closing up shop. My wife and I, now with a second child and a mortgage to deal with, braced ourselves for financial stress once again.
And again, and again. I continued to get hired and laid off four or five more times over the next seven years. My background in IT and customer support, both considered the bottom rung at most tech companies, meant that I was expendable at all of these places, especially those struggling financially. Companies that hired me would shutter, taking me down with them. The only work I could get became contracted, temporary or part-time, offered with vague promises of a full-time option down the line that never came to fruition.
It became a cycle of unemployment followed by bouts of work. The issue was never performance. Often, the jobs I could get were so disposable that I was never given responsibilities that could help me grow into a promotion, no matter how hard I pushed. And my skill set continued to age; IT is a job that relies on managing whatever software the company happens to have, and with each layoff, I found myself turned out with experience managing a software that had already grown obsolete.
Eventually, the combination of companies going out of business and my fading skill set meant that I kept getting the axe. That pattern of joblessness and applications began to feel eerily familiar. I wondered why I was getting so used to it. Right now, the central issue is that I’ve tried to transition into a new software skill set, but without enough experience. What you’ve done is not nearly as important as which “buzzwords” you know, but if you don’t have the experience, you might as well be completely untrained. It’s a Catch-22.
Since my last lay off in early 2015, the cycle seems to have reached a standstill. I haven’t been able to find full-time work since. It’s been hard. Even though my wife works a steady job, money has been tight — we’ve gone through periods where we’ve had only $30 to support a family of four for a whole week. Slipping into neurotic budgeting mode has become a well-rehearsed drill at this point. We cancel our retirement contributions, downgrade our cable, cell phones, internet packages, cancel our gym membership. We stop hanging out with more prosperous friends to avoid expensive dinners, awkward conversations, and the occasional glint of latent jealousy.
We learned to pay in cash whenever possible to avoid overdraft fees. I’ve memorized the cost of our grocery store list, going through combinations of items in my head so that each trip is as cheap as possible. I’ve stopped taking my kids to the store with me. I hate having to turn down buying that cereal or lunch snack they might see and want.
There have been times where I’ve wondered if I should just get a temporary service or manual labor job to help out with extra cash. But I’m worried about getting stuck in a position with even less room for growth than my previous jobs. And to be honest, I would be too humiliated. Our social circle, made up of mostly well-paid tech workers and professionals, has no idea how bad our situation has been. It would be exceptionally difficult to work eight hours a day hoping with all my might that a neighbor or friend wouldn’t swing by to see me working the cash register or pumping gas. I’m already demoralized. I didn’t need any additional anger toward the world.
Since moving to my mom’s old house after she switched to a retirement home, our living costs are considerably cheaper than the mortgage we once paid. And since our kids have gotten older, now 14 and 10, we no longer have to worry about child care. Things are better, but we’re still living paycheck to paycheck. We’ve cashed out most of our savings accounts, including retirement, and haven’t been able to replenish them. I worry sometimes if we could weather an unexpected expense like a medical emergency.
Now that we’re in a better situation, I’ve been able to pick up a couple of hours doing software consulting every week at a local company. It’s not steady, but it gets me out of the house, and might lead to something more permanent. At this point, it’s better than nothing.
Every day involves endlessly scrolling through a list of jobs on Indeed.com and applying here and there with full knowledge that 99 percent of the time, I’ll never hear back. I often wonder if anyone is even on the other side, reading the cover letter I crafted before hitting “submit” into the void of the internet.
There have been quite a few times over the past two years that I’ve gotten really close to getting a job. I’ve been invited in for on-site interviews that last a grueling five hours. One of them went with someone else, and the other hasn’t contacted me since. I’ve wondered if it’s my age — I’ve come to strongly believe that age discrimination is a real and pernicious issue here in the Valley.
After each rejection, I would spiral into negative thinking, wondering how long I could keep doing this dance. What did I do wrong? What was it they didn’t like about me? I replay every hour of the interview over and over in my head, wondering if it was my personal presentation or some little thing I said that destroyed my chances. The self-doubt starts to creep in. After those interviews, I stopped looking completely for a few weeks, thinking I would never get a job. Why should I even keep trying?
I’ve had phone interviews with five different companies since the beginning of November. None of them has invited me to meet with them face-to-face.
I miss having somewhere to be every day. I miss interacting with adults other than my wife. I miss having a productive day scheduled out in front of me. Some days, I don’t even get out of the house, spending most of time reading online job listings and getting distracted by the internet.
Lately my thoughts have morphed into something resembling an existential crisis. What is the point of my being here on this earth? If I get a job, I will be able to afford a higher standard of living, I will return to the higher social status of the employed, and my family will respect me more — would all of that really be enough to justify my existence? Or would nothing really change? This alarmed my therapist when I mentioned it to him, although I am a long, long way away from self-harm of any kind. This hasn’t been a question I had ever concerned myself with previously; now I’m interested to see how I will answer it when I’m working again.
There is a perception that being unemployed means having free time to explore interests or get in shape. The reality is that it’s pretty hard to find the mental space to do that. I don’t want to get involved a hobby because it feels like a distraction. It would make me embarrassed if I felt like I was spending my time learning how to pilot a drone or something when I really should be looking for a job. I made a promise to myself not to watch any daytime television. It would feel shameful to find myself wasting away in front of the TV at 11 o’clock on a Tuesday morning. While I’m good about avoiding television, I still find myself not being as productive as I want to be.
Instead, I wake up, crack open my laptop fully intending to spend a day applying for jobs and sending reminder emails. That’s when the distraction starts. I promise myself, just a quick glance at Twitter to see what’s going on in the world, and then I look up and it’s 1:15 in the afternoon. Twitter is my heroin — it’s endless content, and if I’m bored by one tweet, I just go on to the next one.
For someone like me, a humanities major who loves to read, the internet is a dangerously absorbing environment. I’ve become incredibly well-read on the election, spending hours tweeting with strangers about esoteric political topics. I’ve started reading books about economic theories to help me better understand my daily news reading. At times it’s felt almost productive, but in the end, I recognize that it’s a waste of time. I could tell someone extensive knowledge about the composite of the 2016 electorate, but it won’t help me get a job. None of this stuff will ever help me become more employable.
It’s hard not to worry about what others think about me and why I haven’t been able to find a job. I can sense disapproval coming from my mother and brother, who tell me I should just try harder to not keep getting fired. I rarely socialize, both because I’m ashamed and because dinner with friends is a luxury I just can’t afford, and I don’t know anyone else who is in my situation that I could commiserate with. I’ve lost touch with former co-workers who might be in the same position as me.
I fret that I’m setting a bad example for my kids. I’m afraid that they see me as a cautionary tale, not a role model. When I talk to them, I try to emphasize the importance of hard work and being careful with money. I hope this is the side of me that gets through to them, not the man on his computer, endlessly clicking through applications, unable to muster up the courage to even tell most people the truth.
Most of all, I worry about my wife. I worry that I’m burdening her as the sole breadwinner of our family. Sometimes when she comes home from work, stressed by a bad day at the office, she sees me sitting on my computer in the living room and tells me she’s jealous that I get to stay at home all day. I tell her that she’s the lucky one, waking up and going to an office that needs her, taking home a paycheck for her efforts. But she can’t relate to my day-to-day frustrations, and I can’t relate to hers.
I’ve taken on way more cleaning, cooking, and chore responsibilities since I’ve been not working. I’m not really any good at it. I now have great sympathy for all the housewives out there expected to cover those duties: Housework categorically sucks. No one likes to do it.
There’s a sense of embarrassment that goes along with it too. It’s more socially acceptable for the wife to stay at home and do chores while the husband works. While I’m not ascribing gender roles, it’s safe to say my wife and I both feel somewhat uncomfortable that the situation is reversed in our case. She tells me she’s always pictured herself being the one to stay at home, which is hard for me to hear. I worry that she thinks she married a loser.
It’s less the fact that I became unemployed that I want to hide from people. There’s no shame in losing a job. The real embarrassment is when I can’t get another one, especially in a thriving area like Silicon Valley. I worry that my gainfully employed friends will think there’s something wrong with me when they realize how long I’ve been fruitlessly searching.
That’s where the irony lies. I know that the way you get jobs is by getting out there and telling people you’re looking. Using your acquaintances as a network and strengthening social connections is the best way to eventually land employment.
One day I’ll work up the courage. For now, my desperation is a quiet one, hiding behind school soccer pickups and the glow of a computer screen. For now, it’s still my secret.
– as told to Karen Turner
Andy Williams lives in California with his wife and kids.
Nice article about the “chicken-and-egg” relationship of mental health and employment.
By Alison Doyle
Skillfully used, an informational interview is one of the most valuable sources of occupational information. While it may cover some of the same ground as printed material or information on a company website, it presents opportunities for an intimate and flexible inside view of a job field unmatched by other sources. The informational interview communicates the first hand experiences and impressions of someone in the occupation, and is directed by your questions.
An informational interview is less stressful for both you and the employer than a typical job interview. You are the one in control. Questions can be asked that may not be strategic during a first interview (i.e., questions regarding salary, benefits, vacation). You can discuss what is done on a day-to-day basis and relate it to your own interests and feelings. Beyond the advantages of gaining valuable career information, the informational interview provides the opportunity to build self-confidence and to improve your ability to handle a job interview.
How to Conduct an Informational Interview
You should regard each interview as a business appointment and conduct yourself in a professional manner. If you have made clear, in advance, the explicit purpose of your interview you will, in all probability, find your contact an interested and helpful person. Remember the appointment time and appear promptly for your interview. You should neither be too casually dressed nor overdressed. Regular business attire is appropriate. Be sure you know the name of the person you are meeting, the correct pronunciation of his/her name, and the title of his/her position.
Informational Interview Questions to Ask
Because there are so many questions you can ask in the informational interview, individuals sometimes take notes during the meeting. A limited amount of note-taking is justified provided that your contact is agreeable and that you don’t interrupt communication between the two of you.
Sketch out a brief outline of the topics covered and the information gained as soon as possible after the interview. This will require only a few minutes, and will insure that you remember the important points discussed. Later, working from your outline, you can construct a more detailed report of the interview.
Follow Up With a Thank You Note
Write a thank you note to the people you have interviewed. Report back to them if you have followed up on any suggestions. By building strong rapport with career contacts you enhance the likelihood that they will offer assistance with your job search when you are ready for the next step in the job search process.
Okay I’m dating myself with this post but I don’t mind. Ever heard of Johnny Weissmuller? After reading this post, you should use your favourite search engine and look up “Tarzan Johnny Weissmuller”. Watch a video or two and you’ll see the best Tarzan on the screen in my opinion. And if you’re scratching your head saying, “Who’s Tarzan?”, it will be an education.
Famously mocked as having a weak vocabulary, many who spoof this character resort to, “Me Tarzan, you Jane.” All those years being raised in the deep jungle by the animals after being separated from his parents left the fellow with an amazing ability to communicate with the animals, but a poor grasp of the English language. The result was that while he could get along with his elephant friend Tantar and chimpanzee friend Cheeta, he’d often be viewed as a simpleton by those humans he came into contact with.
Now that first impression would often prove to be the undoing of those planning on making trouble in the jungle, and only later did people change their views. That’s a great general plot line of the movies from long ago. But in 2014, would you be surprised if I told you that many people still make a similar first impression with their resumes and CVs on employers? Yes–you can learn from those early movies and improve your own chances of getting ahead if you read on.
All too often I look over a resume someone has made, and in about 3 seconds, I not only am not impressed with the resume, but it tells me a great deal about the person whose name is on the top line, especially if they seem happy with it. The paper itself suggests the person has a weak vocabulary, a poor education, poor grammar skills and then the next leap in assumptions is that the person wouldn’t be a good person to ask to an interview because if this is the very best they can do on their resume, what they might produce in a job would be worse.
So here’s what I’m talking about. Let’s say the resume is that of someone who previously worked as a cleaner in a factory. When they are in the area where they are telling the reader what they did in the job, they say:
* Mopped and cleaned floors
* Cleaned washrooms
* Emptied garbage
The words are just plunked down on the page. I’ll ask the person this question in some of these situations. “Why did you mop and clean the floors?” They then usually say, “Because it was my job.” If I get this answer, I’m not surprised, but I am disappointed. So I next ask, “Why do you think they want someone to do this job?” Then they look at me like I’m dense, and say, “I dunno”.
Following this kind of inquiry I keep plugging away asking more questions to make the person think and discover for themselves the real reason behind why the company pays someone to clean and mop the floors, empty the garbage and clean the washrooms. With some patience, they usually get around to what I’m driving at, and if they can’t I fill in the blanks. What we end up with is something like this:
* Cleaned and mopped floors to ensure work areas were safe for employees to work in
* Cleaned and sanitized washroom areas to eliminate the spread of germs and met Ministry of Health standards
* Removed debris from waste bins off work floor in a timely manner, coordinating with municipal waste pick up schedules
In the above, you can see the difference between the words just plunked down that don’t really say much, and the second revised version that not only states what the person did, but gives me the reader the knowledge that the person knows WHY they did what they did. This shows they get the big picture and how their job fits in with the whole organization. If the washrooms are disgusting, the workers complain. If they complain, they’ll stop being productive and grumble to management. Management then has to stop working too and find the cleaner to solve the problem. If the cleaner has to repeat the cleaning job, that’s a redundancy that can’t be affordable, and the cleaner will be replaced.
By demonstrating your understanding of your role, the employer thinks, “This person gets it and stands out from every other person who just cleans because they are told to without any real enthusiasm for the job. If they did this for that other employer, they’ll be able to do it here and soon understand how they are valued and therefore do a better job”. Bingo! You’ve got an interview coming up.
Now the other thing is that any revision of a job description should use words that you fully understand and can explain if asked about. If it looks too fancy for you, it could be obvious that you didn’t write the resume and therefore may come across as deceptive. So make sure if you get help re-writing your resume that you can understand all the language used and if not, ask for other words that essentially say the same thing. Better to change it now and be a little embarrassed then wait until you’re in a stressful interview and they ask about something you don’t understand.
Now go look up Johnny Weissmuller and hear the jungle cry of Tarzan!
Written By Kelly Mitchell
DOC ZONE | Season 2012-2013, Episode 17 | Aug 21, 2013 | 45:13
I have many clients and couples who are having troubles with budgetting.
These tools may help. They are good for couples who want to share the information and “be on the same page”.
By S. Roman & D. Packer in Abundance on February 7th, 2008
Money is neither good nor bad; it is energy. It is the way money is used that determines whether or not it is a positive energy that will benefit you and others. If you come from the highest level of integrity with your money, if you make it in ways that benefit people, through shifting their consciousness, or through serving and making a contribution, by giving your best, honoring others, and putting attention and consciousness into what you do, you are making a contribution to humanity and to yourself. When you use money in ways that serve your higher purpose and bring you and others joy, you are creating money of light. The more money is made and spent with integrity and light, the more it becomes a force of light for everyone.
True abundance is having all you need to do your life’s work – the tools, resources, and living environment – and to live a life filled with joy and aliveness. Abundance is not an extravagant, glamorous style of living maintained purely to impress others or one that does not support your true aliveness and life’s work. Part of the essence of spirituality is the belief in true abundance – of time, love, and energy. You teach others by setting an example. It may be hard, if not impossible, to help others lead abundant lives if you do not have a feeling of abundance about your own life. You do not want living at a survival level and experiencing lack to be the examples you set. When you have the right amount of money and money works in your life, people will learn about abundance from your example.
Most war and strife come from a belief in scarcity. People who believe in scarcity often try to squeeze more and more out of nature, wasting the planet’s resources. If you want to contribute to planetary peace, you can start by believing in abundance for yourself and others. As society begins to believe that there can be abundance for everyone, new discoveries will be made that will provide unlimited energy and resources that do not pollute or deplete the earth, and there will be fewer reasons for war. There truly is the potential for abundance for everyone on the planet. If humanity believed in abundance for all, it could be created. Start by believing that it is possible for everyone to have abundance.
It is all right to have money. Some of you feel guilty about having money, especially when you look around and see others living in lack. Some people learn and grow as much by having a totally materialistic focus as others do by living in poverty. It is not more spiritual to be poor, nor is it better to be rich. If you are worried that it is not spiritual to have money, examine the times in your life when you had money, even if it was just a small amount. Remember how you used your money. You may have been able to help those around you even more. When you felt abundant, you probably felt generous and able to support others in their abundance.
The people who are clearest about money are not usually those who have large sums of money, or those who have none, but those who have just the right amount for them. People who have just the right amount are not burdened by too many possessions; their possessions serve them. They do not spend time and energy that would be best spent creating their life’s work to acquire or take care of material things. Having too much money can take you off your path if you must spend a lot of time taking care of it. Not having enough money can also take you off your path if it requires a lot of your time and energy just to survive. It is important for you to have enough money to live on. If you do not have enough, if you spend most of your time worrying about your rent and food, your time and energy are not available to do the greater work you came here to do.
Think of being rich as having enough wealth to carry out your life’s work. You may not need many material possessions to have enough. For instance, your life purpose may be to work with nature. You may live in a log cabin, spend little money, and still have all the natural resources you need to carry out your purpose. In that case, you would be rich. What is important is having enough money to do the work you came to do, and not having so much that it keeps you from the work you came to do. Having enough money means being able to put your vision into action, to transform the energy around you into a higher order. Some people may need many material things to accomplish their life purpose. They may need to work with a group of people who will only listen to and respect them if they have an appearance of wealth and power.
Material possessions may provide some with a spiritual experience, teaching them what they need to learn in this lifetime, just as not having money may be a great teacher for others. Some people gain great freedom and growth from having money; some people gain freedom and growth from not having money.
How much money people need is an individual matter; do not judge others for what they have or do not have. Some people may be amassing fortunes that will later be used for the good of humanity, even if at present they don’t plan on using their money this way and aren’t on a spiritual path. You cannot know the larger purpose of anyone’s path. It is good to measure people’s success not by how much money they make or have, but by the degree to which they are fulfilling their life purpose, are happy about their lives, have the right amount of money, and believe in themselves.
As you become more prosperous yourself, it is likely that you will be around prosperous people. As you think in terms of prosperity, your vibration begins to change and you attract other people who think in terms of abundance as well. Do not feel jealous or threatened by someone who is successful. Realize that if you are close to a person who is succeeding, you are beginning to have that same vibration of success yourself. Begin now to believe that everyone’s success means even more success for you. If everyone around you begins to succeed, then you are surrounded with the vibration of success, and your success will grow even faster. When you hear of other people’s good fortune, appreciate their success, knowing that it affirms the abundance that is available for you as well.
Many of you think that you have to get your work out to a large number of people or be number one in your field to truly be successful. It is not wrong to feel competitive if that feeling helps you do your best at your job, but don’t feel that others who succeed in what you are doing can take away from your success. There is an unlimited supply of success. Every person in the world can be successful. Realize that you have your special place, and what you are here to do is in some way special and unique, no matter how many people are doing similar things. Are there people or companies you are competing with? Are you worried that their success might mean a loss to you? Take a moment to picture them succeeding beyond your wildest dreams. Then, imagine a reason why their success will be beneficial to you.
Know that there is no one else in the world who is going to do your work exactly as you do it. Even if it appears that others are doing the same work, they are probably reaching a different group of people, or reaching the same group in a different way. It is better to focus on living up to your potential. Are you putting the wants of people you serve first? Are you following your inner messages? As you do, you will shine. You will have all the business and abundance you want. Enjoy the process of getting your work out, not just to strive for recognition and fame. Let it be all right not to be number one, have the most clients, make the most money, or do it all yourself.
Do not worry about someone else taking away your idea, or doing what you are doing better than you are. As long as you do the best you know how and put out the finest quality product or service you can offer, you will be richly rewarded. It doesn’t matter what other people do. Even if someone is claiming the credit right now for your good work, don’t stop putting out quality work. You will be rewarded eventually. As with the tortoise and the hare, the one who works consistently and steadily, doing a good job all the time, will have more abundance and make a greater mark in the world than the person who takes shortcuts to beat everyone else out.
If you are competing with other job applicants for a job, or with other businesses for a client, or are wanting to get a grant or funding, do not view yourself as competing with others. If it is for your highest good to get the money, client, or job, you will. Always do your best in your grant applications, job interviews, and sales presentations; write or go to only those people your inner messages direct you to, and you will find your money or job. If you get it, do not worry that you have taken something away from someone else.
The universe is perfect and abundant, and others will receive exactly what is best for them. You cannot take away from others. Your opportunities are meant for you, and those that aren’t for you will be given to others. If you are competing for anything right now – a job, funding, a loan, a scholarship, or an apartment – see if you can let go of your worry and trust that the best outcome will occur for all of you. Trust that what is meant to be yours will be yours; the universe is always working to bring your higher good to you.
Don’t view your coworkers or those around you as competitors; see them as friends. Cooperation will get you much further than competition. One man who worked for a company wanted to be the vice president in a short period of time. He went around telling everyone of his ambitions, often praising his own work. He undermined the work of other employees so that his own work would appear better, and tried to take the credit himself for work that others had done. Another man in the same company simply wanted to do the best job he could. He was constantly thinking of his fellow employees, took on extra jobs, helped his boss out whenever he could, and performed the job he was hired for with attention and love. The first man was not promoted and quit in anger with many grievances against the company that “just couldn’t appreciate him.” The second man went on to become vice president.
When you think of others and yourself, have thoughts of riches, prosperity, success, and goodness. Having such thoughts helps make them come true. Let your thoughts about everyone be of their increased good. Picture everyone as successful. Sometimes people bring financial hardship to themselves by dwelling on other people’s financial difficulties, for what you focus on is what you draw to yourself. Rather than talking about how hard life is for people, send them compassion and light; see them getting out of their difficult situations and experiencing abundance. The positive pictures and love you send out will come back to you many times over.
One storekeeper increased his business dramatically by sending love and envisioning success for everyone who came into his store. People were magnetically drawn to his shop. If you hear friends complaining of lack, remind them of what they do have. When you are around people who talk of financial problems, see if you can change the subject or help them appreciate the abundance they have already created.
You may be hoping that your wealth will come from winning a lottery. To win, be ready to receive the money. While many of you hope to win, you don’t truly expect to win. People who win are committed to winning, and have dealt with their beliefs that say getting money this way is too easy, or too good to be true. Even more important, if winning the money would stop you from doing your life’s work, your higher self will keep you from winning. Winning a large sum of money can create more challenges than you think. It is important to have the right amount of money, and if a huge windfall would put your life out of balance, your higher self will most probably keep it from you.
Depending on how prepared you are to have a large windfall, many things in your life will change. Getting money gradually, at a pace you can adjust to, is a gift. You can get used to handling a larger energy flow in a balanced, stable way. You have the time to try out various actions before large sums are involved. If you aren’t prepared to handle a larger amount and you do get it, your higher self may find many ways for you to let go of it. Many people who have won or inherited large sums have also lost or spent them in just a few years; their own energy and the larger sum of money weren’t in harmony. Those who do keep their windfalls often keep the same jobs and homes and bank the money, slowly getting used to the increased amount.
Play lotteries if you grow from the process. For many people lotteries provide an opportunity to visualize themselves as abundant, and that picture helps them draw in abundance in other ways. Every time they buy lottery tickets, they feel the possible joy of winning, and bring that feeling into their lives. That may be precisely the feeling their souls want them to develop. You can create the same experience by visualizing your success, imagining having what you want, and making the picture as real and vivid as possible.
When you have money, see your money as a source of good; see it as potential to create higher purpose that has yet to be converted into substance and form. Keep picturing all your money in the bank or in your wallet as money that is awaiting your command to go out and create good for you and others. Appreciate your abundance, and realize that you have learned to tap in to the unlimited abundance of the universe. Your money is awaiting the opportunity to bring you good, and to improve your life and the lives of others.
About the author:
Sanaya Roman has been channeling Orin, a wise and gentle spirit teacher, for more than twenty years. All of Orin’s work assists people in unfolding their potential, finding their inner wisdom, and in growing their spirituality. Duane Packer has been channeling DaBen for many years, teaching people how to sense subtle energy and work with it to transform their reality. Both authors reside in Oregon and their website is www.orindaben.com.
Based on the book Creating Money. Copyright © 1988, 2008 by Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer. Reprinted with permission of H J Kramer / New World Library, Novato, CA. Additional information at www.orindaben.com
It’s one of the longest and most important relationships you’ll have in your life — and one where your love and devotion is guaranteed to go unrequited.
But forget about breaking up, because even if you don’t care too much for money, we’re talking about a till-death-do-you-part union. So if you and your bank account aren’t getting along, maybe it’s time for some financial psychotherapy.
You’re obviously the one with all the baggage. But Dr. Moira Somers can help you unpack it and sort through the emotional, motivational and interpersonal reasons you treat money the way you do.
“I help people make friends with their financial lives,” says Somers, a Winnipeg-based psychologist, life coach and “financial recovery expert.”
Financial psychology, like neuroeconomics and behavioural finance, is an emerging field that explores how people make decisions around money. As with food, our relationship with cold, hard cash is complicated and can bring out strong emotions and irrational behaviour. Money is at the core of most of our fears and anxieties. And it can destroy our relationships, our self-esteem and our health.
People repeatedly identify it as the biggest source of stress in their lives, says Somers.
Painful stress around money, she says, tends to show up in a lot of disordered behaviour, such as chronic debt, overspending, under-earning and using money as a means, unconsciously and inadvertently, to exercise power and control.
“It’s a complex topic,” Somers says. “Money is this vital life resource, which is good at doing what it was meant to — provide for our physical comfort and safety — but we embed it with power and emotional security, or we imbue it with evil and sin.
“And we ask money all the time to do things it was never intended to do.”
Things such as affirm our self-worth, comfort us (retail therapy, anyone?), distract us from nagging insecurities or fill an inner void.
In her new book, Geneen Roth, the author of the New York Times bestseller Women, Food and God who lost her life savings in the Bernie Madoff scam, offers insight into how unconscious relationships with money are akin to those with food.
In Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations about Food and Money, Roth, a self-proclaimed shirker of fiscal responsibility, draws comparisons between what made her a compulsive eater and what put her in a “financial haze.”
“We are one integrated system and we express the things we believe through the various actions we take — like shopping, spending and eating,” the author said in recent interview with Time.com. “If someone feels a lack of self-worth, this will manifest in many different areas of his or her life.”
While there’s no shortage of good financial or dieting advice, Roth said, it’s hard to follow it until you become aware that you’re using money (or food) for emotional reasons.
“When linear objective advice meets emotional needs,” she told Time.com, “the latter always wins.”
We all have a money story that began in childhood, when we developed a belief system around money, Somers says. “Depending on the many scripts that are embedded in childhood experience, or embedded by our culture, we end up making decisions based on those beliefs.”
Under-earners, for example, are self-saboteurs who don’t live up to their earning potential because they may have a hard time asking for what they’re worth, Somers says. They may earn $10 an hour or pull in six figures a year, but they tend to live paycheque to paycheque, are often in debt, and have “a high tolerance for low pay.”
People who believe money is scarce may cling to it and become rigid and unyielding in that part of their life. Somers says she has worked with families of “tremendous wealth” who have this script operating to some extent.
People in helping professions are often conflicted about money, she says, because the desire to help and the need to make a living can feel at odds with each other. To compensate, they’ll sometimes take on too many clients or overload their schedules with pro bono work.
Children who witness their parents fight about money may grow up to be adults who view it as inherently problematic and who make a decision, conscious or otherwise, to kind of tune out financially, Somers says.
Money scripts are often born out of emotional pain, she says, and a desire to protect the self from further pain. Which is why so many people just kind of go unconscious with respect to their finances.
Somers helps people wake up to their financial reality in several ways. In addition to one-on-one or couples psychotherapy, she also offers money coaching — where your psyche and your financial records get probed and you end up with a financial plan to follow — a tele-seminar series on women and money, and workshops on couples and cash and raising financially savvy kids.
Money, she says, is a vital life resource, “but it’s also a bounded resource, like time and energy. It really helps to get conscious about how you want to direct and spend it.”