5 Ways to Become a Financial Boss in 2014

stacking coins

Whenever a new year comes around, people inevitably end up reflecting on how things are going in their lives. If there’s one constant in all of this, it’s that financial issues tend to be at the center of concerns for those who set out to make big changes around the new year. Even those who are happy with their salaries tend to run into issues with money, and there are things that all of us can do to work towards improving our financial lives.

Feeling a little overwhelmed? You’re not alone. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to become a financial boss in 2014, with the following being just a few examples.

1. Make Sure You’re Being Paid What You’re Worth

The economy is certainly on the up-turn, but that’s not to say that everyone is making what they’re actually worth. This is especially true for those who are recent college grads, as entry-level positions aren’t exactly paying well these days. You’re a professional, though, and you know what you’re worth. Taking a low offer isn’t going to get you anywhere if you’re looking for a new job, nor is working for a poor salary at a job you’ve been at for years.

You owe it to yourself to make it clear what you’re worth, but just be sure you have the data to back things up. If you can make a good case for yourself, your professional career should never have to suffer.

2. Switch to a Roth IRA

When it comes to the types of accounts that you have at your disposal and which are your best options, it’s difficult to find a better candidate than the Roth IRA. Roth IRAs come along with the benefits of tax-free earnings, which can make a huge difference over a long enough period of time. What you agree when switching to a Roth IRA is paying any applicable taxes now, which is done in return for gaining tax-free earnings in the future. It’s a savings plan that people of all walks of life can benefit from if they utilize it properly, and making the switch is more than worth considering.

If you’re not well-versed on what switching will do for you, take a few moments to read more on why converting to a Roth IRA may be right for you.

3. Change Careers

One of the major reasons why people experience final stress is because they either don’t like their jobs or are simply not making enough money doing what they do. Changing careers can be a scary, sometimes dangerous move to make, but it can also be one of the best things you can do for yourself if you feel like it’s the right time. If the idea of moving on to something bigger and better appeals to you, it’s important to remember that career changes don’t happen overnight. You’ve got to keep your current job, all the while taking steps to break into what might be a completely different industry, depending upon your interests.

Put the right amount of work in, though, and you’ll find that there are few things more exciting in life than leaving behind a job you can’t stand.

4. Start Planning for Retirement

It’s not uncommon for those under the age of 30 to scoff at the idea of saving for retirement. After all, it’s decades away, right? Maybe so, but waiting too long to get the retirement ball rolling can have hugely adverse effects on your financial health years down the road. The simple fact of the matter is, the earlier you start planning and saving for retirement, the less issues you’ll run into once you reach retirement age. Investing as little as $100 per month into a 401K can be a great way to introduce yourself to the practice, and it’ll add up, too.

The most important thing is not to be scared of retirement planning. It might seem overwhelming, but it’s less confusing than you likely think.

5. Track Your Habits

Have you ever looked at your bank statements and asked yourself how you possibly could’ve spent so much money in a month’s time? It’s a common issue that results from a problem most people have to some extent – a lack of organization. Tracking your spending habits via an app or simple ledger is an essential aspect of understanding how and where you spend your money. Over time, you’ll learn to develop a keen eye for spending trends that you may have, which will allow you to cut back in certain areas to further tweak your budget.
Most online banking platforms will automatically sort your purchases into different categories, so be sure to look into how you might be able to take advantage of this feature.

Being a boss is about taking control. 2014 can be your year, so long as you put in the work.


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Hidden Netflix Gems: Michael Collins

“It’s Saturday night and you need something to watch. Never fear, Hidden Netflix Gems is a weekly feature designed to help you decide just what it should be, and all without having to scroll through endless pages of crap or even leave the house. Each choice will be available for streaming on Netflix Instant, and the link below will take you to its page on the site. Look for a new suggestion here every Saturday. 

This week’s Hidden Netflix Gem: “Michael Collins” (1996)

“Michael Collins” is a 1996 historical biopic starring Liam Neeson as the titular Irish revolutionary. Written and directed by Academy Award winner Neil Jordan, the film won the Golden Lion, the highest prize at the Venice Film Festival, and became the highest-grossing picture of all-time in Ireland upon its release. The high profile cast includes Alan Rickman (Éamon de Valera), Stephen Rea (Ned Broy), Brendan Gleeson (Liam Tobin), and Julia Roberts (Kitty Kiernan).

For those who don’t know, Michael Collins was an Irish revolutionary, military, and political leader who made the liberation of his homeland from its British colonial overlords his life’s work. In the now 90 years since his death (and well before it), his actions made him a folk hero, “The Big Fellah,” the single most important figure in the fight for Irish freedom. As such, “Michael Collins” begins with the following opening crawl:

At the turn of the century Britain was the foremost world power and the British Empire stretched over two-thirds of the globe.

Despite the extent of its power, its most troublesome colony had always been the one closest to it, Ireland.

For seven hundred years Britain’s rule over Ireland had been resisted by attempts at rebellion and revolution, all of which ended in failure.

Then, in 1916, a rebellion began, to be followed by a guerilla war which would change the nature of that rule forever.

The mastermind behind that war was Michael Collins.

His life and death defined the period in its triumph, terror and tragedy.

This is his story.

Although the film depicts historical events, it is first and foremost a character piece. As such, I don’t consider it a spoiler to discuss the real-life developments of nearly a hundred years ago (aka the film’s “plot”). Even still, I won’t get into too much of the nitty gritty.

“Michael Collins” depicts its main character as the heroic leader of the songs. All at once he’s a brilliant military strategist and leader of men, but unafraid of getting his hands dirty. He’s the brilliant public speaker, the ideological inventor of guerrilla warfare, and ultimately the pragmatic diplomat who signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty when he believed any further violence would be for naught but its own sake.

The IRA had been backed into a corner when the British unexpectedly called for a cease fire and offers were made to begin peace negotiations. Collins signed the aforementioned treaty, calling it “the best we can hope for at this moment in time.” The truce established an Irish Free State only nominally attached to the British government, but fell short of the independent republic the IRA had dreamed of and preserved the separation of Northern Ireland. Collins felt that the best method moving forward was further negotiations from the “inside,” with the hope that they could someday achieve those goals without further bloodshed.

Rickman’s de Valera is pitted against Collins to various degrees throughout the film, but never more so than in the treaty’s wake. His refusal to accept its terms led (indirectly) to the Irish Civil War, Collins’ assassination, and even the violence that continues to shake Northern Ireland to this day.

In 1966, de Valera, then the Irish president, was quoted as saying, “It is my considered opinion that in the fullness of time history will record the greatness of Michael Collins, and it will be recorded at my expense.” I don’t think even he could have predicted just how right he would be, and “Michael Collins” is a shining example. The film seems to both run with the idea by, as Roger Ebert put it, portraying Dev as “a weak, mannered, sniveling prima donna whose grandstanding led to decades of unnecessary bloodshed” and concede it as an inherent flaw by including the quote in the picture’s end. In the film, Dev is the Judas to Collins’ Christ, characterizing the former’s refusal to support the treaty as indirectly leading to the assassination of the latter, and perhaps even hinting that Dev knew the attempt on Collins’ life was coming.

But as Neil Jordan has pointed out, it wold be impossible to, in a mere two hours, portray an entirely accurate account of events to an audience that (for the most part) would know nothing of the minutiae of Irish history. That said, “Michael Collins” gets a lot more right than it gets wrong. At the end of the day, the fact remains that it is a movie first and a biography second. For the movie to be both commercially and artistically successful, it required a villain outside of the faceless evil of the British Empire. Thus the role of tangible, human antagonist fell into de Valera’s lap. And let’s face it, if there wasn’t a hint of truth in the idea, Dev would never have made that quote.

Sometimes the (near) truth is stranger or more exciting than fiction, and there are few better examples than the life of Michael Collins. Whether or not you’re a history buff, “Michael Collins” is satisfying film that combines biography, war, and political intrigue without getting too intense with any of them (although the romantic subplot can seem out of place). And hey, for once you can tell people you learned something from a film rife with explosions.

Check out the trailer below and follow the writer on Twitter @NateKreichman


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