In the VSECU Blog you'll find financial and lifestyle resources to help empower possibilities for your personal success.
“In order to G-E-T you have to A-S-K.” This was the one-liner that stuck with me following Brooks Harper’s keynote address at the Vermont Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Workforce and Talent Summit. He has a fascinating life story which helped set him up for a career as an author and one of the most sought-after career speakers in the country. But he makes a point to emphasize that he never got anything along the way without asking. It’s a modern-day spin on the old adage, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” It applies to many facets of our lives and, in this blog, we’re going to focus on A-S-K-ing for a raise at work.
When we were younger, many of us were asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Well-intentioned adults may have been excited to get a sneak peek into our little minds and identify what we were passionate about. If you had asked me, I would have said a naturalist (think Steve Irwin); if you asked my brother, he would have said a dragonfly. What makes this innocent question quite layered, actually? Following our passion implies that we have a clear calling that will not only make us happy but will also be lucrative.
As of May 13, over 35% of Americans have been fully vaccinated thanks to the hard work of scientists, medical engineers, and state government officials. The result is a declining number of positive COVID-19 cases and death rate, leading many states to slowly begin reopening. Here in Vermont, we currently rank first in the nation for rate of vaccine administration! With all this good news, it might soon be safe to travel again and perhaps reschedule that trip you canceled in 2020. In fact, CNBC reports that 65% of Americans plan to travel more in 2021 than in years prior to COVID-19! Here are a few things to keep in mind as you plan your post-COVID adventures out in the world.
Spring is finally here and, with it, more hours of daylight, warmer weather, and greater opportunities for outdoor cycling. Biking is a great, gas-free alternative to cars and can save you money and improve your physical health all at once. So, dust off your bike and get it out of storage and onto the road. However, before you do, it’s a good idea to give your bike a tire-to-tire once-over.
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“Stop! Back up!” I shout enthusiastically to my spouse Ryan every time we drive or bike past a pile of free stuff on the side of the road. Next comes a debate between us over whether the discarded items are worth taking home or not. Most often, I say “yes,” Ryan says “no,” we take it home anyway, and Ryan ends up thanking me later for grabbing it. I find a lot of satisfaction in giving objects a second life, but is this obsession truly saving me money?
April is Financial Literacy Month, and I’m taking the concept very literally with some finance book recommendations. There are many books on finance out there, of course, but here are a few of the best books about personal finance, money management, and our financial system that I’ve read.
Do you ever feel afraid to talk about money? Does just the idea make you feel uncomfortable? Like politics and religion, finance seems to be one of those topics not talked about. Why is that? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, fear is “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.” For some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves to be afraid of things that aren’t an immediate danger to us, like money. I’ve been there. Money can be scary, and how we manage money, especially if we don’t do it well, can be an embarrassing topic to talk about. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. In three steps, you can be on your way to approaching money with a fearless mindset, instead of allowing fear to hold you back from potential financial gain.
I’m a big fan of the envelope method of budgeting, and I’ve written about it in the past. Essentially, whenever money comes into our household, it immediately gets divided up into specific “envelopes” that denote what it’s for. We call this giving every dollar a job, and it makes managing expenses and saving extremely efficient. Once you’ve become good at it, a lot of the usual stress that comes with trying to stick with a budget goes away. Part of the reason I think this philosophy works so well for my family is that it lifts the mental load of spending and worrying that you can’t afford something. Rather than guessing how much you can spend on a given category, you just check its designated “envelope.” If there is enough money in there to buy what you need, you’re good to go! It might sound like a minor difference, but in practice, it revolutionizes budgeting. This method is amazing for nearly every type of spending, save one: groceries!