Run Your Household like a Business…a successful one

If we asked you to invest your money into a company that didn’t make any, you might think we were crazy right? Or if you knew about a business that made money, but frivolously spent it all, would your common sense tell you they are doing something wrong?

Cash flow, and managing it, are important to any successful business; and it should be important to managing your household. On its face, cash flow is a simple concept. You compare how much money you have coming in versus how much is going out. Noticed we didn’t say how much “needs” to come out. That is because if you are like most American households, credit card debt is too high, student loan payments are unbearable, and spending may be out of whack.

Cash flow is one of the many factors financial analysts look at when comparing companies and their respective stock values. Being cash flow positive (turning a profit), and having a healthy level of liquidity, both show good decision making by management and the ability to get through rough times.

So is your household turning a profit? Do you have the liquidity to get your family through tough times? If not, then we have some really good news! Managing the cash flow for your family is much easier than doing it for a business, and you have a plethora of tools available to help you do it! You should have far less categories of expenses for your family than for a company, and preparing for the future is much more intimate when it comes to your loved ones instead of when the accounts receivables department’s copy machine lease is up.

The first thing to do is start with a hard, honest look at your paycheck and your spending. We recommend basing your spending and saving goals off your net income. After all, that is the money you actually get to see and touch. Look at the past three months of your bank and credit card statements to see where you spend the most. If you have a lot of ATM withdrawals, then look at your Instagram account to see how many pictures from parties and bars you have. They might be a hint to where your money goes (hey we ain’t judging, we’ve been known to fist pump too).

Next you will need to do the math. If your statements reveal overdraft fees, late fees, and/or cash advances on credit cards; then put the calculator down, we already know you’re in the red. If the difference between what you have coming in compared to what money you have going out isn’t an amount you like, then it’s time to review your budget. If you’re in the majority of households when it comes to budgeting, then you’ll need to start one. The plan will be to prioritize what you need to pay, what you need to save for, and slowly make the progress to building up your cash savings. They will really come in handy when those rough patches in life spring up.

DISCLOSURE: The ideas, thoughts, and opinions in this article are our own, except where sources are specifically cited, and are property of Millennial Financial Planning. This article is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only, and does not serve as direct financial advice. Speak with your financial professional for direct advice and guidance. All investments contain risk and the potential loss of principal.
Millennial Financial Planning LLC (MFP) is a Registered Investment Advisor in the state of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. More information on the firm can be found at SEC.gov. Please read our privacy policy.

Understanding Investment Basics: Asset Allocation

 

So you decided to start investing! That’s a good thing, as investing provides you the opportunity to earn more on your money and “make your money work for you”. But first, you’re going to have to do a little work for yourself and figure out where to start. This brief intro to asset allocation should serve as a good first step to help get the ball rolling.

So, asset allocation, what is it? Simply put, this is the broadest definition of diversity inside your portfolio. Your overall investment strategy will center on what type of risk versus reward balance you want to achieve, and asset allocation will help to provide that. These assets are made up of equities (stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, etc.), fixed income investments (bonds), and cash/cash equivalents.

The balance between these three asset classes will provide your risk level as stated above. For example, you may see a portfolio option for a 70/30 split, meaning your investments are made up of 70% equities and 30% bonds. The appropriate blend for you will depend on several factors: age, time horizon for investing (as in when you want to start withdrawing in), reason for investing, and your personal risk tolerance. A general rule of thumb is to have a less risky portfolio if you have a short time frame for when you’ll need the money. This is because you will not have the time to recoup losses, or take advantage of market growth, depending on which end of a stock market cycle we are in.

There are many ways to achieve asset allocation within your accounts, and much deeper ways to seek diversity among your investment choices by mixing up industries, investment vehicles, and account types. There are some simple ways to obtain asset allocation, such as investing in target date funds (sometimes called lifecycle funds), or by using a diversified ETF or mutual fund. With any of these, you may have just one fund you pump your dollars into, but the underlying investments within that fund provide the asset allocation you’re looking for.

If you have questions, concerns or want some personalized advice, you can find Millennial Financial Planning online at www.mymfp.us or through social media at @MFPguys

Keep it good,

@MFPguys

 

DISCLOSURE: The ideas, thoughts, and opinions in this article are our own, except where sources are specifically cited, and are property of Millennial Financial Planning. This article is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only, and does not serve as direct financial advice. Speak with your financial professional for direct advice and guidance. All investments contain risk and the potential loss of principal.
Millennial Financial Planning LLC (MFP) is a Registered Investment Advisor in the state of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. More information on the firm can be found at SEC.gov. Please read our 
privacy policy.

Study on Student Veterans

Student veterans by the numbers.  A great myth-busting study by a great organization.  

MYTH
VETERANS ARE LESS LIKELY THAN THEIR
PEERS TO PERSIST AND EARN A DEGREE.
FACT
Veterans are more likely to #graduate than their peers.

MYTH
VETERANS DO NOT PERFORM WELL ACADEMICALLY IN POST-SECONDARY @EDUCATION.
FACT
Veterans have a higher GPA than the national average.

http://nvest.studentveterans.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Profiles-of-a-Contemporary-Student-Veteran.pdf

Q&A with Logistics Professional Development Program Associate at Caterpillar

Job Title: Logistics Professional Development Program (a.k.a. Leadership Development), Associate 

Career Field: Logistics

Industry: Construction

Company:  Caterpillar

Military Branch: USMC

Military Occupation: Infantry Machine Gunner

How did your military background help your career so far?  Did it make anything more difficult?

I owe a lot to my time in the Marines.  Confidence is probably the number one take-away.  To walk into an interview, a new job, a big presentation, you need confidence in yourself.  With the experiences I had at such a young age in the military, I had the belief that anything was possible after getting out.  The majority of skills that actually transferred into school/business were soft skill like communication, leadership, team work, attitude and work ethic.   The top hard skill would likely be public speaking.  The ability to sound off in front of a room gave me a leg up in college and business.

In addition to the skills, employers are looking for veteran candidates.  They understand the value that military experience can bring to their team (in addition to meeting some diversity goals, let’s be honest).  Having military experience on my resume is one of the main reasons you will stand out and rise above other candidates.

The only downfall of my military experience was time.  I felt like the others had a 4-year head start.  When I was in college, I was older than the rest of my classmates and felt like an old man at the age of 23.  With that being said, I probably wouldn’t be here without those 4 years of service.  I could also argue that my career success was expedited because of those 4 years.

What does a typical day consist of in your job role?

The leadership development program is 3-year rotation of different jobs. For year one, I was an Operations Supervisor in charge of ~15 Cat employees at a distribution/logistics center.  Every day was a new experience in the facility.  After an initial brief at the start of each shift, I would supervise my team during shipping, receiving, packaging and picking activities.  I learned a ton about managing others, continuous improvement, project management, standardized work, etc. during this role.   

For year two, I was an Inventory Management analyst.  This was a heavy data/analysis role.  I went from steel toe boots in the operations facility to an office wearing dress shoes.  I spent my time twisting my brain in systems and excel spreadsheets.  This was my first position that required analytical processes to succeed.  It was incredibly challenging, frustrating and rewarding.  I eventually figured out that I enjoyed that kind of work.  That analytical/data management position opened a whole new path for me in areas I would have never ventured into otherwise.   

My third year was in a project management/dealer support position.  This required my communication skills more than anything else.  I had to communicate and collaborate with multiple groups and customers from around the world and drive solutions for common shipping issues.

Being a part of a leadership program, we had the advantage of testing out multiple areas of the company.  This allowed us to identify roles/departments we enjoyed the most, as well as those we didn’t like.  It also gave us the opportunity to network with others in the program and other employers/managers across the company.   In addition to our rotational positions, our program would provide countless tours, networking events, and other learning opportunities.  I highly recommend development programs for any vet interested in transitioning to business.

How did you find and apply for this job role?

Career fair and my networking within school. One of my professors understood what I was looking for and introduced me to one of the Caterpillar recruiters (it pays to be a good student).

What kind of education, training or experiences does your job role require?

Bachelor’s degree in some business field, IT, Economics, etc..  Military experience is always desired.  Relevant business experience is a plus.  

What advice or steps would you recommend for veterans preparing to enter your career field?

Start reading about it online.  There are tons of interesting articles on Logistics/Supply Chain with Caterpillar, Amazon, etc..  

What do you enjoy the most about your career field?

Logistics is fast paced and loaded with process improvement opportunities.  Getting a product from point A to point B, and getting it to the right place, at the right time, at the right quantity and quality is both challenging and fun. I think this is a great field for former military.  Whether you want to work in IT/analytics or enjoy being around trucks and warehouses, there is a role for you.

What do you like least about your career field?

Logistics/Supply Chain can be stressful at times, like any field.  There are many time sensitive projects with limited resources.  Logistics is not always brought into projects at the right time and can be overlooked by Marketing, Engineering, Finance, etc.  

What skills and personal attributes are essential to success in this career field?

You have to have the basics with computers down.  You should be fast at typing.  You should be able to to navigate and perform the basics for Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  Anything else can be learned on the job.  You also need to be able to work well with others, seems obvious, but important. Your ability to be a valuable member of a team is critical.  Whether you are leading projects or participating in meetings, you need to work with people with very different personalities and backgrounds in order to meet a common goal (often on tight deadlines with limited direction).  This is where the military background can really help.

Is there something you wish you’d known or a skill you wish you’d had starting out in this career field?

I wish I took the college courses in computer programs like Excel and Access more seriously.  It would have made the learning curve shorter.  Also, I wish I had an internship.  I didn’t realize how important they were until I was lucky enough to be hired into this development program without one.  Almost all of the new candidates coming in have about 2 internships with various companies during their summers, on average (some majors required them to graduate, which is great).  It gave them a huge advantage coming into the development program, since they were working on relevant and challenging projects during the internships.  Unless you do something to really mess it up, an internship seems to nearly guarantee a job offer.  

How do most people get into this career field?  What are common entry-level jobs?

The majority had internships with Caterpillar first.  Even if their internship wasn’t with Caterpillar, but with another company, it still helped.  Some were analyst first, then joined the development program.  Almost everyone in the leadership program had recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree and initially connected with the company at a career fair or some other school event.  

What do you like about your industry?

It is great to be part of an industry that is part of growing and maintaining our infrastructure.   Every time I see Caterpillar equipment in a construction zone, it makes me happy to be a part of it.  

How do you see your industry changing in the next 10 years?

Logistics will continue to grow and provide endless opportunity from a career perspective.  As the industry becomes more integrated with technology solutions, many of the roles will require logistics professionals to be tech savvy with multiple systems/software solutions.  Businesses are also realizing the potential to use logistics/supply chain as a profit enabler, not just an operational cost that needs to be reduced. As customers demand quicker/more customized options, logistics will play a key role in allowing businesses to be responsive and adaptable.  Competitive companies will have efficient networks that can respond with ease, at minimum cost to both the bottom line and the environment.  

Q&A with Supply Base Manager at John Deere

NameRyan Panfil

Job TitleSupply Base Manager

Career Field :  Supply Chain Management

Industry Industrial Manufacturing

Company:  John Deere

Military Branch:  Marine Corps

Military Occupation:  0351 Assaultman

How did your military background help your career so far?   Did it make anything more difficult? 

While there aren’t a lot of parallels between the infantry world and Supply Chain Management, it helped me to get where I am today.  Hiring managers love to hire veterans.  Veterans are known for their “get it done” attitude, and ability to learn very quickly.

I would say the biggest area where being a veteran helped me was during interviews in college.  The average college student generally doesn’t have a lot of relevant work experience when they are interviewing for internships and their first job.  As a veteran, you have an advantage over your peers (yes, they are your peers) because of your military experience.  This gives you a lot more examples to reference in an interview.

What does a typical day consist of in your job role?

A big reason why I love my job is because there is no such thing as a “typical” day.  My position requires a lot of travel to work with my various suppliers, and do a lot of various project work.

The major responsibilities in my current role include supplier performance management, negotiations, cost reduction projects, and procurement strategy development.

How did you find and apply for this job role

I am now in my 3rd position with John Deere, so I applied to an inter-company posting when the position opened.

What kind of education, training or experiences does your job role require?

At a minimum, my job role requires a bachelor’s degree in a relevant business field (Supply Chain, Marketing, Economics, Agri-Business) or in engineering.

Applicants to this position will have 5-7 years with the company, and well-developed negotiation, project management, and analytical skills.

What advice or steps would you recommend for veterans preparing to enter your career field

First, if you are a veteran and have not considered a career in Supply Chain Management, I would encourage you to do so.  While this may not have ever crossed your mind, major players in this industry want to hire new grads.  On graduation day, my class had an average of 2.5 job offers per person.  You would be hard pressed to find kind of job placement rate in any other field.  While it is important to do what you love, many fields typically pursued by veterans can be very difficult to find employment in after graduation.  If you are going to invest in yourself and pursue an education, make sure you understand the job market within your chosen field.

If you are planning to enter the Supply Chain Management world, I have 2 pieces of advice:

  1. Begin building your professional network on your first day. A strong professional network is vital to a successful career in Supply Chain Management.
  2. Be flexible. This really goes for young professionals in all fields.  Flexibility, and a willingness to take on additional responsibility is one of the quickest ways for you to add value to your organization.  A good bit of advice here is to never shy away from a new challenge, and never pass up an opportunity because it isn’t convenient or would require you to relocate.

What do you enjoy the most about your career field?

My favorite part about this field is the opportunity have a real impact on a company as large as John Deere.  From the time I was an intern, I have had the opportunity to support and lead various projects that have had a significant impact on our bottom line.  It gives you a real sense of accomplishment.

What do you like least about your career field?

My least favorite part about this field is the time it can take to drive change.  Large organizations like John Deere tend to move slowly.  This is by design; it gives internal stakeholders an opportunity to evaluate new proposals, and offer improvements.  The importance of getting buy in from your stakeholders is not lost on me, but it can be very frustrating if you are trying to implement a project quickly.

What skills and personal attributes are essential to success in this career field?

Relationship building / negotiation skills, an ability to learn quickly, and a desire to succeed are the 3 biggest enablers to success in this field.

Is there something you wish you’d known or a skill you wish you’d had starting out in this career field

I wish I would have had a better working knowledge of Microsoft Excel when I started out.  You will have to analyze, process very large data sets in this field.  Proficiency in Excel will save you hours per day.

How do most people get into this career field?  What are common entry-level jobs? 

I can’t speak for other companies, but the most common pipeline for new talent at John Deere is through our internship program.  Internships are a great opportunity for companies to learn about a candidate, and for a candidate to gain insight into their chosen field.  You can think of an internship in Supply Chain Management as a 3 month, paid job interview.

Generally, people will start in this field as an order planner, tactical buyer, or forecast analyst.

What do you like about your industry?

My favorite part of this industry is whenever I get an opportunity to interact with our customers.  Most John Deere customers are small farmers and construction companies.  When a customer decides to buy a piece of John Deere equipment, they are investing in their business and ultimately their livelihood.  Interacting with customers always helps to remind me that what we do really matters.

How do you see your industry changing in the next 10 years?

In the coming years this industry will continue to be challenged with tightening environmental regulations, requiring the use of lighter weight materials and the utilization of breakthrough manufacturing technologies.  Supply Chain professionals will need to understand industry trends, and adapt their sourcing strategies to meet these challenges while remaining competitive in the global market.

Q&A with an Insurance Agency Owner

Name: Mike D.

Job Title: Insurance Agency Owner

Military Branch: US Army

Military Occupation: 12B2P – Airborne Combat Engineer

How did your military background help your career so far?  Did it make anything more difficult?

HELP—Leadership, think through problems and a general “get it done” attitude regardless of what difficulties may be in front of me or the team I’m working with.

DIFFICULT—Adapting to management as opposed to the leadership I was accustom to. Also, working through PTS when you don’t know it’s happening is really, really difficult.

What does a typical day consist of in your job role?

70% Sales/Administration.

30% Networking and community involvement.

How did you find and apply for this job role?

Head hunted.

What kind of education, training or experiences does your job role require?

Education– College degree required….

Requirements– The truth is that you need to be smart, adaptive and wildly resilient to make it in insurance sales—especially if you are going to be an agency owner.

What advice or steps would you recommend for veterans preparing to enter your career field?

Strictly Veteran Speaking—The insurance industry loves military veterans and I would suggest complete in-depth research on what company provides the veteran perks you most desire.

Veteran or not– I would encourage to find seasoned insurance sales professionals and learn from them as if you are their mentee.

What do you enjoy the most about your career field?

My job allows me to be a community leader, provides me a lot of flexibility to accommodate my family and I’m not stuck in a cubicle day in and day out.

What do you like least about your career field?

It is really, really hard. I had no idea what I was getting into when I got into insurance.

What skills and personal attributes are essential to success in this career field?

Thick skin, adapt and overcome, absolute dedication required.

Is there something you wish you’d known or a skill you wish you’d had starting out in this career field?

To start again I would work as a sales agent for another agency prior to starting my own agency right out of the gate.

How do most people get into this career field? What are common entry-level jobs?

Insurance is not an industry folks generally want to be in. Most of us are solicited via job fairs, internet, etc.

What do you like about your industry?

Flexibility of schedule and unlimited income potential.

How do you see your industry changing in the next 10 years?

We are at high risk of being affected by a disruptive technology. If we pretend no new technologies massively change our industry we are at still at the mercy of self-driving cars which no one can predict how the fine details that are insurance will work out.

Financial Planning For Veterans

This is one of the best financial articles for transitioning vets that I have seen.  It covers a lot of the topics you need to know when facing the economic reality that comes with being a civilian.  From basic financial tips to complex issues with retirement, this article provides loads of great links and resources that you should be aware of.  Enjoy!

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/financial-advisors/011415/financial-planning-veterans.asp

Why Learn Excel? Here’s 4 Good Reasons

Attention student vets!  Learning Excel is a must for many different career fields.  Knowing how to make complex data become simple and actionable is a value-adding skill.  You don’t have to become an expert in the hundreds of functions, but you should be comfortable and dangerous enough with some of the big ones, like pivot tables, graphs/table formatting, VLookUp, If/Then, CountIf, etc..

https://www.goskills.com/Excel/Articles/Why-learn-excel