Around the start of a new season, college students are a-flutter trying to secure a semester-long internship that will help enhance their education and make them ready for the real world. It's an opportunity to get them out of the classroom and apply their skills to fields that could one day help them bring home the bread. But businesses are infamous for making interns get the coffee and do the copying. While these are (of course) important tasks, here's how you can make the internship experience better for everyone.
1. Appreciate the work they do for little or no pay.
Free work seems like a fairy-tale. While some internships are paid, others can be free when granted college credit as compensation. So don't think that you have to only give grunt work to your interns. They're smart and educated and are up to the challenge.
2. Be inspired by their eagerness.
There's nothing like the honeymoon phase. Interns that are just starting out in a new industry are likely to have a lot of questions. Be patient and proud when showing off your knowledge of the business. Find joy in passing on your hard-earned experience to those eager to learn.
3. Access the young market.
Most interns are likely to be a part of the younger demographic. Every business can benefit from having young workers. They can offer valuable insights on how to reach that demographic, and get your business out their to their friends and peers.
4. Listen to their suggestions.
Even though they are green, interns may have a lot of suggestions for how to improve communication, boost social media presence, or get better office snacks, for example. Listen to them. They'll feel more valuable in the workplace and be inspired to work even harder.
5. Give them special projects.
Most business plans don't account for interns, so their work is sometimes labeled as "unnecessary." Not true at all. Interns can be responsible for small projects that you've always wanted to start but could never find the resources to complete.
6. Let them help you get organized.
Besides filing, copying, data entry, and all that jazz, interns can be a huge help in the digital world. Have them spice up your website, social media platforms, and online data management systems.
7. Streamline your training process.
A lot of the time, employees find it tedious to train interns and think that it takes away from their own work. So break it down to the essentials. Get your intern right into the game, and use a trial by experience training technique. It'll save you time and get straight to the point.
8. Invite them in on meetings and calls.
Barring any company-confidential information, let the intern be involved and take notes on calls and meetings. This will be an easy way to train them up quickly on how the company conducts day-to-day business.
9. See potential for eventual employment.
Don't think of an internship as something that's fleeting. There is always potential that your intern will show a vested interest in returning to the company once completing his or her studies. And with all of that training as an intern, it will make the employment process that much easier.
Interns can be great resources for any small business if you know how to maximize the experience.
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 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.
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.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.