Available Balance
Why is Hotel Management a rewarding career?
May 25, 2017
0
83

The ‘hospitality bug’ is fancy enough to bite any student interested in taking up a career in the field of hotel management and supervision. Hotel Management has emerged out to be one of the most sought after careers by Indian students. Good following and managing temperament, ability to work as a team and having a keen aesthetic and unique touch in your perspective are the ingredients of a potential Hotel Management aspirant.

Hotel Management is a highly rewarding career since the global picture of an urban city has emerged out to be soaked in the hues of modernisation and the extension of the impact of the private sector on health and lifestyle of people. Multi-cuisine restaurants, five-star hotels, luxurious bars and a lot many places have become a part of the routine for people all over the world. Whether it might be official meetings, public gatherings or functions, apposite management is indispensable; and here is when Hotel Management comes to play.

Eating and drinking never go out of fashion so it is obvious that the Hotel Management industry just keeps on getting bigger and better. Making people pleased with your services will give you immense pleasure and also a good pay package. The hospitality industry is a vast web of people linked together with a social thread. Entering this web of hospitable people making people happy and comfortable will surely appeal to those who have a will to serve others.

Indian cities too have become a honey-pot for restaurants and hotels, following which the need for supervisors and managers is increasing at every level. This sector is bound to grow exponentially with the influx of technology and cultural advancement. It is reckoned to be a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world and have cross-cultural contacts on your list! The diversity and aura of this career greatly appeals to all hotel management aspirants planning to pursue it as their full-time career.

Once you have gained a graduate degree in hotel management, novel graduates often go through on-the-job training programs before taking up much responsibility. Ultimately, they can move ahead to a pinnacle management position in a large chain operation.

There has been a great emphasis on the leisure activities in our society in the past decades, reason being why fine places for dining and meeting people have become such a rage amongst people. Once considered over-fashionable and a recluse form of managing work at places of gatherings, today hotel management has crossed the barriers of being kept separately from other mainstream careers.  After being experienced, training and initiatives are united to create your ability to escort employees and manage business. Large number of companies and hotel-chains hire interns who perform well during their internships and give them full-time offers.

The hotel management industry is a multi-billion industry sparkling with the colours of value, pleasantness and service. Hotel management has rung bells both inside as well as abroad for being a fun and socially-interactive career. This greatly rewarding career is one of those few choice-oriented careers that offer a lot to those who offer it the same!

Best on and off campus jobs for those studying abroad
82

For all college students studying abroad; money is always something to worry about. Living in a foreign land in itself is exciting as well as challenging but managing your expenses and making money is surely the challenging part. There are a number of on and off campus jobs that are available for students studying abroad in order to help them meet their expenses in a self-reliant manner. Mostly, students studying abroad also try to unburden their parents from the load of sending money again and again, thus the number of jobs hiring students are ample.

In addition, if you are an international student, working on the campus will be a great way to start having an interaction with people and make new friends.

Here are some of the best on and off college jobs for those studying abroad:

“·CAFETERIA: Working at the cafeteria in your college is a good option for a start. You get to know new faces and also feel safe around people of the same institute at the same time. You can work at the cash counter or can also help serving food to others. Just be sure that you’re not draining yourself too much and manage your studies alongside without compromising on them.

“·COLLEGE/PUBLIC LIBRARY: A very peaceful way of making money is working at the library. Here you’ll be away from the noises of people chit-chatting and spoons cluttering; instead your main responsibility will be to take care of the books in the library. It will also be required of you o help people search for the kind of book they want. If you like books and a quite work-place, this is an ideal off campus job for you.

“·CALL CENTRE: Good communication skills and fluency in language is required for this job. Call centre jobs can pay off well and you can make enough money out of it for your overhead expenses. This off campus job is very similar to a real job that pays you for attending work on a regular basis. The only thing to watch out for is to be assured that you do not lose on upon your time valuable for academic purposes.

“·FREELANCING: A number of college students take up freelancing as a way of earning a good number of bucks. The amount of money you can earn through freelancing solely depends upon your skills. Freelancing is so far the best way to earn money from your college dorm only. There are a number of branches that fall under the field of freelancing.

“·   WORKING AT A STORE: Working in stores can be fun. You get to choose from a number of options- clothes store, jewellery shops, saloons, bars and shoe stores. It would be the best to land up working in a store that houses some articles of your interest like if you like music you can end up working in a music store! Stores are always beaming with customers and will also give you a chance to interact with a number of new people in addition to earning some bucks.

Looking for a job in social media? Here’s how to work towards it
May 25, 2017
0
81

Social Media is a mammoth recruiter when it comes to jobs. With countless start-ups and media companies blooming under the aura of today’s IT sector, there are great opportunities for employment. If you are looking for a job in social media you need to brush up some of your technical as well as communication skills to gain finesse.

“·Have a striking Resume- The foremost prerequisite for gaining an upper hand over others is to have an impressive resume in your kitty. Your resume should reflect creativity and management skills as the social media industry needs fresh talent and a strategic workforce.

“·Learn to work as a team- Technical and creative skills are important but the spirit of working as a team is equally important. Social Media requires a good amount of interactive skills that you’ll need to exercise every now and then to get your projects completed.

“·Hone your Vocal skills- Managing a company’s social media space requires a good hold on English language. You need to be in both written as well as verbal arenas to be able to communicate efficiently.

“·Technical Knowledge- More than rudimentary knowledge of social media and media tools, you need to have a thorough knowledge of media techniques and technical tools used in media systems. Analytic, monitoring, engagement and reporting tools are the essentials of a media system. Your skills should be vibrant and you must have practical knowledge of implementing these tools. There are a number of softwares in rage in the media industry these days. Make sure that you are well versed with the basic ones.
Take a little time to become skilled at the top social media tools and leading practices being used in modern business.

“·Build up measurable results- If you are looking for a social media job you will need to show how useful and productive you have been in the past. You should have some influential media strategies in mind whether or not you have previously worked upon them. It will considerably increase your chances of bagging the job if you have some successful results to show. If you have worked with websites, driven users from one social media platform to an e-commerce site, have been successful in motivating traffic towards a blog or a site, you’ll surely be having higher chances of getting recruited.
Results do matter and every executive running a media company wants analytics who can drive home quantifiable results.

“·Build a good online value for yourself- It is essential to have a noticeable online marketing strategy for yourself. Make sure that good things pop up when you are searched online! Build up a positive personal brand so that you get a good feedback on your presence on the web. Keep your social media profiles updated and be more professional with your virtual personality.

For all those who want a career in Social Media, there is a long road ahead. Marketing knowledge, creativity and a competitive spirit will take you a long way!

What technology startups look for when hiring a UI/UX designer
May 25, 2017
0
80

Over the past few years, the UI / UX designers have emerged as some of the most sought after IT professionals by major and minor IT corporations alike. The increasing popularity has led to a number of professionals taking up UI / UX designing as a career alternative, thus increasing the competition in the hiring circuit. To make sure you have an upper hand while appearing for a job interview, you must know what the technology startups look for when hiring a UI / UX designer. So here goes the list ““

Most of the companies look for specific skills

Very few companies, if any, would look to hire generic UI / UX designers who have working knowledge of all designing related aspects. Rather, most companies hire candidates who can fulfill their specific needs. The company’s website, app and the future growth plans determine the kind of designer the company is looking to hire. In most cases, the designer’s alignment with the company’s business ideas and thinking matters much more than his experience and skills.

A person who can take it to the next level

For an online business, UI / UX designers are some of the most critical employees in the company who can take the product to the next level. Since the designer would be at the centre of action at most of the times, the companies make sure that the person is capable enough to handle such pressure and expectations. If an employee shows a previous experience of 5 years, the company assesses the actual quality of the experience gained and the evolution of the product during those five years.

A candidate who is ready to accept his shortcomings

Stubbornness is the last trait any company wants in its employees, and more so for the designers. Half of the designer’s job is about accepting the feedback given and implementing it religiously. But if the designer is too proud of his work to accept any shortcomings, it creates a difficult situation for the company. A number of designers are offended when they are told about the deficiencies in their final outcome which hurts the entire project. The company rather looks for candidates who take this as an opportunity to learn and improve for the upcoming tasks.

“Make good stuff & Make stuff good”

One of the ground rules for hiring top designers is that he or she must “make good stuff and make stuff good”. The designers are essentially responsible for giving a digital form to the users’ words and ideas. Unless the designer has the ability to visualize the outcome based on the client’s inputs, he or she won’t be able to add value to the company. Interpretation of the user’s input, simplifying the entire process and designing the most appropriate solution is the algorithm that every designer has to be well versed in. Making the complex idea look simple and beautiful is what determines the designer’s prowess.

Testing them with a task

It is extremely hard to judge a candidate only on the basis of a conversation during the interview. Resultantly, most of the companies prefer assigning a small task to the candidates during the interview itself. The task is usually related to the eventual work the designer is expected to perform in the company. During such tasks, the companies make note of the thought process of the candidate, as much as they make note of the eventual outcome.

Portfolio mostly triumphs over experience

One of the most common dilemmas before the companies is whether to hire on the basis of the years of experience or the quality of portfolio. Bringing about a change in the previously held perceptions, the companies are now increasingly tilting towards portfolio rather than experience. Being in the industry for 7 to 8 years doesn’t account for much if the candidate doesn’t have the appropriate portfolio to showcase his or her worth and the prior projects undertaken.

How to increase your prospects of working in an IT company?
79

Landing a job in the IT industry is based upon a number of factors including your IT skills. The technological world is very vast in terms of needs, specifications and resources, as a result there are numerous career paths ranging from database managers to software engineers.

The basic prerequisite for increasing your prospects of working in an IT company is building a good knowledge of your technical field. Whatever might have been your major field of study; software coding, error detecting and handling, building database, you must have thorough knowledge in it.

Moving into the arena of technology requires you to be really well versed with software tools and coding. There are dozens of computer languages but the most significant ones are C++, Java, JavaScript and C#. There is no shortcut for learning coding. You really need to practice and get your hands on a text-editing program to hone your coding skills. Excelling at programming is a big thumbs up for bagging a decent job in the IT industry.

Having a internship in your goodie bag is also the new must. An internship gives a real-world experience in the industry. It is essential to know what an actual job feels like, and that is what an internship allows you to figure out. Interns can make mistakes, so basically when you land a real job you can avoid the same mistakes you made before.

It might also depend upon the area where you might be searching for a job. IT companies are not so densely located in all parts of a state. If you are hunting for an IT company in a small town, it might be time for you to move to a place with better job prospects.

Another major factor that will work in your favour is your resume. Build an impressive and informative resume for yourself explaining all your strengths and technical skills. If you have worked upon any technical projects like applications or websites in your past, do not forget to mention them for your benefit.

The world of technology is ever-expanding and growing. The reason why new versions of softwares com out every day is that technology grows at a very rapid pace. One should keep cultivating themselves even when they are not actually studying in a classroom. Go through a number of online courses and keep on practicing to hone your technical abilities. The internet is a vast resource for learning, so use it for your good!

Get some advice from people already working under the tech wing. A lot of people are willing to help if you reach out to them. People can be the best guides when it comes to an interaction worth something. Programmers, technical writers, information architects and many other techies have blogs online which are really worth reading.

Increasing your prospects of working with an IT company is largely associated with how you grow as a person. You might have your fault lines but if you work upon them, there won’t be anything impeding your growth.

How to make a career in music?
78

Just as art decorates space, music decorates time. Entering the arena of the music industry not only requires talent but also a creative bend of mind. If you wish to choose a career in music you should be greatly inclined towards your love for this beautiful art. A profession in music not only circumscribes singing and composing, there are variant career opportunities for you to showcase your talent.

The first step towards a successful career in music is to stay dedicated and loyal towards your passion. Since a career in music is an unconventional one, only your spirit and determination will take you to the zenith.

Here are a few professions that can help you convert your love for music into your line of work:

“·Sound Recording/Mixing- Music can be amalgamated with technology! Sound recorders and engineers are greatly in demand in the multimedia industry. For all multimedia projects a technical music team is a must. Technicians do a great amount of work behind the scenes which requires sound modulation, removal of noise and modification of notes. Sound engineers are significantly needed these days.

“·Disc Jockey- Being a DJ is a versatile and energetic job! You can make your own mixes and earn handsomely with your talent. Your musical knowledge and ingenuity can take you a long way.
Disc Jockeys are the most eccentric and celebrated music artists who earn from their own talent and musical creativity. With the increasing party culture and music festivals, there is ample scope for the art of Jockeying.

“·     Start a Band- If you are a team of people who love music, forming a band is the best way to turn your passion into a profession. Playing instruments in front of live audience is an enthralling experience! Being in a band requires great amount of hard work, coordination and discipline. Successful bands have a number of concerts lined up for them and the best part is the sense of satisfaction which comes from appreciation and recognition.

“·Musician – The most conventional career that is opted by music enthusiasts is singing and composing. For being a good vocalist you need to practice hard and follow a disciplined schedule. Musicians are always the most disciplined and hardworking people! Recordings, playback singing and rehearsals need full dedication from the part of the singer.

“·     Composer- Composers and Musicians might do different work but they go hand in hand. Every original piece of music needs an equally good composer who can bring out the notes in the most appealing manner. Composers add life to a musician’s voice!

“·  Concert Promoting- Being in the music business is another way to land a successful music career. Concert promoters arrange everything- from the venue to the tickets and have a large amount of responsibility riding on their shoulders.

“·Music Journalist/Analyser- Being a critic in the field of music is another great channel of earning in the music industry. Music enthusiasts need not always sing, you can also have a thorough knowledge of music and be a journalist.

How to answer tough job interview questions?
10

Job interviews are always nerve wrecking! Being an interviewee, there might be an ocean of questions flowing at the back of your head. A decent job interview grills all the aspects of your personality and gets the best out of it. Interviewers are generally experienced and smart people who can throw some greatly challenging questions to the table. But all that said, if you are well practiced in advanced you can do really well in front of the panel. You’re judged entirely upon your abilities and on-the-spot performance, so there wouldn’t be any harm in brushing up some of your interview skills beforehand.

Tougher questions on the interview table are supposed to challenge your job seizing skills. The interviewing panel wants to sweep you off your feet to churn out the exact stuff that they want. Sometimes some questions might pop out of nowhere and leave you blank. They might question you about your weaknesses, reasons of leaving the previous jobs and even some awkward monetary questions.

It is advisable to be prepared beforehand. Try to practice a lot of questions in advance, but at the same time make sure that you do not overdo it in order to make it appear all mugged up. You should have a thorough knowledge about the company you’ll be sitting for. Get to know a little about the kind of role you’ll be supposed to play if you end up getting a job letter.

“·Tough questions mostly come out of an unknown Pandora box, so you cannot be well practiced everytime. The key to answer such tricky questions is to stay spontaneous and really genuine. You should try to demonstrate your capabilities keeping in mind the fact that you do not talk of yourself in a boastful manner. When someone asks you about “Where you’d see yourself in five years from now?” Don’t be overwhelmed to give a very lavish answer about what you wish for. Make sure you keep everything realistic and to the ground. This would make people think of you as reliable and trustworthy person rather than being someone who lives in a world of make-believe.

Be very clear about what you speak. Clarity in expression will reflect confidence and comforting assurance of your personality. Even if you’re not sure of something, tell it right away. Go on and say that you’re not sure about that particular question. Honest opinions, straightforward answers and confident usage of speech are always an asset for cracking a tough interview. Besides, clarity clearly shows how focussed you’ll be towards your job, the institution; in short your professional life.

Tough interview questions should be taken care of in a different manner. When you run across a question that seems quite unnerving to you, try to get comfortable with a smile, even if it’s not coming from within. This will definitely make you comfortable and at the same time it focuses the attention off from your head for a little while so that you could think. But don’t take too long, say whatever best you can think of at the very moment!

Career options for commerce students after class 12th
4141

Commerce is an incredible field of education with a plethora of career opportunities. Students interested in statistics, commercial studies, data analysis and related genres find themselves being drawn towards taking up a career path in the field of commerce. Commerce pass outs can take up numerous fields based on the ground of their interest and the area of practice they wish to take on.

Being the backbone of the corporate world, commerce is a diverse field when it comes to choosing a path in higher studies. Students have uncountable options to choose from, something which can often result in a state of dilemma on the student’s part. It is wise to choose your field of concern only after thoroughly analysing all the prospects available.

You can go on for a degree, diploma or a professional program like CA.

Major career options for commerce students after 12th can be summarised under the following wings:

DEGREE PROGRAMS-

Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com)

B.Com is one of the most sought after courses that commerce pass outs opt for. Completing PG in B.Com can lead you onwards towards pursuing professional programssuch as Chartered Accountancy (CA), Company Secretaryship (CS) and Cost and Work Accountancy (ICWA). The course duration for this UG course is 3 years.

Major Colleges in India:Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi (New Delhi), Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics (Mumbai), St Xavier’s College (Kolkata).
BUSINESS-
Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)

The Bachelor of Business Administration, a degree program, comprises of devising corporate expertise in students necessary for thriving in the business world. Akin to B.Com, BBA also comprises of 3 years. This professional degree combined with MBA can be a lucrative amalgamation for giving a kick start to your corporate career.

Major Colleges in India:Loyola Institute of Business Administration (Tamil Nadu), Madras Christian College (Chennai), Mount Carmel College (Bangalore), Christ University (Bangalore), Department of Business Administration – SRM University (Chennai),  Institute of Management Studies (Noida).
Bachelor of Business Studies (BBS)

A BBS degree apprises the students of the basic nuances of the business world. This three year course aims to fabricate a decisive assessment and analyzing temperament in the graduates so that they can go on to deal with various shades of the corporate world which they’ll enter.

Major Colleges in India:Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies (New Delhi), Jamia Milia Islamia University (New Delhi).

Bachelor of Management Studies (BMS)

BMS is another 3 year course that deals majorly with the subjects of business mathematics, managerial economics, business ethics and corporate social responsibility and human resource management. BMS graduates are scattered all over the industry in certain significant business fields such as human resource management, sales and marketing, finance and research & development.

Major Colleges in India:St Xaviers College (Mumbai), SNDT Women’s University (Mumbai), SIES College of Arts, Science and Commerce (Mumbai), Sydenham College (Mumbai).

LAW-
Another major career option considered by thousands of commerce pass-outs is Law. BA-LLB and BBA-LLB courses are gaining fast popularity amongst students. While earlier commerce students used to stick to the conventional 3 year courses, the trend is changing very rapidly with more and more students appearing for CLAT every year.

Major Colleges for Law in India include all government NLUs.

DIPLOMA PROGRAMS-

Diplomas range from the duration of a few months (likely 6 months) to around two years in span. Major diplomas are opted in the fields of-

“·Diploma in Travel & Tourism

“·Diploma in Air Hostess & Flight Steward

“·Diploma in Hotel Management

“·Diploma in Education

A number of commerce pass outs make a significant mark in their career with diploma degrees which later give good returns in terms of job opportunities. A number of unconventional career options are available to be chosen by commerce graduates!

Here’s why biotechnology is a great field for you
3121

Biotechnology is a wide field with an incredible potential. There is a huge demand for biotechnology graduates in the food and beverages industry, textiles industry, biological products, medicines and pharmaceuticals. This particular field of engineering caters to the needs of agriculture, animal husbandry, nutrition and environmental conservation. Underlining a plethora of sub-fields, biotechnology can be a great career option for UG students. It is rapidly gaining importance in the industry since there has been a significant development in green technologies in the past decade. Biotechnology is science in its most natural form, serving the exploration of newer technologies and health opportunities.

Biotechnology is a great field for being chosen as a career option. The technical implementation of this field underlines the application of many distinct disciplines in addition to biology. One may associate biotechnology solely to biology, but its wider areas delve into physics, chemistry and mathematics as well. Engineering in this field provides a stable career for both research and practice. Since biotechnology finds its implication in so many areas, it is inevitable to ignore its significance.

Students can opt for a four year UG engineering course or even a five year integrated degree (B.Tech+M.Tech) offered widely in colleges across India.

Apart from gaining a graduation degree, one can also go on to pursue a post-graduation degree in the same. A master’s degree will further widen new horizons for practicing in biochemistry, biology, botany, chemistry, microbiology, pharmacy, veterinary sciences or zoology.

There is a plethora of options to choose from when it comes to finding a job under this field. A large section of the industry falls under the wings of biotechnological applications, being directly or indirectly related to the field.

The areas which hire biotechnology graduates are countless in number; such as Agriculture and Agricultural Development, Animal Husbandry, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Botany, Dairy Technology, Environmental Protection, Fishery Development, Genetics, Horticulture, Medicine, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Nutrition, Pharmacology, Tissue Culture and Zoology.

If you want to be a part of an innovative field which churns out the best applications of biology and its associated fields through engineering, biotechnology is ideal for you. This career option can promise you a full-filling and unconventional career provided you choose to be loyal to your field. Merely the knowledge of science is not sufficient in a number of situations; it is the application which counts more. Biotechnology has an immense power to aid the world on issues related to scientific implications of the inherent healing powers of biology.

Once you choose to pursue a career in biotechnology, you can go on to start your preparations at an early stage. If you prepare well, you’ll end up in a good college with greater chances of bagging a scholarship and a good placement offer.

There are both public and private colleges offering very good courses in Biotechnology. Adding a master’s degree to your resume will further increase your chances of acquiring a position in both private and government sectors. There are ample job prospects in the textile industry, cosmetics industry, healthcare commodities and other scientific institutions providing research and development on the same.

The Real Reason Americans Are Falling Behind Financially
May 24, 2017
0
87878787

As many Americans continue to struggle to make ends meet and save for retirement, it makes sense to try to understand what’s behind these difficulties. Here’s one answer worth taking another look at. In her 2012 book, “Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry,” journalist Helaine Olen explored why many Americans fall short on financial know-how, despite the avalanche of advice provided by finance experts.

She homed in on one startling reality about how Americans manage their money today. According to Olen’s research, the average family spent 75% of their discretionary income on housing, healthcare and education in the 2000s. By comparison, those same things cost the typical American family 50% of their income in 1973.

A decade has passed since the rumblings of the financial crisis first began in 2007. While the overall economy has strengthened, Americans’ personal economies have not necessarily improved on the same scale. Olen’s book outlines some of the reasons why people paid more to fill their basic needs in the 2000s, many of which are still influencing how Americans manage their money today.

How Americans Spend: Then and Now

Today’s personal finance advice often misses the mark when it comes to the root problem of why so many Americans have difficulty with their finances, Olen explains. She uses the “latte factor” as an example. (See: 5 Finance Myths Millennials Should Avoid.)

The latte factor concept is a well-known piece of financial advice that advocates cutting out a daily coffee habit and saving that money instead. The premise is that by trimming away these small, nonessential expenses, you can save that money and build wealth.

Olen challenges that idea: It’s not the frivolous things, like lattes or big-screen TVs that are the problem, she contends. Instead, it’s the increasingly high price tag for trying to cover basic needs, such as keeping a roof over your head, going to the doctor or getting an education.

Consider how household expenses have changed in the years since the economic collapse. In 2007, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics calculated the average household expenditure at $49,638. According to the BLS, the major components of spending – food, housing, clothing, transportation, healthcare, entertainment, insurance and pensions – accounted for roughly 90% of total spending. Expenditures in all those categories increased year over year from 2006.

In 2015, average household spending reached $55,978, a 4.6% increase over 2014 levels. Once again, all the major components of household spending saw a jump, with personal insurance and pensions rising the most, at 10.9%. Education expenditures rose 6.4% and healthcare spending increased by 1.2%. Between 2007 and 2015, the average household expenditure jumped by almost 13%.

While spending has increased, household incomes have more or less flatlined. In fact, workers in 2017 are earning a lower median household income than they were in 2007. The real median household income in the U.S. is currently $56,516, whereas it was $57,423 a decade ago. Olen acknowledges that this is not a new phenomenon. Citing Federal Reserve data, she points out that median income for families in the 35-to-44-year-old age bracket dropped by 14% between 2001 and 2010.

When you compare the spending figures to the real median household income being earned in the U.S., it appears that Americans are spending nearly everything they make. Not surprisingly, they’re also struggling to save. A 2016 Bankrate survey found that 59% of Americans lack an emergency fund. One in three Americans has nothing saved for retirement.

What’s Keeping Some Americans From Getting Ahead

If prices had stayed as stagnant as wages Americans would be better off. But prices are rising. And the situation has only worsened since Olen’s book was published almost five years ago, in December 2012.

Olen uses education as an example. Data from the CollegeBoard shows that tuition prices at both public and private colleges and universities have increased steadily since 2007. For the 2006-07 academic year, tuition and fees for a public four-year school averaged $6,860. Today, the average rate is $9,650. At private universities, the average tuition has climbed from $26,380 to $33,480.

After experiencing a substantial drop between 2011 and 2013, home values are once again at pre-Recession levels. Zillow is forecasting that by March 2018, the average home value will top $200,000, a 2.6% gain over 2017. Currently, the median list price for a home is $245,000, up from $179,000 in December 2012.

Healthcare also continues to take a toll on American wallets, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services putting the per capita cost of healthcare at more than $10,000 for 2016. With the Affordable Care Act’s future in doubt, paying for healthcare could become even more challenging in the coming years.

The Bottom Line

In dissecting the true value of expert financial advice, Olen’s book exposes some hard truths about the financial difficulties many Americans encounter. If prices continue to move at a faster upward pace than wages, it could become even harder to break even. What happens next remains to be seen. If President Trump succeeds in pushing through his agenda for tax reform, some Americans could enjoy some financial relief in the form of lower taxes and higher tax deductions. Others might end up owing more than now (see Trump’s Upper-Middle-Class Tax Increase).