With constant technological changes, even the most qualified of candidates can fall behind. A potential employee will value people they don't have to spend too much time training on new software as it becomes available. Expanding your skills regularly will make you much more valuable in the job marketplace
But how do you stay on top of all the new software as it comes out? The internet has a few resources for you.
YouTube is the most popular video sharing platform. You can search for almost anything and there will probably be a video about it. This is an easy and completely free way to learn Photoshop or any other program you desire. There are also plenty of videos to buff up your interview skills or learn about public speaking. YouTube isn't just for cat videos. It is also an unlimited treasure trove of knowledge that can really help you grow your skillset.
However, there is a downside to using YouTube. Having videos uploaded by literally anyone about almost anything can be a great resource, but this also means you might find a lot of poorly produced videos. You can still learn quite a bit from whatever you find, but they probably won't be as easy to understand or follow as other paid training programs. YouTube is most useful as a brush up on skills you already have or to quickly fill in the gaps of your basic knowledge.
Lynda.com is a paid online service that features tutorials and training on a wide variety of subjects and programs. However, many libraries purchase subscriptions that are available to use at no cost to you. Every single course is professionally produced with clear lessons and tasks. If you already know something, you can just skip that section. The courses are taught by verified industry experts so you don't have to wonder if you're learning things the wrong way. You can also watch courses on any of your devices at any time.
Unfortunately, if your local library doesn't purchase a subscription to Lynda.com, you'll have to pay for access yourself. You'll definitely be paying for quality, but this isn't always an option for everyone. But if you have one or two courses in mind, the 30 day free trial might be enough to learn a few things.
Skillshare is another premium video training service like Lynda.com, but it is a little less expensive. Skillshare is tailored more specifically to creative professionals. Still, many of its courses can be applicable across fields. Like Lynda.com, you can access courses made up of set lessons that you can skip around. You can download videos to watch offline on mobile devices as part of your subscription. Lynda.com requires its highest subscription tier to unlock this feature. Many of the courses are taught by experts, but artists can also create their own courses to teach specific skills they have picked up in their own careers. Either way, there is a lot of experience and expertise behind each lesson.
Just like Lynda.com, the drawback is that you have to subscribe to get full access. When you sign up, you also get a 30 day free trial. However, there are many promo codes circulating online that will allow you to get a full two months free. You're still paying for quality, but that one or two month free trial might be enough for your short term needs.
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.