New Pew Study Reports Student Debt Repayments Needs to Be Easier

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Eighty percent of Americans want the federal government to make it easier to repay student loans.  

This statistic is from a new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts. It conducted a telephone poll this past August, interviewing more than 1,000 people about their opinions on student loans.

It’s important to note, the study only referred to federal student loans and not any additional personal loan or line of credit students may take out.

Many students searching out the answer to what is a personal line of credit know they may have to supplement student loans when their financing falls short. But Pew turns its spotlight away from these personal products to shine a light on the student debt crisis.

Now a record $1.6 trillion, the debt crises has gotten its fair share of ink at the nation’s biggest online news outlets — from the New York Times and the Washington Post to CBS News and CNN. It even hogs much of talking points in the 2020 Democratic debates unfolding this fall. 

And now, thanks to Pew, the average American can share their opinion, too. As it turns out, the country has a complicated relationship with student debt.

Repaying Loans is a Challenge

Although it’s possible to strike debt clean from your record, most people recognize it’s not the easiest thing to do. 

A whopping 89 percent of respondents said they agree borrowers have a hard time paying back their student loans. 

The average graduate owes roughly $30,000, which puts the average monthly payment of a standard repayment plan somewhere between $304 and $333

Picking away at debt in these sized installments means it will take you roughly 10 years to pay off what you owe. 

Of course, this $300 is on top of any personal line of credit payment, rent, and utilities you may have. 

A decade of balancing your books this way may be a hardship. And for some 7 million borrowers in default, it’s impossible. 

Student Loans Are a Drain on the Economy.

Pew reports 69 percent of respondents agree that borrowers who struggle to repay their debt have a greater impact on the economy. 

And they have good reason to believe this. 

More than 45 million people shoulder a collective $1.6 trillion debt load. This means nearly a little over 13 percent of the population share a significant financial burden. 

If they aren’t in default, they’re funneling a lot of each paycheck into their monthly repayments, along with other bills that keep their household running. 

Basic things like covering rent, a line of credit balance, and utilities become the priority

Less dire spending, like unnecessary yet fun services and products that help boost the economy, are put on the backburner. 

They’re also postponing major milestones that may have a greater impact on the economy later on. Unlike generations before them, millennials are waiting to start a family, putting off homeownership, and failing to save up for retirement. 

Federal Government Needs to Step Up

It may come as no surprise then that many of the those surveyed — or 58 percent — strongly agree the federal government needs to take action. They believe the government should make it easier to pay off student debt.

What Does Federal Action Look Like?

What the poll fails to make clear is how these survey participants expect the government to address this problem. 

Is it something like Bernie Sander’s plan to cancel all $1.6 trillion of debt by taxing the top 0.1 percent of Americans? 

Or is it something closer to Elizabeth Warren’s sliding scale of relief, which promises to forgive up to $50,000 of debt for those households earning less than $100,000?

Or perhaps, it involves much less progressive proposals, like Joe Biden’s bid for income-driven repayment plans or Julio Castro’s time-based forgiveness.

The answer to this question may have to wait until July 2020, when the Democratic Presidential Nominee takes the stage at the National Convention. 

And of course, let’s not forget the results of the November election, when the country chooses between another Trump government and a fresh start. 

While the Democrats debate canceling the debt, the GOP has moved in the other direction. During Trump’s presidency, his administration has loosened restrictions on loans, put sharp limits on repayment options, and ended loan subsidies and forgiveness programs. 

Next year proves a momentous year for the future of student loans and the economy. Time will tell how and if American concerns over the debt crisis will impact how they mark their ballots. 

However they vote, Pew proves that student loan debt and the repayment system weighs heavily on the minds of most Americans. If it does the same to yours, vote carefully. Find where the nearest polling station is to campus, and make sure you’re registered.

The Global Financial Market And The State Of PCI DSS Compliance

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Since the turn of the millennium, the internet and technology have ultimately revolutionized the way we live. AI, cloud, and big data are continuously disrupting all industries, forcing all businesses along the way to evolve or go home. The global financial market has not been left out.  It has experienced tremendous changes over the past two decades and is currently one of the most sophisticated industries.

For instance, gone are the days when consumers had to carry hard cash as they can now make payments using credit and debit cards. Now, the number of card payments done in a day has increased dramatically and is predicted to reach 60 million by the year 2026. Mobile banking is also at the heart of business operations, and similar to card payments has also changed the way of doing things. 

Even though there’s no denying these changes have simplified things, they also come with risks. For instance, with the convenience of card payments and mobile banking comes the risk of identity theft, which even though it affects both parties, tends to affect the consumers more.

What’s even more appalling is that all sorts of businesses, whether small or large, are at the risk of a security breach. Already, major companies such as Target and JPMorgan Chase have been victims. The good news, however, is that being PCI DSS Compliant can help businesses in the global financial market protect both business and consumer data.

What Is PCI DSS Compliance?

Contactless payments such as credit and debit cards are not a new thing. They have been in play since the late 90s. The only difference between today and then is that these payments have evolved to become better and easier. However, they present the same risks as back then, only that today, the risk is much higher. What does any of this have to do with PCI DSS Compliance?

Well, PCI DSS Compliance is a set of standards that were developed in 2004 to ensure that any business accepting electronic payments protects consumer data. In other words, they exist to ensure enterprises do their part in protecting consumers from the risks associated with data breaches such as identity theft and fraudulent activities. Even though it mostly protects the consumer, PCI DSS Compliance also safeguards the wellbeing of the business in several ways as shown below

  • Prevents Problems with the Authorities

As noted, PCI DSS is a set of policies that every business is expected to implement. Failure to do so results in penalties and fines. Thus being compliant protects businesses from such penalties.

  • Safeguards the Future of the Business

When transacting with an entity, every consumer wants to be assured that their information will be kept safe. So when a data breach occurs and customer data stolen, both current and potential clients lose confidence in the business. This, in turn, affects its continuity as customers are more likely to turn to its compliant competitors, forcing the latter to shut down.

Additionally, when a data breach occurs, the business in question is not only forced to pay hefty fines to the federal government but also the customers who decide to use it. A ruined reputation and substantial penalties are enough to force a business to call it quits.  

Thus, being compliant not only keeps penalties at bay but also safeguards the future of the entity by boosting consumer confidence hence ensuring continuity.

A Look At The State Of PCI DSS Compliance in The Global Financial Markets

As you can see, PCI DSS Compliance policies were created with the sole aim of protecting both the business and consumers from costly data breaches. Thus, you’d expect all entities accepting credit cards and mobile banking payments to do their part in being compliant. Surprisingly, this is not the case, and despite the rise in costly data breaches over the last decade, most firms are yet to be compliant.

According to a survey conducted by Verizon in 2016, only 55.4% of firms in the global financial markets are compliant. While on the one hand, this is a significant increase, on the other hand, it shows that almost half of enterprises are exposing their clients to the risk of identity theft by failing to comply. Some of the reasons behind this failure include

  • Inability or Failure to Segment Networks

The inability to isolate payment data from the rest of the company’s data is one of the main reasons why firms are still struggling with PCI DSS Compliance. For instance, in the case of Target’s data breach, hackers seamlessly accessed consumer data because the American retailer had not segmented its network.

  • Using Basic Configurations.

Most organizations often use basic configurations. According to Verizon, approximately 48.9% of organizations use vendor-supplied passwords instead of creating stronger and tough to hack system passwords and logins. This automatically means failure to comply with the demands of PCI DSS requirement 2.

Other Reasons Behind PCI DSS Compliance Failure

  • Avoiding or being complacent about data encryption
  • Slacking on reporting
  • Failure to invest in more secure network architecture

What Can You Do?

If you own a business and accept card payments, then you’re part of the global financial market. Hence, it’s your role to ensure your consumers are protected through PCI DSS compliance. However, implementing all PCI DSS policies can be hard, which is why most businesses fail in the first place. You can, however, save yourself the trouble by allowing an experienced PCI DSS vendor to handle the process. Therefore, be sure to check us out for more information!

Ecommerce has taken women’s fashion to unprecedented heights

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The fashion industry has enjoyed a significantly prominent rise over the years, most recently being transformed in the wake of digitalisation and technological advancement. And at the forefront of that revitalisation, has been the impact on women’s fashion specifically. While it is true that women’s fashion has always enjoyed a significant scope of attention around the world, the introduction of the worldwide web, and subsequently, ecommerce (the single largest market for everything – including women’s fashion, of course), has changed it all from the ground up. Fashion is an ancient industry by this point, but the introduction and ongoing advancement of ecommerce has introduced an entirely new frontier in women’s fashion (and the entire fashion industry in general, for that matter), that has taken it to all-new and unprecedented global heights. And what is more, is that this is just the beginning; from here on out, there is more and more to come, and it all points to a stronger industry going into the future.

Ecommerce is essentially a backing for consumer-driven marketplaces that plans the globe and is recognised and accessed through the worldwide web. Here, the consumer-driven marketplace never stops moving and transforming. Today, this is where the clear majority of women’s fashion purchases are made, as well as practically every other type of consumer-driven purchase there is in the modern world. Women’s fashion has only gotten bigger, better, bolder, and sturdier in both design and quality, and the rise of ecommerce has given a platform for those fashion brands and labels to be given exposure and be bought by eager consumers on a bigger, better, bolder, and sturdier platform. Through ecommerce, women now have a 24/7 front-row seat to the latest and greatest fashion shows around the world, as well as constant access to not only the storefront window to a specific product page (the landing page of the website), but the entire store in its entirety (the entire website). And we are all hooked.

Boasting every women’s fashion staple there is, from a large selection of rave shoes, to a widespread choice of lingerie, and every fashion item there is, ecommerce is the consumer platform that women – and the rest of the world, for that matter – have been calling out for, for years. Since its introduction a few years ago, ecommerce has made women’s fashion an even more globally inclusive and successful innovation – a feat that is not only impressive, but ultimately quite awe-inspiring, considering the incredible depth of success that the women’s fashion sector achieved before ecommerce became a mainstream sensation all over the world. Today, thanks to ecommerce, women’s fashion is not only bolder, but more readily available – and that is a facet of fashion that is worth backing, through and through. More to the point, it is also an innovation in fashion that people are becoming exceedingly obsessed with, if you can believe it (and you should be able to).

Ecommerce seems life-changing because it is… but what is truly the most exciting thing of all, is that it is only just now getting started. The best is yet to come when it comes to ecommerce advancement and ongoing expansion, and the whole of the modern world is waiting in eager anticipation to see what rabbit ecommerce pulls out of the hat next. Women today are busier than they have ever been (as are men – this is beginning of the digital era, after all), and having a platform like ecommerce where they can obtain the latest and greatest fashions with a few clicks of a button, is entirely transformative. It boasts the beginning of a new frontier in women’s fashion that is more convenient, more efficient, more exciting, and more reliable. Put simply, ecommerce is the backing for women’s fashion that is set to entirely transform the way that women become aware of, buy into, and sell their own fashions. The world is changing, and so is women’s fashion.

Fashion has now reached the point that it is practically an ancient industry. And women’s fashion specifically, has enjoyed a rather infamous rise over the years. However, now it reaches its most pivotal point yet, and that point rests on the introduction and ongoing advancement of ecommerce (i.e. the world’s largest virtual consumer-driven marketplace). For women’s fashion, ecommerce has taken an industry that, quite honestly, seemed to have hit its peak, and has somehow allowed and encouraged it to expand further and further, to the point that this is a whole new world for women’s fashion. Thanks to ecommerce, women’s fashion is a sector of fashion that has not only grown exponentially, but has somehow managed to attract the attention and consumer loyalty of women around the world, to the point that they are buying more than ever. And we love it. We are hooked. And better yet? The best is yet to come. Ecommerce is nowhere near finished growing, and neither has women’s fashion in that marketplace (or in general, for that matter). 

 

Rise in demand for economics careers leads to surge of interest in economics education

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When it comes to having an adequate handle on the role that education has on one’s future, it is fair to say that the modern world has become all too familiar with the sheer importance of the role that education plays in life as they continue to grow older and wiser. For some people, the compulsory years of education (if they are lucky enough to have access to even that) are enough for them to realise that further self-imposed education is not necessary for their trajectory going forward, but for others, higher education is a further step they feel they need to take. To fulfil their potential in their chosen career trajectories, many students take on higher education to better equip themselves for their careers after graduation. As higher education becomes more and more common an avenue, there are certain fields in higher education that also inevitably become more appealing to students all the time. And believe it or not, economics education is one of the highest ongoing surging fields of academics there is right now.

The nature of economics centres around, of course, the economic state of the world and all its contributing pieces. That is, economics is essentially the study of society and its utilisation of limited resources. This is an important field of academics because it takes into account the continuous growth of the modern world, and everything that world has to offer. There is something to be said about the power of economic growth, and having dedicated and hard working professionals working in economics means that there is a much more significant chance of that growth continuing to flourish and thrive, rather than hit a brick wall and concede. The economic state of the world around us is crucial to our longevity and success as we continue to grow and move. And economics education is at the core of having a strong and united frontier of professionals working towards preserving and ensuring a future that boasts the same as we continue to evolve and progress.

With a higher demand for professionals in economics than ever before, it comes as little to no surprise that economics education is surging as an academic field of interest the world over. After all, this is a field of academics that fundamentally relies on knowledge of not only the way the current world works, but how it has come to be, and how that all factors into economic stature moving forward. There is certainly an element of grandeur that goes hand in hand with economic growth, and that grandeur can be altered or entirely torn down to its most basic foundations if there is not adequate work towards ensuring that very thing does not happen. Economics education is important, but it is also challenging. There are a lot of layers to unpack when it comes to economics, and studying the field definitely makes those layers easier to unpack, but not entirely without hard work and the willingness to overcome challenges that pop up along the way.

Challenges are always interesting to navigate and find one’s way over, but in the landscape of economics and economics education, the challenges that arise have a genuine and lasting impact on the real world and the way it impacts people and society as we head into the future. So, it never hurts to have a little assistance in breaking down the barriers. Investing in the professional assistance of JC economics tuition can (and often does) mean the difference between barely scraping through, and excelling in the field. The exceptionally high demands of economics education mean that students are often having to work double time to fill in the blanks and remind themselves of the ongoing investigations into its reaches. At the end of the day, the power in economics education lies in its ability to adequately prepare students for the challenge of dealing with economics as their career field, for the rest of their lives.

In this modern world that we currently live in and navigate our way through, it goes without saying that we are immersed in and surrounded by career fields and modern innovations that rely on the importance of even just basic education to get from point A to point B. While some people choose to take a different path after compulsory education years, others make use of the availability of higher education by continuing to build up their foundations more and more. One of the most popular branches of education the world over is that of economics education. Largely due to the fact that economics professionals are in high demand the world over right now, economics education continues to make a name for itself as a surging field of academics. The more that the modern world becomes hinged in further advancement, the more important it becomes to have professionals in the field to have an adequate handle on economic stature both now and going into the future. It is a field that just keeps on blooming, and is almost certain to going forward.

Does Australia Have The Best Student Loan Repayment Program In The World?

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Earlier this month, the Australian Government announced drastic changes to its Hecs (Higher Education Contribution Scheme) repayment scheme that has some Aussie graduates quaking in their boots. The changes will see the repayment threshold dropped by a whopping 11 per cent, meaning any Australian graduate – or current student – earning over $45,881 a year will need to begin paying back their university debt, effective immediately. To add salt to the wound, fee-fleeing students seeking to evade the repayment scheme will now be ‘chased’ overseas, with new laws in place allowing the Australian Tax Office to pursue those debts overseas. The new rules apply not only to Hecs debt but also to Vocational Education & Training student loan (VSL) and Trade Support Loan (TSL) debts. As a university graduate who hasn’t paid a cent of her Hecs debt and who lives overseas, I am not unaware of the ramifications the new changes will have on my and Australia’s future graduates’ professional lives. Will it force students who until now might have breezed through university life – playing sports, drinking, earning a buck or two through cheap essay writing services or working at the local supermarket – to sit up and take their financial obligations more seriously? Or will it quite simply deter high school students from considering a higher education, as is increasingly becoming the case in countries with more burdensome repayment schemes, like the United States.

Until now, Aussie students have enjoyed a relatively stress-free repayment scheme. Two years ago, the repayment threshold was $56,000, and in 2018 it was lowered again to $52,000. Today the repayment amount is capped at $135,000 a year, with those earning this figure or above only required to pay 10 per cent of their earnings annually, and repayment amounts for those earning around $75,000 equated to just $3,375 a year or $65 a week. Still not bad, eh?

It’s no wonder the Tax Office is kicking itself into gear at last – Australia is renowned for running one of the most generous student loan programs in the world. Premised on an income-contingent loan approach which saves people earning lower salaries from needing to begin repayments, in cases of extreme financial hardship Australia’s scheme allows the deferment of repayment obligations altogether and at the same time saves students from accruing any interest on repayments. While it can’t quite compete with its Nordic counterparts, which charge little or no tuition fees in countries such as Sweden, Finland and Norway, Australia’s higher education repayment scheme ranks among the most generous in the world.

It trumps the United States by a long shot, where concerns about the rising cost of higher education and the $1.4 trillion stacked up in student debt across the country have garnered global attention. Earlier this week, Californian Senator Kamala Harris unveiled a proposed program for student loan debt forgiveness which would forgive debts for Pell Grant recipients in particular who start a business that “operates for three years in disadvantaged communities”. Could it pave the way for a more humane and understanding approach to the handling of student loans across the country? Let’s hope so because enough is, quite frankly, enough. We can’t have an entire generation of starters under financial distress before they have even begun because of the inability of the U.S. government and its educational institutions to balance a budget. That being said, we have seen multiple attempts by the government to address the student debt crisis: a $1.6 trillion plan recently announced by Bernie Sanders to forgive all student loans, a $640 billion loan forgiveness scheme for public school teachers, the list goes on…

In fact there already exists a loan repayment program in the States that forgives the student debt of those who can prove a decade of service working in government or nonprofit jobs. But the public service loan program, which was signed into law by President Bush in 2007, has to date been a whopping failure. In the 18 months following the signing of this bill, 99.3 per cent of those U.S. citizens who applied for the benefit were rejected. Wait… what?

We all look to Sweden for answers, since it is often regarded as boasting one of the best student loan repayment schemes in the world. But its students actually end up borrowing money for college just as often as those in the States, graduating with around $20,000 in debt on average. It is in Germany, where the expected cost of an undergraduate degree is a mere $2,160, where we arguably see the best model for higher education. But does it teach its students the right values? That of obligation, financial responsibility and the ability to budget? Your guess is as good as mine. 

Perhaps no country has developed the right model yet. Perhaps things need to get worse before they get better. Whatever the case, I just hope Australia figures it all out before my own kids are enrolling at university and that we never find ourselves experiencing a crisis as crippling as the student debt crisis in the U.S. 

How Crypto Currency is Changing FinTech

bitcoin-blockchain-jpmorgan-cryptoIn recent years, Financial Technology Companies have disrupted the traditionally slow and cumbersome financial system. From innovative money transfer processes to the increasing prevalence of mobile phone payments; FinTech companies have revolutionized how we handle financial transactions. This is why $11.8 Billion was invested in FinTech companies in 2018 alone. 

In the same breath, cryptocurrencies and blockchain have also had a profound effect on the FinTech sector. In particular, cryptocurrencies have disrupted how people transfer funds, make purchases and raise money. This means that blockchain technologies have profoundly influenced the FinTech sector, and you can expect to see new trends arising from this space soon. For example, commercial banks, credit card companies, and loan providers are adjusting their business models to adapt to the new wave of cryptocurrencies.

But how exactly is blockchain changing the FinTech sector? Read on to find out.

Using cryptocurrencies in daily bank transactions 

Many commercial and central banks are exploring the possibility of introducing their own cryptocurrencies into the blockchain system. Owing to the success of BitCoin, banks can see the benefits of having a stable, non-influenced, and secure cryptocurrency in the market. Indeed, cryptocurrencies are cheaper to manage, have lower transaction costs, and result in more streamlined transactions. Furthermore, these currencies will give financial institutions full control over their monetary policies and financial regulation practices.  

Recently, JPMorgan launched a new cryptocurrency called the JPM Coin. It’s intended to settle payments instantaneously between clients in a low cost, secure, and efficient manner. As more banks continue to explore cryptocurrency options, users can expect to spend less on banking transactions while having more access to FinTech services. The distributed ledger system of cryptocurrencies also makes it easier for people without bank accounts to access financial services using alternative channels (such as mobile phones). 

Verifying the identity of persons

Every year, FinTech companies spend millions of dollars on developing systems that can detect and prevent fraud. Top of the list is identity theft and money laundering, where people still manage to bypass security frameworks and infiltrate loan, investment, and other sensitive financial transactions.

The good news is that cryptocurrencies can be used to enhance transaction security by verifying a person’s identity. Indeed, cryptocurrencies that use a distributed ledger provide a detailed trail of how transactions occurred during a specific period. Any party cannot modify this distributed ledger, and thus will provide evidence of the identity, background, and nature of each transaction.   

Using cryptocurrency for efficient money transfer

A large portion of the FinTech sector is devoted to making money transfer more efficient across the world. By using cryptocurrencies, cross border payments can be streamlined to become cheaper, faster, and safer. Current money transfer processes are bogged down by physical currencies, cumbersome bank procedures, and complex exchange rates. 

By using cryptocurrencies as the primary means of money transfer, financial institutions will be able to save on costs while moving funds more efficiently. 

Increasing the availability of credit 

Just when the financial sector is choking up loans and the smooth flow of credit, cryptocurrencies are increasing accessibility to loans and other similar services. Blockchain technology makes it easier and cheaper for financial institutions to avail credit to customers at competitive rates.

How so? First off, a distributed ledger makes borrowing and repayment more secure. This reduces the prevalence of fraud, and financial institutions are more likely to get their money back (plus interest) after extending credit to a customer. And because the entire process is streamlined and efficient due to cryptocurrencies, banks and other creditors will have an easier time expanding their loan portfolios. 

Shifting payments to mobile phone platforms

Accessibility to FinTech services has long been a challenge for millions of people around the world. Cryptocurrencies are making access to digital payments, money transfer, banking, and other similar services more accessible. By bringing FinTech to mobile phones, cryptocurrencies can be used to pay bills, transfer money, access loans, and even purchase insurance. All these transactions can be done safely- thanks to the distributed ledger.

The accessibility of FinTech on mobile phones is also made possible via cryptocurrencies. This is because users don’t need to own a bank account, carry around physical notes/coins, or go to a specific location (such as an ATM) whenever they need to make a financial transaction.  

SOX compliance and cryptocurrency

As cryptocurrencies continue to disrupt the FinTech industry, the need for regulation and monitoring is at an all-time high. Indeed, financial transactions involving cryptocurrencies will need to be checked for compliance with SOX reporting standards.

SOX was initially implemented to control how financial reporting is done, especially with regards to assets, expenses, auditing, and management oversight. With cryptocurrencies and blockchain becoming more prominent, FinTech companies will need to develop a compliance model that falls in line with accounting and auditing best practices- particularly when it comes to recording crypto currency-related transactions.   

The worldwide web and its impact on economic growth

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Not unlike practically every innovation the world has experienced, the technological advancements that we are seeing come to vivid life every single day are proof that we have become positively obsessed with our own progression as a species. As this realisation dawns on the world, it becomes exceedingly obvious that the introduction and constantly ongoing advancement of a technological innovation like the worldwide web is ever-exciting. In fact, if technologies are the prominent force in a surging new era, then the internet is the most powerful technological advancement the world has ever seen. Even so, the nagging question that refuses to budge, to back down, is how much impact the internet has truly had on economic growth throughout its relatively short existence thus far. While there have been some concerns surrounding the genuine impact the worldwide web has on economic growth, the reality is that the internet has had one of the most profound (if not the most profound) impacts on the economy and its evolution. But how?

The internet’s influence on global economic growth has been steady since the dawn of its inception, having recently kicked into high gear to establish a stronger standing point. Thanks to the internet, there is a whole new world of opportunities out there awaiting to be brought to thriving life. The internet has had an astounding impact on the evolution of our recent history. The internet has changed the way we work, socialise, create, share information and important data, organise, and travel. Practically every facet of life as we know it has been, without a doubt, fundamentally and profoundly transformed by the rise and continuous growth of the internet, and the economy is no exception. The worldwide web was a technological innovation that was special, right from the very first moment of its introduction to the world. At the initial time of its first steps in the world, it was thought by many that the internet would be but a passing phase, with no lasting impact or ability to move beyond the reputation of a niche concept.

This preconceived notion was quickly and swiftly proven definitively wrong. The internet gave the world a very real sense of instantaneous global connection that has opened doorways and windows to new possibilities, not only professionally but personally as well. The internet has opened a whole new can of worms for economic growth. Thanks to the rise of the internet, there is an entirely new frontier in the world of business. As consumer interest becomes exceedingly focused on the online market created by the internet, businesses are expanding at unprecedented rates. This has created more jobs, giving the economy a solid boost when it comes to professional progression and a healthy economy as far as financial standing and career evolution goes. More and more people are going to work driven to succeed by their passion for said work, and the internet has made it possible for practically any individual to have access to any career trajectory, so long as they are willing to do the work to get there.

Additionally, the internet is the single largest advertising platform and strategy. From the marketing tactics to steer users towards the best and most easily accessible local cables, to entire empires advertising their entire companies online, the internet has given businesses the world over an equal platform that spans the globe. This type of unstoppable worldwide exposure gives businesses the chance to drawn in more consumers – something that, prior to the internet, was not nearly as easily achieved. Economic growth has been given a significant (and ongoing, for that matter) boost, thanks to the internet giving businesses and consumers alike a global opportunity and platform to definitively lean into their respective positions in the marketplace; consumers, as the eager buyers, and businesses, as the exhilarating and rousing bridges for both the creation of more jobs and the more global platform for connectivity and engagement (both key contributing factors towards a stronger economic future). Through the internet, everything from medical discoveries to the latest event in one’s social circle, can be (and often is) executed largely online, making us more connected and capable than ever – a strong positive for the continuous growth of the global economy moving forward.

Of all the technological innovations that have had a significant impact on the world, the internet is arguably the most influential of them all. Hailed as the leading global technological innovation, the internet has proven its value time and again – and continues to do so with every passing day. Just as every innovation to roll out into the world’s eyesight, the internet has not come without its challenges, but even in the face of these challenges the internet has continued to go from strength to strength, changing the world – and improving economic growth in the process – from the inside out. There is quite a lot to be said about the immense power the internet holds, and all that it makes possible, and that is that global economic growth and ongoing evolution would not be nearly as fruitful as it is today, thanks in no small part to the internet. We have only just scratched the surface with what the internet can do for economic growth, but even so, the promise is exhilarating and thrilling.

New Construction Homes Are a Good Bet in the Recovering Housing Market, but Buyers Should Remain Vigilant

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Over a decade after the housing crash in 2008, the economy is finally recovering, but some sectors are recovering faster than others. People still need houses, but renting, leasing, and remodeling still remain far popular than construction of new properties. New property construction has been notoriously slow to recover, tanking more than 80 percentage points in the 2008 crash and eleven years later still sitting at less than half of its pre-crash level. Despite sounding like grim news, this kind of economic outlook can be good news for prospective buyers with some spare cash to invest in a higher-quality, more bespoke real estate opportunity. Low demand for new construction brings prices down and creates a buyer’s market. This is true in much of the real estate sector, but there are many advantages to ordering a new construction rather than buying an existing house.

There are still many so-called cookie-cutter homes on the market, especially in the suburbs, and some types, especially the higher-end ‘McMansions,’ are especially reviled. Because of the economic incentives driving construction of these suburban homes, construction quality is characteristically shabby, and both interior and exterior designs can become dated very quickly, leading to disappointing resale value or a second investment in remodeling in order to drive up the value of the house, which can potentially lead to headache-inducing struggles with local homeowners’ associations.

The easiest way to avoid issues such as this is simply to build a new property, allowing the buyer much more control over the design and construction quality of the finished product. However, when ordering construction of a new home, buyers must be more proactive and vigilant than when simply purchasing or mortgaging an existing home, and cutting too many corners or failing to consult an expert – or even a magazine – on trends in home design can lead to the same issues discussed above.

When deciding on the layout or type of home for a new property, there are several options, some good, and some bad. Split level home designs were once very popular and since then have significantly declined in popularity and desirability, but it’s likely that these types of homes will make a comeback as they allow for increased house volume with a smaller footprint, meaning you can fit more house into a smaller building lot. This will certainly be attractive to those looking to avoid breaking the bank while maintaining investment in an appreciating asset, and if housing prices continue to outpace wages, there should be no problem finding a buyer for the property in the future for the same reasons.

Once a plan has been decided on and construction has begun, the homeowner’s job has still only begun. Some even argue that the most important step occurs before construction has even begun. That’s the time when the buyer should be doing research on construction companies and crews, building relationships with potential contractors, and finding out what needs to be done and how for the design that they want. Two of the most important points stressed by experts in this field are getting to know the contractors and establishing expectations or guidelines for walkabouts or even inspections during the construction process. An experienced and reputable construction crew will have no issues with their client coming in to take a look at their work, and if they are skilled, they will likely take pride in showing off their work and explaining what they’re doing, as it can help to bolster their reputation through word of mouth and strong relationships with their clients. On the other hand, a crew that’s reluctant to provide transparency during the construction phase should be a red flag for the buyer. It’s also okay and even recommended to involve an inspector, as they can provide a keener and more experienced eye than the homeowner. That being said, it’s not a good idea to be overbearing. Construction is a difficult and demanding job, and occasionally dangerous for inexperienced observers wandering onto the building site. That’s why communication is key; the buyer should agree beforehand with the builder about how often and at what times or stages of construction it’s appropriate for them to visit.

Buyers of newly constructed homes generally have positive experiences. There is always the potential that things might go wrong, but the benefits greatly outweigh the risks. The most pressing complaints about life in these new homes is generally something like having to re-paint a few walls, or regretting putting in hardwood floors. But in spite of the possibility for missteps, there has never been a better time to build a new house. It may require a more proactive approach and significantly more involvement in the process than simply walking into a house and saying “I’ll take it,” but as with all things in life, the hard work pays off.

Modern marketing a marvel in creative work

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Creativity is something that is special and unique to each of us. For some of us, our creativity is more set, more structured, and for others it is a wild, flowing extension of ourselves. Some people are so creatively-tuned that they turn their creativity into a blooming career. There are so many careers that cater to the creative energy in all of us. When it comes to creative career paths, one that is often overlooked is marketing. It might seem to many like marketing is more of a structured-approach career path, but the entire basis of marketing today is set around creative license and bringing concepts and ideas to creative license for the masses to see and respond to. Creative work is something that we all aspire to in one way or another, but for those of us to turn it into a career, marketing is one of the most powerful ways we can harness our creativity and use it in a professional setting, to propel ourselves forward in our careers. In short, modern marketing is all about harnessing personal creativity to enhance professional reach and further exposure.

There are many different facets of marketing, as well. In many ways, photographers are marketers in their own right. Their work is a means of marketing images in an appealing way to clients, to audiences, and to companies around the world. Similarly, the same goes for videographers, artists, authors, musicians. The list goes on and on. The structure of modern society is that everything pivots and spins in a modem centred around marketing efforts. Everything anyone does is a direct action or response to some effort in marketing – even if not officially. We buy the clothes we see our friends and influencers we follow rocking. We listen to the bands that we find on Spotify. We read the books and watch the films our loved ones love. We buy the cars that companies promise are the most environmentally-inclusive vehicles on the roads. Quite literally, every motion in this modern world is driven by marketing in one way or another.

With this truth in mind, why not enjoy a career in marketing? Being in a career in marketing means that you are consistently working to achieve more ambitious goals, creative directions. But more than that, working marketing ensures that you have a release for all your creative ideas and expressions, while getting paid for it. And realistically, is there anything better in all the world than getting paid to do what you love? There isn’t. Freedom is something that we all crave in the deepest, darkest corners of our souls, and careers with creative cores are the very same professional pathways that bring out the creative energy and the freedom, in one neat little package. Never before has there been such an overwhelmingly positive nature towards these types of careers, and they are drawing in the masses more and more often, as everyone reaches for a career in the creative sector.

Businesses lean so heavily on creative marketing these days because that is the advertising and marketing strategy that modern consumers respond most positively to, and most consistently as well. Consumers run the world, and marketing is the way that businesses and individuals can reach their consumer bases with the most ease and velocity. There is no other branding strategy as concrete and broadly viable as creative marketing in all its forms. Creative marketing is the backbone of modern business success, but it is also one of the most overwhelmingly successful career paths for a creatively-inclined individual there is. Creative minds are the heart of our modern society and the subsequent expectations, and marketing is one of the most influential ways to turn creativity into a blooming career.

When it comes to being in touch with our creative side, for those who are more creatively-inclined than intellectually so, forging a career in marketing is one of the smartest professional moves they can possibly make. A career in marketing is something that is often overlooked when creative minds are considering their career options – until now. As the entire world practically revolves around marketing in all its forms, forging a career in marketing is a strong professional move that can – and often does – prove to be immensely valuable in the long run. There is a lot to be said about creative energy being utilised to bring exciting and unique ideas to the world, and that is the whole point of marketing. There is also a sense of freedom that is often difficult to match in other careers, because in marketing there is quite a lot of creative release that can flow relatively (if not wholly) freely. Modern marketing is often referred to as a marvel in creative work, and it is not at all difficult to understand exactly why. This is the new norm, and creative minds are driving this ideal.

Ads for the Millennial mindset

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Advertising strategies and content changed from billboards to radio and TV. Now the Internet and smartphones in the hands of Millennials require greater change in ads

There was a time that manufacturers could say whatever they wished about their product, even if untrue, and customers believed every word. Not anymore. The Millennials generation ‘s plea to brands, is, “Authenticity, not advertising.”

Millennials, making up 25% of the US population, and spending $200 billion annually on products and services, are not a segment to be ignored. And they have their own views of advertising as manipulated messages geared to increasing sales. A recent survey carried out by the Illinois-based McCarthy Group, found that 84% of millennials dislike and distrust advertising. At the same time, 58% of young people will tolerate digital ads or Google Search Ads to support their favorite digital personalities. Also, according to a recent survey by the mobile advertising platform, Aki Technologies, they found that consumers respond to ads on their mobile as they watch TV and ads they see just before they go to sleep.

The perspective was different in earlier times. Americans became addicted consumers with the rise of advertising in the mid twentieth century, with annual advertising budgets increasing from $6 billion in 1950, to over $13 billion in 1963. As President of the National Broadcasting Company, Robert Sarnoff, said in 1956, “The reason we have such a high standard of living is because advertising has created an American frame of mind that makes people want more things, better things, and newer things.”

The radio, the initial TV and billboards blended into the golden era of advertising. As TV became a popular family leisure activity, advertisers used TV images to differentiate their products and to show the strength and quality of their particular products, like a Band-Aid bandage staying fixed on an egg in boiling water. In the meantime, advertising had to change strategies to encourage consumers to keep on buying when their initial demand was sated. Continuously improved products came to be advertised to create “consumption anxiety,” making people buy products that were not essentials.

As technology evolved, there has been a shift in advertising motive. Today, the focus is not selling mentality, but concepts like community-building, energy-saving and conservation and sustainability.

Furthermore, with the advent of the Internet and the ensuing ability to obtain information instantly, people were no longer enthralled by advertisements. On the contrary, they viewed advertisements with a sense of skepticism, because the exaggeration and overpromise of many ads became apparent when reality showed something different. Therefore, people started looking to other online users of the product to exchange frank and honest opinions.

With Millennials being the first “digital natives,” growing up with smartphones and the Internet, they are not gullible or ignorant, and take ad content with a pinch of salt if they do not completely reject it. Therefore, with Millennials, advertising requires a fresh and honest approach.

Nevertheless, the truth appears to be that consumers do not hate all ads. They just abhor the bad ones. About 83% of people say, “Not all ads are bad, but I want to filter out the really obnoxious ones.” Even as many people use ad blocking apps to suppress all ads, 77% of them say they would like to filter out distasteful ads rather than blocking ads completely. There are many people who have, in recent times, been introduced to products they have come to love, through appropriately placed high quality advertising.

What stands out in the advertising arena is that millennials refuse to be “talked at.” They are in the habit of being able to control the information in their daily lives, and they interact no differently with the online brands they are introduced to. They want to have control of the messaging. They want products they wish to have for the things they want to do. They will not be lured to buy a product just because it is advertised. And if they are brand loyal, such as following the brand, or liking it on social media platforms, they expect to be rewarded for it. They seek out coupons, and want to have priority in receiving product updates.

As British writer and businessman, Paul Marsden reminds, “Business is all about solving people’s problems – at a profit.” Indian author of self-help books, Siv Khera’s perception is “We don’t have business problems, we have people problems. When we take care of our people problems, most of our business problems are automatically resolved.” Founder of the Twitter app store, Oneforty, Laura Fitton, says, “Focus on the core problem your business solves and put out lots of content and enthusiasm., and ideas about how to solve that problem.”

Thus, advertising of today revolves around being honest and open about resolving consumer problems. That is the way to reach the millennial mind.