Categories
Self-Improvement

Should You Hope for the Best and Plan for the Worst?

Everyone knows they need to experience personal growth but most feel absolutely incapable of planning their way towards it.

The inability of the general population to plan what to do is evident, and it is not that uncommon. Out of the 500 people throughout the US were the sample for this survey, it was found that after the gift purchasing during the holiday season, nearly half the people had less than $1000 to their name.

Imagine!

What would they do if there was an emergency?

You do not want to spend the best years of your life in a mess like this. There is a dangerous trend among young people shown which is catching up.

The savings rate amongst young people is dropping as the amount of people saving absolutely nothing has almost doubled in the past year. Young adults across the board are saving less with only a small one percent increase in the people saving more than 20 percent of their incomes.

1. But I don't have any responsibilities right now!

This is the first argument used by twenty-somethings to justify their frisky lifestyles. A lot of them feel like it's their right to have fun without worrying about expenses.

To a certain extent that is true, however this should not be done at the cost of responsibility. In fact, living like this might actually be detrimental to your health.

Living paycheck-to-paycheck might create unnecessary stress in your life. In 2014 Time Magazine reported a study by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) which found that roughly half of all Americans are living this way.

Blake Mycoskie American Entrepreneur

In my 20s I wish I knew that the best advice for any person is to follow their passion as opposed to chasing money. I’ve seen time and time again that the people who foster their true passions and true callings are the ones that end up the most successful.

The same study also reported that roughly 44% of all Americans are living with less than $5887 in their bank accounts. The CFED calls these folks “liquid asset poor”, and roughly a quarter of the American middle class falls in this category.

How do these people cope with emergencies? These households resort to borrowing for all unforeseen expenditure, from a car breakdown to a medical emergency, credit is integral to their survival.

Your 20's are a crucial time to start building wealth, because the compounding power of time is on your side.

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2. You need to fear the Fear of Missing Out

Most of your expenditure in your twenties will be with your friends, whether it is a weekend getaway or a night out in town. It is important to understand what is motivating you to spend so much time and money with them.

Although you may reject the concept of peer pressure as high school antiques, once you start down that path it becomes very hard to control your spending as your friends too consistently expect you to live a certain lifestyle.

Sounds a lot more like peer pressure now, doesn’t it?

FOMO shapes the need for you to attend every party, be a part of every road trip and be present at every activity with your friends. It is a state of constant fear that each outing is going to be that one epic once in a lifetime experience.

This survey amongst 762 individuals in the US and the UK found some interesting manifestations of the FOMO.

As you can see young adults are most affected by the first category, the same study also found that males are more affected than females by FOMO in all forms.

If you think you need to go out to every weekend with your friends, join in every activity, beware that constantly going out is likely to add up and take its toll.

Be realistic about how you use your time and your resources. You should not end up neglecting opportunities to improve your professional or private life as a whole.

3. De-clutter your life for your own good

Usually as you continue to live independently, you will develop a lifestyle which will be based on a routine of expenditure. On the face of it, you may think it is impossible to cut back on expenditure simply by looking at your empty bank account by the end of every month.

However on closer examination there is always clutter than can be eliminated from your life.

Collect together things you rarely use and will probably never use again. Sell them off. This will net you some cash and make your home more enjoyable.

Engage in community service. It's a way to spend an afternoon without spending money. It is also proven to make you feel good about yourself, by raising your self-esteem and hence making you more resistant to other urges and cravings.

Also rather than going out, consider throwing house parties where everyone in attendance contributes. This will allow you to hang out with your friends and have a good time at a much lower cost.

Adam Nash CEO of               Wealthfront                 

I was fortunate to have been raised with a strong sense of the importance of saving and living below your means. However, it wasn’t until later that I learned just how much of your long-term economic success depends on your professional career.

In your twenties, your biggest chunk of expenditure is probably your rent.

Consider some options like getting an additional roommate or perhaps moving altogether. An increasing number of millennials are moving back in with their parents, about 34 percent according to a survey by Pew Research Center.

Although parents may make for tough roommates, you won't find a more cost effective living situation.

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As your income increases you might be inclined to spend more, after all it was you who earned the raise. However, this is a trap known as lifestyle creep. The greatest income rises are experienced by twenty and thirty year olds.

However, after that the growth begins to taper off. This is when you should be most wary of a “lifestyle creep”; the sustained rise of expenditure along with income, leaving little for savings. 

You need to budget your life with a gradual rise in expenditure that you know you can sustain.

4. Why not give a shot at investing?

Twenty three year old Tim Grittani took a crash course in investing. He spent the next few months learning how to trade stocks. The brokerage account he wanted to use required a minimum of $12,500, but he didn’t have that much money. So he reached out to his friends and family and borrowed the difference.

But there was one big stipulation that his friends and family gave him…

Tim wouldn’t able to trade with the borrowed money. The money had to sit in the account. He was only to trade with his portion of the money, which was $1,500 at the time.

Because of his limited capital, he decided that he was going to focus on buying penny stocks.

Within the first six months, he made over $40,000. At one point, he made $11,000 in 15 minutes. He bought the stock AGRT at 40 cents and sold it at 70 cents… all within 15 minutes.

Over the next 12 months, Tim was on track to making even more money… $250,000 in profit.

Inspiring story, isn't it?​

5. How does your emergency fund stack up?

If you were to face a rainy day, do you have the resources to cope?

A survey by the US Federal Reserve stated that the number of people who have saved has been halved since 2008.

Specifically among those who had savings prior to 2008, 57% said they had used up some or all of their savings since the 2008 recession. Only 39% reported having adequate funds to cover three months of expenses.

Kevin Cleary CEO of Cliff Bar & Company

In my 20s, I wish I better understood the power of investing. At the time, I had fewer expenses, more free time, and a long investment horizon — it would have been the perfect time to learn about investing. While I was disciplined about saving money, I missed the opportunity to leverage my money over the long haul

Get life insurance. Look into 10 to 15 year plans at the start of your career as these can easily be upgraded to 30 year plans with much better deals from the banks if the need arises.

It's never too early to save money.

The following graph shows that young workers are less likely to participate in their company's' retirement plans, even when there is one available to them. This is unfortunate because a few hundred dollars saved today can turn into thousands in your future.

While investing in your 20's is risky, it's at a time of life when you need the growth and can handle the risk.

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6. The power of positive thinking

At the end of the day while it is important to remain cautious about the future - you must not let negativity seep into your mental state.

Your thoughts create your feelings, your feelings create your actions, and your actions create your life. They’re all interconnected, no exceptions. The law of attraction states that thinking positive can change your life and it helps things work out in a positive manner.

Your body language is another aspect of your identity that you must strive to maintain. A great deal of how you communicate can be reflected quite accurately by your body language. Therefore, be more aware of your body language and really understand it.

Conclusion

There are hundreds of different situations and scenarios that twenty something’s face, but they all have one thing in common: they do not have things figured out.

At the end of the day you must also come to appreciate an existence of a certain level of uncertainty in your life that is not going to ever disappear. Your twenties will be a time of many successes and many failures. You are likely to be just out of school, searching for careers, and eager to find a foothold in society.

It is important that at this time you cultivate habits that will make or break your life. Planning ahead is a very important one, one that is not to be neglected.

Investing, cutting costs and better planning - what else can you do to improve your financial situation today?

Categories
Self-Improvement

Have Our Relationships Evolved Over Time Just to Become Digital Friendships?

The invention of the internet shook the world.

The feeling of having the world available at a click was nothing less than magical.

But the advent of internet wasn’t complete until social media sites stepped in and changed the way we communicate with each other.

Whatsapp has replaced telephone calls, coffee chats have morphed into Skype calls, and talking about personal feelings has turned into Facebook statuses.

In some ways, social media has brought us closer to each other. Long forgotten friends can be found again after one rigorous search on Facebook. Our opinions can reach a wider audience through Twitter. In fact, our artistic abilities have found an abode in our Instagram feed.

Facebook has 1.71 billion active monthly users as per statistics of the second quarter of 2016. In fact, social networking has become the #1 online activity in the U.S followed by email.

Internet has hijacked our life and confined it within the walls manufactured by comments, likes and followers. Human life has become dependent on status updates and marking those events as ‘interested’ that they will never attend anyway. Internet and social media sites are ruling us in numerous ways, and we have become robots that are relying on these social sites for our daily dose of validation and maintaining a social life.

But is this the future of our relationships? Can we lead a healthy and happy life by simply relying on Internet and online friends for meeting our emotional and mental needs? Of course not.

1. The curious case of the Dunbar Number

Dunbar number is defined as the maximum stable relationships a person can maintain in his lifetime. As per Robin Dunbar, the maximum number of friends a human can have is 150. But a Facebook user has an average of 338 friends online. Now, the question arises: How many of them are your real friends?

As per a study at Oxford University, only four of our Facebook friends are real, irrespective of the number of users who are gleaming under the ‘Friends’ section of our Facebook account. It means almost all of your so-called Facebook friends are fake.

Habeeb AkandeAuthor

Fake friends are like shadows: always near you at your brightest moments, but nowhere to be seen at your darkest hour. True friends are like stars, you don't always see them but they are always there.

90% of UK Facebook users receive a ‘friend request’ from a stranger. Around 51% of them accept those friend requests and add them as their friends on Facebook. How stable are the online relationship when friendship is not determined by the mutual likes, dislikes and interests, but simply by clicking an ‘accept’ button if you want to be someone’s friend?

307 million UK citizens use Facebook.

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What is the lure of social networks that is causing us to stay so active in the world of virtual reality that we are neglecting our real life and real ties? The reasons are revealed in a survey by The Atlantic. One of the top reasons for using Facebook is to keep a tab on our friends’ activities and to stay updated.

Facebook and Twitter have become top platforms to stay in touch with online friends. Around 64% teenagers meet a new friend through these social media sites. Social media has become a new way to widen our social circle.

2. Real life friends versus online friends – Is there any difference?

Real life friends offer a kind of intimacy that online friends fail to give. Real friends not only know about your likes and dislikes, but they have experienced all the good and the bad times along with you, unlike your online friends who can offer sympathies only after you update a sad status.

Physical presence is really important in any kind of relationship, as nothing can beat a consoling hug, human warmth and the security of having someone by your side when you are going through life.

The number of friends online is two times more that real life friends.

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Body language plays a big role in the human connection. It is missing in an online connection. It can mislead us since we cannot see the other person physically. That is why one has to be really careful while making new friends on the internet.

Connection with people has reduced to status updates and likes. These tiny buttons dictate how strong our friendship is with numerous people. In fact, if you don’t like a friend’s status or picture, it becomes the evidence of your disloyalty towards them.

In every one minute, 510 comments are made, 2,93,000 statuses and 1,36,000 photos are posted on Facebook. It’s an insane amount of activity. From posting a status about our lunch meal at KFC to sharing a sad status hinting at our latest breakup, we keep our online friends updated about every tiny event going on in our life. But how many of them care to know about our 14-year-old dog who recently died? Not many.

Alex Morritt Author

The more time we spend interconnected via a myriad of devices, the less time we have left to develop true friendships in the real world.

The truth is, online friendship has replaced emotional honesty that comes along with real friendships.

Around 56% of U.S. women have a close online friend even if they have not met them once in their life, whereas around 44% of the guys also have the same.

3. Transitioning to the digital age

How many of us have pretended to be on our phones while standing somewhere alone just to make it seem like we are busy?

It is a very common practice, almost a reflex action, but why do we do that?

The reason is simple. Having your eyes fixated on the glowing screens of our cell phones has become a way to prove that we have got a social life. We are living in a generation where our popularity is measured on the basis of how many friends like our pictures.

Facebook is the leading source of socialization for people, with Instagram being the second and Twitter coming at third place. As new social sites are coming into the market, more and more people are getting engaged in making a permanent residence in virtual reality.

Amelia Gray Novelist

Tess realized one of the great modern dating sadnesses: everyone is so used to the comforting glow of the computer screen that no one can go so far as to say "good morning" in public without being liquored up.

Instagram has around 400 million active users. It is filled with pictures of cats, dogs, food and of course, selfies. Instagram has led to an upsurge of models who post numerous photos on Instagram on a daily basis. Social media has turned into a competition to prove your worth. It has put an immense pressure on young people to have the perfect hair and flawless contouring.

Moreover, there is a rush to prove that your life is better by posting pictures of the latest parties you’ve attended, the new place you have visited and the expensive wine you’ve just tried.

It has become the major source of depression for many people. It is not only impossible to compete with someone’s seemingly perfect life, but there is extreme stress regarding how you should portray your own life. It causes people to feel insecure while posting anything on social media.

Social media has caused depression and anxiety among many users. 53% of the UK citizens who were surveyed accepted that social media brought a change in their behaviour while 51% agreed that the change was negative.

Internet is brimming with trolls, fake profiles and bullies. Almost all of us have been victims of cyber bullying or trolling in one way or the other. With Facebook at the top, every social media site has become a hotspot for bullies and trolls.

83 million Facebook profiles are not real.

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4. Match made in virtual reality

It is so easy to maintain relationships these days, as no real efforts are needed. All you have to do is send a ‘good morning’ and ‘goodnight’ text, post some statuses showing how much you love your partner and tag them in some lovey-dovey pictures. But is it really intimacy or a bogus way to stay single while being committed?

Benjamin Franklin Founding Father of the U.S.

If you would be loved, love, and be loveable.

Traditional romance requires efforts from both the parties. Candle light dinners, late night conversations under stars and cooking breakfast together used to be the ways to express one’s undying love towards another.

But meetings have turned into late night Skyping and gifts have morphed into posting videos.

People have given up the old way of meeting new people as potential partners and have moved to online dating in order to find someone compatible.

Although the people who have experienced online dating have a generally positive feeling towards it.

But is it safe to assume that the person you are chatting with, is portraying their real self? They might say the sweetest words and treat you perfectly, but how can you be sure that they are authentic enough to go and meet them in real life?

As per an online survey by SurveyMonkey, 33% people have portrayed themselves differently when online.

In fact, many people in India have joined dating sites simply to pursue casual dating or friendship, and not a serious, long-term relationship.

Is it wise to rely on dating sites and other social networking sites in order to pursue a serious relationship with the expectation of getting married at some point? As per the statistics, it doesn’t look like a really wise decision.

But everything is not as black and white, as 9.4% Americans among those who were surveyed met their life partner on online dating sites or other social media sites.

When you are pursuing a relationship in real life, there are responsibilities. They are not simply confined to sending texts. You learn to manage your own feelings and emotions while understanding another person. An argument or fight is generally resolved by having a discussion.

There is not much chance of ‘discussion’ online, as the reader cannot understand the context of the message you have sent, and they can misinterpret it in any way they want. It often leads to an escalation of conflicts which generally ends up with blocking the person.

16.67% men have ghosted to end a relationship.

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‘Blocking a person’ is an easy way out, as all it takes is just a click to throw someone out of your life. In this way, a relationship has lost its meaning in this quick-makeup-quick-breakup era.

5. Balance is the key – Manage offline life and online life together

It is important to not neglect the value of real life interactions, relationships and intimacy. There is no substitute for them. It is healthy to maintain some online links that can help you personally as well as professionally, but you cannot depend your entire life on these online alternatives.

10% UK citizens don’t have a close friend. It means that a person should start building more relationships in the real world. Try to find people with similar interests at parties, libraries, science clubs and other places you can visit. Make efforts to go out with them and have fun in real life. You can always rely on some of your online friends for emotional support, but nothing can beat a good hug and spoken words of encouragement.

Victoria Aveyard Writer

I see a world on the edge of a blade. Without balance, it will fall.

An average person spends around 2 hours 51 minutes online every day. This time can be used to learn a new language or instrument, exploring new places or doing social work. Some time can be spent on the internet, but it should not be at the cost of neglecting your personal development.

Conclusion

It is time to shut down your laptops and switch off your cell phones to step outside the world of virtual reality where everything is regulated by numbers.

You must learn to appreciate the world beyond the mundane pictures and updates. There is a lot to see and a lot to experience. But how many of us can say it boldly that we have seen and experienced everything and that’s why we are spending the rest of our time online?

The Internet has become an addiction.

It is no less than opium, heroin or cocaine. People cannot sustain without an internet connection anymore, and they need to stay connected 24/7 in order to feel alive—just like a drug user. It is time to give up our addiction and to embrace life as it is meant to be.

Spend some quality time with your loved ones, go out to a restaurant with friends, sit with your partner and have a long chat and then if there is some time left, open your internet browser gladly.

Are you ready to transform your life by stepping away from virtual reality?