Monday, March 30, 2009

Don’t Let Financial Challenges Stress Your Marriage


Even in the best of times, developing and sustaining a successful marriage is hard work. One of the top stressors in a marriage is financial hardship. Whether you are newlyweds and have not established a financial plan or if you’ve just finished celebrating your fiftieth wedding anniversary and have not reevaluated your plan lately, it’s never too early or too late to create or adjust your financial plan.

No matter how long you have been married, couples can benefit from scheduling some time to sit and discuss the following topics:

Set Family Goals
Before you can create a plan, you must determine what you want to achieve. Many couples make assumptions about their spouse’s financial expectations. This is an opportunity to make sure that you are on the same page.

Make Decisions on How to Spend
Make sure you understand what type of spenders you are. Are you conservative or a spend thrift?

Establish a Spending Plan
Make a list of your fixed and flexible expenses and discuss how you will address them.

Plan for the Immediate and Distant future
Make a plan for how you will handle unforeseen expenses. Decide when and how you want to retire.

Communication, creating and implementing a written plan, will minimize your stress and help you meet the inevitable challenges that life will bring with confidence.

Money and Marriage: A Spending Plan

Monday, March 23, 2009

Looking for Work in a Tough Market


U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis reported earlier this month that the economy lost 651,000 jobs in February, bringing total job losses over the last six months to more than 3.3 million. That drove the unemployment rate up to 8.1% -- its highest level in 25 years. Read the full news release here. Given these sobering statistics, this certainly qualifies as a “tough market” for job seekers. It is always important to be creative when searching for employment. The following information from the University of Florida can help with this process.

Finding Job Openings
Believe it or not, not everything exists on-line. Although there are plenty of resources on-line, and certainly many people are successful in finding employment via on-line advertising and application, it is important not to overlook other methods or job postings. There are a wide variety of places to look (see the link at the bottom of this post for the complete list) including personal contacts, newspaper classifieds, labor unions and professional associations.

Applying for Jobs
When applying for most jobs, it is important to have a well-constructed resume, a properly-submitted application and to conduct oneself in a professional and encouraging way at interview.

A resume should be no longer than one page. No matter how many wonderful things you have done, have mercy on the person or people that will have to read all the submitted applications. Keep your information brief, truthful and contain all the skills you can bring to the job you are applying for.

For hand-written application forms, remember to use a blue or black pen and your BEST penmanship. Personal and professional references are often required. If you are planning on filling-in an application at the place you hope to work, be sure to have these contacts’ name, address, phone and email.

Congratulations! You’ve have an interview! Now it is important to show your best self to your potential employer. First make sure to do your homework with regards to the organization you hope to work for. On the day of the interview, arrive early, dress smart (no matter how expensive that funky t-shirt was, it is not smart!) do not smoke or chew gum, and be polite and courteous to everyone you encounter. During the interview, use proper English and not slang, make eye contact with all interviewers and remember their names. Good Luck!Resources: Job Tips for Job Seekers

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Company and product listings do not represent endorsement by either: Pinellas County Extension, Pinellas County or the University of Florida / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.