It’s the end of January. Do you know the status of your 2019 financial resolutions?
If you never made any, or you’ve already let them slip, it’s not too late to start or start over. After all, you’ve probably only gotten one paycheck so far this year—or maybe none, if you’re a furloughed or working-without-pay federal worker.
Self-improvement or moral resolutions as a New Year’s tradition go back thousands of years to Babylonian times. During those times, people made pledges to clear their debts or give something back. We still make similar promises today.
The most popular New Year’s resolutions in 2018, according to YouGov Omnibus, are exercise more (59%), eat healthier (54%) and save money (51%). Save money beat out lose weight (48%), reduce stress (38%) and stick to a budget (35%). So if you’re making a financial resolution this year, you’ll have lots of company.
It’s easy to forget your resolution, but there are lots of techniques (okay gimmicks) around that will help you remember your promises to yourself and stay on track. Here are 10 savings challenges to participate in 2019.
1. The 52-Week Challenge
Out of all the savings challenges out there, this weekly savings challenge is the most popular and comes in various forms. Every week, you’re supposed to deposit a certain, pre-determined, amount into a savings account, jar or envelope.
If this is your first time saving anything or you’re looking for a small savings challenge for your child to start, then I’d suggest you start off small. Each week deposit $9.64 into a savings account. You can set up automatic deposits with your bank or use savings apps like Qapital. The amount is at your discretion too. You could save less or more depending on what you’re comfortable with. This challenge doesn’t have to last 52 weeks; you can sock away $500 in 30 days, 100 days or 6 months – it’s your decision. Once you’ve accomplished this goal, you can use it to fund a short getaway, a new outfit, give to a charity, designate it an emergency fund or use it as seed corn for your next savings challenge.
Out of all the 52-week savings challenges, this one is the most widely talked about. A simple variation of this challenge is to deposit a dollar amount equivalent to the week you are in. For example, if it’s week one then deposit $1 and at week 52, deposit $52. (If you’re starting in week 3 of 2019, play catch-up with a $6 deposit.) By the end of the year, you’ll have $1,378. You can also reverse the order for quicker gratification by saving $52 on week 1 and decrease your weekly savings by $1 until you are left saving $1 on the last week of the year. Qapital offers a 52-week rule saving feature that you could use to support this challenge.
Aiming for an exact $1,000 savings goal? Try saving $10 per week for the first four weeks and then save $20 per week until the last week of the year.
If you’re looking to make a major purchase or build up an ample emergency kitty, then this challenge is for you. You could simplify the process and save $100 a week for 52 weeks. But, you might like challenges where you snowball your savings. There’s one challenge where you save $20 in week one, week two is $35, week three is $45 and week four is $125. The next set of four weeks will go up by $5 to $15 dollars (your choice) and then repeat the process every four-week interval until you reach your $5,000 goal.
Take on challenges like this for major goals like a first home down payment or a wedding. Deposit $125 on the first week, $150 on the second week, $175 on the third week and $300 on the fourth week. On the fifth week, start the cycle all over again and continue the challenge until you reach $10,000. An amount such as $10,000 or greater doesn’t have to be tackled alone, especially if you’re paying down credit card debt. Partner up with your significant other or family members to pay for a mutual goal and have a built-in accountability partner.
2. Bi-Weekly or 26-Week Savings Challenge
Not everyone can handle saving every week. Some people get paid bi-weekly or twice a month and prefer to save according to that schedule. Thankfully, there’s some challenges that consider that. The $1,000 challenge requires you to save $26 from your first paycheck of the year (or the first week if you want to cut the year short) and then add on $1 to your savings deposit every week (i.e. on week 26, you would deposit $51 into your savings).
To save $10,000, you could alternate between saving $275 or $475 from every paycheck between week one and week 24. That will bring you to $9,000. Then, save $425 on week 25 and $575 on week 26 to reach your goal.
3. Save One-Month Of Salary
Your savings are a hedge against unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances such as job loss. Experts recommend saving enough to cover at least a few months to six months of necessary expenses. For this challenge, you can start off with a goal to set aside 8.33% of your annual salary, or one month of salary, by stowing away 10% of your monthly income into your savings account. Throughout the year you can increase it to a higher percentage to increase the number of months you would like to cover. Alternatively, you could increase it the following year when you participate in the challenge again.
4. Round-Up Savings or Save The Change
Your New Year’s Resolution may involve breaking bad habits like overspending or spending frivolously. I’ve found round-up apps to be helpful in helping people like myself see that I do have more money to save and I don’t need to attend Taco Tuesdays every week. Apps such as Qapital,Acorns, Digit, and Qoins save by automatically withdrawing spare change or extra dollars from your checking account. With Qapital, you can choose how much to round up on your checking account purchases and the loose change gets deposited into a Qapital goals account that is FDIC-insured and backed by one of their partner banks. Some apps like Chime and Qoins have the ability to use your spare change to pay down your debts while other apps like Acorns takes your extra cash and invests it.
Banks are getting in on the action, too. Bank of America has a Keep The Change Savings program for its customers that rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar and then deposits the difference into a designated BOA savings account. Be mindful of your bank’s rules for allowing third-party access to your accounts and make sure the savings app you choose offers FDIC insurance.
5. The Weather-Dependent Challenge
Budget blogger Melissa Berry at Sunburnt Saver created a savings challenge that follows the weather. She calls it Weather Wednesday. On Wednesday of every week, you look at the highest temperature for that day and then save an amount equivalent to the number of degrees. For Berry, who lives in Phoenix, Ariz., could be depositing over $100 a week into her savings bucket. If you live in Alaska, turn those negative degrees into positive dollar amounts.
6. $1 A Day or The 365-Day Money Challenge
With 365 days in a year and $1 for each day, you could have – drum roll, please – $365 in your savings account by the end of 2019. Use this simple strategy towards a gift for yourself, a charity donation or towards a trip. If this challenge is not enough of a challenge, try this idea with young family members. Another version of this is to match your daily savings to the number of the day in the year. If it’s day one then save $0.01; on day 150, save $1.50 and on the last day of the year, save $3.65. By the end of the year, you’ll have $667.95.
7. $5 Dollar Savings Challenge
The $5 Savings Challenge has many forms. There’s one that will help you achieve $7,000 by multiplying the number five by the number of the week you’re in. At week one you would sock away $5 and at week 52 you’d put away $260. Another type of $5 challenge involves physical cash. You may have seen photos of stacks of $5 bills floating around the internet; they are probably flaunting the results from this particular savings challenge. It requires you to take any $5 you come across and physically save it in a jar, shoebox or envelope. Then six months or one year later, deposit all of your $5 bills into your savings account.
8. Monthly Challenges
If you like No Shave November, then you might enjoy these savings oriented monthly challenges too. Budget blogger Kumiko Ehrmantraut of The Budget Mom crafted a list of ways you could save each month of the year. For example, her savings calendar includes Pack-A-Lunch January and Freezer & Pantry May (a challenge she said saved her $300), plus Generic July and No Spend November. Blogger and content manager Irina Vasilescu at Don’tPayFull.com, a coupon website, designed a similar challenge.
9. The Bad Habit Jar
We’ve all got a bad habit. When British media website Unilad posted a video on their social media of someone putting cash into an “I Am Late Again” jar, I chuckled. Then I realized that’s a pretty clever way of saving money and playfully penalizing a bad habit. Some of us grew up in households where there was a swear jar to curb children from using any language the adults disapproved of. And others can recall Schmidt’s Douchebag jar on the sitcom New Girl. I’m not sure what happened to the money once those jars were full, but I’m sure whatever you have by the end of the year can go towards a nice reward for yourself or someone else or towards your rainy day fund.
10. The Envelope Challenge
Envelopes aren’t going out-of-style anytime soon. Between the envelope budget method and the envelope savings challenge, there’s a rising demand for them. They are a bit easier to carry and move than a jar or shoe box. To start, mark each envelope with a series of numbers; pick a range you are comfortable with such as 1 to 25 or 1 to 150. Throughout the year, fill the envelopes up to the corresponding number. The envelope marked with the number 10 will hold bills and coins equaling $10, while the envelope marked 25 will have bills and coins totalling $25. The 1 through 25 range will total $325.
A New Year’s resolution to save more money is a worthy promise to make to yourself. To make sure you stay on task in 2019, try to get specific about how much you want to save, take one step at time, get a support system from friends, family members or like-minded communities and don’t sweat your mistakes. Also, make sure you enjoy your money every now and then so you don’t exhaust yourself with the process.
-Asia MartinForbes Staff
Private Wealth: Banking On Climate Change In Africa
Patrick Odier of Swiss wealth management firm Lombard Odier on why Africa offers immeasurable possibilities for investors, particularly those not risk-averse.
Climate change events such as floods, drought and cyclones have had a cataclysmic effect on the lives of Africans and their economies, with many having to rebuild with little to no resources, placing more strain on economies that are already over-burdened.
But are there ways to forecast these events so people are better able to weather the storm? Wealth management firm Lombard Odier thinks it has what it takes to minimize risk on the continent, and they have the years of experience to back it up.
“We are a 223-year-old company. In the financial industry, it means we have probably learned how to weather turbulences and financial market crises – we’ve survived 40 already,” Patrick Odier, chair of the board of directors at Lombard Odier, says.
“We have made South Africa central to our strategy. I think South Africa has a long history with entrepreneurship. This idea of organizing wealth, planning and optimizing the responsibilities between the members of the families – all that belongs to it.”
With that said, the bank still holds firm to its roots of running a lean organization where the idea is not to grow in quantity, but rather in quality.
“We cannot be everywhere. We don’t want to be, we’re not a giant. We are private. It makes it a bit different from other organizations where the concerns are more operational… we are purely a service-oriented company,” Odier says.
With a client-based outlook where the bank focuses on investment advisory, execution and fiduciary services, each client is handled based on their unique circumstances, but what does this mean for Africa?
“We are trying to look at the African continent with a very open eye, to look at how we can add value to those potential clients or families who may want to organize their estates and perhaps, diversify their risks. I think agriculture, together with new technologies, will represent new opportunities.”
Odier says the interests of the firm are based on enhancing and not disrupting banking ecosystems that exist in the African environment.
“While Lombard Odier occupies over 2,500 people, we are still of a modest size as a financial institution. So we really want to focus on our existing client base and not disperse ourselves too much. We are not in the business of buying infrastructure banks and trying to take over. We are not in the business of competing with the local banks. We believe in teaming up, or perhaps diversifying the offering. I think when it comes to investing, we can be very useful to this market
“We believe the best institutions to serve the local market are the local ones. We are here to bring something else, which is basically, what is not offered here,” he says.
However, the continent, like any other, has challenges unique to it and thus, require nuances in resolving. It should not be discounted that, although Africa has made gains in catching up to the rest of the globe, a vast majority of its nations are still developing.
“The world in general is changing. You see it in everything in your life. You see it in the way you consume, the way you expect your employers to treat you and the way you think of prices. Unfortunately, you’ve seen it the way water becomes scarcer in some periods, you see also how difficult it is to produce electricity correctly, in some respects, and you see it in how climate change is affecting your life.
“All those elements are part of mega-trends we believe as a firm we could try to interpret quicker and better than some. We are transforming the way we invest to invest more sustainably. In South Africa, we want to be a leader in bringing this approach to investing in resources.
“Some say you have to have luxury to think this way, I say not doing it will create much bigger risks than doing it,” Odier says.
The World’s 100 Highest-Paid Celebrities
The pop singer Taylor Swift lands the number 1 spot on the Forbes 2019 Celebrity 100 list, her highest earnings year yet.
|#1||Taylor Swift||29||$185 M||Musicians|
|#2||Kylie Jenner||21||$170 M||Personalities|
|#3||Kanye West||42||$150 M||Musicians|
|#4||Lionel Messi||32||$127 M||Athletes|
|#5||Ed Sheeran||28||$110 M||Musicians|
|#6||Cristiano Ronaldo||34||$109 M||Athletes|
|#8||The Eagles||–||$100 M||Musicians|
|#9||Dr. Phil McGraw||68||$95 M||Personalities|
|#10||Canelo Alvarez||28||$94 M||Athletes|
|#11||Roger Federer||37||$93.4 M||Athletes|
|#12||Howard Stern||65||$93 M||Personalities|
|#13||J.K. Rowling||53||$92 M||Authors|
|#14||Russell Wilson||30||$89.5 M||Athletes|
|#15||Dwayne Johnson||47||$89.4 M||Actors|
|#16||Aaron Rodgers||35||$89.3 M||Athletes|
|#17||LeBron James||34||$89 M||Athletes|
|#18||Rush Limbaugh||68||$87 M||Personalities|
|#19||Elton John||72||$84 M||Musicians|
|#20||Beyoncé Knowles||37||$81 M||Musicians|
|#22||Ellen DeGeneres||61||$80.5 M||Personalities|
|#23||Stephen Curry||31||$79.8 M||Athletes|
|#24||Chris Hemsworth||–||$76.4 M||Actors|
|#26||Kim Kardashian West||38||$72 M||Personalities|
|#27||Ryan Seacrest||44||$71.5 M||Personalities|
|#28||Sean Combs||49||$70 M||Musicians|
|#28||James Patterson||72||$70 M||Authors|
|#31||Robert Downey Jr.||54||$66 M||Actors|
|#32||Kevin Durant||30||$65.4 M||Athletes|
|#33||Akshay Kumar||51||$65 M||Actors|
|#34||Tiger Woods||43||$63.9 M||Athletes|
|#35||Gordon Ramsay||52||$63 M||Personalities|
|#37||David Copperfield||62||$60 M||Magicians|
|#38||Kevin Hart||40||$59 M||Comedians|
|#39||Jackie Chan||65||$58 M||Actors|
|#39||Travis Scott||28||$58 M||Musicians|
|#41||Katy Perry||34||$57.5 M||Musicians|
|#41||Justin Timberlake||38||$57.5 M||Musicians|
|#43||Bradley Cooper||44||$57 M||Actors|
|#43||Adam Sandler||52||$57 M||Actors|
|#47||Scarlett Johansson||34||$56 M||Actresses|
|#48||Ben Roethlisberger||37||$55.5 M||Athletes|
|#49||Lewis Hamilton||34||$55 M||Athletes|
|#49||Anthony Joshua||–||$55 M||Athletes|
|#49||Khalil Mack||28||$55 M||Athletes|
|#52||Russell Westbrook||30||$53.7 M||Athletes|
|#53||Billy Joel||70||$52 M||Musicians|
|#54||Bruno Mars||33||$51.5 M||Musicians|
|#55||Novak Djokovic||32||$50.6 M||Athletes|
|#55||Mike Trout||27||$50.6 M||Athletes|
|#57||Jimmy Buffett||72||$50 M||Musicians|
|#59||Fleetwood Mac||–||$49 M||Musicians|
|#59||Judy Sheindlin||76||$49 M||Personalities|
|#61||Phil Mickelson||49||$48.4 M||Athletes|
|#62||Ariana Grande||26||$48 M||Musicians|
|#62||Paul McCartney||77||$48 M||Musicians|
|#64||James Harden||29||$47.7 M||Athletes|
|#65||Conor McGregor||30||$47 M||Athletes|
|#66||DeMarcus Lawrence||27||$46.9 M||Athletes|
|#67||Sean Hannity||57||$46 M||Personalities|
|#67||The Chainsmokers||–||$46 M||Musicians|
|#69||Steve Harvey||62||$45 M||Personalities|
|#70||Bryce Harper||26||$44.5 M||Athletes|
|#71||Guns N’ Roses||–||$44 M||Musicians|
|#72||Chris Paul||34||$43.8 M||Athletes|
|#73||Chris Evans||–||$43.5 M||Actors|
|#74||Kyrie Irving||27||$43.3 M||Athletes|
|#75||Giannis Antetokounmpo||24||$43.2 M||Athletes|
|#76||Jennifer Lopez||49||$43 M||Musicians|
|#76||Sofía Vergara||47||$43 M||Television actresses|
|#78||Luke Bryan||42||$42.5 M||Musicians|
|#79||Drew Brees||40||$42.4 M||Athletes|
|#80||Simon Cowell||59||$42 M||Personalities|
|#81||Aaron Donald||28||$41.4 M||Athletes|
|#82||Damian Lillard||28||$41.1 M||Athletes|
|#83||Paul Rudd||–||$41 M||Actors|
|#83||Jerry Seinfeld||65||$41 M||Comedians|
|#83||Rolling Stones||–||$41 M||Musicians|
|#86||Sebastian Vettel||32||$40.3 M||Athletes|
|#87||DJ Khaled||43||$40 M||Musicians|
|#87||The Weeknd||29||$40 M||Musicians|
|#90||Lady Gaga||33||$39.5 M||Musicians|
|#91||Blake Griffin||30||$39.1 M||Athletes|
|#92||Dave Matthews Band||–||$39 M||Musicians|
|#92||Rory McIlroy||30||$39 M||Athletes|
|#94||Paul George||29||$38.6 M||Athletes|
|#95||Zac Brown Band||–||$38.5 M||Musicians|
|#95||Calvin Harris||35||$38.5 M||Musicians|
|#95||Kendrick Lamar||–||$38.5 M||Musicians|
|#98||Brandin Cooks||25||$38 M||Athletes|
|#98||Shawn Mendes||20||$38 M||Musicians|
|#100||Celine Dion||51||$37.5 M||Musicians|
Making Up For Millions
While a growing number of influencers are dictating what brands sell, beauty entrepreneur Jackie Aina is of the view they have the duty to use their platforms responsibly.
Mixing up the inspirational with informative, the thought-provoking with tongue-in-cheek, and sarcasm with calling out brands for not being inclusive, Jackie Aina is influencing the beauty industry one product at a time.
With over three million YouTube followers and 1.2 million on Instagram, Aina is one of the stand-out digital influencers cashing in on online followings to broadcast messages to millennials, lifestyle brands and billion-dollar cosmetic conglomerates.
Although Aina does all of this with a dose of humor, the journey to YouTube stardom started some 10 years ago for the 31-year-old beauty entrepreneur, when she was desperately searching for a way to escape loneliness and unfulfillment.
READ MORE | Her Brush With Business
“I had gone on to marry the guy who inspired me to join the military. We were stationed in Hawaii and we were very unhappily married. I didn’t have a job and YouTube was buzzing in 2009. We had a lot of Asian faces who were really the faces of beauty on YouTube and I didn’t really see anyone like me. So, my best friend, literally every day, said ‘why don’t you put your makeup looks on YouTube’ and I always said no.”
Her friend’s unrelenting pursuit finally paid off.
“So, one day, I decided I wasn’t doing anything, and being bored and not being fulfilled emotionally and I didn’t have a lot of positive things going on for me at the time, so that left me a lot of time to consume content and then I started creating it.
“I truly tapped into something that I needed at the time mentally and that was great. People didn’t know me but they would just gas me up; they were so nice and would always give me positive encouragement which I really needed at the time,” Aina says.
That was a lifetime ago. These days, the Los Angeles-born influencer, who was called ‘beauty influencer of the year’ by Women’s Wear Daily last year, is short-listed among the top beauty influencers in the United States, with lucrative brand collaborations behind her.
Most notably is her collaboration with the Estée Lauder-owned brand, Too Faced, as part of the Born This Way foundation range, which she helped to create.
Celebrities and influencers are increasingly being paid several thousands of dollars per tweet or Instagram post to promote products, services and even social causes.
With most millennials avoiding posts that look like sponsored ads, brands are now increasingly interested in ads that appear organic. And that is where influencers come in.
Remuneration for such posts is usually decided after considering factors like number of followers, popularity, engagement, frequency of posts, as well as the format of the post.
Furthermore, influencer accounts with massive follower counts can leverage their social media clout to showcase brands to their followers and perhaps, most importantly, use their brand voice to fight against injustice in the industry, something Aina is passionate about.
“A lot of years on YouTube were spent seeing comments from people who say things. It is easy to sit and complain but what are you doing to change the industry?”
In response, Aina decided to use her platform to fight for the change she wanted to see in the industry. She holds other influencers accountable for offensive remarks and joins controversial and tough discussions about issues like colorism in the beauty industry. And brands are starting to listen.
It was her outspoken voice in the beauty space that caught the attention of the beauty conglomerate, Too Faced, which short-listed Aina to help expand its foundation range and ensure the makeup undertones would also compliment women of color.
“That was a testament to brands actually listening. Just because you think someone is not watching, doesn’t mean they are not watching. They are definitely watching. Sometimes all you really need is that one opportunity and that can be leveraged over and over again,” Aina says.
As brands increasingly turn away from traditional marketing, towards social influencers, young, connected digital natives like Aina, will continue to play an important role in the success of beauty brands for the foreseeable trend-obsessed digital future.
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