Financial Security

1) HOW TO LOOK FOR A JOB

A) The Chronological Curriculum:

1. First and foremost you have to be able to write an effective resume or curriculum. Now there are two types of curriculums that you have to consider. One is the Chronological Curriculum while the other is the Functional Curriculum. But since the Chronological Curriculum is the one that is most used, I'm going to start in explaining how to most effectively write and use this one.

2. One of the most important items often left out of this type of curriculum is the objective or direction that you're trying to set-up for yourself. In other words you should have some idea as to what kind of position or job you're applying for and state this in a very bold fashion either at the top of the curriculum or in a covering letter. Otherwise your curriculum will probably be ignored.

3. Secondly, your curriculum should be no longer than two pages, preferably one, and written on paper that highlights your skills.

4. Thirdly, your schooling and job experience should start with the most recent to the less recent.

5. Fourthly, your experiences whether schooling or job wise should start with those experiences that are recent and most related to the position you're applying for. Also if you have university experience you normally don't have to put down your primary or secondary school experience.

6. And finally, if you know more than one language or have a specialized skill or interest that could relate to the position that you're applying for, put this in a most prominent place on your curriculum.

After finishing this, your curriculum can be distributed as a result of newspaper ads or any other situation that might lead to a potential job that you might be interested in.

B) The Functional Curriculum:

1. The Functional Resume or Curriculum, however, is the one that is much less frequently used. The reason for this is that, although you normally would get a better job, you have a lot more to do to put this curriculum into operation.

2. To begin with you should write the story of your own life, but only the positive aspects of it. Then you should relate the talents that you used to make these life events so positive. After this you have to rank the five most important talents (1,2,3,4,5) that you used.

3. On the other end of the scale you have to determine the direction you want your life to take job wise based on your past experiences and education. Then you have to relate those 5 talents mentioned above to your job search by writing them in importance order under your goal, and giving two examples of each on how you used these talents in the past, but related to experiences that would help you in your job search. This then is your curriculum. Goal + Talents + 2 Examples after each talent.

4. After finishing the curriculum you do not send it out. You memorize it, not in the sense that you're memorizing it word for word, but in the sense that you should memorize the essential essence of the curriculum. Then practice the verbalization of it with trusted friends.

5. In the meanwhile you should start contacting by letter executive decision makers of companies you would like to work for, but not asking them for a job. Instead you would be asking them for an interview whereby they can give you some advice on what you could do with your talents, and you should mention to them in the letter that in a few days you will be contacting them by telephone to set up such a meeting. But remember; don't contact the personnel directors unless you want to work in that area, but the decision makers who can usually override their personnel directors.

6. At the interview, remember that with a Chronological Curriculum the interviewer controls the interview, but with your verbalizing the Functional Curriculum in front of the interviewer, the interviewee controls the interview.

7. Using this approach you can develop many important contacts because your initial interviewer can put you in contact with many people at the same executive level of companies similar to the one you're interested in, if he or she's impressed with your presentation. Also remember this: Many times when you're dealing with executive decision makers and they like your capabilities, they could create a job for you if none is currently available.

C) Suggestions on Interviews:

1. Always dress neatly and somewhat conservatively.

2. Never be a "yes" person. Always express your honest opinion, but in a way that shows respect for the other person's opinion.

3. And always send a thank you note after each interview.

This information was attained from two executive employment agencies in New York.

2) IF NOT A JOB, HOW ABOUT BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR

An entrepreneur can be defined as someone who is in control of his or her own destiny and who makes things of economic consequence happen.

To be an entrepreneur you have to have a particular kind of mindset. That is, you have to have; 1) a strong desire, 2) perseverance, 3) initiative, 4) persuasive skills. 5) a winning attitude and 6) a bottom line mentality.

To begin with you should write down your concept as to what you economically want to do as precise as you can in only one paragraph. But in doing this you have to watch out for the various traps that exist in developing a concept. They are; 1) it wont work, 2) you can't make any money on it, 3) there is no market for it, and 4) there can be unpredictable customer behavior; But also remember this; that the customer has to pay at least 5 times the direct cost of a product.

Now there are three types of Business entries you should consider. They are; 1) Starting from scratch whereby you should be prepared to take 5 to 8 years to start a business, 2) Buying an existing business whereby the risks are less by saving time (1 year) for the business to be operational, buying cheaper assets, and by assuming cheaper financing, and/or 3) in buying a franchise) whereby the risk would only be about 30%. Also you could be an Entrepreneur within a company as well.

The ideal business actually should have; 1) no investment, 2) an identifiable market, 3) a low cost supply, 4) minimum government regulations, 5) good price-cost ratio, 6) frequent buyers, 7) favorable tax treatment, 8) a good distributing system, 9) news value, 10) technical fashion obsolescence, 11) perish ability and, 12) weather proof ness

Three types of business plans should be written once your concept of a business starts to materialize. They are; 1) The Feasibility Plan, 2) The Operational Plan and, 3) The Financing Plan. Financing for the business could be accomplished by; 1) cash from customers, 2) sub-contracting, 3) your own money, 4) borrowing (from as few as possible) or 5) by leasing.

The Management team, if you decide to assemble one, should include; 1) the creator, 2) the driving force, 3) the marketer (the marketing strategy should be to find the competitive edge either in quality, price, or service) and, 4) Moneybags. Then you should give each of them part of the rock and teach them to listen to others.

This knowledge came from a film entitled "Winning Entrepreneur Style" by the University of Southern California.

3) HOW TO BECOME FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT

1. First of all you don't have to have a lot of money to be financially independent. You only have to have enough. The question then becomes, what is really enough? The next question you have to ask yourself if you're working is "Am I earning a living" or "Am I earning a dying"?

2. To begin with, you have to take stock of what you now possess. That is, you have to prepare a balance sheet of your personal possessions. In other words you should determine your assets ( what you own ) and your liabilities ( what you owe ) and then subtract your liabilities from your assets to figure out what your net worth is. In this way you might find out that you're richer than you thought, poorer than you thought or just about where you thought you were. In fact one person found out when he did this that he really was a millionaire and didn't have to worry about being financially independent anymore. But in any case it's important to know where you stand at this point in time.

3. As an aside here, I have to say we don't prepare budgets. We found that budgets are very much like diets and they usually don't work.

4. The second step you should take is to determine how much money you're really making on an hourly basis at your present job, or how much you're looking for hourly, if you are out of work. Now in determining this, you should not only figure in the hours and money that you receive while you're on the job, but also any time and deduction in expenses that have accrued to you that are really work related (travel to and from work, work related illnesses, costuming, decompression time and expenses related to work, etc.). In fact, one employee found that he was making a minus income if he stayed at his current job any longer.

5. The third step that you should take is to start keeping track of every cent that comes into and goes out of your life and to categorize each cent according to your judgment as to what categories or subcategories are essential in determining where your money is actually going and coming from. Then at the end of each month you should total all the categories or subcategories. After this you should subtract the expenses from the income. Then you can add or subtract the result depending upon whether there's a gain or loss for the month to a beginning cash balance. The result should equal the actual closing cash balance for the month plus or minus a human error in calculations. A gain for the month would be a savings.

6. Next you have to start by defining what money really is. Most would define money as a medium of exchange, but I would like to offer another definition. Money is what you trade your life energy for. And in looking at this definition you have to match the life energy that you're using with the totals in each of the categories or subcategories that you're listed to record your money spent. To do this you should use the formula; Dollars Spent / Real Hourly Wage = Hours of Life Energy Used.

7. The next step is to determine your goal or goals that you might have for the rest of your life. And in order to do this you might have to ask yourself a number of important questions. For example; 1) What did you want to be when you grew up? 2) What have you always wanted to do that you haven't done yet? 3) What have you done in your life that you're really proud of? 4) If you knew you were going to die in a year, how would you spend that year? 5) What brings you the most fulfillment ? and how is that related to money? or 6) If you didn't have to work for a living, what would you do with your time?

8. Now once you've determined what your goal or goals are, you should match this purpose with the totals in each of the categories or subcategories to see if a particular expense is really in alignment with your purpose or not. If not, you might ask yourself how might that expense be adjusted accordingly. In doing this though you should also be aware as to whether your purpose is in alignment with what's good for the planet as well.

9. Now here I doubly want to emphasize, and historical evidence seems to back me up, that unless your basic priority is the welfare of the planet, you will normally not be financially independent.

10. Next draw a wall chart indicating the trend upward or downward that your income and expenses are taking over a certain period of time. Use the vertical side of the graph to represent the money and the horizontal side to represent the movement of time. Also use different colored lines to distinguish between the income and expenses on the graph. Notice the trends. Within three months your expenses should decrease by 20%. Unusual expenses could be prorated or balance each other out. And eventually this wall chart should be made public for mutual encouragement.

11. Tips on how to start being frugal: 1) Stop trying to impress other people. 2) Don't go shopping unless you really need something. 3) Avoid using credit cards as much as possible. 4) Do it yourself. 5) Look for bargain quality. 6) Use your possessions efficiently. 7) Watch out for unnecessary interest payments and financial charges. 8) Check out your transportation costs. 9) It would be helpful if job and home were close together. 10) Go to a four day ten hour workweek. 11) Comparison shop for good medical services. 12) Reduce Stress. 13) Rent out unused space in your home. 14) Explore living in a commune where people have similar life-styles. 15) Live in a mobile or motor home. 16) Share your possessions. 17) Share yours chores. 18) Vacation near home. 19) Have potlucks rather than dinner parties. 20) Develop inexpensive hobbies , 21) Do you need as much insurance as you're carrying and 22) Continue to use your imagination.

12. Now you should really start to redefine work as something you actually love to do rather than something you have to be paid for. In this way you can maximize your income while minimizing your time in acquiring it, so that you can value your life energy more effectively until you reach your goal or goals. In other words, you could work for pay for a limited period of time just to earn enough income to support yourself in the work that you really love to do.

13. With your new definition of work and your new scheme in how you should spend money, you should start your savings. I would say here that you might need a cushion of at least 6 months in savings with some interest being paid, for emergencies. After this, you should call your savings "Capital" which is the money you should put into long-term investments for making money.

14. Now these long-term investments should be as close to the following criteria as possible: 1) Your capital must produce income, 2) Your capital must be absolutely safe, 3) Your capital must be a totally liquid investment, 4) Your capital must not be diminished at the time of investment by unnecessary commissions, 5) Your income must be absolutely safe, 6) your income must not fluctuate so that it would be the same each month, 7) Your income should be payable to you in cash at regular intervals, 8) Your income must not be diminished by unnecessary charges, and 9) Your investment must require no maintenance charges of any kind. In the U.S. at the moment only one category of investment fits into this criteria and that is "Long-term U.S. Treasury and U.S. Government Agency Bonds".

15. And finally, along with your working income and expenses, with a third different colored line you can record your steadily rising gains from your long-term investments on the wall chart as well. When this line eventually crosses over the expense line (called the crossover point), you can then consider yourself financially independent because your needed income is basically acquired through money, rather than through your individual work effort. I know that there is one 4 member family that discovered by using this approach that they could live on $300.00 a month comfortably.

This summarizes a book entitled "Your Money or Your Life" by Joe Domínguez and Vicky Robin.

An Autobiographical Sketch

I was born in New York City in 1931, grew up on Long Island, graduated from Roanoke College in Virginia with a BA in Political Science, and from New York Theological Seminary with a Masters in Religious Education. I became a committed Christian in 1958, and a number of years later became a committed Ecumenical Christian. I worked as an accountant in various companies for about 25 years in New York City, then moved down to Argentina and worked for more than 20 years as a Business English conversationalist teacher with some of the top managers. I also became a Stephen Minister (trained counselor) while down here. I have been married twice (the last to an Argentine), widowed once, have one cat, but have no children. If you want to contact me, you can write to me via ([email protected]).

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