Is there a right way to quit your job? (Yes, believe it or not)

Published: Thursday, November 16, 2017 @ 2:34 PM

When you think it's time to leave your job, how do you depart in a way that avoids repercussions? Create a loose transition plan for your boss Envision what you can do to make the transition easier on the team When meeting with your employer, use the "compliment sandwich" method Consider how leaving your job will affect your family Leave under good conditions if at all possible

When you think it's time to leave your job, how do you depart in a way that avoids personal and professional repercussions?

There’s no perfect way, but there are some smart moves to make your exit smooth, easier on your soon-to-be former boss and a breeze for you, said Forrest Wildes, director of strategic accounts for Harris Waste Management Group, a company based in Georgia.

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"I would advise the person to make sure that they have considered all the pros and cons about the job they have and that their decision is final," Wildes said.

"I would suggest a meeting with your boss and explain that, for whatever reason, you feel led to take another job or you are moving or whatever the reason," Wildes added. 

Below, other career experts offer insight on the three significant things to consider when you decide to call it quits with your job.

Consider yourself

Will this decision lead you on the right path? Will you regret quitting, considering the consequences? Are you fearful? Do you feel guilty? 

If you are certain this decision is right, you may want to follow these suggestions from IdealistCareers.org:

  1. Prepare yourself mentally by listing three things about your current job that make you feel grateful and three things about your new venture that excite you.
  2. List briefly why this transition is right for you in order to build closure and acknowledge the present in a positive way while mentally preparing you for the future.
  3. Create a loose transition plan for your boss, listing your biggest responsibilities, the status of any ongoing projects and a back-up point of contact for your work. Whether or not your boss accepts your plan, by being positive and proactive, you will show respect for the organization and lessen the chance of getting a negative reaction.
  4. Envision what you can do to make the transition easier on the team, and list a few goals you plan to accomplish before your last day; but set reasonable boundaries for yourself such as not extending the standard two-week notice.

Consider your employer

  1. Arrange a short, in-person meeting with your manager.
  2. Use the "compliment sandwich" method: Sandwich the news that you are leaving between the positive of what you are grateful for during your time there and the proactive transition plan you've created. Don't try to control his/her reaction to your news.

Consider your family

How will leaving your job affect your family? Have you discussed your plans with them before you do the final deed of submitting your notice? Have you secured another job before submitting your notice? If not, do you have enough in savings to carry you and your family through until you can secure another job?

Final word, according to Wildes:

"Leave under good conditions if at all possible. Never burn the bridge if you can help it. You never know when you may need a reference or even need your old job back!"

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Does car insurance cover the self-inflicted damage to your car after a crash in the driveway?

Published: Friday, December 01, 2017 @ 3:49 PM

Veteran car insurance agents answered some questions you might have if you find yourself in this situation Will insurance cover the damage to your vehicles? Does this happen to a lot of other people? Does it matter that the accident occurred on private property? What about the garage door?

If it hasn't happened to you, it's probably happened to someone you know: you manage to damage your car before ever leaving your driveway. (Doh!)

Self-inflicted accidents can happen in several ways, from backing out of your driveway and hitting your spouse's car to crashing into the garage door.

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Since most auto accidents happen on roads and usually involve another driver, you may wonder who pays if you hit a car in your driveway or damage your own property in some other way.

The following information from veteran car insurance agents helps answer the questions you might have if you find yourself in this situation:

Will insurance cover the damage to your vehicles?

Sure, depending on the type of coverage you have. Your liability coverage – which is legally required – covers damage to the car you hit. If you have collision insurance, the damage to your own car will be covered as well, an Atlanta insurance agent explained.

Does this happen to a lot of other people?

Yes, you're not alone. It probably does happen fairly often, the agent said, but many people don't file a claim with their insurance company.

"You're going so slow that the damage is usually minor," he said. So by the time you pay your deductible – which is often $500 to $1,000 – filing a claim may not be worth it.

Does it matter that the accident occurred on private property?

Not really, said Marcus Bullock from Slater Insurance Agency-Nationwide Insurance in Atlanta. The result is the same whether the accident is in your driveway or on Atlanta's streets.

The only real difference is that you won't need to call the police, as you would if it happened on the road. You won't have a police report, but you won't need it, and (thank goodness!) you won't be issued a ticket.

What about the garage door?

Bullock says this can also be covered if you have comprehensive coverage.

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Best and worst side jobs for extra holiday cash

Published: Thursday, November 16, 2017 @ 3:58 PM

Overall, the 12 days of Christmas will run you $34,558.65, a 0.6 percent increase from 2016 Which days of Christmas are causing the hike? A partridge in a pear tree Five gold rings Ten lords-a-leaping

The holidays are a time for giving, but giving can be expensive. The season can put tremendous financial pressure and stress on average families. The good news, however, is that it’s also a great time to make some extra cash and pad your annual income with a seasonal side job during the holidays.

Be warned, however, that not all holiday jobs are the same. Some are cheerful, lucrative and rewarding. Others are so bad they’ll make you loathe the mere thought of the holidays for the rest of your life.

THE BEST

Delivery Driver

Estimated pay: $140 per day or at least $800 per week

The holiday season is the season of packages — especially now with the dominance of online shopping. Major carriers like UPS and the U.S. Postal Service increase their workforces to meet the holiday demand.

These jobs come with strict requirements regarding driving history. Physical work and lifting are involved, and you’ll probably have to pass a drug test. But if you can score a seasonal job with one of the big companies, you’re likely to be guaranteed secure, full-time work with good pay. FedEx, for example, is currently hiring seasonal drivers for $140 per day in Minnesota and at least $800 per week in New Jersey.

Retail/Sales Associate

Estimated pay: $9 to $10 per hour

One of the things that makes the annual surge in retail positions great is the sheer volume of jobs. The National Retail Federation reports that stores across the country look to fill up to 690,000 positions during the holidays. Some of these employees stock inventory, others manage stores, and others work as clerks or distribution managers. Either way, they might have the opportunity to become a permanent part of the team after the holidays pass.

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Seasonal Server

Estimated pay: $9 to $10 per hour

When the busy holiday season hits, consider going after one of the many seasonal server jobs that open up. Waiters and waitresses tend to get better tips during the holidays, according to Forbes. They also work generally flexible schedules and often have the opportunity to pick up extra shifts to make more money or drop shifts when they want extra free time. If you’re trying to find your side hustle sweet spot, this might be the gig for you.

Gift Wrapper

Estimated pay: $8 to $10 per hour

Stores from Neiman Marcus and Barneys to Bealls and Big Lots all hire associates on a temporary basis to perform an all-important task: gift wrapping. Most of the ads run by those stores require applicants to have high school diplomas and the ability to stand for long periods of time. In reality, there’s one qualification that counts: If you’re one of those neat, creative people who likes wrapping presents, this is the job for you.

Holiday Decorator

Estimated pay: $8 to $18 per hour

Event planning companies, hotels, restaurants, grocery stores and even private homes hire seasonal help to do for money what most people do at home for free because it’s fun: decorate for the holidays. The AARP says you can expect to make at least $8 and up hourly to more than double that. Listings on job board Indeed confirm those estimates. A holiday light installer position pays $13 to $18 per hour. A position for temporary holiday decor installer pays $11.50 to $12.50 per hour.

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Product Demonstrator

Estimated pay: $9 to $21 per hour

If you’re outgoing, like to smile and enjoy making people happy by giving them free stuff, you can get paid to do just that. Product demonstrators sometimes demonstrate products, but more often, they hand out samples to shoppers and passersby.

During the holidays, when the demand for good workers takes off, you might find yourself offering anything from eggnog and cider to gingerbread and mulled wine. The AARP estimates pay to be between $9.11 and $21.70. Costco, for example, is hiring demonstrators for $12.65 an hour.

Mall Santa

Estimated pay: $15 to $20 per hour

While bringing the legend of Santa Claus to life might not be the easiest holiday gig, it’s certainly one of the most fulfilling. That is, provided you love kids, love being photographed and love entertaining the Christmas wishes of the masses. It’s a hard job, according to career site Monster.

There’s plenty of heavy lifting; you’re working during flu season, which means lots of sick kids and germy hands; and shifts can last up to 12 hours. But if you can hack it, you and you alone will be responsible for spreading joy, granting wishes and keeping alive the age-old legend of Father Christmas.

THE WORST

For all but the most desperate people, the worst holiday jobs are simply not worth the money. Meager pay, long hours, exposure to the elements, demeaning duties, and difficult management and customers define these chores. These jobs are often physically difficult and sometimes even dangerous.

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Santa’s Elf/Helper

Estimated pay: Minimum wage or just above

Mall Santa can be a great gig. The same can rarely be said, however, for his helpers. Elves are paid far, far less than the jolly workshop boss — generally the minimum allowed by law. They’re tasked with corralling impatient visitors who are frustrated with long lines, as well as their screaming kids.

When parents think a photo is too expensive, want a picture do-over or think Santa didn’t spend sufficient time or energy on their precious little ones, it’s generally the helper who gets a giant, pointy elf earful.

Airport Attendant

Estimated pay: About $11.50 per hour

During the holidays, airports become overcrowded, stressful madhouses teeming with frustration, long lines, impatient travelers and, of course, screaming children. For the countless seasonal, temporary workers who are hired during the holidays, that becomes their world.

Checking travelers in, locating lost baggage and carrying luggage isn’t glamorous or well-paid work during the best of times. But in the season of winter storms, delayed flights and holiday travel stress, there are far better ways to earn quick cash.

Snow Removal

Estimated pay: $9 to $30 per hour

If you live in a cold climate, clearing roads, sidewalks and parking lots during and after storms might seem like a good way to make some extra cash. It rarely is. If a storm hits at 3 a.m., that’s when you’re working — likewise if the snow starts falling at noon. Since your workload depends on the whims of Mother Nature, gigs are essentially impossible to schedule. The work can also be physically demanding and even dangerous.

Christmas Tree Lot Attendant

Estimated pay: $9.50 to $13 per hour

Buying a Christmas tree at the local tree lot is a yearly ritual for many people in America. When you pick a winner, however, it’s the miserable, shivering lot attendant covered in pine needles and sap who wraps it up, lugs it to your car and ties it onto the roof.

If you don’t like the idea of standing outside for eight hours, freezing, you don’t want this job. The saving grace is that attendants are often given hefty store discounts if the lot is associated with a retailer like City People’s Mercantile or Whole Foods.

Parking Lot Cart Attendant

Estimated pay: About $11 per hour

As stores begin to burst with customers during the holidays, retail giants hire extra help to corral stray carts in the parking lot. Not only does the position require hard work for long hours on your feet in the cold, but cart collectors are often called upon to do other grunt work, like mopping up spills in the aisles and even cleaning restrooms. The pay for lot attendant positions on career site Glassdoor averages $22,000 a year, which is about $11 an hour.

Call Center Customer Service

Estimated pay: $8 to $14 per hour

Many companies hire extra customer service reps during the holidays, but consider the facts before you apply to work in a call center. One customer service representative summed up the job by stating to ABC News, “You almost never have anything good happen to you at work.”

Describing the job as among the worst white-collar jobs possible, the report detailed a culture of immense pressure on representatives who have little power to fix issues and almost always work under intense scrutiny of hovering managers who monitor calls. Many calls come from angry customers who are rude and aggressive, yet representatives are often expected to try to sell things to them during the conversation.

Volunteer

Estimated pay: $0

From toy drives to charity events and soup kitchens to shelters, organizations of all stripes see a major spike in volunteering during the holidays. The season brings out people’s better nature as those who feel grateful yearn to embrace the true meaning of the holidays, receive the gift of giving and share with the less fortunate the blessings of plenty that they themselves enjoy.

The problem is, if you’re looking to make extra cash for the holidays, it pays nothing. Zip. Not a single dollar.

The 6 best ways to invest a $30,000 windfall

Published: Sunday, November 05, 2017 @ 2:43 PM

One in three people who receive an inheritance blow through it in two years. Here’s the right way to handle a windfall of cash.

There are worse problems than having to figure out what to do with $30,000.

You might think: I have a lot of money to play with! But be careful, because it’s also a lot of money to — buzzkill alert — potentially squander.

A large windfall provides an opportunity to get your finances in order and set yourself up for the future.

These are the best investments you can make with that kind of cash.

1. Pay down debt

One of the smartest things you can do is pay down credit card debt, which has been hitting new all-time highs. The average upper-middle-income family was carrying credit card balances of $6,800 in 2016, up 13 percent from three years earlier, according to the Federal Reserve’s most recent Consumer Finance Survey.

That debt could end up costing you thousands of dollars in interest.

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2. Build up your savings

Only 2 in 5 Americans have enough savings to cover an unexpected $500 expense, according to a Bankrate survey.

Financial planners recommend you carry three to six months’ worth of expenses in a savings account, to give yourself a little bit of a cushion in case you suddenly lose your job or find yourself needing a new roof.

3. Put it toward your retirement

One common regret among Americans is not saving more for when you retire. The median amount all working-age U.S. families have saved for retirement is only $5,000.

Life is expensive, incomes have been growing slowly, if at all, and many struggle to get by. But your $30,000 should give you the cover to contribute more to your employer-sponsored 401(k) plan, if you have one. The goal is to put away 10 to 15 percent of your earnings, including any match from your employer.

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4. Save for college

Americans also find it challenging to save for college. Rising tuitions and financial pressures on families have helped push student loan debt to record levels.

If you have children, invest in their future by opening a 529 college savings plan or even a Roth IRA.

There are pluses and minuses to any approach. The key is to start putting money away early.

5. Open a no-fuss investment account

Thinking of your $30,000 as a ticket to earning even bigger money?

Rather than looking for the next Apple or Amazon, concentrate on building a diversified investment portfolio comprised of low-cost mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that will deliver a solid return over time.

You don’t need to buy a lot of funds to get you where you need to go. Big-time investment managers, such as Fidelity and Vanguard, offer a number of one-stop funds that do the diversifying for you.

Or, you could go with a target-date fund, which matches your exposure to stocks and bonds to your age. That is, you own more stocks when you’re younger, and more bonds when you’re older. For even more safety, find the best CD rates and add some certificates of deposit to the mix.

6. Go the DIY investing route

You could invest your $30K by building a diversified portfolio yourself. A good start is to allocate, say, 40 percent to a U.S. total stock market fund, 20 percent to an intentional equity fund and the remaining 40 percent to a total bond market fund.

You don’t need more than four or five funds, and pay careful attention to fees.

An automated financial adviser service, such as Betterment, can help you get going.

Six tips for retiring without debt

Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 2:37 PM

Channel 2’s Consumer Advisor Clark Howard explains how helping your kids save for retirement is key to their financial stability.

No matter when you plan to retire or what kind of retirement you envision, being debt-free is critical for getting there. It’s best to dump debt before you stop working, said Steven Repak, a certified financial planner and author of “6 Week Money Challenge: For Your Personal Finances.”

“If you have no mortgage, no credit card debt and no car payments, it may help reduce the risk of you running out of money during retirement,” Repak said. “That’s why the goal of having no debt by the time you retire should be at the top of your list.” Whether you want to eliminate debt or start paying up for retirement now, here are some tips to help you reach your retirement goals.

Slash household costs

Renegotiating auto insurance rates, cellphone service, electricity and other necessities can save you a significant amount of money each month. “By just reducing 15 percent of household expenses, the average household could save about $3,700 a year,” according to Repak. Here are some other ways to cut down on major expenses:

— Look for car insurance with adequate coverage but no personal injury coverage that overlaps your health insurance, or collision coverage on a lower-value car.

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— Deregulation of the electricity market has resulted in some states allowing residents to choose their energy suppliers, where savings of 10–15 percent have become normal.

— Reduce your TV bill by switching from high-priced cable service to antenna TV paired with a low-cost streaming service such as Netflix, Hulu or Sling.

Know what you’ve got

If you don’t know where your money is going, you’ll have a tough time making the key changes needed to retire debt-free. So take an objective and thorough look at your finances, said Aaron Hatch, a certified financial planner and co-founder of Woven Capital in Redding, Calif., a fee-only financial planning and investment management firm.

“Get real honest with yourself about your finances,” he said. “Pretend you are a business and look at your finances as objectively as possible.”

Hatch said you should create a personal balance sheet and document your cash flow. Your balance sheet is simply your assets compared to your debt, or liabilities. Cash flow is a better term for a budget. At this stage, you want to know where your money is coming from, which is probably easy to determine. You also want to know where your cash is going, which is more difficult. Plenty of free apps are available to help with this phase, including Mint and LearnVest.

Set goals that support your lifestyle

Retirement planning is about more than finances, and for many, lifestyle is just as important. “As with any financial and life decision, there are trade-offs that need to be considered,” Hatch said. “So, it’s good to start with what you value most.”

Your preferences will determine exactly how much money you need before you retire. For example, you could start by being honest with yourself and answering these questions:

— Do you love working, but just want more flexibility?

— Do you want a quiet life of gardening, or do you plan to travel full-time?

— How important is it to leave a legacy for your kids or community?

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According to Hatch, only after you honestly answer these questions in writing will it be possible to move forward with a plan to make retirement both fulfilling and fiscally sound.

Take care of credit card debt

Credit card debt is often the most expensive type of debt, so it makes sense to pay it down before tackling “good debts” such as your home mortgage or student loans. This is true even if you earn credit card rewards, because the high interest rates can eat up your rewards savings. Start paying more than the minimum balance on one card while continuing to pay the minimum on your others. You can put the extra money towards the highest-interest card first, and once that’s paid off, focus on paying off the others in descending order of interest rate. Alternatively, the “snowball” method — popularized by financial expert Dave Ramsey — recommends starting with the card with the lowest balance.

Do a trial run

Early retirement planning gives you plenty of time to test your income goals. These tests can be done by doing your math with a retirement calculator, or by living on your anticipated retirement income and tracking the results. Setting aside a chunk of your pay rather than spending the money gives you a real taste of what your retirement will be like. You’ll uncover any flaws in your plan and have time to adjust if needed.

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Delay retirement

Waiting until full retirement age gives you extra time to pay down debt and build savings so you can avoid debt in the future. You also benefit by qualifying for your full Social Security benefits or increasing your benefit. For example, individuals born in 1943 or later earn an extra 2/3 of a percent for each month they delay collecting beyond full retirement age. In total, that’s an 8 percent increase for each year they delay.