Last year’s finances were rough? No problem. Here’s how to make smart money moves. Read More...

The end of 2017 found many Americans scratching their heads in confusion. A massive tax cut bill was passed at the end of December, and let’s be honest, the whole year was basically crazy.

While it will probably take awhile for you to figure out what the tax bill means for you personally, there are a number of smart financial moves that you can put into place as you work through your next year’s financial goals.

Do a financial audit.

One of the most important financial actions that I take at the end of each year (and the beginning of the new one) is taking the time to do a financial audit. Let’s be clear, a financial audit is not an opportunity to rag on yourself for making financial mistakes. It’s an opportunity to look at what did and did not financially work for you in the previous year.

Financial audits are relatively easy to do but can be a little time consuming if you haven’t been using systems to help you look proactively at your finances throughout the year. I’m currently in the middle of doing my audit for 2017 and one of the expenses that I will be cutting back on is going out for coffee. I love going out for coffee and I typically only order the smallest sized coffee on the menu…and sometimes a little treat.

But, I’ve spent some time really looking at the math and those inexpensive visits added up to the equivalent of paying off a credit card. I average $5 per visit and typically go to the coffee shop five or six times every week. Six visits to the coffee shop equal $30 per week. Multiply that by four and that equals $120 per month or $1,440 spent in coffee shops during a year. That’s a trip to Colombia!

Where’s Your money going?

Besides looking at mindless spending habits, spend some time looking at your expenses. Be candid with yourself about what does or does not serve you well financially. Review the following:

  • Phone service. Is it too expensive? Do you have an opportunity to get the same or similar service for less?
  • Insurance policies. My car insurance policy has just come up for renewal. In my opinion,  it’s way too expensive, so I’m looking to change my car insurance and have begun researching different policies so that I can make the switch.
  • Groceries. This one is hard because you have to eat. Think about your grocery shopping habits. Ask yourself the following: do I go to the store too often? Do I experience a lot of food waste? Am I using my pantry staples and rotating them out? Do I take advantage of savings apps like Ibotta when I go grocery shopping?
  • Subscriptions. Spend time checking all of the services that you’re subscribed to and get rid of the subscriptions you’re not using. Don’t forget to check your apps! You may need to go to the Google store to unsubscribe or change certain app subscriptions.

When working through your financial audit, spend some time thinking about what is important to you financially and what you would like to have happen during the year with your money.

Be honest.

If you love getting mani/pedis, getting your beard trimmed by a barber (for the gents) or going skiing, be honest about that with yourself. As you work on your 2018 finances you may find yourself resistant to making certain financial changes because it feels like you won’t be able to do what you enjoy.

As you work on your 2018 budget, add line items for those activities or services that you enjoy and figure out what you’re willing to spend in a year on those items. Because you’ve worked through your financial audit before this step, you may find yourself lowering or increasing the amount that you’re willing to spend on different parts of your life.

I love going out for coffee and it’s an important part of my social life, but it’s not worth spending $1440 a year. I also love getting manicures and pedicures. But, I only did that once last year in Dallas as a treat. I would prefer to have these every other month if possible, so I’m looking at the cost for manicures in particular because I’m able to do a pretty decent pedicure.

Being honest about what you enjoy in your life will help you avoid overspending because you’ve already practiced honesty in your budget.

Make it mindless.

Sign up for a free money management platform such as Wize-Fi or Personal Capital to help you track your expenses. These platforms help alert users to different trends in their spending habits and, in some cases, may alert users to the amount of fees or interest that they are paying for different loans, credit cards, or services that they’re using.

If you struggle with saving money, set up automatic savings withdrawals. You may work with your human resource department to save more money in your 401k or automatically send money to a hard-to-get savings account.

Set up as many systems as possible to make achieving your financial goals as easy as possible.

Talk to a tax professional.

Given the changes to the tax code that were signed into law at the end of December, it may a good idea to speak with a well-vetted tax professional about what you should expect in regards to your tax situation in the upcoming years.

Set audacious financial goals.

But, before you do, read Overcoming Underearning by Barbara Stanny. Then, set some bad-ass financial goals for the upcoming year that are attainable, but a little scary. Then, as Barbara Stanny encourages her readers to do, take small consistent actions daily to help work you towards achieving the financial goals that you’ve set for 2018.

Good luck taking charge of your finances in 2018!

What are your financial plans for this year? Any specific tool that is helpful? Let us know in the AdultingHALP Facebook community.

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Great idea? Check. Good Response? Not so much. Here’s what to do from here. Read More...

We’ve all been there. One day your boss asks for feedback on a program, project, or concept that your team is working on. You spend hours working on your concept: the wording, why the idea rocks, and how your team can start rocking out your new idea. You’re nervous, but you know that they will love it.

An hour passes by, then two, and then your boss says the following: “I’m sorry but we’re not going to use your idea.” You’ve been shot down and it hurts.

If you’re really emotionally invested in your job, having an idea shot down may feel really personal and you might find yourself wrestling with some self-doubt about your value to the team. Before you go down that rabbit hole of crazy, let’s walk through some of the things you should do to keep this situation in perspective.

Rejected.

Unless your boss truly hates you (and sometimes they do) don’t take the rejection of your idea personally. If there are several people who work on your team, it’s possible that your immediate supervisor may have opted to use a different idea.

Hey, it happens.

You might not be aware of a last minute change to the project concept so you’ve ended up presenting something that is no longer relevant. If you’re defined by the work that you do, the rejection of ideas can feel intensely personal. Keep things in perspective, walk away if you’re feeling hurt or angry – don’t lose it on your boss and colleagues. Never let them see you sweat.

Time to regroup.

Spend some time away from the office regrouping and getting into a positive headspace. Don’t let your ego get in the way of all the hard work that you’ve done previously.

If you find that you’re feeling especially demoralized, watch the movie Office Space and imagine how good it would feel to beat up one of the printers that always seems to jam. But don’t do it. You have an imagination for a reason.

Now that you’ve calmed down and are thinking rationally, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Was I clear about the scope of work?
  • Would what I suggested truly move our project on forward? Or, was it an ego-driven suggestion? (Yes, I went there.)

Then, ask yourself, “Am I clear about the overall goals of my team and department?” You may feel like you’re clear on the overall objectives, but things do change. It’s never a bad thing to ask your team lead, “What is the ideal outcome you would like us to arrive at via our work efforts?”

Again, you might not be aware of changes that may have been communicated from the top down – but, not to you. Your team lead will (typically) appreciate that you’re zeroed in on achieving positive outcomes with any suggestions that you may share.

Is this boss an ally?

If you suggest something to your boss, will they truly be open to any suggestions that you make? Do you have a boss who has basically checked out mentally and just goes through the motions?

They may perceive your suggestions either in a positive light (this employee has ideas that I can piggyback on) or, they may feel threatened and think that you’re angling for their job. And, you could be. Remember that the phrase “office politics” exists for a reason.

Is your boss a little…flaky? Do you find yourself wondering how on earth they got the job? Are they easily influenced or super open to team input? If they are open to suggestions, create a strategy where you share new ideas without being annoying or come across as a brown-noser.

It’s ok to Jedi-Mindtrick your boss…as long as you’re using your powers for good.

Finally, if your idea has been rejected, ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to have an open and candid conversation with your boss. In fact, I would strongly encourage you to become comfortable asking for helpful feedback from your supervisor or boss.

Creating an open line of communication may also signal to your boss that you’re professional and invested in creating change in your job. Good luck!

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Vacations can make or break a friendship. If you’re going to plan a good one – do it right. Read More...

Recently, the number one movie in America was Girls Trip-a hilariously wild movie all about taking an epic trip with a few of your best friends. I’ve had the good luck to take a number of girls trips with my BFFs (I have more than one) and there are a couple of tips that I would like to share so that you can successfully plan an incredible vacation with your BFF.

Decisions, decisions!

First, you will need to decide on the destination. This decision sets the foundation for all of your additional trip-related decisions. In the process of deciding where to go, you will discover the type of traveler your BFF really is.

You can opt for a traditional location such as a large city with good food and interesting tourist exhibits. Cities such as NYC, Chicago, LA, and New Orleans are typically safe bets.

Then, you begin asking one another the following questions:

  • How safe of a city does it have to be for you to feel safe visiting it?
  • What do you find interesting to do for fun?
  • Do you want to drive around town all day?

Once you’ve worked through these questions, begin discussing the logistics of your trip. Talk about how you like to experience and explore a new city. Are you a wanderer? Do you prefer to follow an itinerary? These are all disqualifying (or qualifying) questions that will help you decide: is this really a person that I would like to travel with?

Do I want to travel with you?

Be honest if the answer is NO! If this is your BFF, don’t put yourself in the position of a friendship breakup because you took a trip that one of you potentially wouldn’t enjoy because the activities and city were ill-suited to their personality.

Friends sometimes want to get super adventurous way too fast when traveling together. I would strongly advise you to avoid doing this and to build up to an epic travel experience by taking smaller trips together…just to make sure.

Time to talk money.

Once you’ve decided on the location, you’ll then need to work on some of the nitty-gritty. What do your budgets look like and how does your budget affect what you can do?

Be candid about your budget-but at the same time be self-aware. Whether both of you are flush with cash or not, come up with a nice balance of activities that provide a wide-range of opportunities to have fun at varying levels of expense. This empowers both friends to choose activities that suit their financial situation.

Have a real conversation about what you can, cannot, or won’t pay for during your travels.

Become self-aware. How flexible are you? Would you lose your mind if there were problems with your accommodations? Would you freak out if you had to share a room or a bed? Are you an indifferent eater, an obsessive museum fan, or (ahem) clingy? Do you need someone with you as you explore town? Or, are you the type of traveler who needs occasional “me” time when you’re on trips with friends? Be honest!

It’s now time for shenanigans!

Some of my favorite trips were taken with my BFFs. Traveling to Las Vegas on a Greyhound bus and freaking out when the blind couple with the fake seeing-eye-dog almost got hit by highway traffic during one of our rest breaks. Fun times!

Going to L.A. with another friend and meeting every single freaky person in California – who just knew that we weren’t from there. They just could smell the Colorado on us.

Going to Breckenridge with my European BFFs and everyone (but me) getting altitude sickness and needing to go to the local oxygen bar for some relief.

I love having these memories and I know that you, too, will enjoy creating new, life-long memories with your BFFs.

I strongly suggest traveling with your friends, just be honest with yourself about what you can and cannot tolerate when traveling. You can be realistic about your friend’s quirks without throwing them under the bus.

Share your favorite BFF travel story in the #Adulting Facebook community!

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Don’t grow bitter and ghost. Here’s how to help your peeps out and keep your sanity. Read More...

I’m sure there are a number of people who read the name of this post and reacted with a, “Oh, HELL NO!” Paying for your friends potentially opens up a can of worms that none of us want to even begin to deal with.

There are a number of ways that you can find yourself “paying” for your friends. And several ways to pay for your friends include exchanges of time, goods, or even services. Has it been awhile since you’ve had to deal with that issue? Good for you! But, it’s a matter of time before you find yourself potentially paying for a friend.

Let’s walk through the moments when it’s ok to pay for your friends and moments when it’s not.

The friend payment tiers.

First, let’s acknowledge that there are different tiers (or levels) that requests for payments may find themselves. Let’s go through a couple of scenarios.

Scenario #1: You and your friends go hiking for the day. Your friend chips in and pays for gas because you’re driving. In this scenario, there is an acknowledgement that the friend is experiencing an expense that the other friend can contribute to.

But wait, there’s more! Before the day is over-you stop for a cup of coffee. Your friend (who gave you gas money) no longer has cash and you offer to buy them a cup of coffee. In this particular situation everything pretty much balances out. This friend normally is pretty good about remembering these types of situations, so you know that a cup of coffee is in your future.

A cup of coffee is usually around $5 or less so this situation shouldn’t upset your friendship.

Scenario #2. I recently had a friend pay for some other friend to attend a Tony Robbins event. My friend paid for everything-because this person CAN. They make around $200,000 a month (I kid you not) and have the ability to give gifts that in no way affect their financial life.

For the rest of us who aren’t making a couple of hundred thousand a month the question you need to ask yourself before paying for your friend is the following, “Will paying for this harm my finances directly or indirectly?”

If the answer is yes, then you should not offer to pay for whatever it is you’re paying for.

Loans vs. gifts.

I don’t loan money-to anyone. And, when you talk about paying for someone else’s expenses, whatever they may be, you’re basically talking about loaning someone money. Loaning money to a friend is a “Don’t Do it” zone.

If you’re the friend who is putting your other friend in the situation where they need to loan to you-not cool. I’ve been the friend who has borrowed money from a friend and it took YEARS to heal the rift that occurred because of it. I was borrowing money because I was broke and so it’s not surprising that I was unable to pay them back. I was a financial mess.

If you’re the friend who is being put in the position of loaning some money-you will have to ask yourself some questions. The most important one is: are you comfortable loaning money? And if you loan it, are you ok with potentially losing that friendship if your friend fails to repay you?

The next question you should ask yourself is: “can I help this friend by giving them a gift versus giving a loan?” Again, I don’t loan money to people. I give money and I typically have an account for family and friend expenses.

These expenses always come up unexpectedly and when it’s inconvenient for EVERYONE. I strongly recommend having a “my friend’s/family member’s money is funny-and I’m not laughing account.” But, the key is to never let anyone know that you have this account.

Hey, you slackers!

Has your friend picked up the tab for you several times in the past couple of months? If you’ve answered “Yes” then it’s time to do two things, pay back your friend and treat them to something nice. And, it’s also time to consider why this situation keeps coming up and your friend keeps paying for stuff for you.

We’ve talked about literally paying cash for things for your friends but we haven’t talked about other types of payments you may find yourself doing for your friends. Here’s a few examples of non-cash payments that you may find yourself gifting to a friend.

Driving your car-less friends around town.You’re basically always the designated driver (sigh). I hate to admit this, but I learned how to drive as an adult. My friends drove me around for YEARS. That means I now find myself (happily) driving people around town and into the mountains because I have YEARS of being driving to make up for.

Yep, I was that girl. I’m absolutely happy to drive people around as much as possible because I appreciate all of the times my friends drove me around town.

Maybe your friend has helped you out with your new puppy, every time you went on vacation, saving you hundreds of dollars in boarding fees. Now, they have a dog. It’s time to offer to puppy-sit their dog and give it the love that they gave yours.

Maybe your friend has babysat your teeny tinies a couple of times. If your friend doesn’t have kids, think about what would make their lives better? A grocery gift card (plus cash). A special experience? If your friend has kids, it’s a no brainer-just babysit their kids and call it even.

The longer you’re in a friendship with people the more your boundaries may get blurred. Don’t take your friends for granted and check in from time to time to make sure you’re both on the same page in regards to financial expectations within your friendship.

Are you usually the lender or the borrower? What boundaries do you have to make sure your choices don’t ruin your friendships? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community.

 

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Does being single = lonely, especially around the holidays? Not. Even. Close. Read More...

The holiday season is a landmine of expectations, obligations, and self-imposed stress. Getting through the ChrisMahanaKwanzaka trifecta of holiday celebrations and cheer takes a lot out of the average person. And, when you’re coupled up, there are additional obligations that further complicate what should be a fun and happy time or the year.

Enter, single-life.

Many would argue that being single sucks-especially during the holiday season. But, I beg to differ. Being single during the holiday season can be a glorious experience that may include lip-synching to random holiday songs after a couple cups of spiked holiday eggnog while watching rom-com marathons. If you don’t believe me, I’m going to make my case and see what you think!

It doesn’t suck.

Now, let’s be clear, I actually love the holidays. I love the decorations, the songs, eggnog, and every excuse to eat pecan pie. The holidays seem to be the only time that families don’t fight the expectation that they should spend time together…because they’re a family.

And, I love taking every opportunity to spend time with my family. But, I’m going to push back on having to meet certain expectations during the holiday season. And, as a single person, I can lobby pretty effectively why I would like to visit at a different time of year. It’s cheaper, easier, I already have plans. You get the picture.

Avoid the “whose family?” conversation.

One of the potentially most contentious conversations a couple may find themselves having during the holiday season is “your family or mine?” Upon asking this question some additional issues pop up.

What if you only have so many frequent flyer miles and your loved ones live in the middle of some random town in Illinois (like mine do). You then begin the process of selling why you should visit your family vs. theirs. It’s almost like family smackdown-Holiday Edition. May the odds be ever in the least dysfunctional family’s favor.

Not only do you have to negotiate location, you have to negotiate the level of crazy that you would like to deal with. Every family is a little bit crazy, so each couple has to have a conversation that acknowledges that their family is potentially crazy and how much you’re willing to deal with during the holidays. Let the games begin.

Single people don’t have to worry about having this conversation. You can just decide to go wherever you would like to go and even choose to avoid your family until it’s a calmer time of year.

Let’s go to Costa Rica instead.

In fact, one of the best things about being single is that you can choose to skip the holiday crazy. I love Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and basically, any and every excuse to celebrate the meaning behind each holiday and spend time with my family and friends.

But, I’ve found myself turned off by how spending has changed the energy of the holiday season. The rampant materialism is just exhausting. I’m completely disinterested in buying gifts because I’m just not into buying gifts because you expect me to.

So this single person, and I’m sure many others out there, will opt out of the holiday season and go on a fun vacation where I can focus on self-care, have fun, and avoid all the drama.

As a singleton, you can decide how you give back to others during the holiday season. Family traditions be damned. You can create a new tradition for every holiday, every single year. And, with exception of your immediate family, no one is going to judge you for deciding what will serve your needs best during the holiday season.

Freedom!

The best thing about being single during the holiday season is the ability to do whatever you feel like. Want to go to yoga on Thanksgiving and get your Shavasana on? Done! Feel like watching the Westminster Dog Show? Done! Want to sleep in and then plan out your winter travel or your Black Friday shopping extravaganza? Done!

But, perhaps my favorite thing about being single during the holidays is the ability to avoid gift-giving analysis paralysis.If you feel like you suck at giving gifts, not having a significant other gets you out of that tricky obligation. I really enjoy giving gifts, but there is something about giving gifts during the holiday season. So. damn.stressful.

Being single during the holidays doesn’t have to be a downer, it can be as good or as bad as you want it to be. In fact, if you’re single or coupled up, you have a lot more control over how your holiday season should be.

It’s all about perspective.

Always remember, be grateful. There are other people who may be having a harder time than you. This post is being written after watching Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico get slammed by hurricanes and flooding and Northern Californian towns get completely destroyed by fire.

It could always be worse. If you’re missing company during the holidays-throw a potluck, volunteer, help others. Many people think that being single during the holidays means you’re alone. To me, it just means you’re single.

Bring people into your life each and every day. And, if you prefer to skip the holiday shenanigans-do it!

Do you enjoy the single life, especially around the holidays? Tell us why it’s great over in #Adulting Facebook community

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What’s your sign? Does it matter? Maybe the constellations have more insight than you know… Read More...

The people who know me, know that I’m a bit…woo-woo. I burn sage in my home and office to clear it of bad energy. I’m a bit superstitious and would never walk under a ladder. Black cats crossing my path freak me out, and you could have a full conversation with me on the importance of people’s “energy” you know-how they make you feel when they are around.

So, when I was asked to explore how well my horoscope “knows” me I felt up for the task. But, I’ll be honest and say that I was a little reticent. Did I want people to know that I buy into this stuff? Would I be acknowledging that I was one of those weirdos who would ask people what their sign was, or at least, was able to figure it out without them telling me?

Well, I grew up in Boulder, Colorado and talking about this kind of thing is not in the least bit unusual. I’m owning my woo-wooness. And, will admit that I find myself continuously amazed by how accurate, not so much my daily horoscope can be, but the characteristics that are associated with my sign. What’s that sign?

I’m a Leo, hear me roar.

I’m in pretty good company too. The following amazing, volatile, and high achieving people are also Leos:

  • President Obama – Love him or hate him (I love him) he has always been a great leader and brilliant all-around person.
  • Madonna – Of the infamous “Bitch-I’m Madonna” song, amongst others, that proclaim how amazing she is.
  • JLo – That’s Jennifer Lopez for the rest of us (and we have the same birthday – she’s older….but, in better shape).
  • JLaw – You know, Jennifer Lawrence the perpetually quirky, interesting, awkward girl.

Yep, I’m in pretty good company. I began to look at what are considered to be core Leo traits and see if they actually defined my being.

It was a little creepy.

Are the positive traits really unique?

Leos (like everyone else) have a number of wonderful traits. You could argue that these same traits could apply to anyone and you would be right. But, for the sake of my horoscope, I want to see if my horoscope is right about me?

Leos are said to emulate the lion. And, like lions, they are loyal and love fiercely. I would say that I’m pretty dang loyal…until you turn on me and then we’re going to have some problems. Likewise, in loving fiercely it’s also said that Leos would like the same intensity of being loved in return. While I would agree with this for me, I feel like that’s any person that wants to have healthy, happy relationships in their life.

Leos are also considered to be extremely independent. I’m very independent, but I also happen to be an only child so I feel like that’s also an only child trait as well. I’m not knocking the horoscope, but I think it’s important to bring up the fact that there may be other reasons why I’m so independent.

This one feels a little awkward to bring up but, it is considered one of the key Leo traits-the need to be the center of attention. Ahem. But, given the list I just shared, there may be something to it. I decided to look back at some of the things that I’ve participated in:

Blogging-umm, basically talking about my money situation. It’s not all moonlight and roses…but, it’s all about me LOL! Blogging also relies on social media, doing live videos etc. Awkward.

Cheerleading-So…all eyes would be on the squad when not watching whatever game we were cheering.

Various leadership positions-ok, maybe this one is on the money? Or, maybe I’m just a focused-driven person who enjoys opportunities to shine?

Leo weaknesses.

Now, it’s time to check out some of the perceived Leo weaknesses. Leos are said to be somewhat rigid, occasionally lazy, and maybe a wee bit arrogant. Ahem. I resemble these traits and it’s not a comfortable thing to admit.

It could be argued that my horoscope knows me well, or that I’m just a flawed human being that needs to work on myself-just like everyone else.

Horoscopes are fun to read and think about, just don’t get weird and let them dictate the actions that you take in your life. Read your horoscope at the end of the month to see how accurate it was. This keeps things light, fun, and out of the crazy zone.

Do you read your horoscope faithfully? Do you find it helpful, or think it can apply to anyone? Let us know your thoughts in the #Adulting Facebook community

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Leave the cat memes and gifs on facebook. If you’re serious about networking and growing your career, you have to get your LinkedIn game up. Read More...

The vast number of social networking opportunities can sometimes leave the people overwhelmed and confused about which social media networks to focus on and the best practices for each platform. What works on one platform probably won’t work on another.

If you’re a social media holdout, I get your confusion. It seems like almost everyone is on Facebook, but it’s a dizzying space with a mix of political rants, favorite recipes, pictures of babies, and vacations. If you’re looking to connect with people professionally, Facebook presents some very specific challenges that most professionals would be wise to avoid.

Twitter is the land of sharing the occasional crazy thoughts and funny memes. Again, professionals could set themselves up there, but the temptation to stray from professional decorum is too great, so again, professionals should continue to seek another platform to set up their professional profile.

What sets LinkedIn Apart.

Fortunately, LinkedIn provides a great space to set up business profiles that will hopefully resist the urge to descend into craziness and connect users with great professional opportunities.

First, users of LinkedIn need to be clear about what the purpose and goal of LinkedIn is: it’s a social networking platform that professionals use to connect with other professionals and companies. You typically will not see cat memes, baby pictures, or the other random-ass stuff that you see on other platforms.

These people mean business. I will be the first to admit that I find LinkedIn to be…aesthetically underwhelming. It is not a space that focuses on being pretty. It unapologetically focuses on the process of connecting professionals one connection at a time.

Building your profile.

That approach especially applies to the picture that you share on your profile. Again, it should be a professional picture. Your hair should be neat, your clothing unobtrusive (and, maybe a bit boring). Basically, think of it this way-you’re presenting yourself as a professional. You want a picture that screams “hire me” or “work with me.” Not, “I’m crazy” or “last one to play beer pong.”

Next, begin filling out your profile details-being mindful that these will be viewed from a business professional lense. People will look at your details with the thought of: would I want to work or collaborate with this person? As you fill out your profile be careful to avoid trite catchphrases, but figure out the best way to communicate:

  • Leadership roles that you’ve been in. Are you the president of your local professional association? Do you run workshops that help other business professionals? If you do you would be considered an influencer?
  • How you helped organizations that you’ve worked with. Did you help them make more money? Attract media mentions? Grow their clientele?
  • Or, are you an entrepreneur and have helped people grow their income? Find confidence to grow their own business, etc.

As you share your details, be a bit unemotional about it, but, do share the details.

Don’t get sucked into the great 3rd person vs. 1st person profile language debate. Every since LinkedIn was founded people have argued (sometimes in circles) about the choice of pronoun that you should use when working on your profile. My advice is to use the language that you feel will best highlight you and stick with it.

Master social etiquette.

Time to get social. LinkedIn has a feature where you endorse other people’s skills. Feel free to endorse your connections’ skills. Comment on people’s posts and projects that they’ve shared on their timelines. Be genuine in your interactions. You will find that your contacts will also share the love!

Don’t forget to share projects that you’re working on, resources that may be useful to your contacts, and connect people that you feel may be able to help each other in their business.

LinkedIn also has a pretty fantastic blog offering tips and ideas for users of the platform. It’s definitely worth a look. In fact, LinkedIn’s online resources are much easier to use than Facebook’s (which tends to be way too techy).

Finally, like all social media platforms, remember that LinkedIn functions like a search engine. What that means is that certain keywords and phrases will make your profile easily found by other professionals and businesses looking to potentially partner or hire people.

Spend some time typing in phrases that you would use to search for people or resources. Look at how those profiles are set up.

LinkedIn may be the “unsexy” social media platform, but it absolutely gets the job done.

Do you have any good LinkedIn tips to share? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community

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Rent due but bank account empty? Before you start packing your bags, let’s look at your options. Read More...

Sometimes there are moments when money is a little tighter than usual. A check is coming in late, your hours were cut unexpectedly, or an unplanned expense pops up. Typically, when those moments happen it’s at the most inconvenient time possible. And, it’s especially stressful when these situations crop up around the first of the month when rent is due.

If you’re finding that there is more month than money and that it’s painfully, glaringly obvious that you’re going to be late for rent, there are a number of actions that you can do to take control of the situation before the situation takes control of you.

Don’t panic.

First, and most importantly, don’t panic. I’ve made my worst financial decisions every single time that I’ve allowed panic to dictate my actions. One of the constants about money is that it ebbs and flows. If you’re in a low-income flow situation and you begin to panic, you will begin to make choices that will be more expensive over time. Some of those decisions include:

  • Borrowing money – If you’re already broke, borrowing money is just not going to work out for you in the long-run. Umm….because you’re already broke. You will then be on the hook for any overdue rent money and the money that you borrowed.
  • Payday loans – I’ve had these and it feels like they should be helpful. Basically, you borrow on upcoming income. But, you are also charged a ridiculous amount of interest that you already can’t afford because you’re broke. Just avoid these like the plague.
  • Shutting down mentally – This one is hard. I actually struggle with this a lot. Sometimes I will just shut down and kind of avoid what’s going on. Not good. Again, this will make a bad situation even worse. You have to be mentally present in order to deal with the financial issue at hand – you’re going to be late for rent.

Take control.

Fortunately, there are a number of actions you can take to take control of the situation and hopefully never be late again.

If you’re going to be late on your rent because you need an extra $100 dollars, spend some time thinking about where you can get that extra money and begin hustling. If you’re late because you just don’t have the entire amount…again, start hustling. The sooner you begin working to bring more cash in the sooner you can resolve the issue.

If you are one month out and you can already tell that you don’t have money for rent-you’re in luck. Thirty days out is plenty of time to focus on growing your income. Not sure what you could do to bring in more cash? Here are some ideas:

  • Animal sitting – I’m not a huge animal person, but if it came down to it, I could doggy sit for a couple of days. I can love on the dog and then return it to its owner and get paid to take care of it. It’s a win-win because I would get puppy time without dealing with all of the long-term stuff and get paid. If you live in an animal crazy city like Denver, you could get started pretty quickly on earning some extra cash in about a week.
  • Sell your stuff – Americans are notorious packrats. We have a ridiculous amount of stuff in our homes. Sell it via:
    1. Craigslist – But, do it at a safe location. There are many cities where you can do the pick ups and drop offs of items at designated safe areas (typically police stations)
    2. Have a yard sale – if it’s still warm enough to rock a yard sale, DO IT! I’m continuously amazed by all of the stuff people will buy.
    3. Sell your clothes – For this to work, you need to have really nice clothes with good resale value.
    4. Sell your bigger items – If your situation is especially dire, sell: your car, your high-end electronics, etc. If you sell your car, you will also free up additional cash because you won’t have to pay for insurance, car maintenance, or gas.
  • Sell your expertise – Necessity is the mother of invention. Sell your expertise. If you are looking to grow your income, think about what you are considered an expert at and set up a day to teach people how to do what you do.

Talk it out.

Review your rental agreement. Again, if you’re going to be late because you’re a little short of cash, also look at what you will be charged in regards to late fees. Late fees vary but could make a bad situation much worse really quickly.

Communicate. There is nothing worse than catching your landlord off-guard. If you’re hustling, and the money is just going to come in after your rent is due (and you know it) talk to your landlord and continue to hustle your ass off.

There is nothing worse than being late for rent, but, there are a number of ways to manage the situation proactively. Good luck!

Have you been late on your rent, or close to it? How did you handle it? Let us know over in the #Adulting Facebook community

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Don’t let the holiday music and parties get you off your game. Here’s how to enjoy the season while keeping things together! Read More...

I live in Colorado and as I’m writing this we are gearing up for our first snow day…even though the weather has been near 80 degrees for the past couple of days. Weather whiplash is a very real thing and so is decreased productivity during the holiday season and colder months.

This year has been epically crazy, so a lot of people will probably be caught off guard by the fact that the holiday season is just around the corner. OMG. You’re probably having a minor panic attack as you read that sentence and I’m right there with you. I’m freaking out because the holidays have historically killed my productivity if I don’t have a well-thought-out plan.

Let’s plan together and stay on top of things.

Work your schedule.

First, spend some time reviewing your schedule from October through January. Why those four months in particular? They are the four months where people begin to shop more, celebrate the holidays, and have a substantial uptick in personal plans.

Those plans may include: trips to visit relatives or friends, holiday parties, going to the theater, or hosting an event at your home.

Grab your planner and write down as many of those events as possible so that you have a clear idea of what’s coming up. Then, remove any event or activity that isn’t 100% necessary from your schedule. By taking the action of removing unnecessary events from your schedule you’re creating a buffer in your schedule and freeing yourself from obligations that will ultimately distract you from taking care of the things that are important.

Fall in love with the word NO!

The holiday season tugs on many people’s emotions. As a result, people may find themselves saying “yes” to activities that are a distraction. People may also need to say “no” when asked to participate in activities with emotional vampires.

You’re probably wondering how an emotional vampire affects your productivity? Well, they suck your energy dry. If drama ensues (and it typically does) with an emotional vampire, you’re getting sucked into calls recapping and discussing whatever imagined drama that the emotional vampire is upset about.

Saying “no” will be one of your most powerful productivity tools this holiday season. You’ll thank me later! On the flipside of this, say “yes” to activities with people that will lift you up and fill you with joy.

Shop from home.

In the age of Amazon Prime, Hello Fresh, Thrive Market, and Safeway grocery delivery, why on earth do you still insist on going to the grocery store several times a week? On Saturday or Sunday take some time to review your upcoming week. Create a meal plan and order your groceries or a meal kit service.

If you’re needing new clothes, order them instead of going to the store, and if you’re feeling especially focused on embracing systems to make your life easier, you may consider scheduling someone to help with cleaning during weeks when you have a ton of guests or just an especially hectic schedule. Don’t clean before the cleaners arrive – that’s a waste of your time!

Spend time getting ahead wherever you can. Here are some personal and professional examples:

  • If you celebrate Thanksgiving and plan on having guests that weekend, begin planning NOW. Start picking up non-perishable items such as: condensed milk, extra aluminum foil, the baking pan for the turkey, or canned cranberry jelly. Or, you could order a pre-made meal and save your time for spending time with friends and family.
  • Work backward on your projects. What do I mean by this? Look at the projects you’re currently working on and spend time getting ahead of those projects by looking at the end result you’re working towards. Figure out the deadline for those tasks and then work backward from that deadline. You’ll most like complete those projects faster and you’ll also create a time buffer because you’ll be ahead of your schedule.
  • Digital content creator? Blogger or Podcaster? Spend some time scheduling your content ahead (building a content buffer) similar to what was mentioned during the previous point.

Part of managing and maintaining your productivity is acknowledging that you can’t do everything and that the holiday season is a constant process of balancing:

  • Your expectations
  • Other people’s expectations
  • Social Commitments
  • Work

Maintaining your productivity during the holidays ultimately requires you to give yourself some grace, focus on one day at a time, and have realistic expectations of what you can do for you and what you can do for others.

Do you have any good tips to share? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community

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Job interviews can be really tough. Interviewers are looking for someone outstanding and asking the right questions can make you stand out. Read More...

Have you ever sat down and created a list of all the jobs you’ve worked during your life? The number may astonish you. My number astonishes me when I look at my list!

But what also astonishes me is that the approach to finding a new job and getting hired has its own set of unspoken and somewhat complex steps that one must follow in order to be successful.

For the purposes of not driving readers and job-seekers crazy who are reading this post, we’re going to focus on only one of the parts of your interview: asking pointed and targeted questions during your interview that communicate three things to your potential boss:

  • You’re actually interested in the job and you’ve done your research on the role that you’re being interviewed for. This is important to show your potential employer because there are many job seekers who forget to research the roles that they are applying for.
  • You’re motivated on a professional and personal level. No one wants to hire a person who lacks motivation. They are annoying to work with.
  • You’re actively engaged in your interview. Basically, you’re not going to sit in the interview and say nothing to the interviewers.

There is an art to asking the RIGHT interview questions and not alienating or freaking out a potential new employer. Before you begin asking questions, remember that each job has its own specific set of questions that you should ask.

Questions for a leadership role.

If you’re applying for a leadership role, then the questions you ask should also include things such as:

What leadership style are you looking for?

How many people would the person in this role be supervising?

But, to keep things simple, in this post we’re going to assume that everyone is applying for mid-level administrative/management roles without supervisory duties.

First, be aware that there are some questions that you do need to be cautious about asking when speaking with your potential new employer during an interview.

If you’re aware that you’re interviewing for a role that you consider to be a short-term opportunity, and only have plans on working just for 2 or 3 years in that role, don’t let it slip that you’re not going to be there for the long-run. Most employers expect potential employees to leave within two to three years, but they like to pretend otherwise.

Questions for entry-level positions.

If you’re applying for an entry-level job here is a list of questions that may be appropriate to ask your interviewers. You do have to feel out the energy of the interview before asking them. Each interview has its own dynamic so you will have to play this by ear.

Examples of questions to ask include the following:

How do you see the person in this role supporting the overall mission of the department that they are in and the mission of the organization?

This question is important to ask because it helps you know where you stand in the organization AND it helps you know how the tasks you may work on are viewed by your potential colleagues.

What opportunities are there for advancement for the person in this role?

There is nothing worse than being hired for a job and there is nowhere to go in the position. If that’s the case you as the interviewee may make the decision that this is not the role for you OR that it’s a short-term opportunity until you find an opportunity in another organization.

How do you evaluate people in this role?

Job evaluations are a huge part of how you get raises, promoted, and get the feedback needed to better your job performance.

If the organization gives feedback in a way that you’re philosophically opposed to, such as having your colleagues’ give input on your performance evaluation or a scoring system, you need to know so that you can strategically work in such a way to earn positive reviews because you understand how you will be evaluated.

By the way, I absolutely hate having colleagues comment on your job performance because more often than not, you may have a colleague who can’t stand you. And, if a colleague can’t stand you it makes sense that they may be less inclined to give you a fair job assessment.

Do you know your non-negotiables?

What benefits do you offer?

Is flex-time important to you?

Life insurance, health insurance, etc?

What’s your maternity/paternity leave like?

Be careful with this question because potential employers may worry that you’re about to have a baby. Is it the type of organization where there may be the potential work from home? If the interviewer hasn’t answered these questions, it’s reasonable to ask them.

What is the company culture like?

Do you have to wear suits/dresses?

Have casual Fridays?

Are there events after normal business hours and do you have to show up?

But, before you begin asking these questions make sure to do your due diligence and research the organization as much as you possibly can. Then, be honest about what you’re looking for in any future role you may be interviewing for. What is a non-negotiable for you? What are you willing to compromise on?

Knowing your non-negotiables will create a framework for which questions you should be asking during your next interview.

Have you used any of these questions in a job interview? Do you have any other good ones to add? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community

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