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Coping with Inflation – Everything is increasing except your income

Introduction

Normally when you see a constant general increase in the prices of goods and services, more likely it is a sign that inflation is taking place. Therefore, I can safely say that inflation is here. Fuel prices are at an all-high rate for as high as $7.30 per gallon. The price of groceries has increased significantly and in some cases the price has doubled. The minimum price for renting a one-bedroom apartment is now around $1,000. Interest rate has now increased and so your loan payments have increased. However, the one thing that has not increased is your income. I don’t know how some people are making it given that everything around them is increasing except their income. These price increases are enough to drive you to depression and even bankruptcy, but I want to encourage you today from a different angle. Don’t panic. Let us cope with this inflation. I know things are rough now, but these times will not remain forever even though it may be for a while before we get out of it. Here are few tips on coping with inflation.

Car pooling

I know no one wants to revert to how they used to live but sometimes though to beat this inflation, we got to go back living like the good old times. One of those good old times was just one vehicle per family. (The truth be told, most of us did not have any vehicle but I know we all need at least one vehicle now) Many of us in our household have at least three vehicles, the wife has a vehicle, the husband has a vehicle, and the child has a vehicle. It may be tough doing this but let us try and use one vehicle. Drop your husband, wife, or children off to work and park the rest of the vehicles at home rather than spending money on fuel and repairs and maintenance.

Compare and check the prices

Check the prices before you pay for something. You may reach to a gas pump and discovered the price is $7.30. Trust me, don’t commit, go to the next gas station and you will find a price that is lower for the same grade of gas. When you go out to eat, check the prices before you place your order. My wife told me the other day, she went to get oatmeal from an establishment, and she was used to paying a certain price but this time when she went there, the cashier advised her what her total would be and so she did not proceed with the order. Sometimes you may take things for granted and assume the prices are the same as last time especially if their prices are not displayed. However, the best thing to do is to know the prices.

Purchase in bulk and in advance

With the prices increasing literally every day, maybe we should consider purchasing items in bulk and keeping them in a secure and safe place. However, you will have to control and discipline yourself so that you do not consume all at once. Another alternative is to join with your coworkers or family members in purchasing in bulk.

Ask for an increase in compensation

I know many people are asking for an increase in the minimum wages. I am not sure how many people are getting paid at minimum wages. Personally, I think that number is lot lower than we think. However, I think we should simply ask our employers for an increase and justify to them why you should get an increase. You would never know unless you ask and if you don’t ask you may not get it. If you a great employee, that employer will not want to lose you because chances are you may seek alternative employment to cope with this cost of living.

Look for additional income

If you are unable to get an increase in compensation, you should look for another job that pays more. Alternatively, start a business that can provide you with extra income.

Ask for a reduced interest rate

I know that the interest rate has increased but still ask the bank for a reduction in your rate. You may just end up getting a better rate. In addition, make extra payments because with the increased interest rate, you may not notice much difference in your principal even though your bank payments have increased.

Lobby the Government

Lobby the Government to implement a universal basic income and a temporary price control on certain items. You have the power to demand. Stop being too quiet.

Utilize the Consumer Protection Ordinance.

Set an example and file complaints against some of these retailers in accordance with the Consumer Protection Ordinance.  

Conclusion

There are some things in life we cannot change or control. We may not be able to control inflation, but we can control our actions. Whatever you do, don’t panic, and don’t worry over your reduced disposable income. There are always ways and means to beat something. Remember “tough times don’t last, tough people do.” Worrying and panicking will not solve the inflation problems. It will only add more problems to your life.

People at business meeting
Finances,

COVID 19 financial advice for Employers including Govt.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

Introduction

COVID 19 will have a major setback on the economy and as a result employers will have to make some drastic decisions such as to whether to remain open or not. Individuals and Employers will also be looking to Governments for some type of bailout or incentives. Governments too will be faced with uncertainty as this crisis looms over their countries

Despite the potential opportunity losses as a result of this COVID 19 crisis, we cannot panic and must remained focused. This is a time that if we are in a position to help others, we should. Luke 6:38 stated that “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

I am not an expert but here are a few tips.

Shift hours for employees

If you are in a position to still be in business but your revenue is impacted, implement a shift hour scheme for your employees so at least everyone will benefit from some form of compensation even though it may be less than what they were getting previously.

Reduction in salary

While there are many people living from paycheck to paycheck, rather than laying people off, consider an agreement for a reduction in salary starting with a cut in the salaries of the management team. Eliminate all planned bonuses.

Early vacation

The average employee may only be entitled to two weeks vacations but this time when there is not much activity, use this time so that employees can take their vacation and get paid for it during this time. Some employees may even want to consider taking an extra two weeks leave off without pay if they can afford it.

Government stimulus packages

Some Governments are in a huge deficit positions while others are in surpluses positions. Despite the condition of the government, this will be an unprecedented time whereby governments will have to assist with some form of unemployment payouts to the employees in the private sector and some form of subsidy payments to businesses affected by the Covid 19. However, this will require honesty by employees and businesses. Increase the Invest TCI grants from 10,000 to 20,000 and expand the list for a period of three six months.

Review and decrease your margin

Most businesses have a certain margin they want to achieve. Consider reviewing your margin and in so doing reduced your markup so the prices you offered to consumers can be lower. This however, will also require the assistance of the Government. The government can assist by reducing their duty rate so that businesses can pass this savings onto consumers. I believe that businesses should pay for their licence fees but the Government can consider slashing the licence fees by 50%. Government should also eliminate the penalties on business licenses, instruct the Board of NHIB and NIB to eliminate late fee penalties for three months. The Fortis proposed 6.8% should also be suspended for about three months because businesses will pass this increase onto consumers.

Conclusion

These are some interesting times. I believe this COVID 19 has taught us some lessons and hopefully we will learned from it. This is time now for us to develop alternative industries rather than depending primarily on tourism. This is time for us to review and implement unemployment benefits legislation.

More importantly, this is the time for us to unite and truly help those in need. Government and Employers will feel some losses as a result of some of the above recommendations but ultimately it will pay off in the end.

I conclude with the scripture as I started off with Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Businessman holding money in his hands
Finances,

We need money! Final and Tenth recipe for success.

“A feast is made for laughter, wine makes life merry,
    and money is the answer for everything.” Ecclesiastes 10:19

Introduction

I know there may be many interpretations of the scripture that money is the answer for everything. The truth is we need money for most situations in order to be successful. One of the top causes of divorce is due to financial reasons. Business are failing due to lack of money and of course mismanagement of money. Individuals have so many dreams and visions but do not have the money to implement them. Some individuals want to enhance their career or goals by pursuing tertiary education but do not have the money to go to college or university. We are living in an era where the cost of living continues to escalate. We need money so we can live comfortably in an apartment or home. The climate is so strange these days we need to have the air conditioner on most of the times but we need money to pay for the consumption of the electricity when it becomes due. We need to eat and live healthy and we need money to maintain a balanced diet.

Based on the aforementioned areas, we need money to live a successful life.  Of course there are some things that money cannot buy. It cannot buy your way into heaven. It cannot cure incurable diseases. It cannot buy real love. One can also have a lot of money and still be unhappy.

Money vs success

Many may argue that you do not need money to be successful. Perhaps there are some valid arguments for that statement but I personally believe we need money to be successful. Of course, what is success to you may not be success to me. Therefore, many individuals feel we should not measure success by the amount of money you have. I do agree with that latter statement.  However, to get to your measurement of success, you need money to get there. Let us not live in denial that we do not need money to be successful.

Of course, there are people who have money and still have unsuccessful marriages, unsuccessful relationships, unsuccessful businesses and unsuccessful careers. Perhaps it is because they are in the wrong relationship, perhaps they are in the wrong business, and perhaps they are in the wrong career. You need to be in a relationship, a business or career that you are passionate about. However, you will need money to maintain your relationship, you will need money to expand your business and you will need money to enhance your career.

Conclusion

While there will be arguments for and against as to whether or not you need money to be successful, we should never allow ourselves to become too obsess with our desire for money where it reaches a point that we become greedy for the love of money which of course is the root of all evil.

Finally, success does not have to be measured by the amount of money we have but we need money to live successful lives.

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