Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, unveiled his new climate plan for Japan. His goal is to make the nation climate neutral by 2050 and promises that his administration will use maximum effort to achieve this.
The Prime Minister went on to say that going climate neutral would no longer impact economic growth and even went on to say it presents more growth opportunities. This new announcement will bring the country in line with EU plans to go neutral by 2050.
Japan has the potential to make a huge impact on global emissions.
Japan is the World’s 5th Largest Emitter
In 2018, Japan released 1.24 billion tons of carbon dioxide, which puts it as 5th in the world. However, it is worth noting that it is also the 5th straight year Japan has seen a decline in its emissions.
Japan’s biggest problem when it comes to emissions is its energy sector. It accounted for a whopping 456.19 million tons of CO2 emissions in 2018. And that will play a huge role in the nation becoming carbon neutral.
In fact, the administration has already highlighted that solar cells will become a big part of the change.
However, the nation is still heavily reliant on coal and is currently the third-largest importer in the world. The transition will not be easy, especially with new coal plants already in the works.
Policies Need to Be Seen
Unfortunately, while many nations around the world pledge to lower emissions, it has rarely happened. While Japan’s news is great, it is only an announcement. Until we begin to see actual policy reform and emissions begin to shrink, then it’ll be more noteworthy.
However, based on the reaction to the news from politicians and investors alike, it really does seem like there will be a huge push to go green by Japan.
Video conferencing software used to be somewhat of a specialized utility. You may have used it occasionally in your work, but for most of us, it wasn’t an everyday tool. Maybe you used Skype once or twice years ago, but you weren’t on it every day.
Then in February of 2020, we were introduced to COVID-19, and everything changed. Virtually overnight.
California issued a stay-at-home order, and most other states quickly followed. Suddenly, millions of people who used to go into offices every day were working from home. We all had to learn to deal with video conferencing software (and dressing for the office from the waist up).
What Is Video Conferencing?
If you haven’t already been introduced to video conferencing, it’s an online video connection between two or more people. Using your phone or computer camera, you can see, hear, and communicate with someone in another location.
Most video conferencing software also lets you share your phone or computer screen with the other person. Video conferences are not limited to two participants. These virtual meetings accommodate dozens of people at the same time.
But which conferencing software is right for you? There are a lot of choices, so let’s look at the pros and cons of the most popular.
If you want to skip to the features of a particular choice, here’s the list of what we’ll be covering:
Zoom was up and coming before COVID, but in the months since, it’s taken over and dominates the field. When Zoom became a verb (“We’ll Zoom next Thursday”), you knew they were in the driver’s seat.
The Skype team at Microsoft must be wondering how they lost their user base so quickly.
But Zoom made its way to the forefront by being easy to use and offering features most of us want. The paid tiers are affordable, though add-ons can quickly boost the cost. That being said, the free version will be sufficient for most of us.
Quick growth, like Zoom has experienced, can often lead to technical issues. For now, Zoom has been able to avoid any serious glitches. Whether that will continue remains to be seen, but so far, so good.
Key Benefits of Using Zoom
Multifunctional sharing screen
High-quality video and audio
People really seem to like the virtual backgrounds
Potential Drawbacks With Zoom
40 minute maximum meeting time on the free plan
Some people have display issues in video meetings with a lot of participants
Customer support can be lacking (due in part to rapid growth)
Zoom may have taken over the leadership role in video conferencing, but I’m getting a lot of invites to Google Meet. It’s been around for a few years, but it’s really blossomed during COVID. Tech companies and the nerd and geek contingent seem to be flocking to Meet.
And for good reason. A lot of Google products are ridiculously complicated (hello Tag Manager, I see you), but Google Meet is absolutely simple. And once you’re connected, the service sort of fades into the background.
And that’s a good thing. Technology that becomes “invisible” during use is the best technology there is. It may not be the best video conferencing software for people who need a ton of features or integrations. But if you’re a fan of simplicity, Google Meet may be just what you’ve been looking for.
Key Benefits of Using Google Meet
Possibly the easiest to use video conferencing software available
Invite participants via Google Calendar
Easy to rejoin a meeting if you get disconnected
Potential Drawbacks With Google Meet
You have to share your entire screen, you can’t share only a section
It can get glitchy when a conference has more than 15 or 20 participants
60 minute video conference time limit in free version
GoToMeeting is an established name in the video conferencing software world. It’s feature-packed, reliable, and HD video-capable. And since it’s been around for a while, many people are familiar with and feel comfortable using it.
Many companies use GoToMeeting to communicate with customers one-on-one (and have for some time). It’s trusted by businesses large and small, which is as good a recommendation as you can get.
Key Benefits of Using GoToMeeting
Integration with a number of other platforms
You can schedule recurring meetings
Creates transcripts of recorded meetings
Potential Drawbacks With GoToMeeting
Not the best experience on a mobile device
Recent reports of long waits for customer service (likely COVID-related)
join.me has a reputation as one of the easiest to use video conferencing services. People who use it frequently swear by it and don’t have many negative things to say.
join.me is a LogMeIn service (as are LastPass, GoToMeeting, and GoToWebinar), so they know what they’re doing. But, you have to wonder how one company can make the best of so many different video conferencing software platforms. It seems like one (or more) of them might not get the same attention the others do.
Key Benefits of Using join.me
No plugin download necessary for attendees to join meetings
You can include international dial-in numbers for voice meetings
Potential Drawbacks With join.me
It’s not as widely used as some other services, so your attendees may not be familiar with it
Chrome extension tends to have problems when you have a lot of attendees
Cisco Webex Meetings used to be called WebEx, and it was the go-to conference software for business. It was clunky and expensive, though, so while it seemed that everyone used it, no one liked it.
But since Cisco bought the company, they’ve made a lot of improvements. That isn’t always the case when a big company absorbs a small one (see: Skype), but it is here. Cisco Webex Meetings is a big improvement on the old WebEx platform.
Key Benefits of Using Cisco Webex Meetings
You can join a Webex meeting with any device
Conference host can grant access to specific features to attendees
You can save recordings to your computer with the free plan
Potential Drawbacks With Cisco Webex Meetings
Meeting length limited to 50 minutes with the free plan
It can be a bit complicated for non-technical folks
Paid plans are pricier than some of the other services
Skype was the first video conferencing program to gain widespread public use. When it was acquired by Microsoft (and newer conferencing software started to appear), usage dropped off.
But Skype is still used by a lot of people, and it’s a safe bet most Windows users will have it installed. That’s a big plus when you want to conference with someone who doesn’t conference often.
Skype is free to use for video conferencing, as long as the other participants have a Microsoft account. But if you want to make calls to someone’s landline (their what?), or a foreign country, you’ll pay a monthly fee.
Key Benefits of Using Skype
Easy to host multiple participants
Easy to install (it’s already installed in most versions of Windows)
Potential Drawbacks With Skype
Video and audio quality are dependent on available bandwidth
May not be as secure as some other choices on this list
Service outages can happen more often than they should
There Are Even More Options out There
This video conferencing software list doesn’t include big names like Microsoft Teams, Cisco Jabber, and Team Viewer because they’re focused on large business use. And, accordingly, their prices are higher than anything on our list.
It also didn’t include smaller video conferencing companies, and there are a lot of them. But the odds are the person or persons you want to conference with won’t have that software installed. And if you tell them to go download Tixio, Interactio, or Jiminy, they’re probably going to say, “Do what now?”
The software on our list is tried and true, and many of them are available for free. You can’t really go wrong with any of them.
The Use of Video to Keep Us Connected Has Exploded
And it doesn’t look like its use will slow down any time soon. Many businesses are learning that a remote workforce can be efficient, effective, and as a bonus, save the company money.
So even when restrictions are lifted, it’s likely that Video Conferencing Software will remain a part of our lives.
If you don’t use it now, you probably will soon. If not for work, school, or business, for keeping up with friends and family. Why not get familiar with it now and put it to work for you?
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered from an earthquake and tsunami on the same day in 2011. As a result, the plant released a tremendous amount of radiation into the Pacific Ocean. To prevent further damage, water was used to help cool the reactor cores.
However, they are running out of room for the water.
With limited options available, it is very likely that the water will be returned to the ocean. Greenpeace has warned that the water contains the radioactive isotope Carbon-14, which is capable of altering human DNA.
How Much Water Is at Fukushima?
You might be wondering how much water could possibly be stored at the nuclear power plant and the answer might surprise you.
The plant currently holds 1.23 million metric tons of water.
To put this into perspective, it is the amount of water necessary to fill 492 Olympic sized swimming pools. However, you wouldn’t want to swim in this water.
According to an interview with CNN, TEPCO stated that there are 2 to 220 becquerels per liter of Carbon-14. However, they went on to urge that while Carbon-14 is dangerous, it is not in a strong enough concentration to harm humans.
Are There Other Options?
The options of what to do with this amount of contaminated water are extremely limited.
The first and maybe most obvious option is to transport the water to another location for storage. This would take a tremendous amount of resources and storage capacity, after all, it’s a lot of water.
Another option is to turn the contaminated water into cement, but as we all know, the cement industry is a huge carbon emitter and that would have its own repercussions.
Dumping the water into the ocean is the easiest method available to the company, but it is also reckless. The committee must vote on the matter to ensure that the decommissioning of the plant goes on as scheduled.
October 28th is the fourth Wednesday of the month, which means it’s Sustainability Day. While it is often overshadowed by Halloween, this year presents a unique opportunity to highlight sustainability as Halloween is canceled for many.
What is Sustainability?
The UN World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainability as “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Or to put it more simply, sustainability is making sure that anything you build doesn’t impact future generations.
For example, harnessing the power of wind doesn’t impact future generations. However, burning barrels of oil does because it release carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
How to Go Green
1. Buy Green Products
If you want to make a difference, the best way to do it is with your wallet. If there is one thing companies understand, it’s money. And giving them money for producing green products will send a clear message.
Now I know what your thinking, how will I know if a product is actually good for the environment?
This isn’t an easy thing to explain, and the answer certainly depends on what you are buying and where you are buying it from. For example, if you are buying a home appliance, look for the Energy Star logo. This means the appliance uses electricity efficiently.
This has been made easier with the new green labels Amazon introduced for 25,000 products. It lets you sort products to find exactly what you are looking for.
It doesn’t take much to recycle, but for some reason, many people still do not take the time to separate their trash. And trust me, with over 300 million tons of plastic being produced each year, there is a great need to start recycling more.
If not, by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.
Recycled materials can be refashioned to make new products which reduce the need to make new materials. As a result, it will help reduce waste, pollution, and emissions.
3. Drive Less
Odds are you are an owner of one of the 287.3 million registered vehicles in the United States. Unfortunately, transportation is the biggest source of emissions in the country, but there are two easy ways you can do your part.
The first is pretty obvious, drive less. I know, it’s pretty simple. But there are a lot of people who go back and forth to the store all day long. As Santa would say, “Make a list and check it twice” because that is a serious waste.
The second way is to simply switch to an electric car. There are no emissions and the prices are becoming competitive with traditional cars.
Everyone Can Make A difference
It doesn’t take much to make a difference, and there is no better day than Sustainability Day to get started.
Even if it’s something as trivial as recycling, it can have a huge effect over the course of a lifetime and you may even encourage others to follow your lead.
Burger King will begin testing reusable containers in the cities of New York, Portland, and Tokyo next year and plans to expand to more cities in the future. This is an effort for the company to reduce its waste material and become more sustainable.
This change is part of a new partnership with the zero-waste delivery platform, Loop. However, these reusable containers are not free for customers. Instead, customers will have to pay a small deposit for the containers they use.
When the containers are returned, the deposit they paid will also be returned. The containers will then be cleaned and reused by the franchise.
Burger King Is Ramping Up Its Environmental Commitment
This is just one more thing the King is doing to become more sustainable.
Recently, they announced they will lower methane emissions by changing their cow’s diet to lemongrass. As a result, the cows will fart less. Cow farts are a major contributor to methane emissions, so while this may sound like a joke, it’s a serious change.
The company also understands that reusable containers that cost an extra fee will not solve the problem. Instead, the company has already announced that all containers will be made entirely out of renewable, recycled, or certified sources by 2025.
Burger King Isn’t Alone
Other companies are beginning to work towards modernizing their packaging.
Just a month ago, McDonald’s announced a similar partnership with Loop for a reusable coffee container. And most recently, Amazon has completely changed their box design to become more sustainable.
Companies are working towards changing their packaging and COVID-19 has helped accelerate that process.
It’s no secret that delivery and takeout are more common than ever. In fact, it’s the only option many restaurants can offer. As a result, the amount of waste being generated by the industry as a whole is becoming hard to ignore.
A Customer Relationship Management system, or CRM, is the backbone of the relationship you build with customers. As such, picking the very best CRM software to match the needs of your business is a priority.
However, over the years, there have been a lot of CRM tools to choose from. This often makes the choice very difficult to make. Luckily, we have combed through multiple pieces of software to find you the best CRM software to match your needs and price range.
What is CRM Software?
CRM software is any form of technology that helps a business manage its communications with both current and potential customers. They can log the communication between employees and customers, create chatbots, track employee activities (i.e how many customers they help), and much more.
While a new business may be able to survive without CRM software for a bit, it is almost a requirement as your business grows.
This is because customers want and need to communicate with your business, and keeping proper logs is an essential part of doing business. This is also an extremely effective way of monitoring your employee’s performance.
After all, bad customer service can end a business before it even gets started.
Here are the 8 best CRM software of 2020:
The Best CRM Software of 2020
Starting off this list is perhaps the most well-known CRM software, Hubspot. Unlike many of the others on this list, you can start using Hubspot for no cost at all. But as your business grows, you will undoubtedly need to use the premium version.
And let me assure you, it’s well worth the cost.
However, that’s not to say the free version is anything to snuff at. Features you can use for free include contact management, ad management, email management, live chat, ticketing, and so much more.
The premium version simply takes these features to new levels to meet your growing business’s needs. Thus, making Hubspot the best CRM for small business due to how cost-effective it really is.
Benefits of Hubspot
It can scale to businesses of any size
Perfect for brand new businesses
Amazing online training libraries
Pricing of Hubspot
It’s free to start with
The Starter Growth Suite starts at $50 a month
The Professional Growth Suite starts at $1,275 a month
The Enterprise Growth Suite starts at $4,200 a month
2. Zoho CRM
For small to midsize businesses, Zoho is one of, if not the best CRM software to use. It’s even free to use if your business has less than 10 users, which makes it perfect for brand new companies to start with.
And once you see how great the services are, you will never stop using it.
It comes with a variety of necessary features that every business is going to need including workflows, bulk email support, inventory management, canvas access, omnichannel communication (email, telephone, social media, etc.), and so much more.
However, what really sets this apart from others on the list is the price point. It starts off cheap, and even its most expensive versions are still insanely low compared to alternatives.
Just take a look at the pricing to judge it for yourself.
Benefits of Zoho CRM
Awesome email marketing tools
Makes communicating a breeze on any platform
Pricing of Zoho CRM
Free up to 10 users
Standard starts at $12 a month per user
Professional starts at $20 a month per user
Enterprise starts at $35 a month per user
Ultimate starts at $45 a month per user
The mobile market for users has grown rapidly over the years and is still continuing to grow. As such, you are going to need CRM solutions that excel in the mobile aspect of your business, and Apptivo is exactly what you are looking for.
Trust me, your interactions with mobile users will improve tremendously.
As you can imagine, Apptivio has a lot of features for businesses to take advantage of. Some of them include integrations with other large platforms like Slack and Office 365, sales planning, lead tracking, mass email support, and other features.
The best part about Apptivo has to be its incredible mobile platform. In the past, you would need multiple mobile apps to manage all of your add-ons, but that changed in 2020. Now you can manage everything from just one app.
Benefits of Apptivo
All-In-One mobile app
Easy platform integration
An awesome interface
Pricing of Apptivo
Free for up to 3 users
The Premium plan starts at $8 a month per user
The Ultimate plan starts at $20 a month per user
The Enterprise plan is available upon contacting Apptivo directly
For quite some time, Salesforce has been the CRM to beat when it comes to the quality of the services it provides. In fact, it is considered by many experts and businesses to be the gold standard of CRM solutions.
And that’s because Salesforce has branched out past just CRM software.
Simply listing the features does not do this service justice. Instead, you need to carefully look at what each package they offer includes as there is a lot to choose from. Each one was built to deliver a specific experience catered for specific business types.
And don’t worry if you pick the wrong package, the first 30 days are free to use. This means you have plenty of time to switch to the package that your business needs. Most importantly, unlike other CRMs, you can never outgrow Salesforce.
Benefits of Salesforce
Free online training
It can scale with your business regardless of the size
The best workflow among CRM software
Pricing of Salesforce
Free 30-day trial
The Essentials plan starts at $25 a month per user
The Sales Professional plan starts at $75 a month per user
The Service Professional plan starts at $75 a month per user
The Pardot Growth plan starts at $1,250 a month
5. Less Annoying CRM
Less Annoying CRM has the best name on this list, and let me assure you, it is one of the best pieces of CRM you can get for the price point. Unlike others on this list, it is not as feature-rich, but that isn’t a bad thing.
In fact, it might just be its biggest strength.
Setting up a CRM can be quite a daunting task, especially if it has a lot of features to offer a business. And as a new business, it can cost you quite a bit of time to get started. But as the name implies, Less Annoying CRM saves you from the headaches.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking that this CRM is lacking. It offers essential features every CRM needs which includes contact management, leads and pipelines, mobile access, calendar and tasks, and collaboration support.
Benefits of Less Annoying CRM
No pricing tiers makes it simple to understand
The intuitive interface makes navigation a breeze
Mobile access means you are always connected
Pricing of Less Annoying CRM
Free 30-day trial
It’s $15 a month per user
If you are not confident in your abilities to use CRM software due to computer skills, Keap is the best option available. It is, by far, the easiest CRM to use for a small business on this list thanks to its simple interface and customer support.
If you ever have a question about Keap, the 24/7 live chat will be there to assist.
Keap comes with an awesome selection of easy-to-use tools that help you get the job done. Some of the features include the contact manager, invoice payment and collection tracking, viewing all of your emails in one location (Outlook, Gmail, etc.), and much more.
The end result is an easy-to-use platform that is there to help you at every step. In fact, you can even pay for coaching to get advice from Keap experts to get the very best performance and optimization for your CRM.
Benefits of Keap
24/7 live chat support
Email integration to help organize your messages
Set up invoice payments for clients
Pricing of Keap
Keap Grow starts at $40 a month for the first three months
Keap Pro starts at $75 a month for the first three months
Infusionsoft starts at $100 a month for the first three months
Zendesk is another great option to consider as a CRM solution for your small business. The full package is called the Support Suite and includes 4 services: Zendesk Support, Guide, Chat, and Talk.
However, you can trial and purchase each one separately.
As a result, this CRM allows you to pick and choose what your business needs, and with each service offering a free trial, you can get hands-on practice before purchase. And each one has a host of features that are perfect for getting great results.
One of the best parts about using Zendesk is its training program. You can take courses to help you learn everything there is about the platform. In fact, you can even be certified by Zendesk, which might be something to look for when hiring employees.
Benefits of Zendesk
The interface looks good on both desktop and mobile view
You have the freedom to pick and choose which services to use
Detailed training course to help you learn everything
Pricing of Zendesk
A free one month trial is available for all Zendesk services
The Professional Support Suite starts at $89 per month per user
The Enterprise Support Suite starts at $149 per month per user
Freshales is intended for small to mid-size businesses and is easy to use, while also being quite cheap for the features it offers. It has an excellent design that showcases all of the important information you need to see.
As a result, it’s one of the best CRM out there.
This CRM is feature-rich and some of them include module personalization (rename the modules), supports multiple currencies and languages, email templates, supports phone, email, SMS, and live chat communication, collaboration tools, and so much more.
What makes this great is the number of plans it offers. As a result of having so many to choose from, you can find one that is perfect for your website. And as we all know, picking the plan ensures that you are not paying for features you don’t need.
Benefits of Freshsales
An amazing mobile app that supports voice notes
The ability to customize just about every part of the software
Multiple plans to choose from
Pricing of Freshsales
The Blossom package starts at $12 a month per user
The Garden package starts at $25 a month per user
The Estate package starts at $49 a month per user
The Forest package starts at $79 a month per user
Benefits of CRM Software
CRM software has a wide variety of benefits to offer businesses. And as a result, and according to 91% of companies with more than 11 employees utilizing CRMs, there is a lot of data to show off the amazing results of the software.
Most importantly is the sales increase companies see. According to Salesforce, companies see a 44% increase in sales leads, a 37% increase in sales revenue, a 45% increase in customer retention, and a 52% faster integration of business apps.
These stats alone should have every business hunting for the perfect CRM.
However, one of the most important benefits is how much time it saves business owners and managers. Being able to review a chat log and point out mistakes employees make, quickly review a customer’s information, and other useful features just save time.
And if you own a business, you know the importance of saving time, which makes CRM solutions invaluable to any company.
Keeping track of your interactions with customers, improving the experience customers receive, making the most out of sales leads, and other factors make CRM software an invaluable tool for any business.
Which CRM software are you planning to use for your business? How much has using a CRM helped your business improve?
New York previously passed legislation to prohibit the use of plastic bags, and on October 19th, it is finally enforceable. Originally, it would have begun on March 1st but was held up in courts. However, the lawsuit has been dismissed. As a result, the plastic bag ban is in full effect.
Each year, there are 23 billion plastic bags used in the state of New York. And according to the DEC, 85% of those bags end up as litter. On top of this, the bags are only used for 12 minutes before being discarded.
The goal of the ban is to significantly reduce plastic pollution in the state and encourage reusable shopping bags.
What to Do As A Shopper?
If you are a resident of New York or plan to visit in the future, shopping is going to change, slightly.
You are probably wondering if stores will even offer bags any more. While the answer is yes, you will be charged for them. For a small fee ($1), the store will provide paper bags. Although prices can vary on a store-by-store basis.
For instance, some Trader Joe’s establishments only charge $0.10 per paper bag.
However, the entire premise of the ban was to encourage consumers to use reusable shopping bags. You can use these to store all of your shopping goods and they come in a variety of styles and sizes.
It is highly encouraged to keep some in your car to avoid forgetting them.
Will Have An Impact on Emissions
While curbing plastic pollution is the primary goal, cutting out 23 billion plastic bags a year will have an impact on emissions.
As you can imagine, it takes energy to produce this many. It is estimated to take 12 million barrels of oil, as such, it will have an impact on lowering emissions. And this is just one state.
It’s very likely that more states will enact a similar plastic bag ban in the future, which will have an even larger impact on emissions.
Finances are something you have to take seriously no matter what part of life you are at. If you have been lucky enough to get out of the pandemic relatively unscathed, then you are one of the fortunate ones. Now, more than ever, is a great time to look into some personal finance services that are available.
What Are Personal Finance Services?
Personal finance is the individual or family financial management performance in regards to sticking with a budget. The idea is to save money over time, while at the same time spending money on certain resources that are needed and allotting a certain amount for each living expense.
Future life events and various financial risks are also taken into account.
The above can be done on your own, or you can choose to use a personal finance service that will provide you with home budget software and more tools to help you follow a plan.
There are all sorts of personal finance services available. They come in the form of software programs, apps, and even companies that offer face-to-face instruction.
What to Consider When Looking at Different Personal Finance Services
There are several things you want to considerer when you start the process of looking at the best personal finance services available.
What types of budget tools and budget programs will each service offer? Are they affordable and fair with their pricing tiers? Do they provide excellent customer service and other options for troubleshooting?
All of these are important things to consider.
It is also a good idea for a family or individual to consider the range of other banking and product options that may or may not be available through these different personal finance services and apps. Some of these to consider include:
Income Tax Management
Available Retirement Plans
You can see that having access to any number of budget plans along with the available tools will allow you to construct a much more viable plan for you and your family in the long run.
All of these things considered, let’s take a look at some of the best personal finance software that is available today.
Best Personal Finance Services
There are a number of excellent personal finance services and apps online. The key when you are trying to make a decision is to know where to start. Every service on the list below is a solid service and will give you a lot of different budgeting tool options and financial services.
Hopefully, this gives you a great place to start looking, as these are all ones that you can dive into and compare.
YNAB also knows as “You Need a Budget,” has a primary goal of helping you create a budget that will help you to stop spending money where you shouldn’t be. They want to make sure you don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck, and they give you all the tools needed to do this.
The service is quick and easy to install, supports almost all transactions and downloads from every bank, and allows you to easily configure the program whether it’s for personal or business use.
If you find that you have gotten off track while using YNAB, the program helps you get back on track by showing you what went wrong and what to do to fix it. Sticking to a budget is not easy, but YNAB makes the process and journey smoother.
Easy to install
Personal and business use
In-app prompts for budgeting
Color-coded questions to curb spending
Clear user reports
Excellent tutorials section
Monthly Plan: $11.99/month
Annual Plan: $84.00/year
Quicken is another one of the best personal finance services available out there today. Actually, chances are you have either already heard of or used them in the past. They are extremely popular and have a long-established reputation with their desktop functions.
However, they have recently extended functionality and they have an available app that works great on mobile devices.
Quicken offers quite a few really good financial reporting tools that you can use to get your finances in a better place. Need to create a budget? Need to take care of some bills? Or maybe you are interested in some new investments?
Whatever it may be, Quicken has you covered.
View bills, pay bills, and see what you have leftover quickly and easily. Quicken also shines when it comes to potential investment opportunities. You will be able to track all savings, investment portfolios, and 401k and pension plans.
This gives you a clear idea of exactly what you have.
If you are looking for something that helps you build a budget, but also goes several steps further by providing banking and investment reporting into a dashboard, then this is definitely worth checking out.
Solid and fair pricing
Easy to install
Secure online backup
Desktop and mobile
Desktop, app, and website sync
Track investments with scheduled reports
Excellent customer support
Coming in third on our list of the best personal finance services in Banktree. While this software may not have the prettiest interface to look at, there is no denying that it is powerful and useful.
Where Banktree shines is the ability to offer balances in multiple currencies rather than rounding them off into a single total.
The software is also perfect for keeping track of literally everything. It gives you the ability to scan receipts with its mobile app and import them later on. Even though the software is more awkward than some of the others on this list, it does produce amazing reports which you can break down by time, or by the payee.
They also gave a 30-day free trial. You can use this time to get used to the layout of the software and see if it is right for you. Definitely give Banktree a look. What they lack in sophistication they make up for with features.
30-day free trial
Supports multiple currencies
Very neat reports
Desktop and mobile
Track finances easily
Desktop Personal Finance Software: $40.00/year
Desktop Personal Finance Software: $6.00/year per additional PC
4. Money Dashboard
Money Dashboard is an app-based personal finance management tool that is smooth, clean, professional, easy to use, and free! It is perhaps one of the best personal finance services available, and that says a lot considering you don’t have to pay anything to use it.
Track all your spending, make a budget, read easy to understand and beautiful pie charts and see exactly how much money you have available across all of your accounts. Money Dashboard offers both an iOS and Android app so anyone can access it quickly and easily.
The interface is smooth, easy to use and understand, and gives you a ton of tools right at your fingertips.
Last but not least, just because it is free does not mean it isn’t secure. Money Dashboard has bank-level security and is a “read-only” application.
Smooth and professional app
Manage bills and subscription
Free to use
Rounding out our list of best personal finance services is Moneydance. Originally built for Mac users, Moneydance has since expanded to Windows and Linux and provides a unique and easy to use one-window interface.
Open the window and you get an “all in one place” view of your finances, upcoming bills, recent expenses, and much more. You can easily click on any item and see all the changes that have been made.
The product provides very strong reporting features. If you are an old-school money person, then you will really enjoy the layout, as it resembles balancing and managing a checkbook.
There is no free trial of the product, but they do offer a 90-day money-back guarantee. So essentially you have three months to use it and see if you like it.
Strong reporting features
90-day money-back guarantee
Single window interface
Ability to run on multiple desktops
Track all bills and expenses
One-time purchase: $49.99
Personal Finance Strategies
Managing your personal finances properly can be a tricky thing, especially if you are unsure where your money should be going and when it should be going there. Remember, you aren’t the only one who struggles with managing money.
Even the people who are great at it use solid personal finance services to make sure they are getting the most out of every aspect.
Oftentimes, it helps if you are able to devise a plan of strategy for your finances. There are several different types of plans out there. However, I like to narrow all the possibilities down to 10 main steps you can take toward a better financial future.
Create a Budget
Having a budget is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to gaining control of your finances. All of the personal-finance services listed above can help you with this.
Create an Emergency Fund
Always pay yourself first. You can do this by putting money in an emergency fund. This fun can be accessed in the event of a money emergency.
Yes, easier said than done sometimes. However, with discipline and other strategies, you can definitely limit the amount of debt you take on.
Use Credit Cards Wisely
Remember, most credit cards will try to real you in with cashback and points offers. Even if they look attractive, you should still use credit cards wisely. The interest rate can really creep up on you, even when it is low.
Keep Track of Your Credit Score
You don’t need to have a perfect credit score to live a good life. However, it is a smart idea to keep track of your score and make sure nothing pops on it that isn’t expected.
What does your family need? What might they need in the future? Always consider your family when it comes to building and protecting your finances.
Pay Off Student Loans
Yes, these need to be paid off. You went to school, you are obligated to pay them. Do your best to work with your loan carrier and get a plan in place to try and pay them off. Also, student loan interest is tax-deductible.
Plan and Save for Retirement
It is very important to plan and save for the later years of your life. Have a retirement plan in place. Make sure you have the right amount of money to live when you decide to retire and enjoy life.
Maximize Tax Breaks
Search high and low for any and all tax breaks you can find. If you need to hire a tax professional, then do it. Maximize all tax breaks to their fullest in order to drive down any payments you may have to make.
Keep a Fun Category
In other words, give yourself a break. Allow for fun purchases. Take vacations or get a new tv. It is important you allow yourself some breaks and fun.
All of the personal-finance services above offer some different things, as well as some of the same. They all deliver a very important financial and budget tool that most consumers not only benefit from but need.
All of the services listed above are excellent. They will all give you every tool you need to get your basic budgeting and money in order. From there, the one you choose will be based on personal taste, as well as looking for exact tools you may need.
Whichever one you decide to go with, you can be sure that all of the personal-finance services listed above are top-notch services.
I hope this article was helpful. Use the list above as a starting point on your journey toward a better financial future. Good luck and happy hunting!
October 24th is the International Day of Climate Action, and its entire purpose is to show governments around the world that there is a global movement to curb emissions. It began in 2009 and has continued every year in some form.
It was started by 350.org, and supporters of the movement are encouraged to find like-minded individuals and raise awareness. This can be in a variety of forms. These include protests, tree planting, bike riding, and just about anything.
The point is to do it in a big crowd and raise awareness, however, 2020 is a special year. COVID-19 has made large gatherings a health hazard and as such, it is strongly encouraged to go a different route this year.
Here are some ways you can celebrate climate action:
Ways to Promote Climate Action in 2020
1. Organize Virtual Events
The event is normally supposed to be outside to help raise awareness, but technology has come a long way over the years. And if you want something shared, social media is the place to do it.
A great way to do this is to start groups on your favorite social media platforms. You can easily organize the group to all use a specific hashtag or post pictures on a specific topic. This can help the movement trend, which is the best thing that can happen.
After all, the more eyes that find it the better.
2. Take Action
While gathering in large crowds is not encouraged, it doesn’t mean you can’t take action in smaller groups, like your family.
There are a variety of activities you can do to encourage climate action like planting trees, cycling, hiking, donating, volunteering, and much more. And remember, it doesn’t have to be a special day to make a difference.
3. Learn About Other Climate Action Movements
A lot happens in the world on a daily basis. There are plenty of new groups and organizations that have formed or are in the process of doing so that are related to the climate movement.
Learning about the ones in your area can open up new possibilities for you in the future. Even if you are not planning to join them, sharing their name on social media or donating can go a very long way.
Live A Green Lifestyle
Of course, the best way to make a difference is to actively try to live a green lifestyle. While this might sound like a big shift, it doesn’t have to be, there are plenty of small changes that can have a large impact.
One of the simplest changes is to buy eco-friendly products. At the end of the day, money talks, and buying products that have small or no impact on the environment can have a huge impact. And recently, this has gotten very easy thanks to Amazon.