Ikea Will Start Selling This for the First Time Ever

By Kali Coleman  for BESTLIFE

Slide 1 of 5: When it comes to buying home goods, many of us end up with more than we need. Through redecorating, redesigning, or remodeling, homeowners are often left with old furniture that no longer has use. Typically, these unwanted items either stay stored away or end up in landfills. But one major furniture retailer is aiming to stop that. Ikea recently announced that they will start buying back and selling secondhand furniture for the first time ever. Read on to find out more about the new program, and for other recent retail news you might have missed, discover what Walmart Will Finally Start Selling in All 50 States.Ikea will launch the Buy Back initiative in stores across the United Kingdom and Ireland on Nov. 27, where consumers can return their old Ikea furniture so that the retailer can then resell it secondhand in stores. According to the company, this program is part of their goal to become "a fully circular and climate positive business by 2030.""With the launch of Buy Back, we are giving a second life to many more Ikea products and creating more easy and affordable solutions to help people live more sustainably," Peter Jelkeby, country retail manager for Ikea in the U.K. and Ireland, said in a statement.Many items previously bought from Ikea—including sideboards, bookcases, shelving, small tables, dining tables, office drawers, and desks, as well as chairs and stools without upholstery—can all be returned after customers register a request online. The only catch is that they have to be returned fully assembled.When returning old furniture with the new program, customers will receive Ikea vouchers with no expiration date. However, the value of that voucher will depend on the condition of the item they are selling back. If an item is "as new," with no scratches, customers will get a voucher for 50 percent of the original price. But if it is only "very good," with minor scratches, customers will get 40 percent, and if it is "well used," with several scratches, they will get 30 percent."The Ikea vision has always been to create a better everyday life for the many people, which right now means making sustainable living easy and affordable for everyone," Hege Sæbjørnsen, country sustainability manager for Ikea in the U.K. and Ireland, said in a statement. "Currently, 45 percent of total global carbon emissions come from the way the world produces and uses everyday products, so Buy Back represents an opportunity to address unsustainable consumption and its impact on climate change."Ikea isn't the only store changing the game, however. Retail is constantly evolving to keep up with an increasingly competitive market. To see what other changes companies have made recently, keep reading. And for retail items you won't be able to find soon, Apple Is No Longer Selling This Beloved Product.Read the original article on Best Life.

 © Provided by Best Life

When it comes to buying home goods, many of us end up with more than we need. Through redecorating, redesigning, or remodeling, homeowners are often left with old furniture that no longer has use. Typically, these unwanted items either stay stored away or end up in landfills. But one major furniture retailer is aiming to stop that. Ikea recently announced that they will start buying back and selling secondhand furniture for the first time ever.

Ikea will launch the Buy Back initiative in stores across the United Kingdom and Ireland on Nov. 27, where consumers can return their old Ikea furniture so that the retailer can then resell it secondhand in stores. According to the company, this program is part of their goal to become “a fully circular and climate positive business by 2030.”

“With the launch of Buy Back, we are giving a second life to many more Ikea products and creating more easy and affordable solutions to help people live more sustainably,” Peter Jelkeby, country retail manager for Ikea in the U.K. and Ireland, said in a statement.

Many items previously bought from Ikea—including sideboards, bookcases, shelving, small tables, dining tables, office drawers, and desks, as well as chairs and stools without upholstery—can all be returned after customers register a request online. The only catch is that they have to be returned fully assembled.

When returning old furniture with the new program, customers will receive Ikea vouchers with no expiration date. However, the value of that voucher will depend on the condition of the item they are selling back. If an item is “as new,” with no scratches, customers will get a voucher for 50 percent of the original price. But if it is only “very good,” with minor scratches, customers will get 40 percent, and if it is “well used,” with several scratches, they will get 30 percent.

“The Ikea vision has always been to create a better everyday life for the many people, which right now means making sustainable living easy and affordable for everyone,” Hege Sæbjørnsen, country sustainability manager for Ikea in the U.K. and Ireland, said in a statement. “Currently, 45 percent of total global carbon emissions come from the way the world produces and uses everyday products, so Buy Back represents an opportunity to address unsustainable consumption and its impact on climate change.”

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/ikea-will-start-selling-this-for-the-first-time-ever/ss-BB1a1pUM?ocid=msedgntp#image=1

Zoom: Quick start guide for new users

Zoom App Logo
Zoom.us

Zoom unifies cloud video conferencing, simple online meetings, and group messaging into one easy-to-use platform.  This quick start guide walks you through getting started with your new Zoom account, including essential steps like scheduling your first meeting, downloading the Zoom client, and updating your Zoom profile. Whether you just signed up for your own Zoom account or you have been invited to an existing account, read this quick start guide for a summary of your next steps.

Signing up and activating your Zoom account

Joining an existing account

If you are being invited to an existing account, you will receive an email from Zoom (no-reply@zoom.us). Once you receive this email, click Activate Your Zoom Account.

Creating your own account

To sign up for your own free account, visit zoom.us/signup and enter your email address. You will receive an email from Zoom (no-reply@zoom.us). In this email, click Activate Account

Signing in to your Zoom account on the web

You can login to your Zoom account on the web at any time, at zoom.us/signin. Once you’re logged in, use the panel on the left side to navigate the Zoom web portal.  You can update your profile, schedule a meeting, edit your settings, and more. 

Updating your profile

You can update your profile by adding a profile picture, set your time zone, update your password and more. To access your Zoom profile, sign in to the Zoom web portal and click Profile

Scheduling your first meeting

There are many ways to schedule a meeting, including the Zoom web portal, through the Zoom client, or with one of our extensions or plugins. Here are some basic instructions for scheduling your first meeting. 

  1. Sign in to your Zoom web portal.
  2. Click Meetings.
  3. Click Schedule a Meeting.
     
  4. Choose the date and time for your meeting. 
  5. (Optional) Select any other settings you would like to use. 
  6. Click Save.

Downloading the Zoom client

You can download the Zoom Desktop Client for MacWindowsChromeOS and Linux, as well as the Zoom Mobile App for iOS and Android from our Downloads page. 

Starting a test meeting

You can join a test Zoom meeting to familiarize yourself with the Zoom and test your microphone/speakers before joining a Zoom meeting. Visit zoom.us/test and click Join

Starting your first meeting as the host

As the meeting host, there are several ways you can start your meeting. Your upcoming meetings will be listed in the Meetings tab of your Zoom desktop client or mobile app. You can click Start by the meeting name. You can also start your meetings from the Zoom web portal. 

  1. Login to My Meetings.
  2. Under Upcoming Meetings, click Start next to the meeting you want to start.
  3. The Zoom client should launch automatically to start the meeting.

Inviting others to join your meeting

Inviting others to join your meeting is as simple as sharing the invitation or join link. You can do this after scheduling your meeting by clicking Copy the Invitation.

Joining another user’s meeting

There are many ways to join a meeting, but the easiest way is to click the join link that the meeting host provided. You can also click Join in your Zoom client and enter the meeting ID. 

Source: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/360034967471-Quick-start-guide-for-new-users

5 daily exercises that will make you a better communicator

business meeting
Sandra Mu/Getty Images

The most successful people listen more than they speak.

That’s according to legendary industrialist Andrew Carnegie, who passed the lesson on to Napoleon Hill for his 1937 book “Think and Grow Rich.”

He meant that people who excel use conversations to learn from others rather than inflate their own egos.

Speaker and author Julian Treasure gave a popular TED Talk in 2011 about the ways in which we are more distracted and worse at listening than ever before.

Studies have found that about 40% of one’s time spent communicating is spent listening, and by a wide margin more time is spent listening to others than reading, writing, or speaking.

Treasure recommends practicing focused listening as much as any other communication skills. He offers five simple exercises to become a better listener.

Immerse yourself in silence.

Treasure says the brain develops filters for sound so that it doesn’t become overwhelmed by stimuli. For example, if you’re at a noisy party, you’ll still likely be able to recognize someone shouting your name.

In order to “re-calibrate” your ears, Treasure recommends a period of meditation in complete silence, even if it’s only a few minutes each day. You may as well use the opportunity to quiet the cacophony of thoughts in your head, too.

Break soundscapes down.

Treasure recommends taking a moment to think of your mind like an audio mixer, breaking down every sound you hear in a setting in the same way a producer would isolate different instruments and vocals when working on a song. You can try selecting different channels of sound in a café, the office, or even in a song itself.

The exercise will allow you to enhance your selective listening.

Enjoy the mundane.

Focus your mind on sounds you would normally ignore, like your washing machine or a car driving by. This can help you break a habit of drowning out sounds around you when you become distracted.

Adjust your listening positions.

Treasure says this exercise is by far the most effective.

In the same way you imagined your mind as a sound mixer, practice jumping among each of the sound channels around you. If you’re listening to a song, try listening only to the drums before listening only to the bass line, for example.

Similarly, practice jumping among different perspectives. Try listening to a speech from a critical perspective, rapidly processing the validity of statements and their meaning, and then try listening from an empathetic perspective, focusing more on the emotion of the words and how the speaker is delivering them.

Practice engagement with another person.

And finally, learn how to be a better conversationalist.

Treasure says to remember the acronym “RASA.”

“Receive” by making eye contact with and focusing on the other person; “Appreciate” by giving indications of acknowledgment through cues like head nods or short vocal replies; “Summarize” by getting the other person to clarify the point of anything that doesn’t register; and “Ask” by giving follow-up questions to whatever you just learned.

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/julian-treasure-listening-exercises-2015-8

7 Tips to Help You Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking

Man standing at podium, giving speech, crowd in background
BY DARRELL ZAHORSKY






 

The words “public speaking” cause fear and anxiety in the minds of otherwise competent and confident people. Does the thought of speaking in front of a group evoke fear, make you sweat, and get your heart pounding? It’s likely you have glossophobia – the fear of public speaking.

Glossophobia is one of the most common of fears. There are many ways to increase business exposure so why bother to overcome your speaking jitters? Stepping up to the podium not only positions you as an expert in your area of business but it also provides effortless referrals and improved sales opportunities.

Presenting a non-sales informative speech warms up your target market and builds trust. Unlike endless cold calls, the people you present to and follow up with are more receptive to listening to your offering of products and services.

Overcome your fear of public speaking and boost your business with these seven tips.

1. Start Small

If you’re new to the world of public speaking, start small. Find a few friends and family to practice on. Begin by speaking to smaller groups and build up from there. The size of the audience makes no difference. If you know your topic, your pre-speaking fear will quickly evaporate.

2. Prepare Thoroughly

Nothing helps ease the fear of public speaking more than knowing your material. The ability to connect with your audience comes from having the confidence you won’t get lost during your delivery. Rehearse several times before the big talk. Time your presentation and always have back up material in case time is left over.

3. Don’t Just Memorize the Words

Mastering the art of public speaking comes not from memorizing word for word your entire speech. The real pros know their material by remembering key points and prompts on subtopics and examples to cover.

4. Avoid Common Bullets

The majority of business presentations and speeches are boring monologues filled with endless PowerPoint slides and bullet points. Trash the PowerPoint presentation and make your material the focal point of the talk. If you do use PowerPoint, take the approach of using visuals that quickly convey your message.

5. Reduce Stress

The most fearful moment of any presentation is the one minute before your stage entrance. Use the tactic of elite athletes by visualizing a positive outcome and using deep belly breathing to reduce stress and build confidence.

6. Find a Friend to Focus On

Prior to your public speaking on stage introduce yourself to a few members of the audience in the front row. During your talk look these people in the eye to ease your nerves and connect with your audience.

7. Engage the Audience

Creating a monologue presentation puts the entire task of informing and entertaining the audience on you. Make your talk a two-way interaction with questions and participation to reduce boredom and speak with ease. Having the group involved also gives you time to reorganize your thoughts if things are going off track.

Make public speaking part of your marketing plan and boost your business success. Your fear will evaporate over time and you will wonder why you didn’t start sooner.

Edited by Alyssa Gregory

Ways to Save Money on a Move

Article by Kurt Manwaring for MoneyTalksNews©

Slide 1 of 8: This story comes from Move.org.  Life doesn’t stop because of COVID-19. Nearly a quarter of Americans have either moved since the pandemic began or know someone who has. And it can be expensive. If you’re packing up a big home and moving across the country, it can cost thousands of dollars. Smaller homes and shorter distances still aren’t cheap.  But there are things you can do to trim your costs. From avoiding surprises and finding free supplies, to qualifying for moving grants and using moving containers, we’ve put together a list of ways to save money on a move. It's not the usual blah, blah, blah. Click here to sign up for our free newsletter.
Darren Baker Shutterstock.com

Life doesn’t stop because of COVID-19. Nearly a quarter of Americans have either moved since the pandemic began or know someone who has.

And it can be expensive.

If you’re packing up a big home and moving across the country, it can cost thousands of dollars. Smaller homes and shorter distances still aren’t cheap.

But there are things you can do to trim your costs. From avoiding surprises and finding free supplies, to qualifying for moving grants and using moving containers, we’ve put together a list of ways to save money on a move.

1. Make a plan

Moving is about more than just taking your stuff from one city to another. It’s also about how you get ready, what kind of moving service you use and how you move in.

Because there’s so much to do, you can save money by using a moving checklist.

You’d be surprised how much you can save by transferring your utilities at the right time, making an inventory of your belongings, or purchasing moving insurance.

2. Find free moving boxes

You can’t move without boxes — a lot of them. The more stuff you have, the more moving boxes you need.

And the costs can add up. A set of 30 moving boxes on Amazon can set you back about $60. If you end up needing 90 boxes, that’s nearly $200.

The good news is that it’s easy to find free moving boxes. Many stores will give you free boxes if you ask:

Car repair shops

Furniture stores

Grocery stores

Liquor stores

You can even post requests for free boxes on social media and community bulletin boards.

3. Get paid to move (seriously)

It’s not available in every situation, but you can get paid to move.

Here’s a list of eight places that will pay you to move there. From Kansas and Michigan to Vermont and Ohio, many cities and towns offer financial incentives to movers.

4. Rent a moving truck

If you have loads of cash, you can hire professional movers to do everything for you. But if you’re looking to save money, you can lower your costs by renting a moving truck.

Instead of paying the pros, you pack your boxes, load them into the truck, and drive it to your new home. You also unload the truck yourself.

It’s a lot of work, but the savings add up fast.

5. Use a moving container

If you’re looking for something in between a DIY and full-service move, moving containers can be a cost-saving option.

Moving container companies drop large containers off at your home and give you time to load your stuff. When you’re ready, the company picks up the containers and transports them to your new home. Then you unload them, and the company picks up the empty containers.

You pay for the containers and the shipping, but not the costs associated with packing and unpacking or loading and unloading.

6. Get multiple quotes (and ask about price matching)

It’s easy to pick the first moving company that comes to mind, but you’ll often save money by getting quotes from several companies.

If you like one company, but it has high prices, ask if the company price matches. Because the industry is so competitive, many moving companies will match a legit quote from a cheaper moving company.

You could end up with a perfect mix of high quality and low prices. All it takes is 10 or 15 minutes to shop around.

7. Ask for discounts

It’s not uncommon for moving companies to offer discounts of up to 20%. Most moving discounts fall into the following categories:

  • AAA discounts
  • First responder discounts
  • Military discounts
  • New customer discounts
  • Online discounts
  • Seasonal discounts
  • Senior discounts

Taking a minute to look for discounts could save you hundreds of dollars.

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/other/7-ways-to-save-money-on-a-move/ss-BB18KhUE?ocid=msedgntp#image=1

The best things to buy in September

September Sales

Put big-ticket items on the list of things to buy in September. With the first cool winds of fall come sales on major consumer products. Retailers are looking to clear shelf space ahead of the holiday season and juice spending in the lull after kids return to school — whatever that looks like where you are in 2020. Labor Day presents the best discounts on many items until holiday sales rolls around. Here are the best September deals to seek out.

Slide 4 of 14: If you aren't set on a current car model, this is the time to buy one from the previous year's lineup. The older models are taking up space on dealers' lots, and they'll be looking to move metal fast to make room for new vehicles arriving in short order. In fact, prices might be better than usual, since the coronavirus cut into car sales in the first half of the year and turned rental car agencies from buyers into competitors who are have been selling off their own little-used fleets to make up for the lack of traditional revenue.Related: 17 New Rules for Buying and Selling a Car During the Pandemic

 © jetcityimage/istockphoto

Cars

If you aren’t set on a current car model, this is the time to buy one from the previous year’s lineup. The older models are taking up space on dealers’ lots, and they’ll be looking to move metal fast to make room for new vehicles arriving in short order. In fact, prices might be better than usual, since the coronavirus cut into car sales in the first half of the year and turned rental car agencies from buyers into competitors who are have been selling off their own little-used fleets to make up for the lack of traditional revenue.

Slide 6 of 14: September is a good month to buy large appliances (washer, dryer, dishwasher, stove). New models for the upcoming year will be hitting showrooms soon, and retailers are eager to sell off older stock. These appliances are still new and perfectly functional, and trends don't come and go in this industry as quickly as they do in others.

© 97/istockphoto

Appliances

September is a good month to buy large appliances (washer, dryer, dishwasher, stove). New models for the upcoming year will be hitting showrooms soon, and retailers are eager to sell off older stock. These appliances are still new and perfectly functional, and trends don’t come and go in this industry as quickly as they do in others.

Apple Products

September is historically the month new Apple iPhones and watches are unveiled. This suggests older-generation models will see steep discounts. Be on the lookout if you’re an Apple user in need of new iDevices.

Plants

Summer plants, trees, and shrubs can be picked up for dirt-cheap prices this month, because garden centers are stocking up on fall and holiday plants. With cool temperatures on the way, September is the right moment to fill out landscaping with perennials. Summer flowers are at rock-bottom prices, as well, and there’s still a little time to enjoy them.

Summer Gear

Discounts on lawn mowers, grills, swimsuits, and other summer gear will deepen in September. Sales on yard decor and outdoor furniture also heat up this month and continue into October. But don’t wait too long to snatch a deal — the selection could be thin.

Denim

Jeans are so closely identified with back-to-school that, come September, denim goes on sale as stores seek to unload surplus inventory.

In-Season Produce

This is the last chance to enjoy low prices on summer produce such as corn, peaches, plums, nectarines, peppers, mangoes, green beans, lettuce, and tomatoes. September will also see the first fall produce hit grocery stores. Look for cheap prices on apples, berries, beets, cantaloupes, cauliflower, eggplants, grapes, honeydew melon, pears, squash, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, figs, and dark-green leafy vegetables such as spinach.

Bikes

New-model bicycles are released every September, so this is a good month to find deals on older models. As with cars, retailers are looking to clear space for the new wheels and offer big discounts on current inventory (and you might try looking at American-made bicycles especially).

Airfare

September promises low prices on flights for the winter holidays. Though air travel has been messy since the pandemic arrived, the best deals on plane tickets usually surface about eight weeks before the departure date. For Thanksgiving, that would mean the last week or two of September, but start looking for cheap tickets and convenient times now if you hope to travel during what is usually busy season. Be sure to factor in airline fees when comparing prices (and keep an eye on coronavirus testing and quarantine requirements).

Mattresses and Linens

Labor Day sales kick off the action early in September. This is one of two times a year when mattress retailers offer deep discounts on piled-up inventory (the other prime time is around Memorial Day). Shoppers may also find some better-than-normal deals on bedding and bath supplies such as towels over Labor Day weekend and throughout the month.

Article by Raechel Conover for Cheapism©

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/other/the-best-things-to-buy-in-september/ss-BB18Aqih?ocid=msedgntp#image=2

Are you constantly moving?

Tom Dixon

© Tom Dixon 

Tom Dixon, OBE, is a British designer who specializes in lighting, furniture, and accessories.

Millennials aren’t really in the market for high-end furniture, according to renowned lighting and interior designer Tom Dixon. Why? Because they move so often.

“People are moving 14 to 15 times in their lifetimes rather than what used to happen, which was two or three times,” Dixon told Business Insider. “Now they want more vintage pieces, more natural materials; they are buying a lot of cheap furniture because they’re not investing in interiors because they’ve moved so many times in their lifetimes.” 

This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, however, because millennials only own about 4% of American real estate. Spending thousands of dollars on a couch that will eventually just be lugged from one Brooklyn apartment to another seems gratuitous when one can spend a quarter of that on a decent couch that they won’t feel too badly about tossing to the curb once they move (where it’ll almost undoubtedly get scooped up by another millennial looking for a furniture bargain).

And of course, the majority of millennials don’t have the financial security to feel comfortable splurging on high-end furniture. The generation was notoriously hit by the blunt end of the economic stick: the Great Recession, skyrocketing housing prices, student debt, stagnating incomes, and now, another impending recession spurred by a global pandemic.

With many millennials unable to afford the down payment required to purchase a home for decades, it’s easy to see why the appeal of luxury couches has become lackluster.  

Of course, that’s not to say millennials won’t splurge on what matters to them.

“There has been slightly less interest in interior design and more interest in investing in technology,” Dixon told Business Insider. “People are less inclined to invest in the future of permanence and certainty of what is going to happen next and that has an impact on the type of objects that they buy.”

Instead, Dixon says, high-end and heritage furniture are more likely to be seen in hotels, bars, and restaurants — places, he notes, where people like to be “comfortable” and which have, over time, become less technical and more domestic in purpose.

Article by (Dominic-Madori Davis for Business Insider

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/home-and-garden/millennials-don-t-want-high-end-furniture-because-they-re-constantly-moving-according-to-a-renowned-designer-who-s-been-in-the-business-for-decades/ar-BB18gj2o

Are you destroying your credit score without knowing it

Plastic Pitfalls

There are plenty of myths about what can damage your credit score, so let’s get back to basics: What behaviors can have the biggest effect on that all-important number? Some, like declaring bankruptcy, are obvious. Others may not be — for instance, a seemingly responsible move like turning down a credit increase may actually hurt your score, and leave you scrambling for ways to fix it. Here’s a refresher on 16 things to avoid if you want to keep your credit pristine. 

Not Checking Your Credit Report for Mistakes

Slide 2 of 17: If you haven't checked your credit report in a while, now's the time. You never know if and when inaccurate information might show up, potentially becoming a drag on your score. "My credit report said I worked in a pizza shop and had a lien in Lewiston, New York. Neither was correct," says Janice S. Lintz, a consumer education writer and expert. "Everyone should pull his or her three credit reports and go over them with a fine-tooth comb." Do that by going to AnnualCreditReport.com — it's free. See something wrong? Time to file a dispute.For more great personal finance tips, please sign up for our free newsletters.

If you haven’t checked your credit report in a while, now’s the time. You never know if and when inaccurate information might show up, potentially becoming a drag on your score. “My credit report said I worked in a pizza shop and had a lien in Lewiston, New York. Neither was correct,” says Janice S. Lintz, a consumer education writer and expert. “Everyone should pull his or her three credit reports and go over them with a fine-tooth comb.” Do that by going to AnnualCreditReport.com — it’s free. See something wrong? Time to file a dispute.

Missing Even One Payment

Missing a payment is one of the quickest ways to lower your credit score. And that’s the case even if late payments don’t become a pattern, says Beverly Harzog, a consumer finance analyst and credit-card expert at U.S. News and World Report. “Some consumers don’t think that missing one credit card payment is a big deal,” she cautions. “A payment that’s only 30 days late can reduce your score by a substantial amount. And once that late payment hits your credit report, it stays there for seven years.” According to FICO, that substantial amount can be as much as 110 points for someone with an otherwise great score.

Maxing Out Your Credit Cards

If you’ve got the credit, you might as well use it, right? Only up to a point, experts say. The amount you owe, also called “credit utilization,” makes up a large portion of your credit score, and as FICO notes, maxed-out cards signal to your creditors that you may have issues making payments in the future. That, of course, can become a drag on your score. Credit experts recommend against using more than 30% of your available credit if you want to keep your credit score healthy, as this can signal to lenders that you may be in a cash bind. 

Using Too Much Credit Overall

Even if you haven’t maxed out a card, your credit utilization may still be too high. That can happen if you use too much of your credit across all of your accounts, which can lower your credit score, too. According to CreditCards.com, this overall number actually matters more than individual card use when it comes to your credit score. The magic number this time? Also around 30%, experts say. Aim to stay there — or under — across all of your accounts to keep your score from suffering.

Canceling an Unused Account

Why on earth would getting rid of a credit account you don’t need hurt your credit score? Again, the answer is credit utilization. If you suddenly have less credit available, your credit utilization will go up, assuming you have balances on other accounts. “The FICO score rewards you for only using a small amount of the credit you have at your fingertips,” Harzog cautions. “You don’t get rewarded for decreasing your access to credit.”

Closing an Older Account

If a credit account that you want to close is one you’ve had for many years, your credit score could see a double whammy. You’ll have less access to credit — not a good thing — but you’re also affecting your credit history. And the longer that history is, the better for your score, says Richard Best of DontPayFull. “Canceling an older credit card could have the effect of shortening your credit history, which is a major factor in your credit score. If you absolutely have to cancel a credit card, cancel a newer account.”

Turning Down Credit Increases

Take the credit increase — or even ask for one. The catch? You shouldn’t use it. Again, this is all about credit utilization. Just as closing accounts means you have less access to credit, getting a credit increase means you have more access. Lou Haverty, a CFA with Financial Analyst Insider, was surprised to see his score climb when he got a much higher credit limit on a new card, but didn’t use much of it. “My utilization ratio increased significantly because I had more total credit, but wasn’t using that credit,” he explains. “I imagine there are many people like me that are slightly too conservative and as a result have a lower credit rating than they deserve.” Moral of the story: Don’t be shy about taking higher limits, as long as you can resist the temptation to use them.

Always Carrying a Balance

Yes, you need to use your credit to raise your credit score, but that doesn’t mean you need to keep a balance on your credit cards. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” Harzog says. “Carrying a balance costs you in two ways. First, you pay interest on your balance and if it gets big enough, you could end up in debt. And second, as your balance grows, your credit utilization ratio goes up. This situation can make your credit score go down.” A better plan: Use your card, wait for the balance to show up on your statement, then pay it in full whenever possible.

Falling Behind on Other Bills

There’s more to your credit score than credit-card payments, mortgages, and auto loans. “There are so many other items that could potentially hurt your credit score,” says Aris Jerahian of Orange County’s Credit Union in California. “If you don’t pay your rent, utility bill, phone bill, or even your medical bill, it could end up at a collection agency.” That, in turn, could weigh heavily on your credit score. Interestingly enough, by that point, the damage is done, and paying off the collection account likely won’t benefit your credit score. 

Co-Signing a Loan

If someone asks you to co-sign for a loan, think long and hard before saying yes. Do they need your help because they’re just starting out, or because they’ve tanked their credit before? Do they have enough income to keep up with loan payments, and the responsibility to make it a priority? If you co-sign, “you are not only responsible for the debt, but you will also receive all the damage to your credit that comes from nonpayment of the debt,” says Mike Sullivan, a personal finance consultant at Take Charge America. “It can also decrease your ability to obtain new credit.” 

Applying for a Lot of Credit in a Short Time

When you apply for new credit, it triggers an inquiry into your credit history that can drop your score. Typically, this isn’t by much — usually less than 5 points, according to FICO — and rate shoppers who need something like a car loan or mortgage have a window to do it in without hurting their score. However, if you apply for several credit cards around the same time, that signals riskier behavior and can affect your score more. Sullivan also cautions that simply forking over your personal information is enough to affect your score. “If you give your Social Security number to a car dealer or furniture store to obtain credit terms, you have applied for a loan according to the credit bureaus, even if you don’t follow through.”

Allowing an Authorized User

Someone who has poor credit may ask to become an authorized user on your credit card account — that way, they can raise their own score with responsible usage. But beware: In case of irresponsible usage (for instance, the other user maxing out the card or refusing to make payments) the buck stops with you. Not only will you be responsible for paying, your credit score could take a hit from higher utilization or missed payments. Someone can even add you as an authorized user without your knowledge to a new credit card, often because they want a sign-up bonus. “Check your credit reports to see if accounts where you are an authorized user are negatively impacting your score,” Lintz says. “If they are, remove yourself as an authorized user and contact the reporting agencies.”

Declaring Bankruptcy

You might not have a choice, and the prospect of declaring bankruptcy certainly demands careful consideration. But this is one move that’s going to hurt your credit score more than just about anything else. If you have a high score, you have the most to lose. According to FICO, someone with a nice, high credit score of 780 could see their score plummet as much as 240 points after declaring bankruptcy; someone with a still-solid score of 680 could lose as many as 150 points. 

Going Through Foreclosure

Like bankruptcy, a foreclosure may be unavoidable, but it will drag down your credit score a lot. While the impact isn’t as painful as bankruptcy, it’s still serious: You could be looking at a 160-point drop if you have very good credit, or as much as a 105-point drop if your score is already a bit lower. And it turns out that two common foreclosure alternatives, a short sale or a deed in lieu, aren’t necessarily any better for your credit score than a foreclosure itself, experts tell the Washington Post. 

Settling Your Debt

Debt settlement — that is, paying just a percentage of what you owe rather than the full amount — is a tempting choice for someone who is facing an overwhelming mountain of debt, but there’s no sugarcoating what it can do to your credit score. If you’re already behind on payments, your credit score may not take much more of a hit, but if you’re current, your credit score is likely to plummet when a settlement company steps in.

Not Using Credit at All

What better way to keep your credit score pristine than by refusing to use credit at all? Unfortunately, going cold turkey can have the opposite effect. “The credit agencies rely on past payment history to gauge how borrowers will do in the future. If you don’t borrow, they have no information to rely on,” says Freddie Huynh, vice president of credit risk analytics with Freedom Financial Network. Abstain long enough and you may find it hard to obtain credit when you need it. And remember: Not all plastic is created equal. “Debit cards can be helpful in curbing overspending, as you cannot spend more than you have in your bank account,” Huynh says. “However, using a debit card does not help credit scores.” Debit cards also can’t provide all the benefits that responsibly used credit cards can.

Article by Saundra Latham for Cheapism©

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/personalfinance/how-you-re-destroying-your-credit-score-without-knowing-it/ss-BB188TXc#image=17

Negotiation Secrets

smiling man reading book while holding mug
Austin Distel on Unsplash

I did it professionally for 30 years, but we all do it everyday. It can be as simple as, “What restaurant do we want to go to tonight?” or “Where shall we vacation this year?” Or it could be a more dreaded interaction like buying a car. It’s called negotiation, a word that some people fear doing or even thinking about. Many think that’s it’s not in their nature to haggle although some relish the idea. Like it or not, it’s something we need to do everyday.

Fortunately, the simple one’s are easier to mutually conclude. “I have a taste for Thai, how about you?” or “I’d like to go to Europe this year. What do you think?” Simple give-and-take won’t cause your stomach to bunch into knots unless your counterpart is obnoxious. The simple ones usually end with all parties being heard and satisfied at the conclusion reached. That being said, if your party includes children who only want Mickey D’s or only want to go to Disneyworld, good luck with that!

The skillful use of emotion during more difficult negotiations has always appealed to me as a way to make a major impact in the results. Not a shoe-banging type of emotion, but a way to make the other party empathize with the feeling. As an example, here are some ways to skillfully use emotion to counter any logical argument from the other side:

Using an appropriate tone of voice and corresponding body language would very likely shift the other party to respond more from the personal side. Control of the negotiation would very likely flow to your side to now ask again for that concession you are seeking.

One more nugget for you, we Americans are uncomfortable with silence. Use this technique when facing a difficult situation. It will rattle the other party.

Nothing in this world is guaranteed except you will negotiate sooner than later. The results are more in your favor when using this tips. Remember that we don’t get what we wish for. We get what we negotiate for.

Source: NAPM’s 84th Annual Conference for Supply Chain Managers.

Note: My apologies for the messy insert. It’s 20 years old so I wasn’t able to clean it up as I would have wanted to.