Archive for January, 2013

5 Reasons Why You Won’t Reach Senior-Level Management

Written by Sam on . Posted in Career Advice, Inspiration. 9408 views.

Businessmen Jumping Over Hurdles

Whether you’re a recent college graduate, a middle-manager or an aspiring executive, the odds are not in your favor to be a successful senior-level executive.  Why is that?  The reality is that the jump between middle-management and senior-level leadership requires an uncommon skill set not possessed by most. The good news is that after you’ve identified the obstacles you’re facing you’ll be in a better position to overcome them.

The following article was written from the standpoint of things that I should be doing better if I hope to succeed.  Maybe some of you will also agree that there’s always room for improvement.

Here are five reasons why you may not have what it takes to elevate from middle-management to your dream senior-level position:

  1. You’re not interacting like a leader.  How often do you leave your office and interact with those around you?  I’m not talking about your teammates or people who report directly do you.  I’m talking about the people who you have nothing to gain from.  Malcolm Forbes has a great quote:  “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him”.  Senior-level leaders are elevated by their peers (and their peer’s peers) – without their respect, you won’t go far.

    How you can fix this today:  Show your colleagues that you’re accessible by getting out there.  Make the rounds this morning and ask how they’re doing or how their project is going.

  2. You’re afraid of getting into the “trenches”.  All successful managers have at least one thing in common; they know the details of how their company runs.  When’s the last time you shadowed one of your employees?  What’s the last process you implemented to improve efficiency? Get yourself dirty and get down in the trenches – you’ll be a better manager for it.  Failing to learn the intricacies of your company is also one of the 25 Things to Stop Doing Today at Work.

    How you can fix this today:  Don’t be afraid to identify an aspect of your company that you’re not as informed about as you’d like to be.  Next, take a day to sit down with an employee in that department to listen and observe.  I guarantee this experience will be enlightening and filled with several “ah ha, that’s why we do this” moments for you.

  3. You’re not a “numbers person”.  Reaching senior-level leadership is equal parts business skills and finance skills.  You need to be able to read an income statement and a balance sheet.  Your excuse of “I’m just not good with numbers” is not going to cut it when you’re asked how to increase the bottom line.

    How you can fix this:  Step one is to get some form of training.  Even a basic “Financial Accounting For Dummies” book is a great start.  After you’ve grasped the key terms and concepts, take things further by taking a class at your local community college.

  4. You’re not identifying and cultivating talent.  The sooner you realize that the talent surrounding you is an asset, not a threat, the more likely you’ll achieve success.  Few individuals or companies fully embrace and maximize their talent within.  As a result, talent tends to flow outward to the companies that recognize talent.

    How you can fix this:  Involve those with talent and potential in your decision making process.  This applies if you’re asking those above you for help or teaching those below you.

Consumer Education: What is Title Insurance?

Written by Sam on . Posted in Real Estate. 10804 views.

The following was provided by TitleEndorsements.com:

what is title insuranceTitle insurance is a form of indemnity insurance for real property (land and improvements) offering both buyers and lenders insurance against loss arising from defects or unmarketability of title. Examples of defects or unmarketability include matters such as outstanding liens, errors in property’s legal description, or gaps in ownership – all being things a buyer or lender should be concerned with.

Title insurance differs from other forms of insurance in two major ways. First, title insurance is not casualty based. An underwriter or agent will perform a search of the underlying lands to identify the owner, outstanding liens and any other matters that affect the real property. A title commitment will be created based upon the results of this title search. A title commitment details the property’s owner and legal description, requirements which must be satisfied in order to provide coverage (including releases of mortgage, judgments or other matters that cloud the title) and matters that will be excepted from coverage (such as easements, restrictions and other matters that run with the land). This differs from casualty insurance which is typically provided without any due diligence (i.e. given without a title search or requirements to satisfy liens and defects in title).

The second major difference with title insurance is that it insures backwards in time. Where other forms of coverage such as auto insurance and health insurance are purchased for events that may occur in the future, title insurance insures against loss arising from defects that already happened in the past. An example of this could include a newly married couple who recently purchased a home, only to receive a call several months later from an elderly woman saying that her grandchildren sold her home without her approval. If the grandmother was legally in title to the property, the newly married couple may not fully own the home. An Owner’s Policy would typically cover against such a loss.

Title insurance is typically sold through a network of title agents who write the policies of a title insurance underwriter. Similar to your neighborhood Allstate office (being an independent agent for Allstate, typically not owned by Allstate company), it is common for consumers, realtors and mortgage brokers to work with the title agent of a title underwriter, not the underwriter directly. The title agent will typically preform the closing and remit a portion of the title premium to the underwriter.

The two main forms of title insurance coverage are an Owner’s Policy and a Loan Policy. An Owner’s Policy insures the buyer against adverse matters which occurred before they purchased the property, but may pop up as problems during their ownership. As previously detailed, these could be in the form of previous mortgages not satisfied, lack of legal access to the property or owners not accounted for. The coverage under an Owner’s Policy runs for as long as the owner(s) own the lands. A Loan Policy is a little different in that it insures a lender that their lien of mortgage is both valid and superior in priority to all other matters not shown as an exception to title.

In addition to the coverages provided under an Owner’s and Loan Policy, the insured may also purchase additional coverage in the form of an endorsement. Title endorsements vary from state to state but serve to offer coverage for survey elements, mineral rights, violation of restrictions, unpaid assessments and a host of other matters. Here’s a list of Florida Permitted Title Endorsements, you can now also read up on the coverage provided, requirements to issue and pricing for each.

5 Realistic Steps to Increasing Your Wealth in 2013

Written by Sam on . Posted in Personal Finance, Retirement. 16013 views.

How to increase your wealth in 2013Wealth is not about making money, it’s about saving money.  Good habits are what separate a wealthy individual from a bankrupt one (and independence from dependence) .  In the consumer-based society we live in it’s easy to judge one’s wealth based upon the toys they have in their garage, the size of their house or the exclusivity of their country club membership. 

The reality is that those “rich people” who are leveraged out the wazoo are no more wealthy (nor happy) than those living paycheck to paycheck.  Here are some realistic first steps to increasing your wealth in 2013:

  1. Make your nuts smaller.  Pardon me?  Thanks right, you need to decrease your fixed costs for 2013.  Write down exactly how much you’re spending per month on fix payments such as mortgage, car, utilities, school debt, etc.  Chances are at least one of those items will be paid off this year.  Instead of getting a new car as soon as your old one is paid off, keep driving payment free for a year or two.  Instead of getting a bigger house when you payoff your school loan, direct those payments to savings.  Look back on 2013 as the year that your payments decreased and your savings increased.
  2. Let your material possessions go…  If you’re like most Americans you have way too much crap in your house.  By crap I mean material possessions which you’re not using, which are taking up space, and which you probably purchased as an impulse rather than a real need.  Start the new year differently this year by making a list of what you can get rid of – not what you want to accumulate.  Shrinking your basis of material possessions will free up both your mind and your wallet.  Living a substance based life is one of the 18 Financial Tips I Wish Someone Told Me When I Was 18.
  3. Reverse your buying cycle.  Most of us run up our credit card to then pay it off when we get the money.  Start the new year by reversing this cycle.  Try delaying your spending by one pay cycle so that instead of putting your purchases on credit, you put them on your debit card.  By spending the money you already have, you’ll force yourself to think twice about impulse buys.