Thursday, September 1, 2011
Consumer Confidence Falls Dramatically,
Share Your Alumni Update with Us,
Last Minute Ways to Find Money For Your
Child’s College Tuition,
Dressing the Part
Congratulations to This Month's Drawing Winner,
On-the-Job Advice for Introverts,
Connect with Orion
Consumer Confidence Falls Dramatically
The confidence of US consumers took a nosedive to its lowest level since May of 1980. The threat of America’s debt defaulting and the biggest one week slip in stocks since 2008 heightened consumers’ concerns. This coupled with the fact that unemployment continues to hover just above 9 percent sent confidence into a tailspin, as the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment fell from 63.7 to 54.9.
Rising doubts make economists project that future household spending will continue to cool, which will make an already slow recovery drag out even further.
The survey's gauge of consumer expectations lowered to 45.7, also the lowest since May of 1980, from July's 56.0. This was well below a predicted reading of 55.3.
Approximately two-thirds of consumers reported that the economy had recently worsened and just one-in-five felt there would be any gains in the year ahead. Three quarters of participants expected a struggling economy. This was just below the record peak of 82 percent in 1980.
Consumer buying plans were back at recession lows, and 46 percent of participants expected unemployment to rise.
The current economic conditions barometer was 69.3 in August, down from 75.8 in July and well below a forecast of 74.3.
One-year inflation expectation remained stagnant at 3.4 percent, while five-to-ten year inflation outlook also stagnated at 2.9 percent in August.
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Last Minute Ways to Find Money For Your Child’s College Tuition
It’s the time of year when parents are sending their children off to college, many for the first time. Parents may feel they have tuition locked in, but they often forget about all of the extras like books, bedding, clothes, food, pencils, computer software, iPads, and the list goes on. Suddenly, college seems unaffordable. At this point, most colleges have handed out all of their financial aid and scholarships. So, what can be done at such a late date?
You are most likely fully aware of the educational benefits available to your child should he or she choose to join the military - attending a Service Academy, an ROTC scholarship, using the GI Bill to pay for college, etc. However, if those are not viable options, here are some other ideas to explore.
1. Consider a community college first. If a larger or private university it is too expensive, reason with your child about the cost savings. By starting out at a community college, the parent and child can save money and eventually transfer to a larger university.
2. Look into part-time options. Students can work part-time and attend college part-time to help out with the cost.
3. Make sure to report to the college financial aid office if your financial situation has changed since your original application. If a family member has lost a job or gone on disability, these things can make a huge difference in the amount of financial aid available to a student.
4. Use any money in a 529 plan first. This gives parents time to find other resources.
5. Go on a payment plan. Most colleges and universities will allow a monthly payment plan, versus a lump sum. Contact the financial aid office for information on your school’s plan.
6. Use your creativity. Do you have anything you’ve been meaning to sell on Ebay? What about a garage sale? Use any extra means you have to make money.
7. Finally, cut your expenses. Four years to help your child’s future is worth cutting out the extra cable. Again, get creative!
For additional information on saving money for college visit www.collegescholarships.org or talk to your financial planner.
Dressing the Part
We all know the saying that you should “Dress the Part.” And a recent Careerbuilder.com article by Mary Lorenz explores just this in relation to getting the promotion you desire. A recent survey of nearly 2,878 employers revealed that 37 percent of employers would be less likely to extend a promotion to an employee with body piercings. In the article, Lorenz lists other attributes that are most likely to cause an employer not to offer a promotion to an employee. They include:
• Bad breath – 34%
• Visible tattoo – 31%
• Often has wrinkled clothes – 31%
• Messy hair – 29%
• Dresses too casually – 28%
• Too much perfume or cologne – 26%
• Too much makeup – 22%
• Messy office or cubicle – 19%
• Chewed fingernails – 10%
• Too suntanned – 4%
Click here for original article.
Congratulations to This Month's Drawing Winner
On-the-Job Advice for Introverts
Thriving in the business world comes naturally for many extroverts. Extroverts tend to be seen as assertive, exciting, outgoing and in some studies, more attractive. Introverts, on the other hand, tend to be seen as low-key, pushovers, reserved, and less outspoken.
According to www.dictionary.com an extrovert is “an outgoing, gregarious person,” or “a person concerned primarily with the physical and social environment”. Whereas an introvert is “a shy person” or “a person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings”. However, experts warn that many introverts aren’t actually shy. They are simply more focused on their inner world, not the external and social factors around them. They take time to think and ponder, versus responding immediately to something.
In general, a person would think that an introvert wouldn’t make an excellent leader or be able to excel in the workplace. Not true. Many “famous” leaders are thought to be introverts; think Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and Charles Schwab.
According to an article on www.Forbes.com by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, titled, “Why Introverts Can Make The Best Leaders,” there are five major areas of strength that make introverts great leaders. They include thinking first and talking later, focusing on depth, exuding calm, excellent writing skills and preferring writing as a manner of communication, and embracing solitude.
Introverts can become effective leaders, if not already naturally inclined to, by turning this perceived weakness into a strength.
1. First, they must realize that they will need to tap into their reserve “extrovert” energy to inspire their teams. This may be uncomfortable, but taking time to recharge after can make all the difference.
2. Second, they must take time to be “seen” and not stay behind closed doors. Again, time for reflection after making the rounds can do wonders for an introvert.
3. Third, introverts generally like to make decisions after careful reflection. They need to make this known to their subordinates and use it as a tool to their advantage. All decisions can’t be made “on the fly” and better decisions are generally made after thought has gone into them. Introverts need to make sure that subordinates understand that quiet pauses and reflective thinking are part of their leadership style.
4. Introverts should use their love of imagery and ideas to their advantage. They should share those ideas with the masses. This makes an introvert a great storyteller and visionary leader.
5. Introverts tend to function well in smaller groups. While large groups cannot be avoided, an introvert can use the small group forum to communicate widely and get to know their team.
Utilizing these tools can make any introvert more prepared for a leadership role. It is important to remember that introverts make excellent leaders and just because someone “shouts from the mountaintops”, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are an effective leader.
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