As a young child, I would definitely look forward to the Christmas season. There was something magical about hearing the joyful carols on the radio, feeling the brisk chill of the breeze, seeing the houses adorned with sparkling lights, tasting the tangy flavour of sorrel, and smelling the enticing aroma of fruitcakes baking in the oven.
Like most children, I really anticipated the gifts that Santa should bring once I had been good all year round. It was hard to sit through Christmas morning church service wondering what was enclosed in those brightly wrapped parcels at the foot of my bed and under the Christmas tree.
As adults, while we may have lost the childlike awe of this season, many of us still yearn for the happiness of the holidays when we can enjoy family, food and fellowship. Although we may not admit it, some of us also secretly long for the presents and surprises that the holidays may bring. Continue reading Make a Difference with Your Holiday Gifts
Today’s economic climate dictates that businesses need to become leaner and more cost-efficient to survive in a competitive environment. Many government institutions also have to regulate their operations to ensure that they can make the best use of limited resources.
When the owners or managers of these organisations decide that they need to reduce expenses, they will often look first to their employees. Staff-related costs can be a significant portion of an entity’s budget, so cutting the wage bill can usually benefit the bottom-line.
While a business owner or management official may justify the advantages of reducing the staff component, the workers may see things differently. A decision to lay off people may be seen as unwarranted, especially if they think that the organisation is making enough money to retain them.
Is your job in jeopardy?
Whether you agree with the management’s stance or the employees’ viewpoint, the reality is that the employment landscape has changed. More positions will be downsized in ensuing years, so if you are currently employed, you should prepare yourself for the possibility of job loss. Continue reading Maximising Your Money After Losing Your Job
If you would like to become smarter with money, you can gain tremendous insight by exploring the wisdom in our beloved Jamaican proverbs. As the saying goes, “A word to the wise is sufficient;” and a few astute adages from our rich heritage can help you to increase your financial intelligence.
One smart saying that I have heard many Jamaican old-timers use is, “Don’t hang yuh cap whey yuh cyaan reach.” In Standard English the proverb translates to, “Don’t hang your hat higher than you can reach;” and it cautions persons not to expend more than they can afford.
The concept of ‘living within your means’ is a basic principle to financial success, yet it’s one of the money rules that is easiest to break. Many people have no idea what their ‘means’ really is, so they often find it difficult to remain within the acceptable limits whenever they spend their money. Continue reading Jamaican Style Money Guide: Don’t Hang Yuh Cap Whey Yuh Cyaan Reach
For most children, summer time heralds the beginning of two months of freedom, but for parents it can start a period of overspending and loss of budgetary control. If you’re a parent, you may want to ensure that your children enjoy their vacation, but it’s important not to spend more than you can afford on summer fun.
Ideally, you should have started planning for your vacation many months in advance. Just like any other expense in your budget, you would estimate the total cost of your holiday plans, divide this total by 12 (or by the number of months left for your planned vacation to start), and then save this figure each month to arrive at the amount you need to spend.
Finding the funds for fun
If vacation time is already here and you haven’t started saving for it yet, be very careful about taking on debt in order to finance your summer fun. Remember that September and back-to-school time is just around the corner, so you can’t afford to spend unwisely with these impending school expenses on the horizon. Continue reading Budgeting for Family Vacation
Traditionally, many couples select the month of June to celebrate their weddings. This custom stems from the era when ancient Romans observed a festival honouring Juno, the goddess of marriage and childbirth. Now, June is still considered the time to cherish love, matrimony and family.
When you put romantic notions aside, the reality is that celebrating love, marriage and the family can be quite costly. Whether you’re dating, preparing for your wedding, managing the bills with your spouse, or planning for your children, you need to be on top of your finances to survive.
Over the next few weeks, we will look at the topic of money and relationships by examining some issues which can affect your finances when other people are involved in your life. This week, let’s find out how to successfully manoeuvre the tempestuous financial waters when you’re in love. Continue reading Money & Relationships: First Comes Love
A Guyanese colleague shared with me her concern about the financial practices of many Jamaicans with whom she interacted. After spending a few years managing a project in our country, she observed that the attitudes towards saving, spending and debt were very different in the two nations.
One major point of divergence, she noted, was that most Guyanese people were very focused on saving to buy a home as their first priority. The consultant remarked that you would hardly see persons in her country driving a car if they did not already own a piece of property.
Another point of difference was that most Guyanese were very embarrassed about having debt that they could not afford to pay. Indebtedness was taboo and there were even cases of persons who attempted suicide because they were so devastated about their unpaid financial obligations. Continue reading Financial Priorities
Most young adults eagerly look forward to the day when they will be able to break free of the restrictions of their parents’ home and move out into their own place. The ability to earn enough money so that they can become financially independent is a major milestone in their lives.
However, there are times when adult children, who had previously flown the nest, decide to go back home to their parents. Inadequate earnings, failure to secure steady employment, job loss, illness or divorce are some of the reasons that may turn them into ‘rebound’ or ‘boomerang’ kids.
It can be very demoralising for adults to be forced to return to their parents’ home because of financial difficulties. They may feel a sense of failure that they could not make it on their own, worry that they are being a burden on their older relatives, and be despondent about their future prospects. Continue reading Money Tips for Rebound Kids
When two persons join forces in a marriage or co-habiting union, one of the important aspects that will determine the success of their relationship is how well they manage money together. While money can’t buy love, it can definitely solidify and secure the foundation of a family bond.
In the best-case scenario, spouses should operate as a team when making all their financial decisions. Both parties should pool their income on an equitable basis to ensure that the household needs are met, and they should make plans to accomplish long-term objectives for the future.
While you hope that you and your spouse will share the same goals and work together to achieve the best for your family, there are times when the financial union may be rocky. Let’s look at some of the negative money issues that may arise between spouses, and suggest practical strategies to overcome them. Continue reading Managing Money Challenges With Your Spouse
Most parents will make selfless sacrifices for their children. Whether they work long hours to earn enough to defray current expenses or forgo their own pleasures to put aside for their future education, responsible parents will always find ways to provide for their children’s financial needs.
It is expected that parents will function as caretakers for their dependent children until they are able to fend for themselves in the adult world. However, sometimes the roles are reversed when adult children are obliged to take on the responsibility of managing their parents’ finances.
Parental money problems
One reason why younger family members may be forced to take control is if their parents are facing money problems which compromise their ability to pay their bills. This could happen if the parents have unmanageable debt, lose their sources of income, or if they encounter business setbacks. Continue reading Managing Your Parents’ Finances
Caroline looked at the Excel spreadsheet on her computer with increasing dismay. “Just three months ago I was able to balance my budget, but now I’m short again by over J$15,000,” she grumbled to herself. “No matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to keep up with my expenses.”
She reflected on all the developments that had occurred in her life in the preceding months. Her grandmother, with whom she was raised, had fallen seriously ill. As her only relative, Caroline had taken on the task of caring for her, which had thrown her once tightly controlled budget into disorder.
Having another person in the house meant increased utility costs, and she needed to hire a housekeeper to help with the extra cleaning needs. In addition, she had to buy her grandmother’s costly medicines and pay for her doctors’ appointments without the benefit of health insurance coverage.
Initially, Caroline used her credit card to cover some of the pharmacy bills, but after two months she realised that she was having challenges clearing the card balance. After consolidating several loans over a year ago, she was now desperately worried that she was headed back into debt problems. Continue reading When Your Budget Goes Awry