How to Treat Your IT Support Team Properly

OK, everyone knows that IT guys are a bit leftfield. There’s the one who seems to exist solely on coffee and protein bars, the one who gets dressed up as Sansa Stark for the Christmas party and the one who wanders the corridors bopping his head to imaginary microtonal jazz.

These guys, however, are there to save your work and your business when you get hacked, or when there’s an update that Just. Won’t. Get. On. With. It. This means that you need to keep them happy so that they’ll always go that extra mile when stuff starts going down. Here’s how you do it.

Make sure you have all the right information ready for them

If you outsource, you may have to call your IT support in Manchester when there’s a problem where you are in Nottingham. This means your techie can’t just nip upstairs to have a look, so make sure you have your workstation number and the number of the printer that’s causing the trouble. Otherwise, you’ll have to hold the call while you desperately try to find this info. It’s annoying and it’s a waste of time.

Always be polite

Your IT team will understand your worry and upset if you think you may have lost some vital files or your laptop crashes just before deadline. Tears and desperation is alright (well, it doesn’t feel it at the time…), but anger and rudeness isn’t. Shouting at them won’t solve the problem any sooner and you’ll feel really silly when it turns out to be an easy fix (which it usually does).

Don’t ask why they want to know some “useless” information

Very often your IT support will ask a series of questions that seem a bit random; they’re not. Think about how doctors diagnose illnesses – your techie is doing the same thing here. He or she knows what they’re doing, so just go along with it to the best of your knowledge.

Never ambush them in the corridor

It might look like he’s just wandering along, listening to the microtonal jazz in his head, but he’s also on his way to sort out someone else’s problem. If you catch him off guard and ask him how to change your screensaver, you’ll distract him (and probably scare him, too).

‘Fess up if it’s your fault

You didn’t finish the update and now everything’s gone weird. You just couldn’t be bothered to wait and so you’re stuck in some weird bootloop. Just say so – don’t waste time with the diagnosis process if you know what’s up.

Don’t assume they keep an internal inventory of error codes

The most common error codes will be easily recognisable, but wait for the techie to tell you what it is once you’ve relayed it to them. Don’t just steam in with it and expect them to reel off the explanation. You do need to give them the code, though, so they can look it up and get going.

Read the emails

It’s easy to overlook the emails from the IT support, but they often tell you how to use a new system or to be wary of some malware that’s doing the rounds. If everyone else is up to speed and you call them after a couple of weeks saying that you downloaded this interesting Malice in Wonderland attachment and now there’s a scary big skull on your screen…

Earn Extra Money Pet Sitting

Pet sitting is becoming an easy and fulfilling way to close the gap on your budget goals.  Here’s the best news: you don’t have to figure out how to make it happen on your own.  Get started as a pet sitter with Rover.com.  With a national network of pet owners seeking pet sitters, you’re part of a community that knows how to have this business work.

Here’s why it’s worth it:

You’re the Boss

In this job, you’re in control of the decisions.  You set your own schedule, and let pet owners know when you’re available to work.  Determine your own rates and the kind of pet care you will provide.  If you’re simply interested in weekend overnights with dog clients, no problem.  If you’re available to pack your schedule with pet sitting appointments all week, promote your availability for doggie day care, drop-in visits, and dog walks to fill your schedule.  You choose what works for you.

No Desk. All Windows

Are you ready for a day job without a cubicle or desk?  Pet sitting gives you complete freedom to get out and about.  Whether you’re ready for an escape to the woods with a dog playmate or you’re looking for house sitting gigs with new pet friends, this work is flexible.  No need to feel guilty playing fetch in the park with your puppy clients.  It’s your job.

It’s Tech Easy

Rover.com has an online platform that makes getting paid automatic and simple for you and pet owners.  Plus, your schedule and availability is posted online.  Pet owners book their appointments with you at the click of a button.  Utilize Rover’s app to quickly send pics and playtime notes while you’re on the job.

Work Without the Stress

Your clients are ready for your attention.  Spoil yourself with puppy love and build lasting relationships with your pet friends!  In addition, any pet problems that do arise can be quickly solved with 24/7 support from Rover.com.  You can access vet services quickly, and you have insurance coverage.

Grow Your Business

Don’t have to limit yourself to a night of pet sitting.  Rover.com matches pet owners with a variety of pet care options that you can provide.  Plus, you have access to educational opportunities and resources to promote and develop your business.  Consider expanding your availability and creating flexibility for pet owners to book you for last minute needs.  Don’t forget to invite pet owners to review and rate your pet care talents online to help you on your way to building a loyal customer base.

It’s easy to get started. Sign up to become a pet sitter with Rover.com!

What Affects the Price of Silver?

When trading precious metals, it’s important to be aware of the factors influencing their prices. Like all assets, Silver prices are mainly driven by supply and demand. If demand is higher than supply, prices will increase, and vice versa.

The global macroeconomic outlook also plays a vital role in determining price stability. When job markets are stable and employment rates are high, there tends to be an increase in Silver consumption, since people are more likely to buy jewellery. Conversely, when a country’s economic prospects are uncertain and unemployment rises, consumer spending inevitably drops, decreasing demand for Silver.

However, Silver has many other applications. Technological advances in the solar photovoltaic field have increased overall demand for this precious metal, which could push its price up over the long term. The commodity is also widely used in sectors such as medicine and electronics.

Most commodities are denominated in U.S. Dollars. Every movement in the value of the greenback, therefore, has a direct effect on the price of Silver. However, the 2 assets are negatively correlated. When the U.S. Dollar strengthens against other currencies, Silver prices tend to drop, while if the Dollar weakens, the price of Silver generally rises.

Online commodity trading brokers allow traders to invest in precious metals like Gold, Silver, Platinum, and Palladium. Advanced services like UFX’s online platform help traders achieve greater market exposure by investing in assets like commodities through leveraged CFD trading.

 

Making Money by Playing Online: Is It Possible?

Online gambling is continuously being listed on personal finance and “make money online” websites as a risky, yet viable way to make money. Which is strange, considering that the risky nature of such an investment. Whenever you dare to double your money, you are always at risk of losing it all. Of course, there is a chance that you will win, ending up with more money in your pockets that you started. Online gambling has been at the center of many discussions regarding its true nature. Some say it’s a dangerous activity, others consider it little more than casual entertainment, similar in nature to social casino apps – with the one big difference that playing at the Royal Vegas can indeed make players rich.

So, let’s put an end to all discussions on this matter once and for all, and see whether gambling online can be a viable way to make money.

Understanding RTP

Casino games all come with a metric called “Return to Player” (RTP) that shows players how much money they can expect to lose in the long term when playing certain game types. You’ve read that right – the money lost by the player is the profit of an online casino. At the Royal Vegas, the average RTP of all games is 96.7%, as shown by the casino’s independently audited data log files by the industry body eCogra. This means that players can expect to win back 96.7% of all the money they wager at the Royal Vegas – or, translated into layman’s terms, end up having $96.7 for every $100 played. This is, of course, an average value – slot machines have a less player-friendly average RTP of 95.99%, while table games can pay back as much as 98.41% of all the money wagered.

As you can see, player losses – casino profits – are built right into the game. And this is perfectly OK, considering that online casinos are entertainment venues – and entertainment is expected to be paid for.

It all depends on the game

Some casino games, online or otherwise, can be played for profit. Not only do they have a higher RTP but they also involve some level of player decision, which can bend the odds to the players’ favor. One of these is blackjack, a game available in many variants at the Royal Vegas Casino. Here, players have the advantage of being able to apply a strategy to win more hands, which helps them double – or multiple – their wagers in a round. While it takes quite a while to gather a considerable sum – the saying about winning some and losing some is especially true for casinos – you will be able to feel the satisfaction of winning, as well as seeing your bankroll rise with every session you play.

Making Health Insurance Work for You

5 ways to optimize your insurance while minimizing your costs

Health insurance in the United States is currently in disarray. When the Republicans won the White House and started changing aspects of the law, Obamacare had already run into unforeseen difficulties making it harder for many people to get insurance.

This uncertainty, layered on top of the problems already existent with Obamacare has created a great deal of confusion amongst the consumers. Although health insurance is still mandated, the market has become volatile.

https://pixabay.com/en/insurance-health-health-insurance-1991276/

It would take an expert in health insurance to figure it all out, which I am certainly not, but there are a few ways to ensure you have the best coverage for you and your family:

  1. Talk to an expert. Seriously, the advice and tips you get online are a good base, but it is impossible for a generic online article to account for all your personal variables. Every state has different requirements and rules and, as a consequence, the overarching framework of Obamacare became a muddled mess of laws, guidelines and requirements. There was a reason that the government trained people in setting up healthcare accounts when the law went active.
  2. Balance your needs with your means. If your policy has a $10,000 deductible to make it affordable, you probably have the wrong policy. Keeping it cheap while you are healthy by increasing the deductible to lower the monthly costs means that if and when you do get sick and need insurance, you will be paying a lot of money out of your pocket.
  3. Don’t dismiss any options. Medicaid is under something of a cloud right now, especially with doctors trying to collect from it, but it is better than nothing if you can’t afford health insurance or there are no providers in your state. Having some coverage will make it easier for you to see a doctor and minimize problems with emergency room or urgent care visits.
  4. Explore other options. With the current health insurance mess, other options have been appearing. As the health insurance crisis in the United States continues, these options will expand and alternative methods of healthcare will come into focus. With the government not enforcing the penalty for non-compliance, it is possible – although not advisable – to skip getting health care at all.
  5. Even if you don’t have health care, make sure your kids do. As an adult, you can decide to opt out of health care, but children don’t have that option. While figuring out how to maximize your insurance results you want to check out child only health insurance quotes online. Keeping your child covered is an expense you must be able to afford.

There is simply no telling what health insurance is going to look like in a year. Obamacare is unsustainable, the new Senate health bill hasn’t been voted on yet, but it will add to the confusion instead of subtracting from it. It is not in government’s nature to simplify any process.

Ensuring that you and your family are covered, whether that coverage is good or simply adequate, will help you ride through the process. Next year, it may change completely and everyone will have to start over. Other than reading tea leaves, there is just no way to tell.

6 Investing Tips For Your 20’s

Investing in your 20’s is a sure fire way of setting yourself up for successful financial years and decades down the road.  Not only does it set you up financially in the future, but it also jump starts your education in the stock market by investing at a young age.

The financial markets can be daunting with many competing ideas, philosophies, and strategies.  I started investing in my 20’s, and if I could do it all over again, here would be the six tips I would tell myself.

1) Never Invest With Paper Money

One of the big misconceptions in the investing world is that anyone can learn and practice via trading paper money.  Paper money is the concept of having your own account and placing trades and investments with paper (fake) money.  This is a big recipe for disaster.

Investing with paper money is a completely different game when compared to the emotions that come into play when you make your first investment with your hard earned money.  Any best practices gained from investing and practicing with a paper money account do not transfer over to real money investments and real money investing is a completely different game.

This is why I recommend to never practice any investments or trades using anything but real money. It creates bad habits.  You have chosen, in your 20’s, to invest your money so that it can grow over time.  The best course of action is the start developing good habits that can be used to grow your money for the rest of your life.  Trading with paper money can only develop habits that are not tried and true best practices that are created when real money is in play.

2) Keep Your Size In Check

A big part about investing in your 20’s is the ability to add on to compounding positive returns year after year.  Taking a 10% loss in your 20’s requires an 11.11% profit just to get back to even.

Losses will happen, and if they have not happened yet for you, they certainly will.  In order to maintain the ability to make money and compound returns year after year, you must keep your size in check as an investor.

The more you keep our size in check, the more bad positions are able to be isolated from the total value of your portfolio.  If you have a portfolio with 5 positions, all with 20% of your total portfolio value allocated to them, a 40% drop in one of those positions creates a total portfolio drawdown of 8%.  However, if we have 10 positions, all with 10% allocated to them, a 40% drop in one of these positions only results in a 4% total portfolio drawdown.

Over time, I have found that keeping all of my positions at under 10% of the total portfolio allows my single position losses to be isolated from the rest of my portfolio.

3) Always Invest For The Long Term

Investing in your 20’s give you an enormous edge compared to those who begin in their 30’s or 40’s.  Investing as early as possible allows the power of compounding returns to be more in our favor when compared to starting later.

Wealth and portfolio appreciation happen over the course of many years and do not happen in days, weeks, or even months.  Understanding the length of time required to double or triple a portfolio is important as it can help us choose more solid and less risky investments.

Smarter, safer, and less risky investments not only allow us to stay in the game longer, but those kind of investments also allow us to have a long term view.  If we have a long term view of those less risky investments, we will be less concerned with daily ebbs and flows of stock prices and more concerned with the long term outlook of our positions.

I have found that taking a long term approach, especially at a young age, allows investors to be less concerned about the day to day price swings and more concerned with the long term outlook of their investments.

4) Always Be Diversified

At this point, you are making small, long term investments with real money.  The more of these investments you make in your 20’s, the more you need to be diversified.

Diversification is simple.  By spreading out your capital amongst various stocks, bonds, and other asset classes, you significantly reduce your risk.

As an example, investing in ETFs rather than stocks is a way to diversify your holdings.  Rather than holding stock in Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google all at the same time, you could simply buy a FANG ETF that will give you exposure to all four of those popular tech stocks and reduce your risk at the same time.

I recommend diversification through the purchases of ETFs as an excellent way of spreading out your risk.  Spreading out risk will keep you in the game longer and reduce the size of your drawdowns.

5) Continuously Contribute

Continuously contributing to your account is also an example of investing for the future.  Rather than taking leftover money after bills, housing, and entertainment and putting it in the bank, taking that money and adding it to your portfolio is not only an investment in itself but a way to continue to grow your portfolio over time.

The best way to look at continuous contributions is as additional investments in yourself and your future.  

The best way to contribute to your account is to do so weekly.  Even if the contribution is small in nature, say $10, that adds up to $520 a year which can be compounded for years if not decades!

Remember, you are investing in your 20’s in the long game, with a long-term outlook.  Continuously adding fund to your account will allow your account to exponentially grow over time.

6) Never Use Leverage

We have already spoken about the importance of keep your trade size small and showed you the math behind it.

Leverage is the ability to borrow money from others to invest greater amounts of money than the current amount of capital you have.

We recommend never using leverage as it is virtually impossible to keep your trade size under 10%.

Wrapping Up

Here are the 6 investing tips for your 20’s:

  1. Never invest with paper money
  2. Keep your size in check
  3. Always invest for the long term
  4. Always be diversified
  5. Continuously contribute
  6. Never use leverage

Follow these rules and watch your account grow safely for the long term.  Do you have any other investing tips for those in their 20’s?

Why Every 30-Something Should Invest in Real Estate

No matter what profession you’ve chosen to go into, investing is a great way to pad income and start fast-tracking your future security. But investment can seem overwhelming, not to mention risky. Real estate is one of the best investment strategies you can take. Let us tell you why.

It’s a solid investment

Putting money into real estate has long been considered one of the smartest long-term investments out there. Property value tends to almost always increase over time, regardless of the market, because people will always need somewhere to live. This is why real estate is also considered one of the safest investments. Unlike companies or brands that may fall out of favor, housing is a necessity.

You don’t need to be a pro

While understanding the stock market may require years of study, investing in real estate doesn’t require fancy education or special certifications. Of course, this type of knowledge doesn’t hurt, but it’s not a necessity. To start you simply have to go online to begin researching properties being represented by a registered realtor or real estate firm. This isn’t to say there isn’t any work required — you’ll want to do as much investigating online as well as take the opportunity to visit open houses, auctions and talk to as many well established industry people as possible before making a purchase.

Technology is an ally

What’s awesome about investing in real estate today is that you have the power of technology at your fingertips and it has made managing property investment much, much easier. Social media platforms like Facebook now serve as additional marketing channels, while there are hundreds of real estate listing websites to help you get your properties seen. So, if you’re planning on buying and selling multiple properties, or even considering flipping houses, there’s many more options for advertising.

It’s flexible

What’s great about investing in property is that you can customize your investment strategy so that it’s tailored to meet your financial goals. Whether it’s long-term capital, which focuses on growth that develops over the long haul; positive cash flow approach, where you can see returns by taking on renters, or adding value by changing or renovating a property, there are many options for you to choose from. Additionally, there are various investment entry points that work with a range of budgets. The most important thing realtors look for is that your income is sufficient enough to make your payments; however, the goal is that if you buy wisely and do research on the area in which you’re buying, you’ll eventually see growth.

You can be hands-on or hands-off

Investing in property doesn’t mean you actually have to manage the property. You can choose to strategically buy and sell to see returns, or you may decide to oversee your property as a landlord and manage tenants. There’s lots of advice and tips for new landlords out there if decide to go that route; however, keep in mind, even if you decide to invest in properties to rent, you don’t have to play landlord if you don’t want to. There are plenty of property management companies that will take on the day-to-day operations so you don’t have to.

It’s tax deductible

Depending on the state you live in, certain tax codes allow for a range of deductions, covering everything from the cost of upkeep, maintenance, interest on your mortgage or any renovations you may have completed.

You’ll thank yourself later

While you may be a bit hesitant about putting the money out now, investing in real estate is something you’re really going to thank yourself for later. However, like most investments it’s going to take a bit of time, and it’s going to take some work on your part. Do your research and make sure you buy wisely. Don’t be afraid to seek out counsel and ask questions.