Career Development

Are You Being Careful With Your 401(k)?

In time where traditional pensions are all but extinct, 401(k) accounts are key to many people’s retirement strategies. You just set them up, make sure you put money in and that’s it. Right? Trick question. A 401(k) needs management in order to be the retirement nest egg you want it to be. Your employer put it in place for you, but it’s up to you to make it work for you. There’s plenty of information out there on managing a 401(k) and the mistakes people make with their accounts. Even the IRS has some definite opinions on how you should go about making 401(k) decisions. We’ve assembled some of the more common things people don’t realize about their 401(k) accounts, along with some resources to help you make the most of yours. It Costs You Money to Have a 401(k) “Employer-provided” doesn’t mean “100 percent employer-funded.” There are personal costs…

5 Things to Consider When You Have Student Loans and No Job

What happens when you graduated months ago, but haven’t found a job and are starting to feel your student loans breathing down your neck? First of all, don’t panic. Start by figuring out exactly what you owe, by when. Many students loans, including direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans and Federal Stafford loans, have a six-month grace period after graduation, dropping out of school or dropping below half-time status before you need to start making payments. PLUS loans have no grace period. Grace periods on private loans and Federal Perkins loans vary wildly, so it’s important to know what exactly you owe, beginning when. These grace periods are designed to give you time to get a job after graduation. Don’t worry – you aren’t the only graduate who is reaching the end of the grace period with no employment in sight. Don’t Ignore Your Student Loans Before making any other decisions,…

Is It Time to Turn Your Side Hustle Into Your Main Gig?

More than 53 million Americans work as independent contractors according to a 2014 study issued by the Freelancers Union. LinkedIn research forecasts independent workers will comprise 40 percent of the workforce by 2020. That’s a substantial percentage of the workforce operating independently already, and a significantly larger number predicted to be working for themselves in just a couple years. The “gig economy” is in full-force  and shows no signs of slowing down. Quite a few people will likely leave their full-time jobs to work for themselves over the next couple years. The prospect of working for yourself and building your own business, free from the timeclock, corporate bureaucracy and mismatched management styles, can certainly be appealing for some, but intimidating for others. Proponents, like Chris Guillebeau, author of Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days, says, “a side hustle is more than just another stream of income, it’s…

Freelancing and Consulting: Becoming Your Own Boss Out of Necessity

In many ways, being your own boss is the embodiment of the long-held American dream. Currently, an estimated 53 million people are working as independent contractors and that number is expected to continue rising for the foreseeable future, comprising a full 40 percent of the workforce by 2020. A recent study by the Freelancers Union and Upwork found that while 63 percent of freelancers were working independently voluntarily, that means 37 percent – a not-insignificant portion – were doing so out of necessity. Much of that 37 percent are workers who were laid off or otherwise let go from full-time positions and were unable to quickly find another acceptable full-time job. Rather than settling for unsatisfying work or being unable to pay bills, they turned to freelance work and independent contracting. While the idea of working for yourself, building your own business and doing what you want to on your own…

Tips for Moving Forward in Your Career

“Moving your career forward” is an interesting term. For a long time, people only thought about “moving up”—getting in the door at a good company and rising through the ranks. But working for a living has changed. Where “job” and “career” used to be more or less synonymous, today’s careers can span multiple jobs at multiple companies. A career is becoming more and more a journey through a series of working experiences than a measure of tenure within a company or profession. If you’re in a position where you’re feeling the need to move forward—to a higher salary, a more fulfilling occupation, a job that makes better use of your overall skill set—there are some things to keep in mind about making that kind of change. Know What’s Out There As with so many other things, wishing doesn’t make it so when it comes to changing jobs. Think carefully about…

6 Ways Giving Back to Your Community Boosts Your Career

The happy glow you get from volunteering in your community can do more than make you feel good – it can also help advance your career. Here are six of the many ways it pays to be a great volunteer: Expand Your Professional Network When you volunteer you meet new people. As you get to know them better, you may chat about your job and your goals. You never know if the person raking leaves next to you is looking to hire someone with your skills and ambitions, or can lead you to a new opportunity. Bond With Your Co-Workers If you’re lucky enough to work for a company that engages in community service as a team, getting away from the office and volunteering together is a great way to bond and builds a high-producing team. In fact, a survey by AmericanCharities.org reveals that 87 percent of employees expect their…

5 Tips to Give Your Career a Boost

Do you feel like a zombie plodding to and from work every day, uninspired and zapped with joy? Does your paycheck make you frown? Has stress made you so tense that you could karate chop a board with your bare hand right now without flinching? If you answered yes to any of these questions – you’re due for a career reboot! With the holidays quickly approaching, the New Year will be here before we know it. But there’s still time to end the year strong! Before you get distracted with Turkey recipes and Black Friday sales, set aside some time for yourself to improve your career and finances. Follow these easy tips to give your career a reboot sooner rather than later. Invite Your Boss to Lunch or Happy Hour How much happiness, longevity and upward mobility you experience at work can be largely impacted by how well you know…

How to Get a Raise in 5 Simple Steps

The year is quickly coming to an end, and for many, that signals the fourth quarter is right around the corner. We all know what that means – year-end performance evaluations and opportunities for raises and promotions will be here quickly. Do you have high hopes of getting a raise or a promotion this year? If so, now is a great time to prepare for these interviews and evaluations, and put your best foot forward. With a little extra commitment, combined with some practice and preparation, you can increase your chances of getting a raise with five simple steps. Compensation Trends Before we dig into the five steps, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with some recent salary trends. Studies have long associated women’s lack of assertiveness in salary negotiations as a common explanation for the 21 percent gender wage gap in the U.S. However, recent research shows that young women,…

The 5 Best and Worst Cars for Millennials

As thousands of Millennials across the country are graduating from college and entering the real world, affordable transportation becomes a primary concern. While a growing number of grads will bypass car ownership altogether for popular rideshare options like Uber and Zipcar, most will opt for their own set of wheels. According to a 2015 report from J.D. Power & Associates, the share of new vehicles purchased by Millennials had increased from 18 percent in 2010 to 27 percent in 2014. As a graduation present from SelectQuote Auto & Home, here are the five best and worst cars for millennials: Five Best Cars Honda Fit. Starting at $16,470, the Honda Fit is our top pick for active grads on a budget. The 2015 redesign provides tons of rear legroom for your friends in the back, while the ultra-adjustable Magic Seats go up and down – allowing you to load everything from…

What They Don’t Teach You

If one or more of your kids have graduated from college in the past year, then you probably know all too well how difficult it is to land a job right out of school these days. According to the US Department of Labor, the unemployment rate for graduates with bachelor’s degrees rose from 11.5 percent in 2013 to 14.9 percent in 2014. And a 2011 online poll conducted by the National Endowment for Financial Education revealed that nearly 60 percent of parents in the US provide financial support to adult children who are no longer in school. But before you start to panic (or regret spending all that money on tuition), here are five easy ways to help your college grad learn what they don’t teach you in school: namely, how to become financially independent. Help Them Distinguish Between Wants and Needs Most college grads are inclined to spend money…

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