Everyone Might Get Lucky Every Once In A While

I don’t consider myself a lucky person.  My grandmother, on the other hand, now she was lucky.  Her and my grandpa went every year to Las Vegas, and it seemed she always won.  When she went to play bingo, she often came home with money.  She was once on the TV lottery show, and won a jackpot.  Unfortunately, her luck didn’t run out on me.  I don’t get lucky when I gamble, so I usually don’t.

But, hey, every once in a while, you get lucky in other ways.  I recently did.

Grinding Hard Drive

My wife has a laptop that she uses for her Etsy shop.  She does custom designs that are all sent electronically.  As such, she has a lot of digital files.  There are graphic files, clipart, pictures, proofs and final designs.  She keeps most of her data on an external hard drive.

So, she was really concerned when she came to me and said that the hard drive was making noise. It was grinding and clicking when she plugged it in.

This wasn’t good.

She was really worried that she had lost everything.

My Inconsistent Backup Routine

I used to be a really big tech geek.  I know quite a bit about computers and have tried to stay up on technology.  The importance of data backup is something I know full well.

I have a pretty good backup system.  Or at least it was pretty good until cloud technology came along.

I back up all data from the computer to the external hard drive.  This is the same external hard drive that her digital files are on.

Then, I back that entire hard drive up to a network drive.

That means that there are two or three copies of everything.  It’s a pretty good system.

The problem I’ve run into is that it’s inconsistent.  I don’t do it on a scheduled basis.  Sometimes it’s every week. Other times, it can be months in between backups.

The last time I had run the backup was the first time I’d run it in over six months.  That could have been awful.

Luck Was On Our Side

When my wife told me about the problem, she was terrified.  She was afraid she’d lost months worth of files.

Then I told her when I’d done the most recent backup.  Two days ago.

That’s right.  Two days.  It turns out that she hadn’t even made any updates in those two days.  In other words, the entire file system was 100% backed up.

Had the drive started making noise even a couple of days prior, we would have been screwed.

I guess we did get lucky.  This time.

Next Steps So We Get Lucky Every Time

This reminds me that I do need to improve our backup methodology.

  1. Schedule – Even without changes, making a regular schedule would be well advised.  I definitely need to do this.
  2. Offsite Backup – The current backup is pretty nifty.  Except I have always thought that we’d be screwed if we ever had a fire or something destroyed our home.  All copies are located on site.   I’ve thought about backing up the network drive and keeping that somewhere else.
  3. Cloud – I could pay for cloud storage and make that the offsite backup.  I’m cheap, though, and haven’t wanted to pay for it.  But, I guess it would be offset by not having to pay for the drive.  Plus, I could automate it.  So there are non-monetary benefits.

We got lucky with our latest failure.  I guess maybe my grandma was looking down on me.  At least that’s what I like to think!

Readers, when did you get lucky with something recently?  Do you find luck is on your side regularly? Or are you like me and amazed when luck comes your way? Let me know in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

The Psychology of Sales

All human behavior is driven by one of two factors: the desire for pleasure or the need to avoid pain. If you can show a prospective customer how your product will help them perform either of those functions, you’ll have a buyer.

Here’s how to incorporate the psychology of sales into your marketing efforts.

Fear of Missing Out

People love to feel as if they are part of the “in” crowd. They derive pleasure from feeling they are privy to something others can’t get, or they got a special deal where most people had to pay more. When presented with such an opportunity—on a limited basis—shoppers will be motivated to make a purchase decision.  They don’t want to endure the pain of having missed out on a good thing. This fear of missing out is why car salespeople always “have a few other people calling about this car”. The implication is simple.  You’d better buy it before one of those other callers gets there and scoops up this “one of a kind” great deal causing you to miss out.

The Power of Anticipation

It has been the said the secret to a happy life is having something to which one can look forward. In many cases, the feelings of pleasure people derive from the anticipation of an event far outstrips the actual pleasure they experience. By way of illustration, let’s say you sell ebooks online. When you have a new title coming up, you can tout it heavily in all of your social feeds, through your content marketing efforts and with teaser ads on your site—building it up as the ultimate volume on whatever subject it happens to cover. If you can create a buzz and get others talking about it as well, the anticipation among the targeted reader base will be very high and so will sales—as long as the book continues to live up to the hype when it’s published.

Defeating a Common Enemy

People love to win. This behavior underpins all of professional sports and yes, even war. Thing is, for us to win, someone (or something) has to lose. If you can show them how your product helps them win, you’ll have a sale. As an example, cold commercials often pit the virus as an animated character wreaking mayhem on the respiratory system. The cold remedy is then presented as the solution to defeat a common enemy—the cold virus, which in turn both creates pleasure (the cold is gone) and eliminates pain (the cold is gone).

Satisfaction of Curiosity

When people discover a hole in their knowledge, the need to fill it can be quite compelling. Ever been driving along in your car and heard an unfamiliar rattle? The noise irritates you something fierce until you know where t’s coming from. One you do, even if you can’t fix it, you feel better about it, because your curiosity has been satisfied. This incites a feeling of pleasure in the brain. Your marketing campaigns can benefit tremendously from this. Crafting subject lines designed to specifically pique the curiosity of your ideal customer drives open rates through the ceiling. You can also leverage this in your product descriptions.  Do this by giving shoppers just enough information to make them want to try the product and satisfy their need to know.

These are just four examples of how the desire for pleasure and the need to avoid pain can manifest themselves in the marketplace. Having a solid understanding of the psychology of sales will help you in your marketing efforts as you present your products and services.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

9 Tips To Take Care Of Your Roof

We replaced our roof a few years ago.  It cost us a lot of money.  Chances are if you own a home for a long period of time, you’ll have to replace the roof.  Once you do, you’ll want to keep it lasting for as long as possible.  With winter just a few months away, give your roof some attention.  A few easy tips and you can extend the life of your roof.  This can save you thousands in the long run.  Here are some tips to take care of your roof.

Inspect It Regularly

I don’t get up on my roof regularly.  However, I do walk around and check things out regularly.  I will look things over every spring.  After a big windstorm, I always walk around.  So far I haven’t noticed any problems, which is great.  However, if there did happen to be a problem, early detection and repair is key.

Keep Your Gutters Clean

We have a lot of tall trees around our home.  Every year the leaves clog the gutters.  I don’t enjoy paying to have the gutters cleaned, but I do anyway.  Clogged gutters can increase your chances of ice dams under the shingles.  Gutters that are clear will allow water to drain off properly.

Keep Trees Trimmed

As I mentioned above, we have many mature trees.  We keep them trimmed regularly.  One of the things I had done during trimming is to have branches close to the roof removed.  I don’t want them scratching against the roof.  Nor do I want branches or twigs falling loose onto the roof.

Remove Debris

If something does land on your roof, make sure it gets removed.  Moisture can form underneath anything that sits on your roof for a long period of time.  Getting up on your roof isn’t fun, nor is paying someone to do so.  However, if you need your roof cleared of something, you may have to bite the bullet.

Stay Off The Roof As Much As Possible

Try to stay off the roof if at all possible.  As mentioned above, there might be times when you need to get up there.  However, try to stay off of it.  People traipsing around will just create additional wear and tear.  This can shorten the life of your roof.  Additionally, many roofs have materials which are meant to reduce spotting or mildew.  Anytime you get on the roof, you knock some of this material off.  So, stay off the roof if you can.

Don’t Mess With The Structure Below

A co-worker of mine once had an attic fan installed.  Without their knowledge, the installers cut through part of a truss.  A roofer later told them that this was bad as the trusses are installed in a way to evenly distribute the load.  They ended up having to take on an expensive repair to reinforce their structure.  Make sure anything you have installed, such as attic fans or solar panels, don’t modify the support structure of the roof itself.

Leave The Snow On The Roof

Going along with the item above, it’s usually best to leave snow alone.  There is the occasional snowfall that does require removal, but most of the time, the roof can handle heavy snowfalls.  Homeowners that attempt to rake or shovel the snow off often cause unnecessary harm to their roof.  If you are nervous about the snow on your roof, call a roofer.

Ventilate Your Attic

When we had our roof redone, our roofer added more soffet vents.  He said that code dictated how many vents need to be installed during construction.  Builders follow this. However, this is way short of what roofing manufacturers recommend.  More ventilation keeps the attic space from overheating.  It also reduces moisture buildup from underneath.

Hire Professionals

If you have any work done tied to the recommendations above, hire professionals.  Whether it’s someone working on your roof or someone that will come in contact with it, professionals are much more used to being up on a roof.  Solid pros will know how to do their work with the roof in mind.  They should also be insured in the event that anything does happen.

To properly take care of your roof, these are practices I follow.  I hope that they’re helpful.  Everyone wants a long lasting and healthy roof.  After all, the roof is what covers us up!

Readers, what do you do for your roof?  What tips do you have to take care of your roof?  Let me know in the comments below.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

In Search of Debt Relief? Read This.

Finding yourself in more debt than you can bear? You wouldn’t be unique. Overall American credit card debt reached $927 billion in 2017, a five percent increase, according to NerdWallet. As you can imagine, this means that the average American household with credit card debt carries a lot of it; $15,482 to be exact.

Combined with the accruing monthly credit card interest and secured loans like a mortgage or auto, a consumer can quickly get in over their head.

If this scenario sounds familiar, there’s no shame in seeking a debt relief solution. After all, the worst way to handle debt is to do nothing. Instead, be proactive; start your search for debt relief solutions properly with this baseline approach.

Don’t Expect a Fast Resolution

If you’re expecting to get rid of your debt in a relatively quick manner, be prepared to lose some stuff. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the fastest option by far, taking 4–6 months, but the court may seize some of your assets to help pay back your creditors. You can protect your assets with a lengthier approach; debt settlement takes between 2–4 years and chapter 13 bankruptcy 3-5 years. Consolidation and credit counseling timelines will vary based on your debt level but will still take time to play out.

For-Profit Doesn’t Mean Scam

A company isn’t a scam just because they are for profit. In fact, most debt settlement companies, as well as lawyers, will be working for a profit should you seek debt relief assistance through them. Whether you declare chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, you’ll have pay court costs, attorney fees and financial management courses. Opting for debt settlement (and having success) will require you to pay a percentage fee based on the original amount of the resolved debt.

Non-Profit Doesn’t Automatically Mean Trust

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a company that doesn’t charge money to wipe away your debt or a legal route free of financial obligations. If your situation doesn’t require any debt forgiveness, many credit unions, religious organizations, and legitimate non-profit agencies provide free or low-cost counseling options.

Be forewarned: just because a credit counseling company has nonprofit status, doesn’t mean their services are free, affordable, or even legitimate, per the FTC. Some credit counseling organizations may try to conceal the high fees they charge or ask for “voluntary” contributions. Make sure any credit counseling agency you work with is accredited by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA).

Always Trust Your Gut

You can tell a lot from talking to a company representative on the phone and asking thoughtful questions. Are they patient and thorough with their answers? Are they asking insightful questions about your situation? Or are they steering you toward a product or solution of theirs with little concern for educating you?

If a company feels like they’re out for your money, they probably are. Legitimate companies put education first, only giving advice after carefully studying your financial situation. Validate your feelings by checking review sites like Consumer Affairs and investigate each company’s website. The company you work with should have a resourceful website filled with information on the process. An example would be the Freedom Debt Relief reviews and FAQ page, which provides clear, detailed answers to over a dozen commonly asked debt relief questions.

Know Your Caveats

All options carry caveats. Being aware of them ahead of time helps to avoid “uh-oh” moments. For example, while declaring chapter 7 is by far the fastest debt relief option, it stays on credit reports for up to a decade, three years longer than debt settlement or chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 also results in the liquidation of your non-exempt assets, meaning, any property that you don’t need to maintain a home and job. Last thing: with debt settlement, any debt you are forgiven will be taxed by the IRS as income, so be prepared for a bigger tax bill if you have success with debt settlement.

Debt Relief isn’t for the faint of heart but can provide that spark needed to leave debt behind for good. Keep the above tips in mind when exploring different debt relief options so you can make the best choice for your situation.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.