Monthly Archives

September 2017

Travel

Top 5 Countries to Retire to Abroad

September 28, 2017

After many years of hard work, it’s only fair that you get to reap the rewards of your hard work while you enjoy your retirement. If you’re planning on retiring and want to get the best value for your money, you should consider retiring overseas because the cost of living in some countries are very low and your money can be better spent there.

Retiring abroad has become so popular today, and Schofields Insurance revealed 57% of people would like to retire abroad. If you are nearing the retirement age and are considering spending your golden years overseas, we have compiled a list of the top 5 countries to retire overseas, which we listed below.

5. Spain

There are a few countries that are more cost effective to live in, but Spain makes it on our list because it has great infrastructure and one of the best health care systems in the world. The laid back atmosphere in the country is also a plus.

If you live on a budget, Spain is still ideal for you because a couple can live comfortably in one of the smaller cities for about $1900 a month, which includes rent.

4. Colombia

The first thing that comes to people’s minds when it comes to Colombia is the country’s reputation for drug cartels and regional conflicts that plagued the country for decades. However, those days are long gone in Colombia, and it has now become an attractive destination for tourists and retirees.

Colombia has a great climate, an excellent health care system, and most importantly, a low cost of living.

3. Costa Rica

When you’re looking for an affordable place to spend your golden years, it is tough to beat Costa Rica. You can live comfortably there for $1,000 per month. The health care system is also great and costs a fraction of what you would pay if you lived in the United States.

The country also has an incredible atmosphere with breathtaking landscapes and beaches which is great for active retirees.

2. Ecuador

Ecuador is not only affordable, it is also a place where retirees are more than welcome and are offered senior discounts. The real estate prices are also great for those living on a budget and a couple can live comfortably there for $1,500 a month.

1. Mexico

Like Colombia, Mexico has a reputation for cartels and other unsavory characters, but it tops our list because it is not only affordable, it is also a very beautiful country with plenty of benefits for retirees. There are plenty of seaside accommodations and expat communities to choose from, and a couple can live very comfortably in Mexico for $1,200 a month.

Technology

How Smartphones can Benefit the Workplace

September 28, 2017

Where do you stand in the ‘using your own smartphone at work’ debate? Merging business with technology is not always easy but it’s especially problematic when it comes to personal devices. In January 2017, the Labour Force Survey discovered that there was around 32 million people in employment, while until December 2016, it was estimated that there were around 42.4 million UK residents using smartphones.

The smartphone trend is almost certain to rocket, so it’s crucial for employers to know how this might affect staff and work procedures. A past consensus view was that using personal smartphones makes workers inefficient and easily distracted. But is this true? To help separate fact from fiction, United Carlton (a print solutions firm in north-east England) has researched why it might in fact be profitable and productive for companies to let their staff incorporate smartphones into their day-to-day work.

Smartphones outside of working hours

It’s speculated that the UK will have approximately 48 million smartphone users by 2018, according to Statista (an online statistics company). But how do smartphones affect our free time? Younger people are especially influenced by the rise in smartphones, with research suggesting that 70% of 18 to 24 year olds even check their phones in the middle of the night. This might seem unimportant, but this post-digital generation is the future workforce and they are almost certainly going to shape the way smartphones are incorporated into working practices in the future.

The pros of the workplace smartphone

BYOD is the nickname for Bring Your Own Device and describes the policy of letting workers use their own phones, laptops, tablets, and other personal devices at work. There are several proven positives when it comes to allowing employees to use their own smartphones, although it’s generally assumed that many employers are against the idea and claim it’s terrible for efficiency. Arguably, this depends on the type of work and tasks. But if employers just give the BYOD culture a trial run, they might find that it saves time and helps productivity.

In fact, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group carried out a study that found that the average BYOD user saves 37 minutes per week due to using their own devices. This is because these users are working on the go and between ‘dead-times’.

How about completing tasks without having to be sat at your desk? For example; if staff use a Toshiba printer, they can connect their individual smartphones to the company network and print documents without having to install additional software or be stationed at their desk. This flexibility frees up time during the day and can make communication and completing paperwork more efficient.

How is BYOD received internationally?

This research isn’t limited to UK workers. Even looking overseas, we can see a similar positive trend. Users in the USA saved 81 minutes per week by using smart technologies on the job, while those in Germany saved four minutes per week. In other research, smart device users appear to be working an extra two hours and sending an additional 20 emails a day. Since they’re able to introduce their own technologies into their working practices, it’s arguable that users are also more likely to complete tasks at home, which could explain the extra work.

What do employers really think about smartphones at work?

Unfortunately, many employers appear to have a suspicious or even hostile attitude towards BOYD. Research conducted by the University of Surrey found that 80% of employers believed that it was inappropriate to read or send text messages in the company of other colleagues or their boss, while 11% thought that it was unacceptable for a mobile phone to be turned on during a meeting.

Even many staff would agree with the above thoughts, but these scenarios shouldn’t prevent BOYD from being implemented positively at work. Although employers can introduce company policies, many are hesitant to create a companywide document on mobile phone usage. One small business expert claimed that business owners are ‘worried staff will spit the dummy’ at a mobile phone policy. To counter this, they suggested that employers should ‘simply show them the math’ as staff are likely to co-operate to keep the company going and protect their job.

The potential harm of not getting in on the BOYD trend

Smartphones are everywhere and you’d have a much harder job keeping them out of the workplace than trying to incorporate them in a way that benefits how we work. If companies are willing to kick-start a BYOD culture, then they may see benefits such as:

  • 23% upsurge in job satisfaction.
  • 16% improvement in productivity over a 40-hour week.
  • 21% increase in company loyalty.

Not implementing smartphones into work procedures might be a dangerous trick to miss out on.

Business

How to Better Market Your Non-Profit Globally

September 26, 2017

It obviously wouldn’t be very cost-effective to use conventional marketing strategies to reach global customers, which would involve organizing on-the-ground campaigns in each country. The best way to get your non-profit out there to the widest audience is to market sensibly by email. This marketing accounts for a third of all online fundraising revenue. However, there’s a difference between an email marketing campaign and spamming prospective and existing donors. Use your data effectively, and focus on people who’ve already shown an interest in fundraising.

Personalize Your Email Campaign

As Giving Tuesday approaches, making the most of an email marketing campaign will help you to raise international awareness and encourage your donors to get active. Personalize your marketing so that the email has a higher chance of being opened – marketers have found a 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns. This involves considering the demographic of the receiver and requires you to know important information on them such as online history and activity, as well as their likes, dislikes – even their birthday.

Know Your Donors

Repeat donors are essential for any non-profit, and these are the people you’ll have the most information about, from their previous donations, so it should be easier to encourage these people to respond to you. Including a video in the email will also increase open rates by 13%, but this could be higher if the content is relevant to the receiver’s interests. For example, personalized and relevant subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened than emails that are generic. Also, once you have collected the data on your donors, you can also keep a longstanding record of the data you’ve gathered for content marketing and social media. Once you’ve enticed your donors to revisit your website and make a donation, you’ll want to keep them happy with up-to-date and germane content.

Raise Awareness

Giving Tuesday is about sustaining generosity, and because it’s an annual affair, you can learn from any marketing mistakes year on year. However, the problem is a lack of awareness; only 18% of people are already aware of Giving Tuesday, compared to 93% awareness for Black Friday. Therefore, your marketing input will be a valuable way of collaborating with other non-profits and contributing to cementing Giving Tuesday in people’s memories.

Lifestyle

How you can move abroad with kids

September 26, 2017

Moving abroad is a life-changing decision, especially if you are uprooting a young family, so you will need to carefully consider a range of factors to ensure you select the very best location when it comes to education, lifestyle, culture, and safety. The world is more multicultural than ever before; UN data shows more than 230 million people worked and lived away from their home country in 2016. You may want to take flight to enjoy a warmer climate and a better career or to embrace a new adventure and culture.

Focus on education

Your children will spend most of their time at school. so finding the right education must be a priority. Fortunately, online resources have made it easy to research and select schools in different countries. You should do this immediately because it could have a bearing on the country you choose as your new home. International schools are best if there is any chance that you will move back home before your children finish their education; curriculums will be shared and it will be easier for them to transfer to systems in each country. However, local schools can be better for long-term stays as social groups will make it easier to learn new languages and integrate into a new culture.

To ensure you select the best school for your child, consider these points:

  • Think about the distance between your new home, workplace and the school location. Shorter commutes are better, and living near a school will allow your children to walk and socialize with friends in the local area more readily.
  • The best schools have longer waiting lists, so it is important to be proactive and act early so you have a chance of getting in.
  • School hours vary depending on the country, so you will have to consider how this fits with your daily working schedule.
  • Many expat locations and communities have English-language schools, so seamless integration is possible.

When is the best time to relocate?

In addition to location, getting the timing right is also critical when relocating abroad. You need to evaluate whether it is the right time in your children’s life and what time of year is best suited to a new move. Older children will find it more challenging to adopt a new language and different curriculum systems than younger children, but teenagers can also attain a greater understanding of culture and gain more from the experience.

If you have the flexibility to decide when to move, consider factors such as the climate and weather patterns, local traditions, and school term times and enrollment procedures. A move to Spain, for example, will allow you to adopt an exciting outdoor lifestyle, but it still gets chilly in the winter. Therefore, a move in the spring or summer may be best. It could also be difficult if you relocate just before Christmas, as young children are likely to be without the comforts they expect during this period. Finally, children can find it even more difficult if they must move to a new school in a new country after the school year has already started.

Where to move

The Expat Insider Survey recently named its top ten countries for US citizens to consider when moving with a family abroad. Singapore was named as the best location in Asia. It ranks highly in several subcategories, including family well-being and quality of education. It has a wide variety of options, including curriculum-based Singapore schools which offer English speaking pupils a diverse schooling experience. If you are set on an English-speaking country, however, both Australia and New Zealand also featured in the top ten as expats found it easier to adapt to the local culture and feel at home.

Before you go

It is vital that you communicate with your kids so they feel comfortable about the move and know what to expect before you go. It might be tempting to relieve them of the burden by not telling them a great deal about the move, but children generally adapt better when they are more prepared. Try to involve them in the process. Let them know that they will be moving as soon as it is feasible to do so, and encourage them to research your new host country, its language and its culture.

It is important that you talk positively about the move and state that it is an exciting new chapter in their lives. You can also include them in decision-making by allowing them to select the toys, clothes and other items they want to take. Try to get them to take some part in the packing process, too. However, don’t promise the world. Keep their expectations in check and be realistic about the challenges they may face. You’ll want to give them every chance to come to terms with the move and be active participants in its success.

Lifestyle

The Most Important Considerations When Shopping for New Floors

September 26, 2017

Any new home redesign project requires plenty of forethought and consideration. You don’t want to jump into a massive redesign effort, only to discover that it’s far more complicated and expensive than you had originally planned.

One of the most important elements of planning for any home improvement project is to carefully assess the quality and quantity of materials needed. For instance, those in the market for new floors will want to consider which types of floors provide better functionality, how much each type costs, and how much will be needed to complete the project successfully.

If you’re planning on transforming one or more rooms and want to get the most value from your new floor-covering, then keep reading to find out what you should consider when shopping

Room Usage

Perhaps the most important detail when considering new flooring is how the floor will be used, how often will it be used, and for what purposes. If it is a high-traffic area you’re seeking to replace, then you probably wouldn’t want to choose white carpet for instance.

If you’re replacing the floors in a more utilitarian room – like the garage – then you’d want to go with materials like offered over at granitegaragefloors.com. Ultimately, picking the right floor type for the right room is essential in getting the most value and use out of it.

Overall Cost

No careful comparison shopping for new floors would be complete without a careful cost assessment. You want to get the best value overall for your new floors, but steep prices may not be feasible, depending on your exact situation.

There are many retail and wholesale outlets around the country that offer discount flooring materials when you buy directly from them. Instead of relying on an interior decorator or buying flooring at your local home improvement warehouse, you may wish to shop for flooring direct in order to save the most money.

Maintenance

Different floor types require different kinds of care – and different amounts, for that matter. How much work are you willing to put into maintaining your new floors? This is an important question that should always be considered heavily before making any purchase.

Do you have a preference for vacuuming, mopping, hand scrubbing or something else? Are you willing to polish, wax or finish floors in order to protect them for the long-term? Make sure you know what work each floor type entails before deciding.

Long-Term Value

Some floor coverings last longer than others. Some are more expensive than others. Are you getting the best value for your purchase?

It’s important to remember that while some floor options are more expensive, they’re bound to last for a much longer time. Be sure to weigh the value proposition of cost vs durability when deciding.

Other Factors

Some other factors to consider when shopping include whether or not additional redecorating will need to be done, whether or not people in your home suffer from allergies that can become trapped in some floor coverings, and whether you’ll need help installing the new floor.

Now that you’re aware of what should be considered before purchasing a new floor, you’ll be prepared to make the best decision. Whether you inevitably decide to upgrade or not, knowing what goes into transforming your floor space will better prepare you to care for your floors in the future.

Business

Can You Design a Truly Professional Brochure on a Budget?

September 25, 2017

Building your business and getting it recognised isn’t easy, especially if you don’t have much to spend on advertising and marketing strategies. A record 5.5 million private businesses launched in the UK last year, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which means you’re up against more competitors than ever.

If you’re looking to advertise your brand and services, but don’t have much to spend, why not create a brochure? Specialist printing company, Where The Trade Buys, explains here how you can get cost effective, professional brochures to boost your brand and advertise what you have to offer.

What do you want to say?

To start, you need to hone in on exactly what you want people to learn from your brochure. Are you introducing the entire brand or just promoting a new service? Stuffing your brochure with unnecessary copy looks unprofessional and discourages people from picking it up. So, keep your content simple and your message clear — but don’t forget to include your company logo, contact details, and key marketing message. In fact, you can also save money being cut-throat with your copy, as this means you’ll need fewer pages.

Precision

Nobody wants to see a typo in a professional brochure. So, check all the images, copy and overall design before you send it off to print. Otherwise, you might have to spend double with reprints.   

Paper type

A major decision that can affect your overall brochure price is which paper stock you choose. You don’t have to blow your budget on selecting the premium paper when other varieties will more than do the job. For example, an informal brochure doesn’t have to be elaborate and generally requires a relatively thin and less expensive paper stock. But, if you’re targeting a high-end corporate conference, you might want to invest in a higher-quality to make the best impression.

Finish and binding

You have lots of options when it comes to perfect bound book printing, including multiple finishes to give the ideal look for your brand and customers. Saddle-stitched brochures are a sleek way to present your corporate brochure to your audience, because they’re generally finished with a gloss or silk lamination. Although, the Scodix finish is also effective and isn’t too costly. Casebound book printing is more expensive than many others, but is popular for delivering stunning quality. Then again, PUR is a more affordable, high-end binding option that is perfect for pitch documents and coffee table brochures.

Final look

Your marketing strategy will take a serious hit if your brochures aren’t decent quality and attractive. Brochure dimensions and the quantity of information can influence the chances of people reading it, as well the final price. So, while it’s tempting to cram as many details on a small brochure to save money, you don’t want to make it look untidy. Think of what you really want to say and select the right size for your message.   

Quantity

Finally, you need to consider how many brochures to order. You don’t want a surplus that just wastes money and takes up office space, then again, you don’t want to run out. Requesting more pages means you pay less per brochure, but there’s no point paying for copies that you don’t need. So, it’s worth checking price guides before you place an order to decide on a short, medium or long run.

Should you digitalise your brochure?

What about taking it one step further? Getting your brochure online lets potential customers download it as a PDF for no additional cost to you or them. Effectively, you can have both printed brochures and e-brochures without spending more money, so it’s a good way to maximise your marketing strategy.

Consider these pointers when you kick-start your next marketing campaign.

Technology

The Digital World: Past and Present

September 25, 2017

Those born between the mid-90s and 2010 are known as Generation Z. Unlike the baby boomers, this generation grew up through trying financial times and a lack of stability.

These youths are determined to become successful, wealthy and have the most stable life possible for themselves and the rest of the planet. In order for them to do this, technology will be a vital part of how employees will work and live within the future of the workplace.

Team building activities might be something that this generation aren’t so familiar with.

Past and present

Generation Z are completely different to those born in the 1950s as they would prefer to learn new skills as they work rather than being specifically trained for a particular job and staying in that role for a long period of time. By furthering their specific interests within the workplace, this generation learns by focusing in on online courses, online books, articles, videos and other digital mediums to learn and progress as they go.

It is thought that those labelled as Gen Z will be able to adapt to different working environments more efficiently as they will be able to accumulate information quicker if their role was to change.

Can the youth of today work in a team?

Although Gen Z are always looking to further their skills and improve their own development, how does this relate to building a team? Together with Impact International, specialists in team development, we explore the differences between how Gen Z feel towards teamwork and the workplace within a digital landscape, compared to past generations who relied on face-to-face communication.

Young people are social media savvy, using the platforms to communicate with family and friends. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re always ready to engage in teambuilding in the traditional sense.

A more accurate description of this demographic who work with each other would be ‘team-orientated’.

By participating in team activities, millennials feel as if they’re contributing to something bigger than themselves. This is unlike workers of the past, who would usually work together in less isolating environments so that a job was completed. In more horizontal forms of management, where responsibility is spread over a number of individuals, to become influential takes time and effort on the individual’s behalf so that other workers can recognise the importance of their contributions.

Although millennials seem to be less team work focused, they can identify work culture and put themselves in the picture. 79% of millennials feel that culture-building activities in the workplace are vital when it comes to their progression. However, only 41% of baby boomers aged 51-60 felt the same, which suggests that although Gen Z want to be individuals, their identity is linked to the work that they do every day.

At the workplace

Supervisors at work should be more trusting to the younger staff members and allow them to be more flexible! This is so they can express their creativity and stand on their own two feet. If employees within this demographic feel as though they aren’t able to innovate and progress, this will lead to their performance being stifled in the workplace – contributing to a lack and motivation, or an attempt to leave the organisation.

Employers are now beginning to realise that the younger generation will be able to work up to higher roles within the workplace and will be able to cope with any situation that they might face.

Sources:

http://www.learnfest.co.uk/headline-acts

https://www.digitalistmag.com/future-of-work/2015/10/05/what-gen-z-arrival-means-for-recruiters-03509530

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/270764

https://talentor.com/blog/2015/07/06/generation-z-in-the-workplace/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/11002767/Gen-Z-Gen-Y-baby-boomers-a-guide-to-the-generations.html

 

Lifestyle

4 Ways To Increase The Value of Your Home

September 19, 2017

Although you should view your property as a place to love and enjoy, you should also view it as an investment. This is the best way to protect your personal finances. That is why you should constantly be on the lookout for ways to improve your home. This is especially important if you are planning to sell your property in the upcoming months. Make sure that you don’t lose out on the money that you are owed. Instead, you should be doing everything in your power to see an impressive return on your investment. Below are four ways to increase the value of your home.

Think about curb appeal

They say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. However, potential buyers will definitely judge your home from the outside. Make sure that it is not letting you down! If you live in a residential area, why not take inspiration from your neighbors? Perhaps they have re-painted their house or spruced up their garden. Even the smallest of changes can make a big difference. Just focus on making your property as welcoming as possible.

Invest in your security

When you are trying to increase the value of your home, it is vital that you invest in security. This is the best way to ensure that people feel safe in your property. One simple measure is to install LED Floodlights. They will help to keep unwelcome visitors away from your home. They will also make it much safer for invited guests to get to, and from, their vehicles. You should also take a look around your property and make a list of any potential security risks. Why let potential buyers worry about them, when you can take care of things yourself?

Think about your design scheme

If you are planning to sell your property, you need to make sure that your design scheme isn’t letting you down. Remember, what works for you might not appeal to another person. Try to avoid as many interior design mistakes as possible. Instead, opt for a classic, understated scheme that gives people the opportunity to put their own stamp on the place. You should also try to streamline your furniture, as this will help to create the illusion of space.  

Add a bedroom area

Many buyers will limit their search to properties that have the correct number of bedrooms. That is why you need to explore your options before putting your home on the market. Is there a room in your house that has the potential to be converted into a sleeping area? Perhaps there is an office area that has room for a pullout sofa-bed. Maybe you have a playroom that could easily be redecorated. Remember, you don’t have to do all of the hard work yourself. Instead, you just need to make it clear that your home has potential. This will help you to attract more buyers and to increase the value of your property.