Mastering Home Economics Essential to Personal Freedom

November 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Karin Friedemann, TMO

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The best time for teaching basic home economics is when children are young. Yet many of us reach adulthood lacking some of the essential skills for comfortable living. In a well-run household, people’s basic needs are taken care of, so that thoughts and conversations can dwell on higher things. When people experience a sense of calm and security in their homes, they can focus on their work better, and enjoy their leisure more completely. When a person embarks upon the adventure of living away from their parents, whether it’s because they got married, went off to college, found their dream job, or simply needed to “find themselves,” some challenges always arise. In order to wear that new-found freedom gracefully, one needs to attain competence in the realms of finances, cleanliness, and health.

Financial Organization

People who become delinquent in paying their bills very often had the money to pay them, but they became disorganized. Keeping order in your financial life is essential to the smooth transition into adulthood. Some people become obsessed with increasing their income, not realizing that budgeting your money is far more essential to living within your means. Many millionaires fall into debt, while many poorer folk lead simple yet debt-free lives.

Managing finances effectively only requires a basic knowledge of addition and subtraction. But first things first: you need a place, such as a special drawer, where you keep unpaid bills and you need a place where you keep paid bills. Ideally you should keep a set of files separated by topic such as cable bills, utility bills, medical records, pay stubs, etc.

When money comes in, before you start withdrawing cash or buying the latest computer software, pay your bills in order of importance. Don’t delay. Always pay your bills first. Some people avoid the “pain” by refusing to know how much money they have compared with how much they spend. This bad habit needs to end immediately, to avoid lifetime enslavement to creditors. You may need good credit someday, if you ever plan to buy a home or car or have a serious emergency.

As soon as your paycheck clears, sit down and make your payments. Start with your rent or mortgage. Next, pay anything that charges a late fee such as credit card statements, and anything that is a legal requirement such as insurance. Utilities usually do not charge late fees but are essential to normal life so pay those next. After that, fill up your car’s gas tank. Now, check your balance: Do you have enough money left for food and supplies? If you cannot catch up in a month’s time, you need to find a cheaper place to live, get a roommate or find a second job, because you are not earning enough to survive.

Hopefully, you do have something left over, so whether it’s $15 or $150, that is your spending money. A single person can survive on amazingly little money, as long as they never leave home. Once they start going out, there is no limit to what they can spend on clothes, restaurants and entertainment. So, with the spending money you have left over after bills, stock up on groceries and whatever supplies you need to get by. If there is anything left after that, this is your money to do with what you like, whether it’s going to the mall or taking a weekend trip to the next Islamic conference. If you don’t have anything left after buying shampoo, stay home. It seems simple, but it’s not for many of us.

Cleanliness

Many young people use their new freedom to stop picking up after themselves. However, living in disorder not only creates health hazards and invites mice, but the Prophet (s) advised us that even looking at filth is demoralizing. These are my basic priority guidelines for home cleanliness.

First, clean up anything that is considered filth in Islam: Feces and urine should be laundered with hot water, while blood or sexual excretions should be washed in cold water. Cleaning the toilet should be done as soon as it becomes necessary.

Second, clean up anything that smells bad: take out the garbage, launder rancid towels. Open all the windows at least once a day to let out the old cooking smells, smoke, and germs lingering in the air. If it’s winter, it’s best to air out the house when you leave, so you don’t freeze.

Third, clean up the clothes laying on the floor, hang up coats, fold blankets. Textile messes tend to take up a lot of space, and while not being hazardous, cleaning them up makes a big difference to the look of a room.

Fourth, pick up and put away or throw away whatever garbage or other objects remain on the floor, then vacuum and/or mop.

Fifth, clear off tabletops and dust them because the sight of clean surfaces calms the mind, and enables you to actually use the tables and counters. If you have a lot of time, it makes more sense to dust first and then clean the floors, but if time is an issue then clean floors are more important.

Health

Many young adults express their new independence by ignoring their bodily needs. If you cannot be bothered to cook, at least eat a salad every day because living on bread and coffee alone will cause your health to deteriorate fast. Living within your means also means living within your energy level. You may have to place limits on yourself in order to stay strong enough to maintain your independence. Get enough sleep.

There are limits to freedom. Those who are able to limit themselves to what is halal – meaning, you can afford it and it is beneficial, will maximize their comfort in this life.

Karin Friedemann is a Boston-based freelance writer. karinfriedemann.blogspot.com

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Business Succession Planning: Common Mistakes Made By Business Owners

November 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil Daudi, Esq.

Despite having millions of small business operating in the United States, many of those small-business owners don’t have the faintest idea on how to formulate a proper business succession plan. This has easily become one of the major concerns of many owners; how to coordinate a proper transfer of their business to the next generation, or to their estate.

Taking the proper measures to ensure a smooth transition is vital for every business, however it is also commonly overlooked, or more often than not, it is commonly misapplied. The following are the four (4) most common mistakes business owners make when attempting to create a succession plan.

1. Failing to plan is planning to fail: Failure to plan: One of the primary reasons why many fail to have a plan is because of laziness. Most do not consider it important enough to take the time to complete. However, the effects of non-planning will prove to be burdensome when it comes time to retire, or upon your death. Take the time to sit down with a professional and discuss your options – it can even possibly save you money down the road.

2. Failing to incorporate the Estate and Business plan together: A common misconception with owners is that upon their demise, they feel the assets owned under the company would automatically be distributed to their surviving spouse. Although that may have been the wishes of the deceased, that is not how it works in reality. A carefully drafted business succession plan would include such concerns and ensure the wishes of the owner are fulfilled.

3. Failing to appraise the business: Similar to knowing the value of your home, it is just as important to know the value of your business. This is especially true if your succession plan involves the sale of your business, or if it is passing to your heirs, as the value would need to be noted for estate tax purposes.

4. Failing to create an Estate Plan: No business succession plan can be complete without having a proper estate plan. If it is your intent to have the funds of the company transferred to your heirs, the most efficient manner for it to occur is through your estate (i.e. Revocable Living Trust). Furthermore, it is equally important to have a contingent plan in place in the event you become disabled or unable to manage your business and/or financial affairs. Who would run the businesses, or make the decisions? Establishing a Power of Attorney to handle these affairs is necessary for your company to continue its operations.

It is widely acknowledged that business owners have a busy, compact, and hectic schedule. However, by not taking the proper steps of setting up an effective succession plan, business owners are simply hurting themselves personally, the business, and their heirs. Proper planning can take a few hours of an owner’s time, but it can save years of headaches afterwards. Always be sure to consult with a trusted professional who can assist and guide you through the process, and be better able to meet the goals you set out for your business.

Adil Daudi is an Attorney at Joseph, Kroll & Yagalla, P.C., focusing primarily on Asset Protection for Physicians, Physician Contracts, Estate Planning, Business Litigation, Corporate Formations, and Family Law. He can be contacted for any questions related to this article or other areas of law at adil@josephlaw.net or (517) 381-2663.

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