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The 50/30/20 Budgeting Rule Explained

free worksheet. If you’re spending more than 50 percent on your needs, then look for areas to cut expenses or downsize your lifestyle. For instance, you could eat in (and make delicious coffee at home), maybe take public transportation to work or even choose a smaller home or more modest car. While these compromises might not be very fun, they’re necessary to make you fiscally healthier. Plus, they’ll pay off in the long run, which will feel really good.

Allocate 30 percent for wants. The best way to look at this category is to think of everything that is optional. It includes obvious choices like going to your favorite restaurant, joining a gym, buying that new techie gadget or a gorgeous new purse. Another way to frame wants are, for instance, choosing a more expensive entrée like lobster instead of a pasta dish, or buying a Mercedes instead of a no-nonsense Honda. That said, living a spartan life with no feel-good experiences isn’t realistic. We all have desires. But if you find you’re spending more than 30 percent on these things, a way to cut back is to plan ahead on splurging and do it less often. This way, treating yourself might feel better than it normally would.

Sock 20 percent away on savings. This category, of course, includes your savings account, as well as investment accounts like IRAs, mutual funds and stocks, which may or may not be part of your retirement. Besides saving money to pay for future bills, it’s also recommended to put away at least three months of expenses in an emergency fund, should you lose your job or have unexpected events occur. If you spend this allotment, start replenishing it as soon as you can. Other things that fall into savings are paying more on your debt instead of minimum payments because you’ll be reducing the principal and future interest you’ll owe; so in effect, you’re saving. While tucking funds away might seem impossible, once you get in the habit of it, you won’t miss it. And a few months down the road, when you take a look at the sum you’ve accumulated, you’ll most likely be super happy.

Admittedly, saving money and managing it is a challenge – you’re not alone. As of January 2022, the personal saving rate was 6.4%, down from 8.2% in December 2021. So take heart. If you’re saving anything at all, you should count that as a victory. You’ll be way ahead of the crowd. In the end, seeking a financial equilibrium and erring on the side of saving will contribute to a more abundant life in the long run.

Sources

https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/022916/what-502030-budget-rule.asp

The Rise in Ransomware Attacks and How to Keep Safe

CISA, FBI, NSA and International Partners, has called for every government, business and individual to be aware of this threat and take necessary action to avoid becoming victims.

President Joe Biden also continuously issues warnings to business leaders to strengthen their companies’ cyber defenses. The risks of cybersecurity are expected to increase with the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

On the other hand, there are efforts to reduce the threat scale by various groups. One such group is the Cyber Threat Intelligence League (CTI-League), made up of cybersecurity experts from different countries. They have helped take down malicious websites, detect vulnerabilities, collect and analyze different phishing messages, and assist law enforcement organizations in creating safer cyberspace.

Protecting Against Ransomware

Before a ransomware attack is fulfilled, there are detectable activities that can aid in mitigating an attack. In any case, the attackers target specific user behavior, unchanged default security configurations and common technology vulnerability. This means that ransomware attacks can be avoided. Some ways to keep safe from ransomware include:

  1. Timely patches – ensure to patch operating systems and other software immediately whenever a patch is released. Patching also should apply to cloud environments, including virtual machines, serverless applications and third-party libraries.
  2. Keep backups – it is impossible to fully protect an organization network as one user action may expose the network to attacks. Regularly backing up data is crucial. However, ensure that cloud backups are encrypted and can’t be deleted or altered. Also, always keep a backup version that is not accessible through the cloud to ensure business continuity in case of an attack.
  3. User training – users are considered the weakest link in the line of defense against cybersecurity. An attack can start with a seemingly legit email containing a link or an attachment that downloads malware to a device once clicked. Therefore, continuous user training and phishing exercises will help reinforce user responses to suspicious emails.
  4. Secure and monitor RDP – as more people adopt remote working, they rely on the remote desktop protocol to connect to office computers or colleagues. This has made RDP one of the most commonly used methods for attackers to gain access to a network. Therefore, businesses should use Network Level Authentication (NLA) and use unique and complex passwords for users to authenticate themselves before making a remote connection. Other ways include multifactor authentication, setting time limits to disconnect inactive RDP sessions automatically, and limiting login attempts.
  5. Use up-to-date antivirus software – this should be used to regularly scan the systems and scan files downloaded from the internet before they are opened.
  6. Network monitoring – use network monitoring tools and intrusion detection systems to look out for any suspicious activity.

The CISA, FBI, NSA and International Partners joint advisory discourages paying ransom to cybercriminals and recommends following the CISA ransom response checklist, and reporting to cybersecurity authorities such as the FBI, CISA or the U.S. Secret Service. System administrators should also follow incident response best practices that can aid in handling malicious activity.

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How to Manage Your Aging Parents’ Finances

The National Institute on Aging recommends that parents give advance written consent to designated family members so they can discuss personal matters with doctors, financial representatives and Medicare officials. If you don’t have this, you’ll be faced with some road blocks. If you open the dialogue now, you’ll circumvent obstacles, as well as get a better feel for what their future needs might be.

Watch for the signs. If you don’t see your parents often, and even if you do, the signs of when you need to step in might be a bit hard to detect. That said, there are some things to look for that will indicate that their needs are changing.

  • Unusual purchases. If you find out that your folks are buying things that don’t match their lifestyle, or entering lots of contests and sweepstakes, then it’s time to speak up. Behavior like this might get out of hand – or worse, they might be getting scammed. Older people are most vulnerable to the vultures out there. 
  • Stacks of unopened mail. Watch for this, as the letters might be unpaid bills and/or solicitations for sweepstakes. Both are problematic.
  • Complaining about money. If your folks seem to be always low on cash, or say “no” to activities that they usually enjoy, talk to them. They might need your help for a number of reasons, whether it’s reconciling accounts or remembering how to pay bills, or if they even paid them.
  • Physical setbacks. Fading vision can impede driving to the bank and arthritis can be painful while writing checks or typing on the keyboard. Whatever ailment your parents might suffer from, this could be a cue that they need your assistance.
  • Memory problems. This is somewhat self-explanatory, but specific things to look for are not knowing what day or year it is, or just forgetting things that your parents once always remembered.

Start slowly. Instead of charging in and announcing that you’re taking control, take baby steps. Maybe offer to write checks for them. Or offer to pay a bill or two. Gradual, gentle steps make them feel more at ease and comfortable with the new way of doing things.

Gather important documents. Things to collect are account numbers, credit card info, birth certificates, insurance policies, deeds and wills. Make sure they’re all current and up-to-date. Put them in a secure location so you’ll have easy access when you need them.

Consider power of attorney. This is key. Even if your parents don’t need your help at the moment, there will come a time when they will. There are several types of POA to consider: financial, medical or general decisions. Unlike written consent, this gives you legal authority to act on their behalf when they’re unable to.

Communicate what’s going on. Once you’ve started to manage your parents’ finances, keep your siblings, as well as theirs, in the loop. This way, if you’re unable to handle something, you can ask for backup support.

Keep your finances separate. It might be the easiest thing to do – mix your parents’ finances with yours – but in the long run, it’s not such a good idea. It can become a slippery slope. Granted, there may be times when your parents need a loan, but for the sake of clarity and personal record-keeping, it’s best not to jeopardize your own retirement and savings goals.

If you need more help, reach out to the National Alliance for Caregiving. As we all know, the circle of life is inevitable. But caring for your parents might be one of the most important things you’ll ever do – and chances are, you’ll want to get it right.

 

Sources

https://bettermoneyhabits.bankofamerica.com/en/saving-budgeting/aging-parents-finances

What Does the Metaverse Mean for Businesses

$1 trillion. Hence, the metaverse has a massive business opportunity, including advertising, demand for new hardware, virtual events, e-commerce, etc.

As an example of the readiness for companies to adopt metaverse, consider Nike. The brand has already taken steps into the metaverse by filing for trademark applications, indicating its intention to make and sell virtual branded sneakers and apparel.

Businesses will benefit differently from the metaverse. For instance, companies manufacturing computer chips and servers stand a good chance for a significant gain to their businesses. So will cloud service providers that will be vital for the metaverse virtual worlds.

Manufacturers also will use the metaverse to create digital models of their products using digital twins technology (a virtual representation of a physical object or process). This will help adjust manufacturing processes, carry out quality control, product demos, and simulate the supply chain.

Remote work that was highly adopted due to the recent pandemic will be enhanced by the metaverse. It will be possible to have co-working spaces and carry out virtual trainings and simulations.

It also will help promote physical businesses. By interacting with objects in 3D form, shoppers can try on clothes online, check out houses, cars, etc. The ability to shop virtually means that businesses can design brands to suit different customer needs and increase retail sales.

Such possibilities mean that marketers will need to research customer behavior and preferences in the virtual space. This will require businesses to set up metaverse teams if they want to remain competitive. This is especially necessary to reach customers where they spend their time.

On the downside, there are concerns about privacy issues and data harvesting – like any other technology. The decentralized characteristic of a true metaverse also means it will be challenging to regulate. Such cases introduce risks to businesses. Nevertheless, such risks have never stopped businesses from adopting new technologies.

Conclusion

Customer experience is vital in any business. For businesses to continue maintaining long-term relationships with customers, they may have to adapt and use virtual avatars to serve as customer service agents. Thus, businesses need to be more innovative to tie existing communication channels to the metaverse channel. They can do this by formulating an entry plan to the metaverse while ensuring a balance between opportunities and risks.