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Treat Your Personal Finances Like A Business

Career

When it comes to business, people generally treat their finances very carefully. They closely track money coming in and money going out, plan for the future needs of the business, and hire the necessary experts to help out when needed. After all, it would be a shame to squander away money your business has worked hard at earning. So why don’t people do the same for their personal finances? You wouldn’t want your business operating at break even; you want to be turning a profit. Here are four steps you can take to end the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle; start treating your personal finances like a profitable business.


1

Make Sure Your Employees Are Taken Care Of

In this case, employees are equal to you and your dependents. A business can’t run properly if the needs of its employees aren’t being met. Consider what makes a company great for it’s employees to work for and how you can treat you and your household the same: competitive salary (your savings), health benefits (making sure you can afford adequate insurance), 401k matching (making retirement saving a priority), and time off (leaving yourself enough money to enjoy your weekends or even a vacation). As soon as you start thinking about meeting those needs, you will see a shift in your mindset about why you should be selfish when it comes to your personal finances.

Talk to the people who can help you plan for your future and give you the advice you need to help ensure your success...After all, you are the CEO of your life.

2

Cut Unnecessary Expenditures

Every successful business shares one common thing: a budget. Why? Because without a budget, there’s no way of telling where your money is going (and if it’s being wasted) and if there’s even enough money to cover expenses (before you’ve run out). By taking the time to carefully set out a monthly budget, you are doing yourself a huge favor. A budget will not only allow you to prioritize your spending, but it will also allow you to see where you are wasting money and how to reasonably cut back on things you don’t need so that you have more to put towards important things like retirement or an emergency fund.

3

See The Big Picture

Another common element of successful businesses is a well thought out and researched business plan. You wouldn’t expect a business to grow from basement startup to Fortune 500 without a plan for how to get there, right? A business plan accounts for the present and future state of the business and how various financial scenarios will affect the business’s growth. Consider doing the same for your own life. Make a list of short term goals (like paying down some credit cards and planning a summer vacation), as well as long term goals like being able to afford a house and what kind of retirement you envision. Having these goals in mind and writing them down will help you to anticipate what steps should be taken to reach them.

4

Ask The Experts

Business owners know that they can’t manage everything by themselves, especially as their company grows. They hire secretaries, marketing associates, assistants, and salespeople. When it comes to things they only need occasional help with – like legal counsel or tax accountants – they hire outside counsel. Consider doing the same. If your taxes are on the more complex side, don’t attempt to file them on your own. You could make a costly mistake or miss out on some really beneficial tax breaks. The same goes for investing or planning for retirement. Talk to the people who can help you plan for your future and give you the advice you need to help ensure your success.

Personal finance is no doubt a daunting subject for many people. Many people feel out of control and unsure of where to start when it comes to managing their finances. But by creating an analogous scenario – in this case, looking at your personal finances like a business – it becomes much clearer what you should do. After all, you are the CEO of your life.

7min read
Culture

The Middle East And North Africa Are Brimming With Untapped Female Potential

Women of the Middle East have made significant strides in the past decade in a number of sectors, but huge gaps remain within the labor market, especially in leadership roles.


A huge number of institutions have researched and quantified trends of and obstacles to the full utilization of females in the marketplace. Gabriela Ramos, is the Chief-of-Staff to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an alliance of thirty-six governments seeking to improve economic growth and world trade. The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.

To realize the possibilities, attention needs to be directed toward the most significantly underutilized resource: the women of MENA—the Middle East and North African countries. Educating the men of MENA on the importance of women working and holding leadership roles will improve the economies of those nations and lead to both national and global rewards, such as dissolving cultural stereotypes.

The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.

In order to put this issue in perspective, the MENA region has the second highest unemployment rate in the world. According to the World Bank, more women than men go to universities, but for many in this region the journey ends with a degree. After graduating, women tend to stay at home due to social and cultural pressures. In 2017, the OECD estimated that unemployment among women is costing some $575 billion annually.

Forbes and Arabian Business have each published lists of the 100 most powerful Arab businesswomen, yet most female entrepreneurs in the Middle East run family businesses. When it comes to managerial positions, the MENA region ranks last with only 13 percent women among the total number of CEOs according to the Swiss-based International Labor Organization (ILO.org publication "Women Business Management – Gaining Momentum in the Middle East and Africa.")

The lopsided tendency that keeps women in family business—remaining tethered to the home even if they are prepared and capable of moving "into the world"—is noted in a report prepared by OECD. The survey provides factual support for the intuitive concern of cultural and political imbalance impeding the progression of women into the workplace who are otherwise fully capable. The nations of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Jordan and Egypt all prohibit gender discrimination and legislate equal pay for men and women, but the progressive-sounding checklist of their rights fails to impact on "hiring, wages or women's labor force participation." In fact, the report continues, "Women in the six countries receive inferior wages for equal work… and in the private sector women rarely hold management positions or sit on the boards of companies."

This is more than a feminist mantra; MENA's males must learn that they, too, will benefit from accelerating the entry of women into the workforce on all levels. Some projections of value lost because women are unable to work; or conversely the amount of potential revenue are significant.

Elissa Freiha, founder of Womena, the leading empowerment platform in the Middle East, emphasizes the financial benefit of having women in high positions when communicating with men's groups. From a business perspective it has been proven through the market Index provider MSCI.com that companies with more women on their boards deliver 36% better equity than those lacking board diversity.

She challenges companies with the knowledge that, "From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies."

Freiha agrees that educating MENA's men will turn the tide. "It is difficult to argue culturally that a woman can disconnect herself from the household and community." Her own father, a United Arab Emirates native of Lebanese descent, preferred she get a job in the government, but after one month she quit and went on to create Womena. The fact that this win-lose situation was supported by an open-minded father, further propelled Freiha to start her own business.

"From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies." - Elissa Frei

While not all men share the open-mindedness of Freiha's dad, a striking number of MENA's women have convincingly demonstrated that the talent pool is skilled, capable and all-around impressive. One such woman is the prominent Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al-Qasimi, who is currently serving as a cabinet minister in the United Arab Emirates and previously headed a successful IT strategy company.

Al-Qasimi exemplifies the potential for MENA women in leadership, but how can one example become a cultural norm? Marcello Bonatto, who runs Re: Coded, a program that teaches young people in Turkey, Iraq and Yemen to become technology leaders, believes that multigenerational education is the key. He believes in the importance of educating the parent along with their offspring, "particularly when it comes to women." Bonatto notes the number of conflict-affected youth who have succeeded through his program—a boot camp training in technology.

The United Nations Women alongside Promundo—a Brazil-based NGO that promotes gender-equality and non-violence—sponsored a study titled, "International Men and Gender Equality Survey of the Middle East and North Africa in 2017."

This study surveyed ten thousand men and women between the ages of 18 and 59 across both rural and urban areas in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian Authority. It reports that, "Men expected to control their wives' personal freedoms from what they wear to when the couple has sex." Additionally, a mere one-tenth to one-third of men reported having recently carried out a more conventionally "female task" in their home.

Although the MENA region is steeped in historical tribal culture, the current conflict of gender roles is at a crucial turning point. Masculine power structures still play a huge role in these countries, and despite this obstacle, women are on the rise. But without the support of their nations' men this will continue to be an uphill battle. And if change won't come from the culture, maybe it can come from money. By educating MENA's men about these issues, the estimated $27 trillion that women could bring to their economies might not be a dream. Women have been empowering themselves for years, but it's time for MENA's men to empower its women.