If you turn on the news today, it seems that the world is a more turbulent place than ever. With news around climate change catastrophes, the threat of a new war in the middle east, terrorism, and viruses affecting thousands of people, you’d be forgiven for thinking things are a bit apocalyptic. It’s important to remember the old axiom that there’s “no news like bad news” and increased global press exposure can give the impression that things are worse than they are. What is actually happening here is that we have a greater amount of access to news that is happening across the world. Either way, without getting into tin-hat conspiracy theorist territory, there are little steps you can take to ensure that you are prepared in the event of a large-scale catastrophe. Here are a few things to think about.A Grab-and-Go BagIn Autumn of last year, Police Scotland came under criticism and accusations for fear-mongering after posting an information tweet advising on how to organise a so-called “Grab-And-Go” bag that you should have in case of an unspecified disaster in your locality. While this might have been a little sensationalist, the logic behind it is sound.Having a bag ready with seasonal clothing, water, a phone charger, radio, torch, etc. is not a big effort to organise. With the recent flooding the England and Wales, you might be inclined to think that it would be a good idea to be able to leave your house at very short notice. Having one of these grab-and-go bags organised might now not seem like such a ridiculous idea. Food and Water SuppliesWhen in the UK, there have been a couple of incidents up and down the country that have led to people panic buying and even those in urban areas having to struggle for access to food and water in the short-term. Again, you don’t have to wander into nuclear bunker territory here, but a bit of preparedness can save you hassle and stress in the event of an issue in your area.It has to be conceded that a few day’s worth of supplies will likely be enough, and there are plenty of online sources you can use as a steer for what to buy and how to store it. The UK us a first world country and help will never be that far away in the event of a disaster, but for peace of mind, you should seriously consider having at least some food and water stored to last you.Protection from DiseasesThe main story that has been dominating the headlines for the last few weeks has been the Chinese coronavirus. We talked earlier about the problems associated with press hype and overblowing stories. The concerns here appear to be well-founded, however. The death toll associated with the new illness is in the thousands, and new cases appear to be cropping up all over the country. Luckily, safety specialists have all the advice you need on how to protect yourself from coronavirus and other airborne diseases. If you have been through an international airport recently, you will have seen increased numbers of airport staff and travellers sporting face masks and respiratory protection. Take the proper precautions, follow the advice, and practice good hand and respiratory hygiene.
It is a big jump to start your own business as a tradesman. Putting yourself through college as a plumber, electrician, etc. is a big enough task in itself. The road to apprenticeship requires you to work closely in an existing business, until you fully qualify, and with luck you can start your own independent business from the ground up. With more young people entering trades in the UK, some advice on how to grow your business is a very valuable thing indeed. This is what we will be discussing in today’s article. Self-Employment Becoming your own boss is an ambition that a lot of us share, though the means to achieve this are a lot more apparent for people who have trained to become qualified within a specific trade. Being self-employed through starting your own business comes with a lot of responsibility with regards to the set up of your taxes and declaring income, as legally required by the government. There are guides to help you through this, and make sure you follow everything to the letter, as failing to do so can lead to criminal prosecution. Getting Your Name Out ThereAs with any small business starting out, you will need to get your name out there as a tradesmen right from day one. Registering your business on all the appropriate directories is a good start, and some so-called word-of-mouth marketing will work in your favour as well. With local advertising and a bit of Facebook promotion, you can generate an initial level of interest in your business. You don’t need to be a marketing expert to get this started – your own hard work will speak for itself.Best Practice is KeyAs we mentioned word-of-mouth marketing, it is important to understand that doing a job properly will keep the work coming your way. It is vital that you follow best practice in the way you carry out work and dispose of materials. Today, tradesmen are under more scrutiny than ever before with following best practice and disposing of materials properly. Make sure you are up to code and have a spill policy in place, if that applies to the work you are undertaking on a regular basis. Expanding Your TeamAs the work continues to come in and your business grows, you might find yourself in a position where you can take on help and grow your team. This is something you shouldn’t shy away from as many small businesses fail simply because the owner isn’t prepared for the responsibility of being in charge of staff. Luckily for modern tradesmen, there are resources online designed to take you through every stage of the process from finding the right people to making sure they are up to code with regards to insurance and tax. This can free you up to take on an even broader range of work for the benefit of your business. There are more opportunities for plumbers, painters, electricians, and joiners than ever before in the modern marketplace. If you want to grow your career, the road map to becoming your own boss is what you’ll need to make it a success.
For kids who are being born today, you could make the argument that their financial future is more uncertain than any generations that have come before. Due to market conditions relating to the supply and pricing of property, coupled with the ageing populations and predicted problems with pensions, there is a lot of moving elements that have the potential to affect our children’s sustained future financial security. It is vital that we, as parents, are making the right decisions from day one to secure our kid’s futures and educate them on the right behaviours that will see them secure, no matter what the future holds. The purpose of this article is to give the reader some thinking points about what they can do to help and educate their children with finance. Read on to find a potential solution that suits you. Create a Trust FundFrom the day that your child is born, you have options to put money in a trust fund that will accumulate interest value and will become available to them from the age of 18 or a time of their choosing. With a trust fund, you can start as big or as small as you like and build from there. Many people fall into the false impression that a trust fund has to start with a big amount, to begin with. This is not the case, as everyone’s financial situation is different.When your child is born, you might find that friends and relatives want to contribute and having a trust fund in place is the best way to put their money to work. It also helps to teach your child about savings habits from early on and shows the value of thinking long term when it comes to finance. Grow in the Long-TermAlong with the trust fund option, there are various options you can take to accrue as much money as possible in the long term. While many high street banks offer savings accounts for children, a bit of shopping around might show that a lot of these products are inadequate on the rate of return that they offer, and you might be better to shop around a little.It is possible to transfer your child trust fund to an investment professional as a means of increasing the gains you see on your initial investment in the long term. While moving funds across can require a bit of communication between the parties who manage them, it is the best option to take in the long term.Teaching Financial SenseWe have touched upon what you can show your kids in a practical sense, but there really is no way of overstating the importance of showing your children how they should be saving and managing their money from as early an age as possible. Whether they are a toddler or a teenager, there are specific behaviours you can be teaching that will benefit them well into their adult lives. You can take a look at numbers games, pocket money, earning from a part-time job, and the ownership of financial responsibilities as a means of educating your kids. As we stated, there is a lot of uncertainty in the markets with regards to our kid’s chances to afford pensions and properties. It’s better to ensure that they are prepared now rather than short-changing them in the long term.
When running your own business, you must constantly be on top of your numbers to ensure the smooth running of your business. From expenses, profits and other associated costs such as insurance, admin and utilities there are a lot of numbers and transactions that you must be fully aware of.  The slightest discrepancy could have drastic consequences further down the line and in the worst-case scenario, could lead to the closure of your small business. It’s not the most exciting of topics, but by having some basic tools and processes in place, it will make a world of difference when it comes to your company’s accounting. We’ve given you the rundown of what recommended accounting tools and best practise tips are available for small businesses.  Sort out your finances At some point or another, you would have probably had to use your own finances to help your business either to get off the ground or to help fund new assets. It is highly recommended that you separate your personal and business finances. As a business owner you will have to manage the financial side of the business yourself so it vital that you open up a new separate business bank account to improve your financial organisation. If nothing else, do it for your sanity – imagine having to go through everything single bank statement to find a business-related expense.  The other added benefit of this is that a business account or business credit card will reduce the chances of you getting into debt. Cash flow A good way to monitor your company’s revenue and overheads is to monitor cash flow. Cash flows show the movement of money that comes in and out of your business – usually it tracks revenue and your overheads and lets you see how this balances out. Ideally, you’ll be having a ‘positive cash flow’ where your company is generating more rev with little expenditure.  Don’t be disheartened if you see there are low levels of return, as the point of using a cash flow is not to help generate rev but to provide a level of insight into how well your business is managing and where you can adjust even out the flow if you need to. Accounting softwareIt’s also worthwhile looking into some accounting software for small businesses to help make things a bit easier for you when it comes to managing your accounts.  There are several accounting software options available each focusing on either business type or invoices and VAT management:·         QuickBooks is great for invoice management and provides you with a dashboard to help you keep on top of your accounting.·         Cloud-based option XERO is great for providing shared access to your accounts from several devices and comes with cash flow functionality. ·         KashFlow works with HMRC, and they also have an app for Android and iOS which will allow you to send invoices while you’re on the go. Many of us find it daunting to get involved with the financial side of our businesses, but there is a lot of support out there to help you if you need it.
As an office worker, you are likely to spend extended periods at your desk, staring at a computer screen. For those of us who have been in the game for a long time, this way of working might stretch all the way back to university and beyond. Unsurprisingly, research has shown that sedentary working habits can have an adverse effect on our health in the long term. In a number of white-collar industries, many of us are expected to work an 80-hour week mainly at our desks. If you want to ensure you stay healthy while working an office job, here are a few tips to help you on your way.Cycle or Walk to WorkHealthy work habits can begin with your commute. One of the best ways to keep yourself fit and save money/the environment in the long term is to cycle to work where possible. Many cities are evolving to become more cycle-friendly, and the government’s cycle to work scheme can help you to get a bike through work at a discounted rate. While not all of us will live close enough for this to be a viable option, you could even look at taking public transport part of the way there, keeping you and your bank balance healthy. Keep a Healthy Office DietIn the UK, we have problems with eating properly at lunchtime. There is a work culture across many places that frowns upon people taking extended breaks, and it expects people to work through their lunch, at their desk. This often means a quick lunch consisting of a pre-made sandwich or some other kind of fast food. Take the time to make yourself a nutritious lunch and stay away from the pre-made stuff that is often an unhealthy option. Many offices now offer staff free fruit, so make sure you’re taking full advantage of this and staying away from the chocolate and crisps in the vending machine.Sit Properly At Your DeskIn recent years, a great deal of research has been undertaken into the physical effects of working at a desk in the long term. In terms of proper posture and desk height, you should make sure you always sit upright at your computer and have your computer monitors right in your eye line. There are useful guides on preventing back pain that can help you to set up your desk properly. Spending long periods working at a computer can also hurt your eyesight. If your monitors are poorly adjusted or your office is dark, you can be doing yourself real damage in the long term without knowing it. Have a read up on the recommended settings to ensure you aren’t doing yourself any harm. We are increasingly finding ourselves in jobs that require us to be sedentary for extended periods of time. As humans, we are not built to work this way day-in-day-out, so it is vital that we take steps to remain healthy in our jobs. Sometimes doing something as simple as getting up from your desk once an hour for a wander around the office will do you a world of good. Making these little habits part of your routine will help you to maintain a healthy lifestyle in the long-term.