Making a Worthy Personal Investment

Making a Worthy Personal InvestmentOne thing that all working people share is the need for a break, a time to sit back and relax. To experience activities other than rushing to the office, get stuff done, head home and rush to get chores done. Doing this on a daily basis can tire you out and may affect even affect your health. There are medical conditions that have been attributed to a stressful existence – all work and no play not only makes a person dull, it can actually make one sick.

A lot of people take this for granted thinking that somehow, life will be able to catch up with them. Unused vacation leaves will not do anyone good and the fact is, there will still be loads of work to do when you come back from your vacation. It’s not a case of shirking your responsibilities, taking a much needed break will refresh you and make you more fit for work.

Allowing the stress from work and relationships can damage not just your career but your health as well. Physicians have noted that those who are experiencing chronic stress are prone to develop conditions like headaches, stomach upset, and to a certain extent, high blood pressure. These symptoms may lead to the development of cardiovascular diseases and even stroke. To counter this, people need to realize the importance of taking short breaks. Having a vacation allows a person to unwind and let go of tensions and stresses. It provides physical and psychological distance from the demanding elements in his life.

Having a break allows us to recharge our batteries, which can make stronger and better prepared for work, relationships and family demands. Observing a set schedule each year, commonly when school’s over, is a smart idea. This allows you to plan all other activities around it. Plus having a fixed date means you’re not likely to postpone or cancel it in favor of work. There are several ways that you can have a break:

• Go on an all-out vacation. Plan to go somewhere new and let yourself enjoy the new sights and sounds. Riviera Nayarit is a good option to consider. It’s a great place for golf  and is located in a breathtaking setting. Take advantage of all the other activities that are hosted to get the most out of the trip. You can also set aside several lazy days and just lounge around the pool and rest up in your room

• Plan a stay-cation. This has become a novel idea for suburban dwellers because you get to take a break without spending a lot. Going on an out-of-town trip is something that people plan for because you have to spend for everything – travel expenses, board and lodging, food and fees for recreational activities. This can easily add up and become too costly to consider. Having a vacation in your home is a practical solution. You have to be a bit more creative though to copy the restful atmosphere. Turning off the phones, ordering food out and relaxing on house chores are just some of the things that you can do to create this atmosphere.

• Squeeze in a short break. This can be in the form of hiking trip, an extended bike ride, a walk on a trail or a movie night out. A quick detached activity from work can do wonders for your mental and physical state.

Fixed Asset Tracking Part 3 of 3

Finally I think I can finish this today and be done with this series.  We have already discussed some basic ideas about fixed assets, expense, software to track, and how to get the project approved.  Next we need to get into the process of actually spending the money for the project and then finish the project and start depreciating.

This is where we need to start using the software.  Once the project has been approved you need to keep pushing the project manager to start purchasing.  Once he has got the ball moving and called in the purchase then be sure to record all purchases in the system.  The system should be able to update the ledger at each period end with the construction in process accounts.  Construction is process is basically just capital projects that are not finished yet.  These will be larger projects.  If a capital purchase is just one small item, then the construction in process will only be one period.

Here is where you get to be the bookkeeper.  Each period end you need to be sure to send the purchases that you have recorded to the project manager.  The two of you can then reconcile the differences between what the project manager has ordered and what has actually been paid for.  Be sure to note the differences to get the reconciliations done for the next month.

Once the project is done spending make sure that everything is finished and billed.  Then you can place into service the new assets.  This should include the following:

  1. All spending is complete and the asset works properly.  Make a note of this and get the project owner to sign it so that you will have a good paper trail.
  2. Tag the asset with something durable.  A print-and-peel sticker will not work.  Get something welded or permanently fixed.  This asset tag should include a unique number that will be used to track the asset in the fixed asset system.
  3. Take a couple of good pictures of the asset and the tag.  This is crucial if you want to be able to find this asset again someday.
  4. Record the information about the asset that includes the name, asset tag, description, total amount of the purchase, purchase date, placed into service date, asset category, asset class, book depreciation type, book life, book notes, tax depreciation type, tax life, tax notes, etc.  (Most of this will be included in your software).
  5. Set up the depreciation to work.

Depreciation can be complicated but mostly you want to be sure that the software is working correctly.  Another item to enter would be the salvage value if it will certainly have some value when it’s disposed.  Generally I never entered this information because it’s always a nice bonus to get some scrap value, but you may want to check your tax rules to be sure this isn’t required.

Book and tax are different methods of calculating depreciation.  For example if the government allows you to depreciate 50% of an asset’s value the first year then you definitely want to take advantage of that to show a lower income this year and pay less taxes.  But you know that the asset really didn’t provide that value/detriment this year so you want to be sure and record your book depreciation less than 50% to satisfy the matching principle.

And there we have it.  Once you have entered everything in the system, just let it do its job.  You need to depreciate once per period and record the depreciation in the ledger.  Then you have a great resource to reconcile and be sure everything is level.

Fixed Asset Tracking Part 2 of 3

Well it looks like I ran this into two parts at least.  Maybe more depending on how much I want to get across today.  In the first post we discussed the basics of what is a fixed asset and a quick example of the differences between capital and expense.  Also we discussed a little about how that can be a budget killer to some facilities.

Today we will discuss more about actual tracking and how to keep up with the assets.  The first thing to remember is that you probably will not remember.  Basic rules of a job should include good note taking and process defining.  The general process will come in handy when you need to show a newbie or you want to prove to another group that you are consistent.  I recommend using some kind of asset tracking software.  This can be anything from a custom built Microsoft Access application to a full blown standalone asset tracking system.  Some good things to keep in mind when choosing the software:

  1. 1.     Be sure to get one that will update with the latest tax rules.  It’s always crunch time around year end and you don’t want any more headache.  So instead of spending extra time researching any tax rules then realizing you need to start all over with the calculations, just get software that will do the trick for you.
  2. 2.     Space enough for pictures.  Pictures are extremely valuable in asset tracking systems.  As accountants we generally do not know how to describe machines.  I usually described them by what area they were in and how much they cost.  Sometimes I would also not who wanted to purchase it.  But the best way to record an asset for all to remember is to stick a sturdy tag on it and take a couple of pictures.  Be sure your pictures show where the tag is and where the physical asset is located in the facility.
  3. 3.     Automatic depreciation calculation.  This is almost a default but should be noted.
  4. 4.     Nice excel downloads.  You don’t want to be messing around in some bulky system all the time.  Some programs don’t want you to download to excel but instead would prefer that you print reports.  This can be time consuming and cumbersome.  Be sure that the software can easily export to excel.
  5. 5.     Network ability.  The final thing to keep in mind is networking.  I personally prefer software on my computer that can link to a network database and update live with other users, but I have heard that 100% online databases are also very effective.  Either way, don’t get stuck with software that is only on your computer.  Not only is this dangerous in terms of data loss potential but also in terms of cumbersome savings and emailing large files.

So your standard process will generally start with the approval of a capital projects.  Depending on your company’s procedure this can vary widely.  The basic idea is that you get the documentation needed to explain the purchase.  This will usually be a letter written to the approver, quotations, and a financial impact analysis.  Other items might also include pictures, presentations to explain, any laws or rules that are impacted.

The letter should be written to the high authority that needs to approve the purchase.  This letter should be written by the accountant with the help of the project manager.  The other information should all be provided by the project manager.  The finance team will need to facilitate the financial analysis as this is much more viable for them.  The financial analysis will need to be written in layman’s terms.  In fact, all written communication for the project needs to be written so that any functional organization leader can understand exactly why we want to buy this and what the impact will be along with any assumptions made.

It looks like I won’t be able to finish up on this topic today so let’s make one more post about this later.

Tipping the Scales of Work and Home

To create a clear road to success in the field of accountancy, it’s important that you start early. This is something that came to me in the form of a rude awakening. I enthusiastically started a business administration degree only to realize that I have a natural inclination towards accountancy on my third year. While I was able to make a painless transition to accountancy and finally finished up as a chartered accountant (CA), I feel that a lot of time and resource can be saved with early planning.

The business world has become so competitive that it’s become a major challenge to immediately identify areas where you can create a name for yourself. Knowing early on that you want to become a CA gives you certain advantages because the Board of Studies now permits college students to take the entry-level tests. The aim is to identify students who are highly skilled in this discipline which can help them get an early start to the profession. While being a CA seems a perfect match for commerce students, arts and science candidates have the potential to excel in this field as well.

So, how do you know that you’re on the right track, as far as professions are concerned? The answer is that you may never really know. To a lot of people, being in the right place is defined by how successful you become in your chosen career. But to others, hitting the target means doing a work that you love and getting compensated handsomely for it.

The toll for success of course, is to devote a lot of time developing your skills for accounting and other management subjects. After finishing a bachelor’s degree in accountancy, candidates usually move on to pursue higher education so they can earn the title of being a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or a Chartered Account (CA). While waiting for the results of the test, students often take in jobs at accounting firms to gain valuable work experience in the industry. The payback can come in big time when you get the title because there are a lot of areas where you can be employed as a Chartered Accountant.

The title is recognized globally which widens your range of opportunities. Because of the specialized skills that the job requires, employers welcome CAs with open arms. You get to enjoy high pay and become highly respected in the field. The downside to this is that it requires you to keep pace with all the developments in the industry. It can also be a highly stressful job because it demands time, attention and focus. This is a great chance for young, single professionals who can really devote a lot of time to the work. But if you are married with children, you may find yourself consulting with a divorce attorney in New York because the job can easily eat up your family time as well.

Checking out give you a rough idea of how many marriages often end up in divorce these days. And while not all of them can be attributed to stressful, time-consuming jobs, it can be a major factor just the same. But there are also individuals who have become adept at balancing work and family. It’s just not a course that everyone can take. In the end, the measure of success is best defined by what you value most in life. So, take your pick, just make sure that you choose the one that really counts.

Fixed Asset Tracking Part 1 of 3

Fixed assets are my bread and butter.  It was one of the first jobs I ever did when I was working in manufacturing.  I enjoyed this job.  I guess the company knew I enjoyed it because they kept me at it for a good while.  Fixed assets are very basic in concept but a bit more complicated in practice.  Depending on the size of the company you work for you may find it quite difficult and complicated.

The Basics

First off let’s get through the 101 basics.  So, generally a fixed asset will fall under the category of capital assets.  The reason we don’t call them all capital assets is that some capital assets are not tangible.  These are things such as patents and goodwill.  Fixed assets are capital assets that are tangible.  So what qualifies?  Well you really need to find out how your company defines a fixed asset because some companies will vary.  But the general idea is this:  Fixed assets are tangible assets that will provide value for more than one year.  If we break down the definition we will see the details.  Notice I didn’t say an asset that will last for more than one year because sometimes we may plan to sell it within a year.  Another scenario is if we plan to keep it more than one year but the average life of the asset is less than a year.  We will then need to assume that it will not be for one year.

Expense vs. Capital

The biggest debate in manufacturing concerning fixed assets is with capital verses expense.  An expense item is something that the company will recognize on the books today (or this month).  A capital item is something the company will recognize on the books little by little over a period of time.  This is really only a debate in larger companies due to the cash flow.  So if you remember the differences between the cash flow statement and the income statement here is one of the reconciling items.  I’ll give you an example.  If you buy a building and it costs you 1,000,000 dollars then you will definitely need the cash to pay for it.  If you use the building this year and create 400,000 dollars of income then your net cash flow will be a negative 600,000.  But does this really indicate what happened this year?  What about next year? If you keep everything else constant you will notice that you will have a net income of 400,000. This doesn’t smell right for accountants.  We know that we need to match burden or expense with the income that it helps generate.  So in this case we would need to figure out how much burden is really being incurred this year.  We have some guidelines there.  Buildings are generally assumed to last 40 years.  So in a simple sense we should divide 1,000,000 by 40 = 25,000.  Therefore the actual expense for this year would be 25,000 instead of 1,000,000.  This would give us a much more realistic 375,000 net income for the year.

The real argument however, comes with the way that company’s budget.  If a manufacturing company decides to give the capital budget to the same owners that hold the relevant expense budget there would be no problem.  But this is almost never the case.  Obviously it would be a little awkward to do so. I mean imagine an operations manager that has an annual 2,000,000 dollar budget and a 1,500,000 capital budget.  Obviously they would want to pull back on capital and probably not worry about expense because that would be such a small portion of their overall responsibility.  Then the factory would lose track of spending.  Instead, they give a 500,000 budget to the operations manager and let them debate which items are worth purchasing.

The problem starts when the operations manager wants to buy an item that they believe will fall under the capital budget.  So let’s say it costs 250,000. Well as the capital accountant you will look at the purchase and if perhaps it is really made up of tiny purchases that do not meet the capital threshold it will all have to be expensed.  And guess where the expense dollars will go… right in to the operation manager’s expense budget.  Obviously the operations manager does not want to spend 50% of their annual budget on one project.

This decision will almost fully rest on the back of the capital accountant.  Your job will be to ensure that the correct decision is made regardless of the political implications of whose budget is affected.  Keep this in mind and read up on all the rules to make sure that you can be trusted when making a decision.

Online Education Verses Brick and Mortar

This seems to be a big topic out there these days but I thought I would give my two cents.  The debate is largely rather or not online education can overthrow the brick and mortar traditional school.  From what I have read it seems like many people believe that online education is the future and soon no one will be going to a regular university.  I think that may be true but not in the near future.

Education may be changing but not that fast.  If you think about it, how long has online education already been out there?  I know it must be at least 10 to 15 years.  If that is the case why hasn’t everyone moved to on-line?  Let’s view the benefits of online education:

  1. You don’t have to go to a physical place therefore you don’t need to get up and get ready or even put on clothes.  Or this means that you can have a regular full time job and study at your own pace.
  2. Should be cheaper.  Generally online education is a bit cheaper due to the fact that less facility maintenance is required.
  3. Study at your own pace.  Most schools require you to keep up with the class.  Generally tests are all taken at the same time for all students.  But the online option often will give you the leisure of taking tests whenever you want.  This can mean finishing faster or slower depending on your desire

I am sure there are plenty more benefits but most will be a variation of the above. 

What is a University Education really for?

I think that the online education is great but I think that this comparison is bogus because they do not serve the same market.  A first time bachelor’s degree is almost never done online.  Why do you think this is?  Well if you look at the potential market then you will mostly see high-school students.  And those students are eager to get out of their house or home town and go out and explore the world and meet new people.  Obviously they don’t want to stay in dad’s basement and go to school online.

Here is what I believe are reasons why people want to physically go to university:

  1. Make friends.  I think that most people really want to go make friends.  It’s true that you can do this online but it’s not as rewarding.  All the parties and the social hang outs are much more effective in person.  This is desired and will always need to be fulfilled.
  2. Join Organizations.  University fraternities and sororities have their bad sides, but their core function to bring people together is really only properly done in person.
  3. Getting away from parents.  College students really need to learn to live on their own and with other peers instead of staying home with mom and dad.
  4. Meet professors and other professionals.  Meeting these teachers in person creates a more realistic relationship and allows for more successful completion of education.
  5. Watch others.  I think that it’s important for students to learn from each other.  Learn fashion learn social skills and learn how to make a good physical impression.  This can only be done if you physically go to school.

So this may not have been a tradition verses type post but I believe the point has been made that there are great reasons to study online and there are also great reasons to go to school.  But I don’t think either one will triumph over the other any time soon.

Accounting Certificate verses Accounting Certification

DiplomaSeveral Universities have begun offering accounting certifications recently.  I thought it would be interesting to compare several points between certificates and certifications.  Clearly the certifications are more sought after but are certificates really that bad?

I was speaking with a college the other day and we got on the subject of receiving emails from our universities.  I probably get two or three emails per month for various things such as alumni club organizations, parties, football tickets, or asking for money.  My friend said the same thing but also he recently got an interesting email from his former guidance counselor.  Apparently at his university they are beginning a graduate certificate in accounting.  They said the requirements would just be a bachelor’s degree.  You could get the certificate in one year and receive benefits such as qualifications for the CPA exam, the ability to teach at the university level, and having an edge over other candidates.  He said to me “Wow, they [the school] must be desperate for money, who would ever take that certificate over a master’s degree?”

I thought about this for a while and my friend might be right.  The school may really be looking to capitalize on the growing bachelor’s degree graduates with no jobs and no desire to get a Master’s degree, but there also may be value in it for the student.  I can see several benefits.  One situation would be if a student finished their degree but didn’t want to get a CPA Certification.  This is common because of the difficulty with passing the test.  These students would be looking to quickly graduate and get a job. They might work for a couple of years then realize that the CPA certification is a required for them to progress.  At this point they may not have the time or money to go back and get a full Master’s in Accounting or MBA.  This certificate would be perfect for them.  Also, in terms of respect, if they achieve their CPA certification then no one would care what kind of education they got in order to get there.

This is not really my first recommendation.  I would recommend that everyone stay in school and either go ahead and get the 150 hours or do the master’s degree.  That way you won’t even have to go back to school at all in order to qualify for the CPA.  But I do realize that things change and life happens so this certificate is a good option.

The other benefit I see is the teaching opportunity.  If you are like me and have an occasional itch to teach then you have probably looked in to this.  So what options do you have?  Well if you are very persistent you can go for the PhD and put in the full four to five years of study.  But if you just want to teach part time or teach community college then a simple master’s degree will do.  But the certificate brings in a whole new level.  Just one year of study and you can teach at the university level.  This is amazing.  I would probably sign up today if I didn’t already have a Master’s Degree just for this opportunity.  It is true that with no post-secondary degree you can teach in some places, but for the most part you will need at least a certificate after bachelors.

So to review and conclude check out this table comparison:

Option Benefit
CPA Certification
  1. Opportunity to make the big bucks
  2. High honor and loads of opportunity
  3. Fluid jobs across several fields
Graduate Certificate in Accounting
  1. Can sit for the CPA exam without a Master’s
  2. Can teach at the University level
Option Sacrifice
CPA Certification
  1. 4 or 5 years of school
  2. Study for 700 hours and take four long tests
Graduate Certificate in Accounting
  1. Go back to school for one year

Indian Chartered Accountant Process

The chartered accountant was my initial success and reason for creating this website.  However, I have been constantly providing information about other related and sometimes un-related topics.  I thought today would be a good chance to return to those original roots.  This time I am tackling information about the chartered accountant in the rapidly growing economy of India.

India has been growing very quickly over the past several decades.  Growth in terms of population has been happening for much longer than that.  It is one of the most populated countries in the world.  Growth in terms of the economy has happened a bit more recently.  With its vast economy growing and spending more and more money, accountants are in strong demand.  But what is the life of an accountant like in India? Can you make good money?  How can you become a Chartered Accountant in India?  Is it difficult?

Life is good for accountants in India

The Chartered Accountant title is quite prestigious in India.  It’s a difficult process that yields a high salary and high honor.  The perks and benefits outweigh the salary, but the salaries are very desirable compared to the area.  Average starting salaries for a bachelor degreed employee in India is around $7,000 per year.  Chartered Accountants start between $10,000 and $18,000 which is significantly higher than the average.  The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India recently placed several candidates in jobs with starting salaries over $150,000 which is excellent even for United States or Canada.  This is very rare but it shows the growing need of Indian Chartered Accountants.

Sometimes life is not so good for chartered accountants in India.  The average first year accountant can expect to work long and stressful hours.  But after the initial few years, work hours slightly reduce and stress levels are known to drop.  The problem then is with travel.  After your first few years expect to travel every 3 or 4 years as business needs arise or as new opportunities approach.

Becoming a Chartered Accountant in India

The process is a long 5 year process.  There are several paths but the main one starts right out of high school.  The first part is to study for the CPT or Common Proficiency Test.  The test is divided into four subjects: Mercantile Law, Fundamentals of Accounting, Economics, and Quantitative Aptitude.  The test is 200 multiple choice questions.  To receive a passing grade you must get at least 30% correct answers on each test and 50% overall.  In other words you need to get 50% of all answers correctly and not do too bad in any one subject.  Also, every four wrong answers will reduce one of correct answer.  Each correct answer gives you 1/2 a percent and each wrong answer reduces 1/8 of a percent.

The second test is IPCC.  This test can be done only after passing the CPT and completing a mandatory 9 months study.  The IPCC is divided into two groups consisting of the following: Group 1 (Accounting; Business Laws, Ethics, and Communication; Cost Accounting and Financial Management; and Taxation) Group 2 (Advanced Accounting, Auditing and Assurance, and Information Technology and Strategic Management).  To pass this test you must have an overall score of 50% or more and no less than 40% in any subject.

After you pass the second test you must complete a three year on-the-job training course.  This is similar to an internship but is more like a medical school graduate’s residency time.  This is a rigorous work schedule with little pay.  After the three year intense work experience you can register for the Chartered Accountant certificate.  Currently India has less than 200,000 members that have passed, but almost 1,000,000 students are currently in the process.


The path to become a Chartered Accountant in India is not easy but it is well worth the effort.  Other options can open up on the path that will allow you to get a good job without finishing.  These are things such as certificate programs that are offered by the Institute of Charted Accountants of India.  If you really want to make it, I believe you can.

Mistakes and Challenges in Business and Life

mistakesIt is difficult for me to express my mistakes and difficulties since I started doing business.  I have had many failures and I have had many successes.  The successes seem to always blur out the failures, but in the moments just after the failure occurs I can think of nothing else.  Looking back it’s always easier to see when things started to fail and what I could have done to make it better; however, sometimes I don’t think I could have done anything to prevent the failure.

Early in my career I was working hard at a firm and making some decent money.  I had my career path laid out and I knew exactly what I wanted.  I was going to become a partner at that firm and enjoy the success of being a millionaire.  I loved money more than anything else at that time and I was willing to sacrifice almost anything to get it. I would take any opportunity that was given to me to succeed.  Oftentimes this came at the expense of others. 

There was a fellow employee of mine that was almost equally as ambitious.  We became friends.  We often spoke of our ambitions and how we wanted to succeed.  One night we spoke in detail about our goals at this company.  I told him how I was going to climb my way to the top.  I told him of my plan to become a partner.  He almost laughed and said that I could never make it.  That night as I walked home I was disappointed that I had shared my goals with him.  He was good friends with one of the supervisors who helped him get promoted several months later.  He became my supervisor.  Everything changed at that moment.  I lost my ambition and felt like I could not succeed.  I left that company shortly afterward.

There was not much I could learn from that experience except that I shouldn’t let others’ success impede my own.  I felt like because I was a much harder working employee I would rise to the top.  But I also learned that keeping those around me that can help and support me will give me the help I need.  The next job I got I made sure that I paid close attention when picking good friends.

The next company brought even more challenges.  I was in line to become the next supervisor and I had an extremely busy work week ahead of me.  I needed to complete several tasks and reports before the end of the week.  I was walking and talking on my phone at the same time when I was hit by a car that ran through a red light.  It wasn’t too bad.  I fell unconscious and woke up in the hospital.  I found out that I had a minor concussion and some bruised ribs but nothing too serious.  I wanted to leave the hospital but they forced me to stay for 3 more days. 

The worst part was that I could not complete my work for that week.  My phone was lost during the accident and I couldn’t leave the hospital.  My supervisors had to rush and finish my job for me and I was unable to get the promotion that I thought I had deserved.  The company did not blame me for getting in an accident, but they did suffer due to my accident and were not willing to promote me.

There was one small win from that experience.  The person who hit me with his car knew that he was at fault and fled the scene.  I was hoping to sue him to recover my hospital bill.  I found a lawyer and he helped me get the traffic video that showed the license plate of the car that hit me.  With his help I was able to get my money back and some more for my losses at work.  He now works at Crowe & Mulvey, LLP and helps others in similar situations.

That small win still came at a great overall loss for me.  But I did learn after these two experiences that I need to focus on what is the most important for me.  Which is not money, but instead is value that I can provide.  Bad things seemed to always find me when I sought for money and success.  When I started to focus on helping others and working hard for my family, I seemed to get much more satisfaction.

Productivity in Real Estate

To be honest I use to hate real estate investing and people who talked about real estate investing.  It seems like one of those get rich quick schemes that also costs you tons of money up front.  I have always thought that anyone could do it and be successful if they really found a good market, but how would they find a good market?  I took an in-depth dive into the real estate market in Toronto a few years ago.  I watched several TV shows about investors buying and selling houses and making millions. But could I really make money with Real Estate investing?

You really need to be in real estate

The truth is that everyone needs to be invested in real estate.  And almost every is.  Everyone has to live somewhere and pay for that home.  If you are renting an apartment, then you are technically investing in a place for you to live.  So, really you have to invest in real estate.  But in all seriousness, it should be part of your investment portfolio as well.  I will discuss the investment portion beginning from your first home purchase.  This is the best way to get started.

As a young man I remember asking my dad why anyone would want to rent.  I calculated the average rent price and the equivalent home purchase and would say “why would you pay someone else when you could just own it yourself?”  It seemed like such a waste.  My dad would respond that some people really don’t want to take on the burden.  It just didn’t make sense to me financially.

As I got older I learned that he was right.  My first apartment was expensive but I gladly paid the price for the freedom.  I could call the maintenance team if anything broke I could leave with relatively low exit costs and I almost had no responsibility.  I was scared to buy a real house and put down all that money.

Toronto Real Estate

Later in life I decided to buy my first home.  I used a mortgage calculator to find out what the risk was.  Essentially it’s just a loan calculator for a very specific type of collateral.  But typing in the price of the home you want and seeing the monthly payments is very helpful.

The Toronto market was my first real estate adventure.  I purchased my first home after searching for several months.  I was so excited to own a piece of property.  I believed that I was buying an investment that could only go up in value, but I was wrong.  My home declined in value and after 4 years it was nearly 15% lower than when I bought it.  I thought that I had made a huge mistake and would pay for it for years to come.  But then the market turned and the home prices went back up and now the home is much more expensive than when I first bought it.

Productivity in Real Estate

To be productive with real estate purchases the best thing is to just let the experts do their thing.  Companies such as Zoocasa can help you find agents that will aid you in your search.  I recommend that you have a very set budget and a set list of two or three must haves.  Then you need to visit a home search website and get an idea of how realistic your purchase is compared to your list of must-haves.  If it is way off then you may need to wait and re-organize, but if it is close, then go to visit a real estate agent.

A real estate agent is a person that you need to build some trust with.  They are not like car salesman, where you make a quick buy and then leave.  A real estate agent will be with you for a long time. In fact I recommend that you keep a trusty real estate agent in your close circle just like your personal accountant and lawyer.

The real estate agent will aid you in your search.  This is the easy part, just set back and let the agent work.  Be picky and choose exactly what you want.  If it is for an investment just work out the numbers with the agent.  Ask many questions.  The more you ask the more you will find out about the market and the agent’s real perspective.

Keep yourself up to date with home prices in the area.  Ask your agent to send you comparable home sales in your neighborhood even after you buy your home.  It is always good to know an approximate value of your house.

How Consultants Travel

productivity in the airI have been working several years as a consultant.  One of the first things I learned after working for myself was how to travel.  My last real job got me introduced to travel.  I would visit clients around the United States and Canada almost monthly.  I quickly learned that every airline is different and each service is unique.  Once I decided which airline I was comfortable with, I decided to only fly with them.  This was the flight network I always chose.

Traveling is something that a businessman must learn to deal with.  The major categories of productive travel include service, price, jet-lag, and comfort.  These things need to be in harmony together in order to maximize your travel time.  Remember that travel is not something we can just shrug off.  I mean I spend sometimes 20% of my work time traveling in any given month. This is why I believe it is something very important and deserves some devotion.

The service that a flight gives helps you with your mood and stress.  Flying can be stressful but remember to be calm and act nice in order to have better service.  Some airlines offer better service than others, but most of the time it will depend on the individual you are dealing with.  This will start from the time you step into the airport and begin speaking with the check-in attendant.  Basic thing such as smiling and keeping a cool mood will ensure that you get your baggage processed quickly and your ticket handled appropriately.

Price is the variable to solve for in this equation.  If you want great service then you will usually need to pay for it.  But if you can get great service from any airline then you can save some on the money.  When purchasing plane tickets be sure to remember your time is also valuable.  If you do not have a good way of using the time on the airplane or waiting in the airport, then it would save you money to reserve a quicker flight.  I recommend that you save some work to do on the flight or during your layover so that you can reserve a longer and cheaper ticket.  Remember also to balance jet-lag. This can be difficult.

Jet-lag is an accumulation of several factors.  I have found that I become more jet-lagged if I do not get enough sleep the night before a flight regardless of the actual flight hours.  The first rule is to not fly on the red-eye midnight flights.  This will only cause you more stress and put you in a bad mood.  Be sure to sleep well the night before and treat the flight as a normal part of your schedule.  I use flight time as a work time replacement not a sleep time replacement.  Managing jet-lag is a delicate process that requires time to master.  The important first step is to realize that you need to make it a priority to manage. Bad jet-lag can cause you many days of valuable time lost.

Comfort is an overall factor of travel.  The elements of comfort include all of the above elements, including price.  Along with these, other small items will also affect comfort.  Things such as the on flight entertainment, internet access, food, beverages, and neighboring passengers will all affect your overall comfort.  Some of these things you cannot control and there is no need to control them, but you will be surprised at the reactions if you start to try and shape these variables as well.

Productivity during travel can be achieved.  The important take-away here is that you can increase your productivity while traveling.  Remember to learn about how your body reacts to traveling in-stead of trying to force your body to react a certain way.  Keep attempting to improve your productivity and you will find traveling a great use of your time.