Friday, April 1, 2011
Learning From Your Critics,
Paying Off Your Mortgage Early,
Congratulations to This Month's Winner,
Participate in Orion's Transition Corner,
February 2011 ISM Report,
Connect with Orion
Learning From Your Critics
Career counselors and human resource professionals often advise employees to avoid their critics or redirect the tone and/or course of the conversation. And while employing the “art of avoiding conflict” is a great principle, there are other ways to deal with a critic. One way is to learn from them. The Dalai Lama XIV has often said, “In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher.”
Many employees complain their supervisors don’t give them enough feedback regarding their performance. This is true, in some, if not many cases. But getting feedback on your performance can be just as valid if it comes from a critic. Of course, not all critics deserve your attention or respect. Find out if they have an alternate agenda. If the critic makes you look bad, will they be promoted above you?
Sure, everything the critic says may not be correct, but if you listen carefully, there may be an underlying theme. Something you have heard more gently before from other co-workers or leadership figures. Ask yourself if there is some truth in what is being said. How can you take that information and apply it to make yourself a better (and therefore more promotion-worthy) employee?
Another important question to ask yourself is whether or not the critic challenges you to think in new, different, or innovative ways. If the answer is yes, then you are learning from that person. You may not like the critic, but there is value in any lesson learned. This is especially true if it helps you advance and/or get along better with co-workers.
The key to this technique is really looking at criticism as a gift, even when it doesn’t feel like one. How can you turn negative into positive and make it work for you?
Paying Off Your Mortgage Early
Financial planners are increasingly hearing the question, “Should I pay off my mortgage early?” Many people fear having the rug pulled out from underneath them because of the real estate crisis, and some people just don’t want the monthly burden of a large mortgage payment. Here are some things to consider when thinking of paying off your mortgage.
1. What are you financial needs? If you have zero credit card debt and have maxed out your 401k, then you might be a viable candidate to pay off your mortgage early. First, make sure you have enough in the bank to cover medical expenses or cost of living for at least six months barring job loss or other misfortune.
2. Do you have debt elsewhere? Do you have a personal loan or education loans that need to be paid off? What are the interest rate differentials? Be sure to pay off any higher interest rate debt first.
3. How long do you want to live in your current home? If you are planning on downsizing or even getting a larger property in a few years, it wouldn’t make sense to pay off your mortgage now. According to an article, “Should You Pay Off The House?” on Yahoo Finance by Lisa Gibbs, the real estate market will likely not recover for a while longer. Therefore, according to financial planner Christopher Van Slyke, "You don't want to tie up your cash in your home and then not be able to sell.”
4. What would you do with the remaining money? Would you invest your money in stocks and bonds, which generally give a higher return than real estate? Are you close to retirement? Are you planning to invest the remaining money in a CD or other low interest savings plan? The answers to these questions can effect whether or not you should pay off your loan. Consult a financial expert regarding your personal situation and to make the best possible decision.
5. Would being mortgage free be beneficial to your stress levels? Believe it or not, for some people, having a mortgage isn’t a big deal. Yes, this tends to be the wealthier crowd or those who have been frugal with their money and now live comfortably. But, it is a question to consider. If your health is negatively affected by the monthly mortgage bill, then paying it off might be a good option.
Before considering paying off your mortgage, it is essential to consult a trusted financial advisor. Most importantly, remember that mortgage interest is tax deductible. Also, tax savings decline the older the loan as more money goes toward principle. So, you’ll need to determine what you’ll gain from the tax deduction.
Congratulation's to This Month's Winner
Participate in Orion's Transition Corner
February 2011 ISM Report
The Manufacturing ISM Report On Business is published monthly by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) and is a national index based on surveying purchasing and supply executives at over 300 industrial organizations. ISM is largely considered the most respected supply management organization in the world. The report’s market importance is extremely high. It is the most valuable of all manufacturing indices.
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded for the 19th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 21st consecutive month, the nation’s supply executives reported in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business. The PMI, continued its strong performance and was at 61.4%. This level had not been achieved since May 2004. Fourteen of the eighteen manufacturing industries reported growth. Four industries reported contraction in February.
The New Orders Index registered at 68% in February. The Production Index was 66.3%, an increase of 2.8 percentage points from January. Any Production Index above 50.4% indicates an increase in the Federal Reserve Board’s Industrial Production Figures.
The Employment Index registered 64.5%, 2.8 percentage points higher than January’s 61.7%. This was the 17h consecutive month of growth in manufacturing employment. Fourteen of the eighteen industries showed employment growth. They are: Textile Mills; Petroleum & Coal Products; Transportation Equipment; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Machinery; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Printing & Related Support Activities; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Paper Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Chemical Products; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing. The two industries reporting a decrease are Plastics & Rubber Products; and Furniture & Related Products.
Following seven consecutive months of growth, Manufacturer’s Inventories contracted in February registering at 48.8%. The Customer’s Inventories Index registered at 40%, 5.5 points lower than January.
The ISM Prices Index in February was 82%, and the Backlog of Orders Index was 59% in February, one percentage point higher than the previous month. ISM’s New Export Orders Index registered at 62.5% in February. This was the 20th consecutive month of growth in the New Export Orders Index.
The industries reporting growth in February were: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Transportation Equipment; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Machinery; Chemical Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Textile Mills; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Paper Products; Wood Products; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing. The four industries reporting contraction in February were: Plastics & Rubber Products; Primary Metals; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; and Furniture & Related Products.
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