Monthly Archives: April 2017

Reasons Why You Should Work with an Investment Advisor

Navigating savings and debt along with reaching your financial goals is not easy to do on your own. Working with an advisor saves you the headache that comes with the process of planning for a happy and stress-free retirement.

Here are the top four reasons why you should work with an advisor to ensure you have the retirement that fits the lifestyle you want.

1.    An advisor can help with retirement planning

Planning requires time, knowledge and expertise. Fifty per cent of pre-retirees do not know how to plan for retirement.

One in four pre-retirees do not believe their retirement will be financially comfortable. Half of them expect to reach a lower standard of living in retirement than where they are at now.

An advisor can put you on the right track to be in control of your own finances and be prepared for retirement.

2.    An advisor can help you create better saving habits and accumulate more assets

Paying yourself first involves putting aside a percentage of each paycheque. But half of  pre-retirees are not saving on a regular basis [1].

Studies have indicated that those who use an advisor accumulate 3.9 times more assets. Individuals who worked with an advisor for 15 years or more increased their household assets by 290%.

3.    An advisor can help you develop a strategy to decrease debt and increase savings

4.    An advisor can help you build a plan to achieve long-term goals

An investment advisor will be able to ensure that you create firm plans to help you meet your targets to have the retirement you’ve dreamed of.

Ninety-one per cent of pre-retirees do not have a written, formal plan that maps out how much money they need to save for retirement and how they will get there .

An advisor will help you stick to the roadmap you’ve created without straying.

 

Tips for renting different types properties

When it comes to choosing a place to rent, there are many considerations other than price. The ideal goal is to find a place that fits your needs while also fitting your budget.

However, deciding on which rental units are most suitable for you can take some research. It’s helpful to take some time to write down some considerations to help your search be more successful.

Some questions you could ask yourself are:

•    How much space do you need to live comfortably?

•    Is there parking?

•    Is backyard space important to you?

•    Are pets allowed?

•    Is the property close to transit?

•    How secure is the building?

•    What are the neighbours like? Are they quiet?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can then narrow down your search for a rental apartment by type — namely, a house, a unit in an apartment building or condo, or in student housing.

Let’s start with an apartment or condo — look for one that is secure with a keypad at the door that allows tenants only. You might have to work within a small living space, but you will likely have your own kitchen and bathroom. However, laundry facilities are often shared in apartment buildings, and parking may be extra, so be sure to inquire about those details.

Student housing can be quite affordable, but be prepared to share kitchens and bathrooms (and maybe even bedrooms). Also be sure to double-check the lease agreement to make sure you’re not obligated to pay beyond when you need the rental. You should also try to share space with like-minded students — that is, those who are focused on completing their studies, and aren’t partying night owls who could disrupt your projects.

Renting a house could be the most cost-prohibitive, and often with home rentals you are required to pay a portion (if not all) of the utilities. However, you can’t really beat a house for space, and you might have the entire yard to yourself. You’ll likely also have a driveway, or even a garage exclusively for your use.

Doing a bit of research ahead of time and following these rental property tips can save you time, money and possible headaches down the road.

Capture the Elusive Teenage Demographic

Teenagers are as unpredictable as the weather happy and sunny one hour and then clouding over with the storms the next. Teenagers are about as fickle as they come much to the dismay of parents and teachers everywhere.

Retailers who cater to these consumers are equally baffled and have spent the last several years trying to figure out what teens want, how to communicate with this target audience and what price points are acceptable.

Teenagers are more aware

The teenage category has changed drastically over the last several years. These shoppers have grown up with technology and desire innovative, fresh ideas. They have Smartphones, iPads and iPods and they know (unlike me) how to use all of the buttons and features. Teens know exactly what they are looking for, what it costs and where to find it. They are not going to the mall to browse racks of clothes and try on endless piles of jeans– they have already gone online, shopped around, solicited opinions from their friends and made a decision.

This is bad news for traditional retail favorites like the GAP and Abercrombie & Fitch. Over the course of the last decade, it’s become more complicated to be a teen and dress a teen. If you remember dressing in head-to-toe Esprit and Aerospostale when you were in high school, you may be disappointed to hear that today’s teenagers are much more discerning. It’s no longer about the same brand for everything, now it’s all about mixing and matching to create an individual style.

Mainstays take a hit

Stores that used to be mainstays Abercrombie & Fitch, Aerospostale and American Eagle, to name a few, are fending off some serious competition as new trends emerge.  “Fast fashion” stores like H&M, Forever 21 and Uniqlo, which specialize in taking pieces from the runway, reproducing them quickly and inexpensively and making them available to consumers, have gained a foothold. Traditional retailers haven’t been able to keep up with these changes, causing some industry observers to note than if they can’t adapt more quickly, they are going to lose their customer base permanently to those who can.

Further complicating the landscape is a shake-up at the top, where a lot of companies are seeing a change in leadership, switching out C-level executives for others and mixing things up the store level. Styles and fits that were flying off the shelves last year are no longer cutting it, so new products are being tested and stores themselves are being refreshed. As eCommerce gains momentum, teen retailers are also paying more attention to their websites and how items are marketed.

So how do we know what teens want?

Today’s teens are tech-savvy with disposable income more than 29 percent live in homes where the average income is $100,000 are more. They are fascinated by gossip, photos and blogs and what celebrities wear helps dictate what teens want to buy. They may not be able to afford the designer gown Selena Gomez was wearing in a magazine, but a similar dress that’s available at H&M for a fraction of the price may fly off the shelves.

Tracking Teens’ Buying Habits Helps

One of the most effective ways for you to see if your marketing or product line is resonating with any target group is a traffic counting system or loyalty program. A loyalty program that is tied into the POS system will reward a shopper for their purchase and brand loyalty but also give you a goldmine of data you can use to evaluate your store’s performance. The data can tell you what your customers are buying, how often they are shopping and at what price point.

Sometimes it seems like teenage behavior is a mystery to almost everyone except teens themselves. Smart retailers should implement technology that will help them decipher teenagers’ buying habits, or they may possibly find themselves awash in stock they cannot sell and marketing campaigns that aren’t resonating.

Online Shopping and E-Commerce In Americans

Americans are incorporating a wide range of digital tools and platforms into their purchasing decisions and buying habits, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults. The survey finds that roughly eight-in-ten Americans are now online shoppers: 79% have made an online purchase of any type, while 51% have bought something using a cellphone and 15% have made purchases by following a link from social media sites. When the Center first asked about online shopping in a June 2000 survey, just 22% of Americans had made a purchase online. In other words, today nearly as many Americans have made purchases directly through social media platforms as had engaged in any type of online purchasing behavior 16 years ago.

But even as a sizeable majority of Americans have joined the world of e-commerce, many still appreciate the benefits of brick-and-mortar stores. Overall, 64% of Americans indicate that, all things being equal, they prefer buying from physical stores to buying online. Of course, all things are often not equal – and a substantial share of the public says that price is often a far more important consideration than whether their purchases happen online or in physical stores. Fully 65% of Americans indicate that when they need to make purchases they typically compare the price they can get in stores with the price they can get online and choose whichever option is cheapest. Roughly one-in-five (21%) say they would buy from stores without checking prices online, while 14% would typically buy online without checking prices at physical locations first.

Although cost is often key, today’s consumers come to their purchasing decisions with a broad range of expectations on a number of different fronts. When buying something for the first time, more than eight-in-ten Americans say it is important to be able to compare prices from different sellers (86%), to be able to ask questions about what they are buying (84%), or to buy from sellers they are familiar with (84%). In addition, more than seven-in-ten think it is important to be able to try the product out in person (78%), to get advice from people they know (77%), or to be able to read reviews posted online by others who have purchased the item (74%). And nearly half of Americans (45%) have used cellphones while inside a physical store to look up online reviews of products they were interested in, or to try and find better prices online.

The survey also illustrates the extent to which Americans are turning toward the collective wisdom of online reviews and ratings when making purchasing decisions. Roughly eight-in-ten Americans (82%) say they consult online ratings and reviews when buying something for the first time. In fact, 40% of Americans (and roughly half of those under the age of 50) indicate that they nearly always turn to online reviews when buying something new. Moreover, nearly half of Americans feel that customer reviews help “a lot” to make consumers feel confident about their purchases (46%) and to make companies be accountable to their customers (45%).

But even as the public relies heavily on online reviews when making purchases, many Americans express concerns over whether or not these reviews can be trusted. Roughly half of those who read online reviews (51%) say that they generally paint an accurate picture of the products or businesses in question, but a similar share (48%) say it’s often hard to tell if online reviews are truthful and unbiased.

Finally, this survey documents a pronounced shift in how Americans engage with one of the oldest elements of the modern economy: physical currency. Today nearly one-quarter (24%) of Americans indicate that none of the purchases they make in a typical week involve cash. And an even larger share – 39% – indicates that they don’t really worry about having cash on hand, since there are so many other ways of paying for things these days. Nonwhites, low-income Americans and those 50 and older are especially likely to rely on cash as a payment method.

Among the other findings of this national survey of 4,787 U.S. adults conducted from Nov. 24 to Dec. 21, 2015:

  • 12% of Americans have paid for in-store purchases by swiping or scanning their cellphones at the register.
  • Awareness of the alternative currency bitcoin is quite high, as 48% of Americans have heard of bitcoins. However, just 1% of the public has actually used, collected or traded bitcoins.
  • 39% of Americans have shared their experiences or feelings about a commercial transaction on social media platforms.