Choosing What Charity To Donate Money To

Believe it or not, this is a subject that should never be taken lightly. Not all the charity foundations you are going to find online can be trusted. Some of them simply do not care about anything else except the money that can be made from people that do trust the services offered. It is really important that you are careful and that you choose the charities with patience. According to Charles Phillips’s wife, you need to keep both objectivity and subjectivity in mind when you make the final choice.

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Determining What Is Important For You

This is definitely the very first step that you have to take. You need to realize what charities matter the most for you. As an example, there are many foundations out there that help homeless people. Is that a topic of interest for you? If not, maybe you want to donate to charities that help talented students that do not have money to afford the top universities.

Take as much time as you need in order to properly determine your personal wishes. See what charities are important and focus on them.

Making A List Of Charities

Simply because you find a cause that you resonate with does not actually mean that you have to instantly donate. There may be another option available that is a lot better for you. What is important is to take an approach that is similar to the one you take when you choose a doctor. You wouldn’t let the first doctor operate on you without knowing anything about his past work. That is what you have to do with the charitable foundations.

See what projects the charities funded in the past. Were they successful? Did they help the people that you would like to help? Do they operate in the areas that you want to support? This is the type of information that you want to look for. The great news is that it is not at all difficult to find all the information you need on the internet. Just Google data.

Meet With Representatives Of The Companies

The one fact that you will not really do but that is very important is to meet with a representative of the company behind the charity. You are interested in this because you surely have some questions you have to ask. At the same time, you need to see how the people there are. There are always some individuals that are going to represent the entire charity but it is the entire team that does the work.

Patience

Donating money to charity can help a lot of people and can even find cures for diseases. However, if you hurry and you donate to the first charity you find online, you may make a huge mistake. It is really important that you take the time that you need in order to be 100% sure that you are going to find a charity that you can trust. Establishing a long-term relationship is really important.

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Top Tips to Make Your Money Go Further

Money rules all, and it always will, the main concern in almost everyone’s lives is having enough money, enough money to survive, enough money to buy what they want or enough money to achieve their dreams. Whatever your reason for being concerned with the size of your income or bank account I’m sure that you will echo these sentiments. So, how do we go about solving the issue of money worries, well, there are two approaches that you can take, making more of it and working hard to spend less of it, both of which can give you a more positive view of your finances and ultimately a happier life. Here are some tips for you as to how you can achieve this.

Couponing

Gone are the days where people would rake through magazines searching for a 50 cents-off promotion in the back pages or walking into the grocery store armed to the teeth with glossy pieces of paper to save them cash. These days the online world of couponing is a craze that is engaging everyone with internet access and it is a brilliant way for you to save money. The emergence of voucher and coupon websites has not only encouraged businesses to make more money by offering great deals for their prospective customers but has saved the general public tens of millions of dollars in purchases that they have made simply by downloading a coupon for free online, get involved and save some money.

Use Your Cash

There are several ways of using your money to make even more money, firstly you should be looking into what kind of account your bank offers you, if you have an APY of anything less than 0.2% the you should be looking to put your money elsewhere to let it grow. If you have large savings then consider investments into businesses, stocks or property to hopefully take some big profits from your investments. Money does breed money and the same goes for things like online gambling, if you take the risk then the rewards could be huge, you can start off risk-free as well with a bonus for online casino games that means that you won’t even be gambling with your own cash to start with, what better way to learn the trade than by using someone else’s money!

Sharing Economy

The values of a sharing economy can work wonders in your life and for your finances, the essence of this economic system is that people live within their means and open up opportunities for others to share parts of their lives. Whether this means that you decide to use a car pool to get to work or rent out your spare room, the idea of collaborative consumption is the perfect way to save more money in your life and something that you should be looking at trying out to aid your financial situation. By spending less and sharing more you can give your monthly finances a boost and give yourself the opportunity to meet more people and create a more sociable World, the perfect combination.

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Are You Driving Down the Wrong Path in Life?

Each time you get behind the wheel, there is always the risk for an accident.

Even if you are the safest driver going, it just takes one wrong decision, being in the wrong place at the wrong time etc. to turn one’s life upside down.

What can complicate things even more is if someone decides to have a few drinks before getting behind the wheel of their vehicle. At that point, all bets are off as to what may happen.

That said could you be driving down the wrong path in life?

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Finding the Best Legal Team When Required

If you do run afoul of the law, what do you plan to do regarding getting legal help to fight your case?

In some cases, you may have no choice other than to have a public defender appointed to your cause.

In many other instances, you might be able to afford the lawyer of your choice, a decision that you should never take for granted.

If you were accused of DWI in Houston, where do you start?

For many defendants, finding the right legal help oftentimes comes down to asking the opinions of family and friends, along with turning to the Internet to see who comes most highly recommended.

In the event you do work your way over to the Internet for legal help, make sure you look at both lawyer websites and their social media initiatives.

For the former, check the “about us” section of each and every website.

Look to see how long the lawyer has been in business, what is practice areas prove to be, what kind of success to failure rate he or she may tout, and if they offer free consultations etc.

Social Aspect Growing in the Legal Field

When it comes to legal representatives on social media, more and more lawyers are finding social networking to their liking.

Take a bit of time to see where they are most active, be it LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc.

From there, you can receive a better feel for how they interact with the public, including those they either have or might defend.

If the conversations indicate the clients were happy with the services; that is certainly a plus in considering that lawyer for your needs. In the event the opposite is true, it is important to think about whether or not you really want that lawyer backing you in a courtroom.

Make Your Own Smart Choices

Not that they are bad people, but avoiding lawyers altogether is oftentimes under your control.

If you have an itch to drink and drive, you should not be out on the roads in the first place.

As all too many drivers (and passengers for that matter) have unfortunately discovered over time, it just takes a fleeting moment and bad judgment to change the lives of one or more people forever.

If you feel the need to always drink when going out in public (establishments, homes of other people etc.), you are best-served when you find a ride home, especially when you think you had one too many to drink.

Finally, always watch out for friends and family when you are out celebrating with them.

Something as simple as a Happy Hour drink or two after work can turn tragic if someone you are with doesn’t know when to call it a night. If you see such a scenario unfolding, do your best to convince him or her that they are better off letting someone else drive them home, even if it means retrieving their vehicle the next day.

While you may go your entire life without ever dealing with a lawyer and/or setting foot in a courtroom, the odds are more in favor of you doing one or both things.

That said choosing the best lawyer to deal with your DWI case is not something you just casually do.

He or she can oftentimes make the difference between you getting off rather easily given the circumstances and finding your life spiraling out of control.

When faced with a DWI, make sure you appreciate the seriousness of the charge, meaning who you select as your legal representative is equally important.

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Did You Get All Your Proper Tax Deductions for 2015?

Whether people like to admit it or not, April 15 is a day that all too many Americans know in their heart to be ominous.

Yes, it is the day your taxes are due.

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A day synonymous with money normally wouldn’t be so bad, but countless individuals end up saying goodbye to some of their income, shipping it off for state and/or federal tax liabilities.

With that in mind, did you make sure this tax season that you got each and every deduction possible?

Knowing When You Need Help

For many individuals, getting each and every deduction they are entitled to sometimes is made more difficult than is necessary.

They may question a possible deduction, not recorded the needed information during the prior year to receive that deduction, or forgot altogether to note the item. As a result, they miss out on fair and legitimate deductions.

So that you can make sure you’ve found and received all your necessary deductions for 2015, keep the following in mind:

  • Home deductions – There are many deductions that can be made on your home, especially if you run a business out of your residence. Such deductions can include a portion of your home that you use as an office, Internet charges if you use your computer for work, your phone if part of your work requirements, mailings, home office supplies, and more. Homeowners that became new parents in this past year can get a new child credit, while both homeowners and renters can get deductions if they did work to the residence, especially if it involved a home-related business. With all the information available on the web, along with what a tax expert can provide you with, always look to find as many home deductions as possible;
  • Road deductions – If you use your vehicle for work-related travel, then make sure you are recording each and every usage when warranted. Okay, driving your car on your lunch break to the mini-mart for a soda doesn’t exactly qualify as a worthy deduction. That said you can and should record mileage to and from meetings with clients, mileage if driving to conferences and other networking events, mileage to pick up supplies etc. If you travel for work via airplanes, make sure to record your income spent on airfare, hotel stays, rental cars and the like;
  • Do I need help? – There may come a time (you might have already reached it) during your tax preparations that you will require help putting everything together. Even more importantly, there may arise that time when you need legal assistance to sort everything out regarding your returns. In such cases, finding a Rochester tax attorney (or one in your area) might prove necessary. Such attorneys (see more below) can help you in the event you are being audited and/or have other related tax disputes;
  • Finding the best legal representation – In locating the best legal representation for your case or cases, be sure to take the time to vet each and every attorney you consider doing business with. Look at how long they have in fact been in business, what kind of success to failure ratio they have, what other consumers have had to say about their work and more. The latter can typically be found by not only asking family, friends, and co-workers who they have turned to in need of such assistance, but also by turning to social media. Yes, some comments on social sites such as Facebook, Twitter and others can be very personal. If someone had a bad experience with legal representation they may take to social networking to vent about it. Others, meantime, may also turn to social media in order to praise an attorney and his or her team for assisting them with a tax dispute. Read each and every post with a grain of salt, knowing you are the one that ultimately has to decide if an attorney you are considering is in your best financial interests.

Tax time can certainly be taxing.

In order for you to put yourself in the best possible situation to emerge with a refund or at least break even, make sure you know all your legal deductions.

Lastly, should you be involved in a tax dispute, finding the best attorney to represent you will give you a fighting chance to win your case.

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Are You Cashing in on Credit Cards?

How is your small business standing apart from competitors? In some cases, it is the customer service that you and/or your employees (if applicable) provide those buying from you. Others, meantime, turn to stellar advertising and marketing to attain success.

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Then again, there are also those small business leaders that work feverishly on bringing the latest technology to their companies, making the shopping and buying experience as smooth as possible for the public.

No matter where you fit in these areas – there is one aspect of being a good business man or woman that one should never overlook – credit cards.

Stop for a moment and think about where your business would be if it did not accept credit cards.

Sure, you could make sales with cash and even checks, but accepting credit cards makes life much easier for you and of course your customers.

With that being said, are you up to speed on the latest in credit card technology?

Credit Cards and Informed Consumers

It should not come as a major surprise that credit cards are a booming part of purchasing products and services across America.

While many consumers still deal with sizable credit card debt, still others have worked to reduce such debts in recent years. That said your small business should make the credit card buying experience as simple and informative as possible.

As part of your small business branding strategies, make it clear to consumers that you accept credit cards, but customers may also pay with cash, checks, debit cards etc.

If you have a small business blog (and you should), you can add posts about how consumers can and should be responsible when it comes to their credit card usage. Sure, you want them to buy your products and services, but a customer saddled in credit card debt is not good for them or your business for that matter.

There are countless articles, infographics, videos and more out there talking about the role credit cards play in the lives of American consumers, so add some of that material to your website’s blog, giving consumers a whirlwind of financial information.

Technology Continues Expanding

Another topic of recent interest is the nationwide chip-card explosion.

For those consumers and/or businesses not fully up to speed on this, chip-cards are credit cards that provide added security measures, making it harder for identity theft thieves to manipulate them and use for their own financial gain.

When one’s current credit card expires, more card providers are now sending new cards that have the chip in them. Instead of swiping the traditional credit card through a machine at check-out, consumers now place the card inside the card-reader, removing it after several seconds.

Again, informing consumers about this latest technology is another way for your business to cash-in on credit cards, showing customers that your business is adapting to the changes.

Speaking of identity theft a moment ago, what is your small business doing to limit the possibilities of you and/or some of your customers becoming the next victims?

With all you have to do in running a small business, it can be easy to overlook security needs from time to time. When that happens, identity theft thieves and others looking to cause you and/or your customers financial pain can strike at a moment’s notice.

Stay a step or two ahead of such criminals by continuously reviewing your in and out of office security procedures. Yes, this means extra time and effort is needed on your part (and your employees too), but the benefits far outweigh the time spent doing this.

Reviewing your security measures on a regular basis will also help assure many of your customers that they can continue to trust you as a reliable source to do business with.

Given how just one lapse in credit card security can cause financial pain for both the customer and the small business owner, you never want to take credit card protection for granted.

Take the time today to see how the credit card industry is not only helping your company, but also how card usage needs continuous monitoring.

When you play things as safe as possible, you can cash-in on having a successful small business.

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Invest in Your Financial Future Today

What would happen going forward if you lost your ability to work for the remainder of your life?

Would you have the financial means with which to survive? Have you spent years building up your “rainy day” fund? What “fallback” solution do you have in place to get through tough financial times?

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These are all questions that you should be able to answer, yet many people simply have no answers for such important matters in their lives. As a result, major financial dilemmas can creep up on them in a hurry, leaving some with nowhere to turn.

So, have you invested in your financial future?

Put the Funds in Motion

For starters, take the time now (not when you are in a pinch) to see where you stand financially.

Look at the following if you reside in North America to see what is most applicable to your financial needs:

  • Resources – What are your current and projected financial resources whether you live in the States or Canada? Will you be getting an inheritance of any sort down the road? Are you in a relationship where you are both working full-time or is it just your income that you two essentially rely on? About how many more years can you and/or your spouse expect to work? Have you taken advantage of a company-sponsored retirement plan? These are all topics that you should have an answer for in order to better secure your current and financial future;
  • IRA – Have you been setting aside money in a regular or Roth IRA? The two best-known of the IRAs available, the former is tax-deferred as you put money in it, with taxes being taken out when you start minimal withdrawal of money (you must begin taking funds out at age 70 ½). Meantime, there is no age when you must start taking money out of a Roth IRA; however that IRA is grown with after-tax dollars, so you do not get taxed when you begin pulling funds from it. Once you’ve reached the age of 59 ½, you are allowed to take out funds from the Roth IRA minus any penalties. Just like purchasing life insurance, having a retirement vehicle or two in place for not only your well-being but that of your family makes sense;
  • 401K’s – With a 401K, you can build up your investments through your employer. Unfortunately, too many employees miss out on the opportunity to participate in such workplace plans, plans that are even better when the employer matches a portion of the money the employee is investing (essentially this is free cash from your place of employment). If you are over the age of 50, you can put additional money in as you are essentially “catching up” in the race to fund your retirement. Another item to keep in mind is that you don’t necessarily have to be a full-time worker to become involved in a company 401K, so check with your company if they offer such opportunities in the event you work there part-time;
  • RESP’s – With a registered education savings plan (for Canadian residents) you can put away funds for a child’s education when they reach the post-secondary level. The money earned over time grows at a tax-deferred rate. It is important to keep in mind that the plan ends no later than when the individual it was taken out for turns 35.

Many Factors at Play

As you might imagine, there are many factors at play when it comes to determining your best financial scenarios.

The most important factor to remember is not making any rash decisions when it comes to your financial well-being.

Undoubtedly, changes will occur in both your professional and personal lives over time, so be able to adjust and plan accordingly.

That said starting sooner rather than later to plan for retirement no matter where you reside is a smart thing.

When you have a plan in place to manage your financial future (and take action if things go bad) is of the utmost importance.

Lastly, talk with family, friends and co-workers as to the choices they’ve made or will be making in their financial plans.

Getting feedback from them can be of great benefit to you as you invest in your financial future today.

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What You Need to Know Before Purchasing Life Insurance

Life insurance is a tough thing to think about. But something that everyone should have for sound financial planning. It is essential to protecting your family and your estate should something happen to you. A non working spouse should be insured as well, as help the surviving spouse would have to hire help should something happen. Purchasing insurance can seem as daunting as thinking about it, though, so doing a little research beforehand is usually a good idea.

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Where to go

As you begin your insurance research, it’s important to take a look at some reputable companies and their websites. Most companies that you’d want to work with have a thorough website that can help you know what you need. For instance, a site like the one the Leibel Insurance Group has is full of relevant information that will be helpful even before you’ve decide what you want or who you want to work with.

It’s a good idea to take a look at these sites and find out what they offer and what pertains to you. If you’re not even sure how to find sites, ask some of your friends and family. You want someone strong in the community with a good reputation who will not only help get what you is fitting for you and your lifestyle, but be there if and when your family needs them.

You can also research some blogs pertaining to life insurance, and you can find those through your search engine or by checking out some social media sites. Experts can offer some great advice, and online it’s free!

What to think about

No one really wants to think about life insurance, but it’s something you need have to provide for your loved ones should something happen to you. It’s important to weigh things like coverage and policies before purchasing. Here are a few items regarding insurance to consider…

  • Decide what and how much coverage you need. Think about your contribution to the family income and current debts and expenses you have. What will be sufficient should something happen? What about your spouse, what kind of insurance should he or she carry?
  • What can you afford? Make sure that you can afford what you’re thinking of purchasing. Sure, it will be an expense but make it an affordable one.
  • Think about your needs. Different policies cover different things. And while you’re at it, do you need more than just life insurance. Sometimes it’s smart to have all your insurance needs with one company. Other times you can save money by going to different agents, and some agents specialize in one thing or another.
  • Review your policy every few years. Once you’ve purchased a policy, it doesn’t mean you can stick in the back of your mind and forget about it. Things change and your policy needs to change with it. Everything from promotions to inflation to dependents will affect your policy needs so a review every so often is important.

When looking for an agent and/or company

Choosing an insurance company is a personal decision. Often with work you don’t have much choice when it comes to certain insurance, but when you’re choosing on your own, you get to make the choice. It’s smart to look around and decide what works well for you. Some people love a big name company and feel secure with it, others prefer a smaller company that makes them feel like an individual

You also want a company, no matter what size, that has a history of good ratings and excellent customer service. Make sure there aren’t any major complaints against the company, and if there are, why and what was done. You want someone who will see that everything is smooth should something happen. Also, when you talk to any agents, make sure they are doing what you want, not convincing you to do what they want.

Purchasing Life Insurance

As hard as it is to think about, you’ve got to do it. You won’t want to leave your family in debt or in financial struggle should something happen to you. Life insurance can offer not only financial security, but also a piece of mind.

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Ways to get a loan when you have bad credit

If you have a poor credit rating, that means banks, credit unions and other financial organizations will define you as “high risk” and most likely refuse to lend you any money. As such, if you’re having trouble saving money and need to get hold of some cash quickly you may feel as if you’re at the mercy of notorious pay day loan companies that charge enormous interest rates on their loans. But you should be wary of pay day loans as they often lead to a vicious cycle where you end up borrowing money before your pay check comes simply to pay off last week’s loan, and on, and on.

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So what other options do you have to obtain cash fast?

Obtain a car title loan

If you own a vehicle, a car title loan is definitely a good option. Car title loans are quite similar to how pawn shops operate, in that the lender will asses the value of your vehicle and make you an offer based on that, with your vehicle being used as security for that loan.

If you accept the loan, the lender will keep hold of the title of your car until you have paid back the full amount. These loans are usually short-term loans though the interest rates are more affordable than with pay day loans. Make sure you do pay the loan back however. If not, the lender could repossess your vehicle.

Borrow from your friends or family

This is the most obvious option when you’re caught short. Most people know someone, either their parents or a sibling, or a rich mate, who can afford to spot them a few dollars if they need. Still, be sure to pay the money back, because not doing so is one of the fastest ways to poison a good relationship. If you’re looking to borrow a large amount of money from a friend or family member, it might be a good idea to legitimize the loan by creating a contract that includes the terms of the loan and the amount of interest to be paid, if any.

Apply for a peer-to-peer loan

Unfortunately not everyone has rich friends and family, but that doesn’t mean there’s no hope. A relatively new form of loan called a peer-to-peer loan might be a good option. This kind of loan is obtained from an online platform wherein you borrow cash from an individual as opposed to a bank.

Borrowers simply post a listing on one of the multitude of peer-to-peer loan sites asking for a certain amount of cash and stating what it’s needed for. Investors can then review your listing and decide if they want to loan you the cash.

Lenders will still check your credit rating, but because they are individuals you’ll likely be granted a lot more leeway, which means even those with bad credit have a good chance of borrowing the cash they need. In addition, peer-to-peer lenders usually offer lower interest rates than banks.

Pawn some valuables

If you have any valuable possessions you can choose to pawn them at a local pawn shop. The way it works is very simple, the pawn shop will appraise the value of whatever it is you wish to pawn, some jewelry for example. Based on that appraisal, the pawn shop will make you an offer to borrow some cash (at interest) and then you must agree on a time frame by which you can repay the loan and claim back your items. Be warned though, if you don’t pay up in time the pawn shop has every right to confiscate your items and sell them to recoup the money it has lent you.

 

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Bachelor Tips: How to Furnish an Apartment

Furnish an Apartment

Got your first place? Just got out a long-term relationship? Whatever the reason is, you are a man living on his own now and you should have an apartment that reflects your sophistication and style. Here are some tips for bachelor’s on how to furnish an apartment.

Ditch the Dorm Room Decorations
Unless you want every guest you bring over to know you peaked at age 19, get rid of your frat-house tier accessories. I’m talking specifically about your Bob Marley poster, “keep calm” poster,  any beer related posters, or pretty much any poster. If you have a unique poster sized print you really cherish, spend a few bucks and get it framed. If it isn’t worth getting framed it isn’t worth putting on your wall. Also make sure you limit the amount of sports memorabilia in your house, a subtle pint glass or single banner are enough to show your love for your favorite team. Some people may like cereal but you don’t see their rooms covered captain crunch jerseys. Most importantly, ditch the empty booze bottles, there is no need to show guests how many bottles of Fireball or tequila you have consumed, in fact as an adult you should be concealing your booze bottles not showing them off as trophies.

Invest in the Essentials
If you are on a budget, that is okay, embrace minimalism.  Instead of buying one of everything from Ikea, invest in quality essentials. For example a quality classic leather sofa that will last is a must. Also a nice table and chairs, it doesn’t have to break the bank but a nice dining room set can last a lifetime and will be the center of countless memories. Once you have a dining room set, a couch, the only thing remaining is a bed; again this is an item that is worth spending a bit extra on. Now you are set, you can eat, relax, and sleep in comfort and style. Once you have these you can pick up secondary items at your discretion, when you see the perfect piece for your apartment and you have the budget, pick it up. There is no rush.

One-of-a-Kind
Furnish an Apartment

You’re unique and your apartment should reflect this. While department store serve a useful purpose and place, you don’t want your place to look like it was put together over night. You want an authentic and personal style. Make sure you include furniture and artwork that is one of a kind. Look for something at an antique market, an art’s fair, the thrift store. Not only is this a great way to save money, it is also crucial in making your place feel like home and a great conversation starter.

I hope this tips on how to furnish an apartment will help you make your bachelor’s pad reflect success and not the stereotypical messy studio. If you plan right you can have a unique, stylish, modern apartment  on just about any budget.

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How to Make Money While Sitting on Your Couch

Work From Home

It’s everyone’s dream. Make money while sitting on your  couch. But it is not always easy to earn cash while sitting around in your bathrobe.  Here are some tips to help you find the dream job you can do from your sofa.
Work From Home
Utilize a Skill You Already Have
The best way to start earning money from home is to take advantage of skills you already have. Are you a natural writer or have experience doing so? Perhaps you could find a job as a copywriter. This is often a flexible position as far location and you could definitely find a gig that would allow you to work from your couch. Do you have experience in computer programming or design? Then you are in luck! Many tech industry positions often allow flexible work environments including working from home. Some other popular work from home industries are medical transcriptionists, call center operators, travel agents, and tech support staff. So look at your work history and maybe you are already qualified for one of these positions.

Make Use of the Global Economy
Maybe an at home  job may seem like a low pay rate but it is all relative. A small hourly rate in Manhattan could be a king’s ransom amount in a country like Vietnam. So if you can flexibility where you work, you are opening yourself up to a plethora of opportunities. A recent publicized trends of of “digital nomads” is highlight workers who are taking advantage of this and working abroad while making a U.S. salary. If you choose a low cost country to visit while working remotely, not only can you work from your couch but you can travel the world as well.

Do Your Homework
If a job is too good to be true, it likely is. Be skeptical of banner adds about retirees earning $100,000 a with nothing more than laptop. Check out legitimate job sites and referrals from people you know. There are plenty of work from home jobs but remember they are actual jobs that require actual work. You will still have to work just as hard as in the office, if not harder! Also, it is important to make sure working form home is for you. It’s not for everybody. Some people think working from home will be ideal but after a few weeks get bored or miss the routine. For some it is nice to get out of the house ever once in a while.

So whether you are looking for a little extra cash on the side or a full time career from the couch; if you do you research and are qualified you can find it. Make sure you have a strong internet connection and a fast laptop and update your resume. The next thing you know you could be logging 40 hours a week from the comfort of your couch.

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