12 Career Opportunities to Help You Pay it Forward

Humans helping humans

Service to humanity brings with it unmatched joy and fulfillment. If such is your calling and would like to earn from it, here is a list of just but some careers you can pursue to fulfill your passion.

Medicine

The work that doctors perform in society cannot go unnoticed. A lot depends on an individual/society’s health, and doctors are at the forefront of ensuring this. With four years of full-time study, you can obtain a bachelor’s degree, but this could stretch to eight years or more, depending on the level of skill you wish to obtain. 

Nursing

Perhaps the most important job in a healthcare facility is the one performed by nurses. Nurses are with patients the longest, from when they enter a facility, attend to patients round the clock, and see them off when they are discharged. A nursing degree can take two to four years, with a master’s degree required for specialist nursing services such as midwifery, which could take an additional two years.

Law Enforcement

Police officers ensure law and order is maintained in society, ensure the citizenry have a safe space to live in. They are at the forefront when people report break-ins in their property, theft, etc. To be qualified to enforce criminal law, an individual is required to undergo police academy training that takes about six months and have college certification.

Paramedicine

Think of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics as doctors-on-the-move, operating from an ambulance. They respond to health-related emergencies, and their job profile is extremely time-sensitive. They can provide basic life support services to more detailed treatment based on their certification level. Also included in this category are air evacuation paramedics who respond to emergencies using ambulance-equipped helicopters or planes. To be a skilled EMT, you’ll require only about 150 hours of training. Qualification for a paramedic takes about two to four years. Paramedics with at least three to five years of experience can qualify to be air ambulance after clocking 32 hours of specialized training.

Call Center Representative/ 911 Dispatcher

Call center reps respond to nerve-wracking situations, talking with distressed persons on the phone and dispatching the necessary assistance in terms of first responders, i.e., police officers, paramedics, and firefighters. Along with high school certification, to work on that end of 911, you need one-year training to become a skilled 911 dispatcher.

Firefighting

Theirs is a calling of courage, tasked to put out fire breakouts in residential, commercial, and industrial property. More importantly, they risk their lives to save those who may be trapped in the raging infernos. To work as a firefighter, you may need to be a certified EMT or paramedic. 

Law

Lawyers are central to the justice system, dedicating their lives to ensure the rule of law prevails, be it in court, or give clients advice where paperwork is involved. You can choose to pursue law subsets, such as property, family, criminal, labor, tax, immigration, etc. A lawyer will need to undergo four years of training to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Attorneys require at least seven years of training and practice to get certified, with their aides, such as paralegal officers, undergoing two years of study to obtain an associate degree, and four years for a bachelor’s degree.

Social Work

A social worker works with an individual or community in addressing issues that they face. These can range from caring for the vulnerable, community planning, crisis resolution, and engaging families. To qualify to do social work, you’ll need social work certification or certification in related disciplines, such as sociology or psychology. A master’s degree in social work will qualify you to be a licensed clinical social worker.

Psychopharmacology

A psychopharmacologist is a medical practitioner who uses brain-altering medication in treating patients, mostly those with mental disorders. These practitioners may include doctors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. The practice entails ongoing study to keep up with the dynamism of mental health. To obtain a Master of Science in Clinical Psychopharmacology, you will need a medical degree. The program can take two to four years to complete.

Acupuncture

This form of Traditional Chinese Medicine that uses needle insertion on the body has evolved from treating pain to managing stress. A Master of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine or a more specific advanced degree in acupuncture is required to practice in this field. The training duration is about four years.

Counseling

Counselors deal with the mental and emotional behaviors of individuals. They may or may not use the medication in treating patients. Certification in psychology or its equivalent is required to be able to practice in this field. A degree program can take two to three years, with a master’s program taking an additional two years to complete.

Teaching

Teachers play a significant role in molding learners in their careers and general lives. It is, arguably, one of the most respected professions for the impact it has on society. A high school diploma is sufficient to land a teaching assistant job, with a teacher requiring a bachelor’s degree to obtain a teaching license.

5 Budget-Friendly Tips for the Business Office

Small business office with desks, computers, and office equipment

Operating a business office can be stressful, primarily due to the expenses required. Besides the lease, the office requires furniture, hardware, and software products for the operation, all of which add up to even higher operation costs. To ensure that you keep the business profitable, you need to cut down some expenses and operate within the speculated budget.

To do this, you require a lot of financial discipline and insights into money management. Here are some budget-friendly tips for the business office.

Use Free and Open Source Software

Operating a business office requires software for essential office operations such as emailing, marketing, desktop publishing, database management, and asset management, among others. Purchasing office software is one of the expensive expenses on your office budget. Many companies have built free software packages for office use with advancements in technology on an open-source basis.

Examples include Pixlr instead of Adobe Photoshop or Google Sheets instead of Microsoft Excel. Open-source software is cheap or free, and if you choose wisely, they have high-quality work output. This is a great way to cut down your budget.

Buy Used Office Equipment 

Nearly every office needs equipment such as printers, desktops, and furniture. Buying these items new can be expensive, and purchasing them impacts your business office working budget extensively. To save on money spent, you can opt to purchase used equipment as an alternative to buying new office equipment. Look at the websites of reputable resellers such as XDigital to find used printers for sale and other essential supplies.

Use Cloud Computing 

Cloud computing services have grown over the past few years and have garnered popularity among the business community. They are more functional and cheaper in comparison to on-premise hosting. As a business office, consider using cloud computing to offer your services online or backup your business data as an alternative to on-premise hosting. The reasoning behind this is that cloud computing, with help up your security, offers faster service while still cutting down your operational costs.

Outsource Your Work

The internet has significantly contributed to the diversification of the working community. Before, you had to have all your employees in-house for your work to be done. One downside of this is the high costs incurred by paying the employees who, at times, do so little in a day. However, now it is easier to find an outsourcing company or freelancer willing to do the same job at lower pay. Besides, the work standards are high, not to add to the fast work turnabout time. You can consider outsourcing your office work to another company or freelancer to help you cut down on your budget. As a result, you won’t need a lot of office space, equipment, or software, which translates to low costs incurred during your business operations.

Learn to DIY your PR and Marketing

An operational business office requires constant marketing and public relations (PR) to reach and acquire new clients. Both PR and marketing require a lot of money to pay to PR and marketing firms. However, you can save money by learning PR and marketing tactics and use the acquired skills to market your business. You can use other advertising, public relations, and marketing skills such as using social media, email marketing, simple poster advertisements, or word of mouth to promote your business. Doing your PR and marketing requires creativity, and you need to think outside the box to gain clients. Over time, you will master the skill. It will help you save money, thereby increasing profit.

The above tips can help you create a cost reduction plan for your small business. Small expenses may not feel like a big deal, but it can add a rather significant impact on your cash flow when well utilized.

Financial Priorities.

First things first, apparently I’m a little late to the game, but I made a Facebook fan page last night for Punch Debt In The Face (See the new widget in the sidebar on the right?). I don’t really get why that’s better than my Facebook profile page, but for some reason people tell me it is. I also don’t know why likes are important on a page, but again, someone told me they were. Would you take a moment to head on over to my new fan page and gimme a little Likey Likey. If you do, I will…well… do absolutely nothing for you. Sorry, just being honest.

Alright, on to the content…

Do you have an income? Do you have expenses? If you answered yes to either of those questions, you darn well better have some financial priorities in place.

While there are a million different things we could talk about in regards to financial priorities, I want to focus on just one. Which comes first: investing or paying down debt? Hey, speaking of…

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Answer: Chuck Norris.

In all seriousness, I think financial priorities are something most of us think we have figured out, but don’t always truly understand. Today I’m going to show you why investing in your 401K is often a better option than paying down high interest credit card debt.

Let’s look at an example:

Jane, makes $50,000 year. She’s 30 years old and her employer fully matches 5% of any contributions she makes to her 401K plan. Jane also has $5,000 in credit card debt, at 15%. What should Jane do, pay down the card as quick as possible, or start building up a nice little nest egg for retirement?

A 15% APR, on a $5,000 balance, means Jane will be paying about $62/month in interest. If she made nothing, but minimum payments, it would take her a little over 22 years to pay that sucker off. She’d also pay $5,729 in interest over that time resulting in a total payment just shy of $11,000. Yikes, that $5,000 original bill became a whole lot more expensive. Better pay that sucker off ASAP, right?

Now let’s examine the investing route.

Jane would be investing $208/month in her 401K if she contributed 5%. Her employer matches that and gives her another $208. If she earned a doable 6% return on this money, and never got a raise in her life, she would end up retiring at age 67 with $683,030 in her 401K. Not bad at all.

If Jane decided to postpone contributing to her 401K, she could use that $208 to make accelerated debt payments each month. But let’s not forget, that 208 number is pretax, so in reality she’d have about $175 extra to throw at her credit card. With the additional payment, Jane will now be credit card debt free in 20 months and will have only paid about $673 in interest. Sounds a heck of a lot better than the 22 years it was going to take in the first example.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

Wanna know what Jane’s 401k would look like if she didn’t start investing until after she became CC debt free? She lost nearly two years of company matching and compound interest, resulting in $596,388 in her 401K. That’s $86,642 less then if she started investing at age 30.

Guys and girls, this point is SOOOO important it can not be overlooked. It is absolutely in Jane’s best interest to start investing in her companies 401K, even though she is not debt free. If she waits until she has her credit card paid off, she loses a crap load of money. I know this seems to go against the grain. Credit card debt is evil, don’t get me wrong, but that doesn’t mean it should always be at the top of our financial priorities.

Obviously, in a perfect world you will have enough discretionary income that you can not only contribute to your retirement, but also pay down your debt quickly. I always have been, and always will be a DEBT PUNCHER, but only when it is in your best interest.

Does your employer offer a 401K match? (I’d like as many people as possible to answer this question since I’ve heard a lot of the retirement benefits in the private sector have been getting cut left and right). Are you taking full advantage of that match? If not, you’re stupid. I’m sorry, you just are. You are literally giving up FREE money. In Jane’s situation would you go the way of Dave Ramsey and still pay down your credit card first, or would you let number’s guide you and start contributing to your retirement?

p.s. Like me on Facebook, I’m desperate 🙂

Retire early and withdraw from your 401k without penalty.

Remember that time I wrote a post about why I hate my Roth IRA and why I would probably never contribute to it ever again.

But then, like a week later, I wrote a follow-up post saying I still hate my Roth IRA, but I’ll probably keep contributing to it for the foreseeable future.

Or how about that time, a few weeks ago, when I wrote a post about having a ton of money available to me at retirement, maybe even too much?

But then my most recent post talked about how I was going to add even more to my retirement accounts, specifically my 401k.

 

This personal finance stuff can be confusing

What might sound good one week, may not be my cup of tea the following week.

With a government pension waiting for me on my 57th birthday, and social security kicking in shortly after, I’ve always just kind of resigned to the fact that I would work in to my late 50’s.

I mean, I’ll never make a huge salary in my line of work, so the idea of retiring early seemed like a foreign concept.

 

A Changed Perpective

But after reading J Money’s recent post on Early Retirement, and poking around with the spreadsheet he made, I found myself wanting to dig deeper.

According to J’s spreadsheet, if I change nothing about our spending (or saving) habits, I’m looking at being able to retire when I’m 45 years old. Check it…

early retire

Basically, the early retirement rule of thumb is you need to have 25 times annual expenses banked before you can retire.

Since our plan is to spend about $48,000 per year, we need $1.2 million stored away before I can call it quits. As soon as I hit that number, I can work my last day with reasonable certainty that I wont have to work ever again.

So the question remains, even if I had $1.2 million invested in my 401k right now, how could I possibly access those funds without paying the an IRS mandated 10% penalty for early withdrawal?

 

Introducing the IRS 72t withdrawal program. 

Without boring you to death, the 72t program allows an individual to withdraw an “equally substantial distribution” each year without paying a penalty.

Basically, if I have $1,200,000 in my retirement accounts by the time I turn 35 years old, I could take advantage of the 72t program and withdraw $56,420 from my 401k each year without paying a penalty.

There are, of course, a few catches to the 72t program. One of the most important being that you are required to continue making withdrawals until age 59 1/2 or for five years, whichever time period is longer. So no withdrawing some years, and not withdrawing others. It’s definitely a long term commitment for those that choose to retire early.

But hey, how bad can retiring early really be? 

Another big whopper for the program, is that if you modify your series of payments in any way, the 10% early distribution penalty is retroactively imposed on all money you’ve withdrawn. Ever. Yikes! That would be a very costly mistake.

Basically, once you pick an amount to withdraw each year (in this example $56,000), you have no wiggle room to withdraw any amount other than that from your 401k.

If you want to learn more about the 72t rule you can do so here

Some other things worth noting 

So far I’ve only been talking about withdrawals from my 401k, but as you all know, I’ve also been an avid contributor to my Roth IRA and most recently, a taxable investment account.

Having my retirement portfolio diversified across a number of avenues sweetens the pot. With the 72t rule and my example above, I was only allowed to take out $56,000 a year.

No more, no less. 

But what if I have Girl Ninja and I decide to buy a new car, or pay for Baby Ninja’s first year of college, or a potential future daughter’s wedding. Where is the money for those types of things going to come from?

My Roth IRA. Duh.

I’ll be able to use my Roth as a means to buffer any abnormal spending requirements. Because, as I’m sure you already know, Roth contributions can be withdrawn at any time.

Or in other words, I’d have about $75,000 of tax-free/penalty-free money accessible to me at any given time by my 35th birthday.

 

But wait there’s more. 

As you might recall from my post on Home Equity Lines of Credit, Girl Ninja and I have decided to stop keeping so much darn cash in the bank and begin throwing all our discretionary income in to our taxable investment account.

That’s right. Screw our savings account!

As our taxable investment account continues to grow, I can take advantage of all sorts of tax loop holes to to minimize my tax obligation on withdrawals, possibly even completely eliminating taxes altogether. Tax loss harvesting anyone? Or how about dividend investing? The loop hole list goes on and on.

Don’t believe it’s possible?

You’re wrong. Check out this inspirational blog post from a couple that paid NO TAXES in 2013.

 

It’s time you start drinking the kool-aid!

Like I said before, I’d always assumed early retirement was for two types of people.

Either the mega wealthy for obvious reasons.

Or

People like Mr Money Mustache, who live such a frugal lifestyle that they spend less than $25,000 per year. (editor’s note: Nothing wrong with the frugal and resourceful lifestyle, I personally am just not as interested in giving up my vehicle, moving to a cheaper cost of living area, growing my own food outback, etc. I’m lazy in that respect and am willing to pay the premium for it I suppose.)

Now that I’m digging deeper and getting in to some of the nitty gritty aspects of personal finance, my eyes are open to a whole new way of thinking. While I might not be retiring at 35 like the examples above, I could see 45, or maybe even 40 being a real possibility. And I don’t know about you, but that sounds a heck of a lot better than retiring at 57 like I’d always planned on.

 

P.S. I’m aware the future will obviously have some expensive seasons ahead (multiple children in high school, potential house projects, big family vacations, etc), but we will also have seasons of reduced expenses or greater income(paying off our mortgage, kids moving out and becoming self-sufficient, Girl Ninja going back to work, pension, social security, etc). 

How much does being ugly really cost?

Being ugly may not only be a detriment to your social life, but it could also greatly hinder your financial potential. There have been numerous studies indicating a correlation between beauty and professional success. And the verdict is…. hot people make more.

Don’t believe me? A study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, found that hotties-with-naughty-bodies make 5% more per hour than their average looking colleagues. Even worse, “unattractive” people were found to be making 8% less than average looking persons.

Not only do the attractive people make more money, but they also have a higher statistical shot at landing the job in the first place. Here’s a quote from a CNN article on the study…

After variables like education and experience are factored out, Fed researchers said the “beauty premium” exists across all occupations, and that jobs requiring more interpersonal contact have higher percentages of above-average-looking employees.

And here’s another snippet from a published study in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences…

When someone is viewed as attractive, they are often assumed to have a number of positive social traits and greater intelligence.

That means beautiful people (like Justin Bieber) are not just gorgeous, but also perceived as smarter. Now I know why so many people think I’m a geenyus. Haha, get it… “Geenyus”. It’s funny ’cause I spelled it wrong. Man I’m unBIEBERlievable (yeah, I got the Bieber Fever).

Don’t worry though. Even if you are beat-up-from-the-feet-up or tore-up-from-the-floor-up, you still may have a chance at earning a decent wage. That is if you are tall. A study by two professors at the University of Florida found that “tall” people earn a substantially higher wage than their shorter counterparts, with each inch providing $789/year more in income. So, I guess it’s true… size matters 😉

Moral of the story kiddos. Don’t be ugly and don’t be short. Otherwise, it could cost you some major moolah. If you’re not attractive, don’t worry. There is always plastic surgery. I mean remember how good Michael looked after all his plastic surgery…

Have you ever witnessed some beauty biased in the work place? Can any level of “equal employment policies” prevent beauty from becoming a professional factor? Who are some exceptions to the “beauty” rule (think Bill Gates, Jack Black, Amy Winehouse)?

I guess this is Goodbye.

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 10.54.16 PMIf it wasn’t entirely obvious, my blogging flame has finally flickered out. It’s been nearly six months since my last post and I’d be lying if I said I had a desire to write again. My season as a Personal Finance blogger has come to an end.

It’s been a wild ride and I’ve been fortunate to have many successes over my six year blogging career. Girl Ninja and I were flown to Chicago to appear on the Steve Harvey Show. I was featured in a print version of Reader’s Digest. Had a huge interview and feature on Forbes.com. And even won the “People’s Choice” award at the largest personal finance blogging conference in the world UNIVERSE, meaning a bunch of random people thought I was the best PF blogger alive!

Thanks for sticking around for so long. If you want to keep somewhat abreast (hahaha, I said breast) of my current life happenings, feel free to follow along on my latest hobby, furniture flipping. I started MidandMod.com (not so much a blog, but a showroom for my furniture, with an occasional random life thought), or on instagram at…

Midandmod (my furniture instagram)

or

B_patch (my real life, day-to-day, instagram)

Or you can always shoot me an email if you’d like to stay in touch ([email protected])

Also, Girl Ninja has another human/fetus/baby/thing inside of her, a Girl apparently. Due in May. Jury is still out on a name. Oddly enough Baby Ninja 1, Weston, was named by a random reader of this blog when I asked you all to help name him. Perhaps you have some gem of a name you’ve been saving that you wouldn’t mind us considering 🙂 If so drop it in the comments.

I’ll do my best to respond to any comments this post gets (within the two weeks before my anti-spam robot closes the comments section of this post), so feel free to ask any questions if you have them.

Oh, and our current Net Worth is like $420,000 (for those of you weirdo’s that would feel like you were left with a big cliff hanger if I didn’t do one last net worth update).

Well, I guess that’s all.

As the cliche saying goes…

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END. 

That end is here.

Adios,

Ninja

 

p.s. If you’re interested in buying my blog and the URL let me know.I guess I won’t have much use for it anymore. 

A tree fell on our house. 

No really a Giant tree crashed down on our house yesterday evening during a gnarly Seattle Storm. Check it…


  
Fudge.

Have a dozen or so holes in our roof and two busted skylights, but otherwise things seem to be in decent shape.

Now I get to go through the process of learning how a homeowners claim is handled.
Woof.