5 Tips to Get a Strong Financial Start in Your 20s

So you’ve graduated from your dream school and have a crisp diploma to show for all your hard work. Congratulations! Your job starts next week, and your parents are both excited (and sad) for you to leave home. You’re ready to take on the world. But you’re a bit worried, too. You have to “adult” now.

How are you ever going to make it? The reality now is likely that you’re young, broke, and in debt. But five or ten years down the road, this can be just a dot in the past. The good news is that you absolutely can survive — and thrive! — in these early years starting out on your own. The bad news is, it will be hard at times.

To help you get started on your journey, here are five tips to help you get a strong financial start in your 20s:

Start Budgeting
Creating and balancing a budget is the best way to watch where your money is going. It also helps you stop running out of money before your next paycheck. So don’t balk at the idea of a budget; it’s not hard at all.

Here’s a quick run-through on how to create your budget:
1: Write down your income. This includes money from your jobs and side gigs.
2: Write down your overall debt. Include credit card debt, car payments, and student loans.
3: Write down your monthly expenses. For costs like auto or life insurance, divide the annual amount by 12 to come up with how much you’ll need to set aside each month.
4: Subtract the non-negotiable items (rent, food, transportation, utilities).
5: Subtract minimum payments on each of your debts.
6. With what’s left over: First, make payments against your debts (highly advised!) and second, build a fund for important, but not urgent, expenses you’ll certainly encounter, like a new winter coat or a new phone.

At first, you might not have enough to fully fund all your categories. That’s when the sacrifices and juggling come in. Your hair-care budget might have to drop from $50 to $25; eating out might need to be eliminated. Cut out whatever nonessentials you carry to in order to help balance your budget.

It will take some time to get used to budgeting. But stick with it, revising budget categories as necessary, and before long you’ll probably feel like you got a pay raise. Use any extra money to pay down your debts as fast as possible.

Pay Yourself First
One day you’ll want to retire, and the best time to start saving is today. Make it a goal to save at least 15% of your income in a retirement account, like a 401(k) or a Roth IRA. Contribute one or two percent this month, then double it next month. Take baby steps to work your way up to the full 15% of your income. Then continue doing that for the rest of your career. As your income goes up, so does the amount you save. Invest in high-performing index funds for the next 40 years, and you could be a millionaire by the time you retire.

Live Frugally
Renting a small apartment is usually the cheapest and easiest route for most 20-somethings. Find a two or three-bedroom apartment and sublet the rooms to others to cut costs. Or, alternatively, find someone else who’s already doing this and move into their place.

For those who can’t wait to be a homeowner, consider house hacking. Buy a cheap, multi-unit home that needs some TLC, rent out a dumpster for tearing out the old, outdated carpet, refinish the floors, and update the paint scheme. Then fill up the extra rooms with well-vetted tenants whose rent pays your mortgage. If you do this with a few properties over the next few years, you could end up with a nice rental portfolio by the time you head into your 30s.

Build or Improve Your Credit
By now, you know your credit score plays a role in your ability to get an auto and home loan. It also determines the interest rate on your credit card balance. But did you know your insurance premiums and potential ability to rent (and sometimes even your hiring status) also depend on this three-digit number? It’s true. It has been found that there’s a correlation between a high score and one’s ability to be a responsible driver or tenant.

So follow these five tips to begin building and improving your credit:

1: Establish and maintain a long, strong credit history.Open a credit card now, use it wisely, and pay it off each month.
2: Pay your bills early or on time. Not only do late payments incur fees, but also, each one registers as a ding against your credit score.
3: Pay the minimum
4: Monthly payment if you can’t pay the whole amount.
5: Don’t max out your card. Your credit score is partially based on your debt-to-income ratio. Having too much debt compared against your income level isn’t good for your credit score.
6: Check your credit report regularly. There could be mistakes on your report, so request free credit reports from the three credit reporters each year. Take the necessary action to get any incorrect items removed.

Learn New Skills
Your education shouldn’t end the day you leave college. Learning a new skill can help you earn more in the workplace, get promoted, or take advantage of extra opportunities that others don’t get. Learning a foreign language could net you a high-paying expat assignment, and obtaining a hard-to-pass certification can lead to being promoted when the competition is strong. Here are some skills that might help you climb the career ladder:
1: Project management
2: Foreign language
3: CPR training or health- and safety-related courses
4: Computer coding
5: Leadership development
6: Certifications relevant to your industry

You probably know at least a few people who are five to ten years past college and still struggling to keep up with bills. Taking action on the above steps is the best way to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you. There are plenty of aspects of life that you can’t control — but usually way more that you can control. You owe it to your future self to get your financial life on the right track now, so the going will be easier later on.


An Introduction to Brand Building Through Social Media

Social media runs the world. And as a business owner, you can’t ignore this fact. If you want to build a strong brand, you should do it using Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media apps.

Don’t worry. You don’t have to hold a degree in digital marketing to develop a strategy that will work for your business. In this article, we will explain what steps you should take to build your brand and to retain high profits in the long run.

Step #1 – Analyze your current situation
If you want to develop an effective brand strategy, you should analyze different aspects of your business first. You should conduct research to find out whether your brand and your products are a good fit for social media. To do that, answer the following questions:
Are the products related to your niche represented on social media?
Do your closest competitors market their products on social media? Which platforms do they use the most?
After that, you should research your target audience and find the answers to a few more questions:
Do your customers use social media? Which platforms are their favorites?
How much time do your customers spend on each platform every day?
At what specific time of the day do your buyers use social media more actively?
What types of content related to your products (e.g., how-to videos, behind-the-scenes photos) engage the audience the most?
Once you collected all data necessary, you can decide what social media platforms to use, what type of content to create, and at what time of the day to publish new posts.

Step #2 – Create business profiles
The next step you should take is to create catchy business profiles. Here is a short guide for you.
Use your brand logo as a profile picture across all social media platforms. It will help you to create a consistent visual brand identity and make your brand logo recognizable.
Write an intriguing bio. Your bio may contain the motto of your brand, as well as the mission and vision of your company. Besides, bio may include a description of your products and shipment information. If you find it challenging to describe your brand, use may use writing services like Studious and GrabMyEssay or hire freelance writers via Upwork.
Come up with a unique branded hashtag and put it in the bio. Encourage your customers to use your hashtag and spread the word about your brand on social media.
Add essential contact information. Make it clear for social media users where and how they can buy your products.

Step #3 – Consider social media segmentation
In some cases, it’s not enough to have one business profile on a chosen social media. If you target a few specific groups of buyers, you have to walk the extra mile – segment your target audience and create two or more accounts.
Let’s say you sell two different groups of goods: men’s clothing and home decor items. To appeal to each specific group of buyers, you should create two separate Instagram profiles. In the first account, you will share men’s fashion tips. In the second account, you will publish interior design ideas.

Do you want to build an international brand? Then you should understand that your social media posts must be accessible not for native English speakers only.
For example, if most of your customers come from Japan and China, you should create two additional social media profiles specifically for these regions. Your content must be written in local languages, and it must resonate with the local audience.

Step #4 – Create content that adds value to your target audience
Now let’s talk about the quality of social media content.
If you want to build a strong brand, you should publish engaging, relevant, and useful posts on a regular basis. You should tell your followers more about your company, your key employees and founders. And also, you should discuss the values and principles your brand promotes.
“Brand building is not about using intrusive marketing to get short-term success. It’s about gaining trust and making lasting customer relationships in order to achieve long-term success,” explains Hilary Burns, a social media writer at SupremeDissertations.
It means you shouldn’t publish too many posts that market your products. Instead, you should share posts that provide valuable information to your customers.

Step #5 – Maintain brand consistency across all channels
To achieve the best results in brand building, you should keep the language and tone of voice consistent across all social media platforms. So before you start working on content production, you should decide what style and tone of voice you will use to engage your audience and present your brand in the most favorable light
Your tone of voice can be professional, educational, serious, friendly, conversational, entertaining, flirty, or even sassy. Your language can be simple and informal or industry-specific and formal. Besides, you should decide whether you will or will not use slang, internet acronyms, professional and scientific terms, and shortenings.
If it sounds like a tricky task for you, feel free to get professional assistance. You may hire freelance branding specialists at platforms like Fiverr and PeoplePerHour. Or, you may use brand writing services like WritingJudge and BestEssayEducation.

Step #6 – Interact with your customers on social media
The great news is that modern customers do like to interact with brands on social media. So once you create business accounts on social media apps, be ready to monitor the comments and direct messages.

For building a successful brand, you should answer all the messages, whether they are positive or negative ones. You should say “thank you” to your happy customers for choosing your products. And you should say “sorry” to your unsatisfied customers and try to fix the situation.

Wrapping up
Today, you have all the tools necessary to build a strong brand through social media. So nothing can hold you back from developing an effective branding strategy and bring it to life. Use this article as a guide, and you will avoid the mistakes that your competitors tend to make.

Dance with the Dunes in Dubai

If there is one thing that locals, residents, and tourists swear by in Dubai, then it is the desert safari. The desert is an important part of the city’s history; it is here where the Arabs first lived before they moved to the city. While you would hardly find any tribes living in the desert, the Arabs have not forgotten the dessert entirely. You can still experience the vast and mysterious desert with the desert safari. Apart from enjoying the beauty of the desert, the desert safari gives you the chance to have some adrenaline-rushing moments and a whole lot of fun too.

Desert Safari: Types
The first thing you need to consider the type of desert safari you want to go for. Dubai offers morning desert safari, evening desert safari and overnight desert safari. The morning desert safari involves only adventure activities, while the evening desert safari gives you the opportunity to indulge in both adventure and entertainment. Moreover, the overnight desert safari is an extension of the evening desert safari and gives you the chance to spend a night in the desert. Check out all the options and choose one that matches your requirements and interests.
What Happens at the Desert Safari?
As the evening desert safari is the most popular, we would talk about it in detail here.

Reaching the Desert
Most tour companies include transportation in the Dubai desert safari tours. A 4×4 vehicle would arrive at your residence or hotel to pick you up. After a 45 minutes drive, you would reach the outskirts of the city, where you would be able to treat your eyes to the endless desert areas.
Dune Bashing
Once you reach the desert, your driver would take a break to release some pressure from the tires of the vehicle. Then begins the most adventurous activity of the desert safari: dune bashing. Buckle up your seatbelts and hold onto your seats for a ride that is nothing less than a rollercoaster. While the desert safari is everyone, little children, pregnant women and people with heart ailments should avoid dune bashing.

At the Desert Camp
After your dune bashing session, you would be driven to the desert camp, where more fun activities await you. You would be welcomed with some drinks and refreshments. Stroll around the camp to check out some interesting activities like henna painting, holding a falcon on your arm and even dressing up in Arabic traditional dress.
Adventure Activities
Dune bashing is not the only adventurous thing that happens during the desert safari. On the other hand, there are several more exciting activities happening at the desert camp. Here, you get to ride a camel, try your balance with sandboarding and enjoy a fun ride on the quad bike. Some desert camps also offer a buggy ride on the dunes.

Gorgeous Sunset
While the activities at the desert are fun, do not miss one of the best things of the desert, i.e. the sunset. The setting sun disperses a golden hue on the sand dunes, giving it a gorgeous look. This is the perfect time to get some amazing photos clicked.

Dancing and Fun
As the sun sets and it gets dark, the desert camp comes alive with some wonderful performances. You would get to watch professional dancers dancing to the tunes of some striking Arabic music. You would get to see Tanoura dancing and belly dancing performances at the desert camp. Do not forget to try smoking a shisha or hookah while enjoying the dance performances.

BBQ Dinner
One of the highlights of a desert safari is undoubtedly the BBQ dinner. The buffet dinner includes the choicest dishes of both local and international cuisines. It has equal amounts of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes so that people with both food preferences can enjoy dinner at the desert.
After the desert, you would be taken back to your hotel or residence in the same SUV that you came in. There is no dune bashing at the end of the tour.

Tips for Desert Safari in Dubai
Wear comfortable cotton clothes for your desert safari.
Do not forget to wear your sunglasses and apply sunscreen to protect your skin.
Carry a jacket or stole, as it tends to get chillier in the desert after sunset.
It is best to wear open shoes or flipflops, as it is easier to clean if sand goes in.
Drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated.

Dubai desert safari is available at various budgets, starting from the most basic ones to the most lavish ones. You can choose ones as per your budget and other requirements.