It's no secret that "New Age Thinking" or "The Consciousness Movement" is spreading. More and more people across the nation are using positive thinking to create drastic changes in their personal lives. But does this work in business? Is it possible to successfully bring your spiritual nature into your place of business?
In April 2002, the Harvard Business School published a piece entitled "Does Spirituality Drive Success?". The piece was based on three panel sessions held during the Mobious Leadership Forum where entrepreneurs from all walks shared their thoughts on leadership, values, and spirituality in business. The prevailing sentiment from successful business leaders across the board was that they all credited their success to believing in forces greater than themselves, to injecting an attitude of mindfulness in the workplace, and to holding themselves to higher ideals and values.
To dig deeper into the subject, I reached out to Jo-Na' Williams. Successful attorney and business/personal empowerment coach who's had her work highlighted in Forbes , Entrepreneur, and more - Jo-Na' specializes in helping propel creative entrepreneurs and their businesses to new heights. She has a fierce no nonsense approach that focuses on getting people to get out of their own way. Most of what holds us back - according to Jo-Na' - are not outside influences, but rather internal blocks, that once removed, allowed room for exponential growth. Many of her clients come to her expressing that good ol' hamster in the wheel feeling - putting in the work, committing to the grind, but still not seeing the results. This is where Jo-Na' steps in, helping clients avoid "victim mode" so that they can reclaim power over their lives. "It all starts with gratitude," she muses. Often times it's subtle shifts and taking the time to be still, be quiet, and listen to the voice within to receive answers that the mind finds otherwise unavailable. Counterintuitive though it may seem, time and time again the results have proven that taking the time for an internal shift sets you on a path for exceptional gains.
Taking the time to put your well being and your values before the almighty dollar allows you to better enjoy your success. Tony Schwartz would attest to this. Early in his career he took an opportunity with his eyes on the dollar, that he would later regret. The book the he'd co-author with a budding real estate mogul named Donald J. Trump - "The Art of the Deal", would go on to be a New York Times Bestseller and bring much financial success to Tony Schwartz's way. He's gone on record on multiple occasions stating that his sacrifice of his values would prevent him from enjoying much of that success. He states that he remained unsatisfied until he discovered and operated upon his "primary values".
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.