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After the Breakup

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Ok, so most of us have been there…. the dreaded (and sometimes not so dreaded) breakup. For me, after the breakup is an essential part of a relationship – you can find out a lot about yourself in those next couple of days, weeks, months, and (unfortunately sometimes) years.

Now, how you handle a breakup can be dependent on what type of relationship you were in. For instance, with any relationship that lasted for a year or more and ended either abruptly or simply unresolved, you have the permission of the relationship gods to go a little crazy. This level of craziness, of course, is dependent on how long that relationship was and how much work and investment you’d put into in.

Here is an example. You were in a relationship for say, a year or two. Things were fine (not exactly romantic comedy fine but let’s be real – how many of them out there really are?) then he/she breaks it off and you’re left with unresolved feelings and heightened confusion. You are allowed, at most, three drunk calls/texts or even emails over a period of time, any more than that, and well, you’ll just come off as being needy, and no one really wants that. See, it is your right to be allowed those few spastic moments of letting things slip… you know it and he/she knows it, so feel free, and clamp down on the guilt that inevitably follows.

The next thing is to indulge. Indulge to your heart’s content. But never in sex or rebounds, no! Step away from that friend or ex who you occasionally have sex with, and do not start flirting up a storm with that guy/girl who you’d had your eye on for a while. That will do you no good.  The best thing for you to do is to deal with those unresolved feelings head on. You’re sad, be sad! Whether it is watching corny romance movies or obsessively listening to heartbreak albums like Adele’s 21 and Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill. The best thing you can do is deal. Even if it’s just talking to your friends over and over about the relationship and your feelings, then do it – a very important job of a friend is to lend an ear in these situations so take advantage. A true friend will always listen, even if all they want to do is just strangle you when you get annoying about it.

Another thing is to cry. Don’t be afraid to cry because you’re thinking he/she doesn’t deserve your tears. Let it out. One of the worst things that you could do is to not deal with those emotions and keep them bottled up. This behavior can lead to certain personality changes in your next relationship, and not in a good way, and you end up sabotaging what could possibly be a really good relationship. Also, do not hesitate to ask why things ended if you’re unclear. Knowing the issues of the past can mend those of the future.

So feel free to be angry, mopey, sad, depressed – hate the world if you must – as long as you deal with your feelings and not be ashamed of them. It may take some time, but it’s through time that we learn.

 

The Theory of Love

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Love – such a tricky thing. Where does it come from? Why do we experience it? And, is it really the root of all evil? Ok, maybe that last question is a bit off, but love does hold a certain kind of je ne sais quoi that makes it easy to theorize until we’re personally satisfied.

We all have our stories and different approaches when it comes to love. Some try to avoid it at all cost, many search for it with an almost obsessive passion, and others, well, they just leave it to fate.

Scientists suffice that the brain produces its own substances that are involved in bonding. That it’s thanks to certain chemicals and hormones that your heart swoops. According to science, there are a variety of different neurochemical processes and external stimuli that have to click in the right complex and the right sequence for someone to fall in love. Plausible… possibly… But one cannot help to think that the beauty of love is not just thanks to neurotransmitters and chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. That’s not very romantic now is it? And love is supposed to be this amazing, romantic thing, right?

That’s why many of us find it so easy to believe that we are destined to be with someone – that one mate for our soul. We meet, fall in love, and (for those who are a bit dreamy) live happily ever after. But is that really love? Is it really that beautiful romantic thing that so many of us crave to find with that one special person? Or, is it something of a more sinister nature? I mean, many have died because of love; and a heartbreak – oh a heartbreak can be the worst kind of pain. Still, we search – whether intentionally or not, we all have, at one point or another, been a slave to those four letters.

We cannot orchestrate falling in love with someone, either it’ll happen or it won’t. And many times we’re not even aware of that exact moment when it does happen. If you think you do, then you, my friend, are reaching because when you sit down and really think about it you will find that it’s not actually that exact instant when you fell in love that you remember, but it’s the epiphanic moment when you realized that it had, in fact, already happened.

Maybe its chemicals dancing up a storm in our brain, or maybe it’s a fateful connection on a soul level. Whatever it is, the bottom line remains – it’s called falling in love for a reason. Because once you’re in, baby, and I mean truly in, it can be one of the most heart-wrenching and agonising experiences to get out of. But, hey, don’t let that deter you from enjoying it when it does happen. Love, despite the pain and suffering that goes along with it, does hold the absolute best feeling you’ll ever have in this lifetime – especially when the person that you’re in love with loves you back with just as much passion, or more.

 

Think Twice Before Choosing a Financial Planner

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“A financial plan is a road map that helps you to accomplish your financial objectives,” says Damion Brown, investment strategist at Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) Limited.

The main element in a specific financial plan is a well-specified goal, he stated. Once that goal is established, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration.

PLANNING

You should clearly set out what the financial plan is supposed to achieve. For example, it is to provide funds for retirement or to eventually purchase a home.

RISK

The kinds of risks you are willing to take should also be considered. For example, if you were looking to retire, stocks would be the best financial option. The reason for this is because when plans cover a longer period of time, assets may fluctuate considerably in value but they are likely to provide good long-term returns. Investing in stocks is also more appropriate because you will have more time to recover from any near-term decline in value.

LIQUIDITY NEEDS

Liquidity needs, which speak to whether you may need to access your investments for spending over the life of your investment, will also determine the type of investments you choose.

TYPE OF ASSETS

Your willingness and ability to tolerate risks will also determine the kind of assets that are utilised in the financial plan. Assets that provide higher returns generally display greater fluctuation in value. If you have the necessary resources to absorb losses and are comfortable with fluctuations in the value of your investments, you may choose to acquire assets that are expected to provide high returns but which have a greater variability in the return they provide.

INSTITUTION

Choose one of the more established financial companies. You should consider financial planners that are registered with the Financial Services Commission (FSC) or that work for reputable entities regulated by the FSC or Bank of Jamaica. Appropriate regulations also allow you to feel comfortable that the financial planner is likely to be honest and operate in a structured and professional manner.

FINANCIAL PLANNER

The financial planner must be willing to listen to you and tailor an investment portfolio that meets the specific needs of the investor, and not just recommend a one-size-fits-all financial plan.

QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE

It is important for you to look at their qualifications and experience to ensure that the financial planner has suitable educational qualifications related to the investment field, or has suitable experience in the financial industry.

 

Financial Rules of Thumb

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Financial rules of thumb are designed to give you quick guidelines for managing your finances. However, you shouldn’t follow them without giving some thought to your personal circumstances.

It’s especially easy for young people to get into debt with the constant use of hire-purchase agreements and easy access to credit cards, according to Francine Richards, client relations officer at E.W Lewis Investments and Financial Limited.

“Once a person is employed, most financial institutions will give that person a credit card. These individuals see this as free money, therefore their money management starts to go downhill,” she said.

“Hire-purchase and credit card usage allow for the easiest forms of debt – therefore when it comes to hire purchases, it is best to save its use for major purchases, such as buying a car or a house,” she continued.

Richards also advised that instead of relying on hire-purchase, it is always best to save and purchase items by cash.

More common financial rules

Save 10 per cent of your gross income

While this will give you a good start, it is typically the minimum, not the maximum, which you should be saving. Determine how much you will need for your financial goals, and then decide how much to save every year.

Plan on spending 80 per cent of your pre-retirement income during retirement

This may work if you don’t plan on being very active during retirement, but more people expect retirement to include extensive travel and expensive hobbies. On the other hand, if you’ve paid off your mortgage and your children have finished college, you may need less than this. Review your individual situation and desires for retirement to determine how much you will need.

Set the percentage of stocks in your portfolio to 100 minus your age

With increased life expectancies, this can result in your portfolio being a too heavily weighted income investment. Set your asset allocation based on your risk tolerance and time horizon for investing. Even after retirement, stocks may comprise a significant portion of your portfolio.

Keep three to six months of income in an emergency fund

While an emergency fund is a good idea, how much to keep in that fund will depend on your circumstances. You may need a larger reserve if you are the sole wage earner in the family, work at a seasonal job, own your own company, or rely on commissions or bonuses. A smaller reserve may be required if you have more than one source of income, can borrow significant sums quickly, or carry insurance to cover many emergencies.

Pay no more than 20 per cent of your take-home pay toward short-term debt

Once considered a firm rule by lenders, you can obtain loans even if you exceed this amount. However, do not become complacent if you meet this rule of thumb, since a large percentage of your income is still going to pay debt. Try to reduce your debt, or at least reduce the interest rates on that debt.

Keep your mortgage or rent payment to no more than 30 per cent of your gross pay

While you can obtain a mortgage for more than that, staying within this rule will help ensure you have money to devote to other financial goals.

Obtain life insurance equal to six times your annual income

Different individuals require vastly different amounts of insurance, depending on whether one or both spouses work, whether minor children are part of the family, or whether insurance is being obtained for other needs, such as to fund a buy or sell agreement or to help pay estate taxes. Thus, you should determine your precise needs before purchasing insurance.

Note: Most financial rules of thumb should not be followed without first considering your individual circumstances.

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