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Are you a full-time employee who has been starting to feel like living the part-time work life? The change is not something to do on a whim or take lightly, but if you are considering this career move, here are four questions to ask yourself to be sure this switch is smart and the right one for you.

Are You Stressed Out?

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Most people have some degree of stress, and some are more stressed-out than others, even to the point that they know something's gotta give. According to Investopedia, "Study after study has revealed how perennially tired and 'worn out' many full-time workers feel."

Your mental and physical health are a major priority, so perhaps a shift in the way you work can alleviate the anxiety and pressure. Fewer work hours can give you much-needed time to decompress and take time to care for yourself properly.

As Lifehack notes, "You'll have more time to rest your body and mind and notice improvements in your immune system, digestion, circulation, and other key signs of physical health compared to an exhausted full-time worker."

With your newfound energy and happiness, you can put your full self into your part-time gig.

Do You Want More Time for Other Things?

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For some, it's all work and no play… and they like it that way. But for the rest, there is little, if any time for pursuing hobbies, fitness, family time, travel, or even a second job. A part-time job will free up a good deal of your time to devote to these other areas of interest you have put on the backburner.

According to Wise Ones, "With the ability to control your own time comes the freedom to decide what to do with it." Flex Jobs adds, "A part-time position will allow you to have better work-life balance."

Do You Want to Advance Your Education?

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You may enjoy your job, but perhaps you want to advance to the next level, which requires more training or schooling. A full-time job may not afford you the time to get in those hours or earn that degree.

Wise Ones notes, "Having more time allows you to develop personal skills or even pursue some further education." And as per Flex Jobs, "When you work part-time, you'll have extra time in your day to take classes to add onto your education and apply for the position you really want or earn a potential promotion."

After learning more and advancing yourself, you may wish to get back to full-time work with more knowledge and skills under your belt. If part-time is still for you, consider your education beneficial for your status and soul.

Are You Planning to Phase Out of the Workforce Soon?

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If retirement is on the horizon, switching to part-time work before making the drastic change from working all the time to not at all can make the transition smooth and steady. You can take this time to get settled into your new lifestyle, get back into family life at home, meet other retirees in the area, or plan for what you will do during this new phase of your life.

On the flip side, you may want to go back to work after you have been retired for a while. Perhaps life out of the workforce does not fulfill you like you thought it would. As per Wise Ones, "For people over the age of 55 years, being part of an organization is also about using experience and knowledge, being with other people, interacting and socialization. It's about mental and social health, as well as financial well-being."

If money is not a primary issue and you can afford to work part-time, and you have answered these questions to your satisfaction and with confidence, now is the time for part-time!

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Developing further skills can boost your career at any stage.

Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to grow in your current one, getting a certification can be a great way to improve your skills.

Anyone can put that they are proficient in a computer program on their resume but having a certificate can help you stand out amongst the competition and give credence to the strength of your skills.

But what's the best way to invest in yourself without breaking the bank? Some certification programs can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. We are going to walk through six of the best certifications you can get for $100 or less.

Tableau

Tableau's data visualization capabilities are comparable to Domo and Power BI.

Who is it best for: Those who work with analyzing and presenting data.

Cost: $100 for Tableau Desktop Specialist; additional certifications are available for a larger fee.

More companies than ever see themselves as data companies. Being able to understand data and use it to guide decisions at your company is often critical to taking on a leadership role. Not to mention, being able to present the data in a clean, attractive, and compelling way can help get buy-in from others in your organization or clients. That's why Tableau is a great tool to have in your toolbox.

Tableau allows you to create interactive visual analytics dashboards. In layman's terms, you can take data; create graphs, maps, or charts; and then allow end-users to interact with these graphics to better understand the information. It's a fantastic tool allowing non-technical users to gain insights for data-driven decision-making.

Tableau Desktop Specialist certification starts at $100 and has no expiration date. There are many videos on Tableau's site to prepare for your exam as well as Tableau Starter Kits allowing you to play around and learn the different capabilities of the program. Tableau offers a 14-day free trial as well as free license for one year for students.

Additional certifications after Desktop Specialist are Desktop Associate and Desktop Professional. Those working with a Tableau server may also be interested in a separate certification as a Server Associate or Server Professional.

The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

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Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.

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