Top Business Trends for 2020

Every year is an interesting time to run a business. The business plan that was developed a few years ago may need to be changed completed this year. These are only a few trends to consider for doing business in 2020.

Adapt to Increasing Populations

The U.S. population is expected to increase significantly in the upcoming decade. This change comes with many benefits and disadvantages. The main benefit is having more customers to choose from. The main disadvantage is having more businesses and competitors to deal with. It’s recommended to list all of the pros and cons of this change and how to make the proper adjustments.

Increasing Use of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence tools are being used to fight cybercrime. AI is used by search engines to distinguish useless spam from quality Web content. This technology protects businesses from the actions of hackers and identity thieves.

Changes in Social Issues

More businesses are striving to make an impact in the world. CEOs and other business leaders are taking stands to fight abuses and injustices within their companies. A few, modern issues are sexual harassment, equal pay, racial discrimination, etc. It’s now common to see sponsors get dropped from their campaigns or to see controversial products being pulled immediately from the shelves.

Changes in Global Economies

At times, the U.S., Canada and Australia seem more financially stable than some countries in Europe. Social and political problems in France, Germany or England will affect the entire European economy, which will affect the North American economy. A new trend should be to change marketing techniques that are used to market customers in different countries.

Marketing to Younger Audiences

Entrepreneurs should pay more attention to the ages of their customers. They will increase their customer list by reaching younger audiences in their teens and young adult years. Reaching them while they’re young means that they will become and remain loyal customers for many years.

Every industry needs trends or nothing will change and improve. Most people don’t want to continue using the same, old products when they can get faster, more effective results. And most business people don’t want to market trends that interest very few people. So promoting trends is how businesses remain relevant in the long run.

Boosting Your Retirement Savings

Retirement seems like a long time away. In fact, when we are young, retirement may feel like something in the far distant future rather than the inevitable fact of life that it really is. Many people do not have adequate retirement money set aside. Some people even have no retirement funds set aside at all. Discover tips that can help you grow your retirement savings and prepare you for a hopefully calm, stress-free, and enjoyable end to your life.

It may sound cliche, but the sooner you begin saving for retirement, the more comfortable and better you will be later on in life. Start saving in your 20s and you can set aside less than a $100 a month and be better off than somebody setting aside hundreds of dollars a month in their 50s. Even if you cannot save much early on in your life, set something aside. It will add up and make you that much better off during retirement.

The principle behind saving less early on and having more in the end than someone who saves significantly more in a short span is due to compound interest. This is basically interest that earns additional interest. As you can guess, the longer you have compound interest occurring, the more money you will earn for retirement without the need to contribute additional funds. This is why it really pays to start saving as early as possible for retirement.

Besides the wonders of compound interest and saving early, anyone looking to increase their retirement savings should take advantage of employee contribution plans for retirement. Many employers will match employee contributions for retirement in an account like a 401(K) account. Employer contributions are like free money put into your retirement account, not by you, but your employer. This is something that you definitely want to take advantage of, and it can help you easily and quickly grow your retirement balance without additional deposits by you.

Compound interest and employer contributions let you earn additional retirement money without any real work. Besides these two methods, you can try to save more by cutting expenses and putting more money into a retirement account, such as an IRA. An IRA can help you avoid paying taxes on retirement money. Delaying social security and working for a little longer can also increase your social security benefits and will make retirement that much easier to live on.

Start early, use employer contributions, take advantage of IRAs and other tax advantages, contribute more by cutting expenses, and delay social security if you want to grow your retirement savings. It all sounds simple and easy, but you must have some discipline and knowledge, of course, to grow your retirement savings using these methods. Now get out there and do it over the long term, of course.

How to Get Your Finances in Check in 2020

The end of the year is the best time to take a look at your finances and begin to regain control. With retailers keen on moving merchandise through the holiday season, the beginning of tax season, and the motivation that accompanies a new year, now is the best time to set some concrete financial goals and begin working on strategies for your financial success. With these four steps, you can be well on your way to getting your financial house in order for 2020.

Step One: Begin With the End in Mind

Before you make any decisions ask yourself what your motivations are and identify your top two financial goals. The most common goals are eliminating high-interest, negative debt like credit card debt and saving money for a rainy day. These are great goals and, unless your savings account has three months’ worth of living expenses, they should be the first items on your list. But equally important is your motivation. Understanding why these things are important to you specifically will help you maintain your willpower when sale signs and impulse buys come along.

Step Two: Evaluate Your Situation

People often avoid taking a hard look at their finances, but it’s important to understand where your money is going. This means looking at your tax liability, income, spending habits, and previous year’s performance to get an idea of your current financial health. You may find that you need to downsize your lifestyle in order to have a better quality of life and meet your financial goals. You may need to take advantage of financial products or services to get you back on target. Or you may find that you are ready to move on to the next level and pursue another financial goal.

Step Three: Check Your Credit

Getting a free copy of your credit report is simple and easy. Once you have it, review it for any possible mistakes. Banks, credit card companies and even potential employers use these numbers to determine your trustworthiness. You should be aware of what your credit report says and what it says about you.

Step Four: Develop a Budget

Budgeting isn’t fun but it can relieve stress from your life by putting you back in control of your money. Make sure to leave room in your budget for impulse buys or miscellaneous purchases. Include entertainment and clothing in your budget. Make sure that it’s realistic. One trick is to automate as many parts of your budget as you can. Automatic deposits into your savings account and automated payments for fixed expenditures are one way to regain financial control if you sometimes lack willpower.

How is Artificial Intelligence Changing Golf

The influence of artificial intelligence (AI) in sports is hard to overstate. Machine learning, algorithms to help crunch data, and other applications have made AI indispensable to a growing sports industry around the world. In sports, like golf, where technology could be the difference in winning and losing, AI has taken an even more prominent place.

AI has greatly affected how clubs are designed in made. With every club designer and brand trying to come up with the next best thing, there seems to be a direct correlation between the amount of money a company is willing to spend on AI and that company’s ability to stay ahead of the competition.

Callaway Golf, in particular, has been willing to spend money on AI. Because of this willingness, they have developed effective AI which has in turn produced potentially the most sought after driver on the market. With the advent of “Flash Face” technology and the corresponding Callaway driver, they have

The normal process of creating a new driver includes a huge amount of Research and Development (R&D) just like in almost any industry. You create a prototype, test it out, improve the design, and test it again. This process is repeated until the designers believe that the final product is the best possible design.

In the past, the “prototype” phase of any golf club could last for months or sometimes years. There were so many iterations of the same club and so many small changes that were made to slightly improve the club and each of these changes took time. On top of that, it was difficult to determine which technology was useful and which technology did little to help the club’s performance.

With the use of AI in golf club development, the time and costs associated with golf club development has decreased and the ability to pinpoint the best technology has increased. With AI, Golf club designers can test prototypes immediately, and thousands of prototypes in a matter of days. In fact, leading to the development of “Flash Face” technology, Callaway’s AI tested over 15,000 prototypes in three weeks. They were able to make multiple variations, change the technology, and move things around with the simple click of a button.

AI, while expensive to start, both saves money and produces the best possible outcome. Artificial Intelligence is a game changer for golf club design and testing.

Contributing to Your 401k

Company pensions are increasingly becoming scarce. Therefore, one of the vehicles that was available to the workers of previous decades are no longer accessible for most private sector workers. More and more companies are moving toward 401(k) plans as the primary retirement savings option for their workers. Here are some important points about contributing to a 401(k). 

Open An Account

It’s impossible for a worker to save in a 401(k) plan if they’ve never opened an account. Getting set up with an account is as easy as taking a few minutes to stop by the HR office to fill out a few forms. Once an account is open, then it’s possible to start making contributions. 

What’s a Good Start?

When looking at 401(k) contributions, it’s a good idea to invest at least up to the amount of any employer match that’s available. Some companies will not match the savings of their employees. Those that do, however, provide a great option for their workers to build their savings. Common levels of matching is $0.50 or $1.00 for every dollar contributed up to the the first 6 percent of an employee’s salary. Therefore, a person who makes $50,000 in a year could save $3,000 and receive the match, which would be $1,500 for a 50-percent match or $3,000 for a 100-percent match. This is a great way to multiply savings quickly without much in the way of risk. The match is basically free money. 

What’s Next?

After hitting the level of the match, many financial experts recommend opening up a Roth IRA. There is no tax deduction when contributions go into a Roth, but they grow tax-free. They also come out tax-free when it comes time to retire because the IRS views the tax as having already been paid. As of 2019, employees under 50 years old can save up to $6,000 in an IRA account. Those who are age 50 and above can add another $1,000 to the $6,000 maximum. 

What’s The Goal?

After obtaining the 401(k) match and filling a Roth IRA, it’s recommended that future retirees increase their savings until they are putting 15 percent of their annual salaries toward retirement each year. This can come from 401(k) savings, company matches, and IRA contributions. Not everyone will be able to save as much, but getting started is the key. Those who are able to save 10 percent should aim for 15 and work toward it. Those who are at 15 should aim to increase their savings as well. Progress over time will make a comfortable retirement more likely. Slow and steady improvements will work out better than waiting until age 60 and then starting to worry about retirement.

How to Plan for Retirement Income

Like all things, having a great life during your retirement years starts with a good plan. While many folks start planning for retirement early, many things happen along the way to derail their original plans. Hardships happen in life, you may borrow against your 401K to purchase a home, many folks discover that a divorce decimates income they’d counted on for their retirement years.

If long-term illness, paying for unexpected hardships and other problems finds you middle-aged and wondering how to pay for retirement, there is hope and several ways to recover using a revised retirement plan.

Create Realistic Goals

Examine what you look forward to every day and every week. What types of things do you like to spend your time and money on? Chances are those are the same activities you’ll savor having time for during your retirement years. Most people have a vague plan to travel the world when they retire. In reality, you may not enjoy much of the hassle that comes with extensive travel in today’s world.

If possible, try out some of the activities you dream of doing once you retire. This gives you the opportunity to discover what you really enjoy doing. Once you identify those things, determine how much money it takes to maintain your current lifestyle and pay for what you want during your retirement years.

Consider Working A Little Longer

Traditionally, folks in our society planned to retire between age 62 and 65. Right now, the average 65-year-old will live to approximately 85 years of age. One in four will live past the age of 90. Yet, many folks opt for early retirement at the age of 62. Many of the early retirees live to regret that decision.

If you wait to retire until the age of 66 or 67, you’ll see your income increase by about 25 percent. An additional 25 percent a year provides a lot of money for living expenses and discretionary funds. Without it, your retirement years may not prove as fulfilling as you hoped.

If you work a little longer, put away another one or two percent of your salary, and talk to a financial planner, you have a higher than average chance of enjoying your retirement years – not just surviving them.

from Mike Plumlee Financial Advisor | Financial Planning

4 Ways to Boost Employee Engagement

A company that has high employee engagement is bound to be more successful because there is an emotional commitment. This is much different than employees that simply come to work to earn a paycheck. A team that’s highly engaged will be far more enthusiastic about the work that’s performed. Needless to say, employee engagement should always be a priority. Below are four ways you can boost employee engagement in your organization.

Have Social Gatherings

Social gatherings really aren’t about having fun. While they can and should be a good time, they are really for the purpose of building personal relationships. When people socialize together, they foster more positive relationships, which can improve their ability to coordinate and work together as a cohesive and fully engaged team.

Cultivate a People-Focused Culture

Sometimes the leaders of a company will forget that employees are their number one asset. Without the right talent, you will struggle to achieve your goals. Likewise, when a business is people-focused, they spend time meeting the needs of employees and customers. This is something that doesn’t usually go unnoticed and can contribute to much higher employee engagement.

Establish Clear Goals

It’s always easier to hit a target when you can see it, which is why clear goals are so important. When employees are unsure about daily priorities and long-term goals, it can create uncertainty and a lack of focus, which are detrimental to employee engagement. It’s why you should constantly endeavor to set clear goals.

Promote Authenticity

Work is necessary to earn a living. Quite frankly, if most people could stay home and still earn a paycheck, they would. Yes, there are some people who are passionate about their job and would go to work even without a paycheck, but that’s certainly not the majority of people in the workforce. With that being the case, it takes effort to promote authenticity when building business relationships. Nevertheless, it’s important since employees are more highly engaged when leaders are authentic.

Boosting employee engagement should be a priority because it has bottom line implications. It should also be a priority simply because it’s the right thing to do.