24 July 2009

Maintain a Positive Attitude in a Long Job Search

I’ve been in a job search for over one year.  In this time i’ve tried to maintain a positive attitude.  Sure research claims there is a bonus to my job search.  If improving your search is the reason you got here keep reading.  I have been trying to maintain a positive attitude because i feel better when i do.  I like to be in a good mood.  The fact it improves my chances of getting a job is not something i’ve concerned myself with.  I have learned some things in my time that i thought i’d pass along.

  • Set a schedule and stick to it – On days i sleep till noon (usually from staying up all night) i feel i have wasted the day.  I job hunt in the morning; read or study in the afternoon; and exercise at night.  This is the basics.  My schedule is more detailed than this.  The reason for the schedule is it leaves you feeling like you have accomplished something (because you have).
  • Play games – Find a sport or two that you enjoy.  Then find somewhere to do it.  For me this was Ultimate, Tennis and Basketball.  Because i chose sports that are fun it is not a chore.  Plenty of team sports are played all over the place.  Hit up a newsgroup or other online forum looking for where groups play.  Also renew interest in  board or card games.  In addition to being fun they can replace more expensive entertainment (reducing stress over money).
  • Maintain your faith – If you are religious in any way hold on to that.  It will give you strength.  I believe that God will provide for my family.  He has so far.  He will continue to do so.  Your church may even have employment services to help you find work.
  • Learn something new – Find a subject you want to learn more about.  Find an area you can improve in your current or desired field.  If there are certification programs study for them.  If certifications exist in your field they often make a difference at some level.  Develop or find a self-study course for the certification and get started.  Stating “I’m in a certification program for x” during an interview is almost as good as having the certification.
  • Clean house – There are two aspects to this.  First get rid of stuff.  If you have ever watched the show “Clean House” or “Clean Sweep” you know how much better the people feel after getting rid of stuff that complicates their life.  The second is to organize and keep your dwelling clean.  Knowing where things are reduces stress.  Being clean lifts your spirits.
  • Read – Add some fiction into your life.  You probably should balance out your studying somehow.  The imagination required to see characters and places will take your mind off of your troubles.  It might also help you think differently a find another way out of joblessness.  Non-fiction is good but often does not give me the same level of escape as fiction.
  • Give Service – Focus on other will help you realize that you are not as important as you think you are.  It does for me.  Seeing people in worse situations than you will also help you see that things are not as bad as you thought.
  • Do something you enjoy – Hobbies are a great thing.  Find one to further take your mind away from problems.  It may even grow into a job.

There may be other things you can do to maintain or build a positive attitude in a long job search.  These are the ones that have worked for me.  Some things i’ve left off because i don’t feel they work (non-play exercise) or they don’t seem to work for me (focus on a better diet).

21 July 2009

Should I Buy a Home or Rent?

Buying a home is a good decision.  This advice has been around for a while.  It is wrong.  Plain and simple; wrong.  Buying a home is only a good decision when it is a financially sound decision.  Squawkfox has a list of 6 Mortgage Meltdowns; times when buying a home is not financially sound.  The first step in seeing if this is right for you is to look at a rent vs buy calculator.  I usually look at the one from the New York Times.  This calculator would be all you need except for one thing… risk.  Risk is why you can make money work for you.  In home ownership the risk is usually working against you.

If you are single.  When you are single you usually come out ahead in the rent half of the rent vs buy calculator.  You can rent a place with a roommate or two and come out much better with renting.  It is often not financially sound to buy as a single individual.  I’m not even going to compare investing the difference or add it into the calculations. 

If you are married.  Once you are married you might come out ahead buying, but your marriage is one of the largest risk factors in buying a home.  With divorce rates around 50% or higher in many countries you are taking a gamble on the purchase of your home.  The average divorce happens after 7 years.  At 7 years you have likely spent $23,800 more buying than renting.  It takes on average 16 years of a 30 year mortgage for a home to be cheaper than renting.  At 50% buying a home has odds comparable to putting $200,000 on black and knowing you will have to wait 7 years to know if you “lose”, 15 years to know if you “won” and 35 years for the payout.  Starting with over 50% chance of divorce or add in the likelihood of bankruptcy then your financial odds are better in Vegas.

You can increase your odd by looking at your real chance of divorce or figuring how you compare to divorce statistics.  If you are signing a prenuptial agreement then you should just forgo the home purchase.  A prenuptial agreement is just a plan for what to do in your divorce.  Chances are that divorce will happen before buying was cheaper than renting.  While you may want to buy a home it does not make sense financially for a number of people.  The thought that everyone should buy led the sub-prime market and is a partial cause of the current recession.


Even if the numbers do add up don’t forget risk.  Buying a home might just be more risky than day trading in the stock market and is more risky than gambling in Vegas.  Let us know what you think in the comments.

10 July 2009

Financial Peace Revisited

My most recent book i’ve read is Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey.  In this book Dave gives you Peace Puppies.  Things such as plant seeds and handle credit report corrections yourself.  This book is an updated version of Financial Peace and adds a couple of chapters.  I’ve never read Financial Peace for the same reason college classes use the newer versions of textbooks; updated information.

Having started my own financial plan and listened to The Dave Ramsey show nothing in this book was all that new to me.  I’d describe this as the back story and build up to his baby steps.  The book was designed to be uplifting and give you a sense that you can have financial peace.  It does i good job of doing so.  It does not, nor was it designed to, go in-depth into his baby steps.  Having not read it my guess is that is what The Total Money Makeover is.

Each chapter ends with Dave’s wife Sharon giving her two cents.  This is followed by the Peace Puppies.  I’d have liked the key points to be highlighted separately. Dave lists all the Peace Puppies you’ve gone through every chapter.  I’d like just the new ones and all of them listed just at the end.

What did you think of this book.  Share in the comments.

01 July 2009

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

Today i finished reading I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi.  Much like Dave Ramsey has his plan for financial success, Ramit Sethi has a plan for financial success. His 6 week plan sets up financial automation, replaces a budget with a Conscious Spending Plan, and starts a retirement fund.  He frequently points out the biggest (and possibly only) hurdle to being rich is planning and getting started.

Ramit asks his readers “Would you rather be rich or sexy?”  He does this because often the path to riches are not sexy.  Sure some people play professional sports.  Some win the lottery.  This book is not for them.  This book is written for people under the age of 35.  He gives advice for every age group but expects the 20-35 group to be the ones reading.

Having followed the blog at IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com the first chapters sounded real familiar.  Ramit uses the same examples on his blog as in his book.  I have no problem with this as it reiterates what he is saying. His plan and the advice on his blog is great.  The biggest problem with the book was it was hard to finish.  With all the action steps i’d read something, put the book down, then go do what Ramit said.  I’d then start doing something else and have to come back to the book later.  This book is top of the three i’ve reviewed so far.


Have you read this book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad or The Millionaire Next Door (check out my reviews)?  Give your thoughts in the comments.