Jio says Airtel gesture welcome, but won’t address call drops

Image result for Jio says Airtel gesture welcome, but won't address call dropsMumbai, Sep 18 (IANS) Reliance Jio on Sunday welcomed Bharti Airtel’s decision to provide better interconnection for its calls. But it also said the number of such points proposed remained substantially less than actual requirement — and won’t be able to address the issue of large-scale call drops.

“Based on the current traffic flow between the two networks, the proposed augmentation by Airtel would still only suffice for less than one-fourth of the required interconnection capacity,” a Jio statement said.

“More than two crore calls are failing everyday between the two networks, which is far in excess of the quality of service parameters and of alarming proportions. Urgent steps are required to be taken in the interest of customers of both operators,” the statement said.

“It is unfortunate that the Telecom Regulatory Authority’s intervention was required for Airtel to resume augmentation of points of interconnection, which it ought to have done by itself in compliance with its license terms.”

The statement comes a day after Airtel said it has received the payments due on interconnection from Jio and that after executing the agreed augmentation in such points, their total number will be three times that at present. It also said the capacity will be sufficient to serve over 15 million Jio customers, and added it will be much more than Jio’s subscriber base.

“While the interconnect agreement provides for a commissioning period of 90 days from the day Reliance Jio makes the payment, Airtel will work towards releasing the points of interconnect well ahead of the contractual obligation,” said Airtel.

But this point was refuted by Jio.

“The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s regulation does not provide for 90 days to adhere to quality of service parameters. The authority in fact instructed the incumbent operators to urgently provide requisite interconnection capacities to maintain quality of service parameters and not to make this subject to any contingencies or restrictions.”

Jio also found fault with the type of interconnection points Airtel was offering, and said it was a clear case of abuse of market dominance.

“It appears that the quality of service will continue to suffer and Indian customers will be denied the benefits of superior and free voice services as a result of such anti-competitive behaviour.”

The company said Airtel has been blocking mobile number portability for migration of potential subscribers to Jio.

China August imports rise for first time in nearly two years, export drop eases

Image result for China August imports rise for first time in nearly two years, export drop easesBEIJING (Reuters) – China’s imports unexpected rose in August for the first time in nearly two years while exports fell at a more modest pace,

suggesting demand at home and abroad may finally be perking up and putting the world’s second-largest economy on a more balanced footing.

Exports fell 2.8 percent from a year earlier, the General Administration of Customs said on Thursday, adding that pressure on shipments was expected to ease further in the fourth quarter.

Imports rose 1.5 percent from a year earlier, ending a 21-month stretch of declines, suggesting domestic demand is picking up along with firmer commodities prices.

That resulted in a narrower trade surplus of $52.05 billion in August, versus a $58 billion forecast and July’s $52.31 billion.

If it proves sustainable, a trade recovery would help ease fears that China’s economy is becoming increasingly lopsided, and give feeble global growth a much-needed shot in the arm.

China’s policymakers have become more reliant on higher government spending on infrastructure and a housing boom to drive economic growth as private investment fizzles and exports remained sluggish.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected trade to contract but show some signs of improvement.

August exports had been expected to fall 4.0 percent, similar to July’s 4.4 percent decline, while imports had been expected to ease 4.9 percent, moderating significantly from a sharp decline of 12.5 percent in July.

A surge in commodity prices, due in part to Beijing’s efforts to reduce excess capacity in heavy industries and mining, has also supported trade figures and given a badly needed boost to business confidence.

Some Chinese steel plants are turning in the best margins in at least three years as prices rise and demand for building materials increases.

G20 leaders pledged on Monday to work together to address excess steel capacity that has punished the global industry with low prices for years while raising tensions between China and other major producers.

Oil extends gains after data shows huge stock draw

Image result for Oil extends gains after data shows huge stock drawTOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices extended gains by more than 1.5 percent on Thursday after industry data showed what might be the largest weekly drawdown in crude stocks in over three decades.

U.S. crude stocks surprisingly plunged by 12.1 million barrels last week, data from the American Petroleum Institute showed after market settlement on Wednesday, compared with expectations for an increase of around 200,000 barrels.

If official data released from the U.S. government later on Thursday confirms the draw, it would be the largest one-week decline since April 1985.

London Brent crude for November delivery had climbed 66 cents to $48.64 a barrel by 0641 GMT, after settling up 72 cents on Wednesday.

NYMEX crude for October delivery was up 76 cents at $46.26, having ended the previous session up 67 cents.

U.S. crude stocks have been at record highs in the last two years, thanks in part to the shale oil boom that boosted output. Some analysts said Tropical Storm Hermine, which threatened the Gulf Coast refining region late last week before moving to the U.S. East Coast, may have skewed the figures.

“I’m surprised at the big draw,” said Tomomichi Akuta, senior economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting in Tokyo. “Despite a possible temporary effect (from the tropical storm), it raised concerns of supply/demand tightening significantly.”

Analysts said a large decline in U.S. gasoline stocks also supported oil.

Gasoline stocks fell 2.3 million barrels, compared with expectations for a 171,000-barrel decline, the API data showed. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose 944,000 barrels, compared with expectations for a 684,000-barrel gain.

Oil was also buoyed by robust Chinese trade data, which showed its crude imports in August surged by nearly a quarter from a year ago to the second-highest amount ever, driven by independent refiners as they rushed to cash in on low oil prices before their import quotas expire in December.

Oil hit a one-week high on Monday after Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed to cooperate on stabilising the oil market. Prices have since fallen due to uncertainty over a possible deal by producer nations to freeze output, particularly after a meeting in Doha in April ended without such an agreement.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers such as Russia are expected to discuss the issue at informal talks in Algeria from Sept. 26-28.

HC asks Britannia not to use pack ‘deceptively similar’ to ITC

Image result for HC asks Britannia not to use pack ‘deceptively similar’ to ITCDelhi High Court today restrained Britannia Industries Ltd from using the wrapper of its ‘Nutri Choice Digestive Zero’ biscuits in its present form, saying it was “deceptively similar” to the packaging of ITC’s Sunfeast ‘Farmlite Digestive All Good’ biscuits.

The court asked Britannia to adopt a “distinctively different” packaging from the one currently used by ITC for its biscuit as such “deception” could confuse the consumers.

The court’s order came on a plea filed by ITC Ltd seeking to restrain Britannia from violating its rights in packaging/ trade dress of ‘Sunfeast Farmlite Digestive-All Good’ biscuits by allegedly using a deceptively and confusingly similar trade dress for ‘Nutri Choice Digestive Zero’ biscuits.

“The court is satisfied that the impugned packaging for Nutri Choice Digestive Zero Biscuits launched by Britannia is deceptively similar to the packaging of ITC’s Sunfeast Farmlite Digestive All Good biscuits and such deception is likely to confuse the consumers of such biscuits, even the discerning health conscious ones, into thinking that Britannia’s biscuits are that of ITC’s,” Justice S. Muralidhar said.

“An interim injunction is, accordingly, issued restraining Britannia from using the impugned packaging get-up/wrapper for its Nutri Choice Digestive Zero biscuits in the present form during the pendency of this suit,” the court said.

The court also granted four weeks to Britannia to phase out the existing stocks of ‘Nutri Choice Zero Digestive’ biscuits with the present packaging.

However, the court said it would be open to Britannia adopting the packaging it uses for the product internationally or, while retaining the yellow colour, it could substitute the blue colour in the packaging with any other distinctive colour other than variants of blue.

ITC Ltd, through senior advocate Pratibha M. Singh, had sought an interim injunction to restrain Britannia from continuing to use the packaging for its biscuit.

Britannia, while refuting the allegations, had countered ITC’s submissions saying being the market leader, it did not need to adopt anyone’s packaging.

Hope India will continue to prioritise low inflation

Raghuram Rajan.

Low interest rates should not be a substitute for “other instruments of policy” and “various kinds of reforms” that are needed to encourage growth, Mr. Rajan said.

Raghuram Rajan, whose tenure as the RBI Governor ended this week, hopes the process of cleaning up Indian banks will be finished and the government will continue to prioritise “low inflation”.

Mr. Rajan (53), who stepped down on September 4 as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, said in an interview with the New York Times that he hoped the country would finish “the process of bank cleanup which is underway.”

He also noted that his tight monetary policy has helped in bringing India’s rate of inflation —— currently about 6 per cent —— down to the upper end of the government’s target range.

“I think we’ve done exactly what was needed,” he said adding that the central bank should continue to prioritise low inflation.

A new warning also came from Mr. Rajan at a time when the world’s central banks appear to be at a loss about how to get global growth moving again. Mr. Rajan warned low interest rates globally could distort markets and would be difficult to abandon.

With countries around the world, including the United States and Europe, having kept interest rates low as a way to encourage growth, he said countries could become “trapped” by fear that when they eventually raised rates, they would see the growth slow down.

Low interest rates should not be a substitute for “other instruments of policy” and “various kinds of reforms” that are needed to encourage growth, Mr. Rajan said.

Mr. Rajan also disputed the view that his tight monetary policies had cost him the support of the government, and said his departure was based on his inability to reach an agreement with the government on serving longer but not serving another full three-year term.

“I don’t think it’s fair to say that it’s because of tight policy that the government wanted to move on,” he said.

Citing government’s move after he announced his departure to set a low inflation target of 4 per cent for the next five years, he said his successor Urjit Patel played an important role in setting the country’s tough inflation targets.

He also stressed that democracy is a better system to create long-term growth.

“India’s strengths to some extent also comes from its democracy,” he said, adding “things can get bad in India, but not beyond a certain point, because the democratic process asserts itself and we have a change in government.”

Mr. Rajan will return to his longtime job as a professor at the University of Chicago’s business school.

Comparing the job of central bank governor with his past, Mr. Rajan said “so better to be a doer than an adviser. Of course being an adviser sometimes has effects, important effects, but you don’t see it as much immediately. Here you can see what you are doing and in the years to come.”

China’s Xi at G20 says world economy at risk, warns against protectionism

Image result for China's Xi at G20 says world economy at risk, warns against protectionismHANGZHOU, China (Reuters) – The global economy is being threatened by rising protectionism and risks from highly leveraged financial markets, Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the open of a two-day summit of leaders from G20 nations.

His warning on Sunday followed bilateral talks with Barack Obama that the U.S. president described as “extremely productive”, but which failed to bring both sides closer on thornier topics such as tensions in the South China Sea.

With the summit taking place after Britain’s vote in June to exit the European Union and before the U.S. presidential election in November, observers expect G20 leaders to mount a defence of free trade and globalisation and warn against isolationism.

The global economy has arrived “at a crucial juncture”, Xi said, in the face of sluggish demand, volatile financial markets and feeble trade and investment.

“Growth drivers from the previous round of technological progress are gradually fading, while a new round of technological and industrial revolution has yet to gain momentum,” he said.

G20 countries are set to agree in a communique at the end of the summit that all policy measures – including monetary, fiscal and structural reforms – should be used to achieve solid and sustainable economic growth, Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda said.

“Commitment will be made to utilising all three policy tools of monetary and fiscal policies and structural reforms to achieve solid, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth,” Hagiuda told reporters on the sidelines of the summit.

Xi also called on G20 countries to match their words with actions.

“We should turn the G20 group into an action team, instead of a talk shop,” he said.

But some of the G20 leaders have begun drawing battle lines in disputes over issues ranging from trade and investment to tax policy and industrial overcapacity.

BATTLE LINES

On Sunday, Xi held talks with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and told him he hoped Australia would continue to provide a fair, transparent and predictable policy environment for foreign investors.

China was angered when Australia blocked the A$10 billion ($7.7 billion) sale of the country’s biggest energy grid to Chinese bidders last month.

China has accused Australia of bowing to protectionist sentiment in blocking the bid for Ausgrid, as well as an earlier one by a China-led consortium to buy cattle company Kidman & Co.

Beijing has also criticised Australia, a staunch U.S. ally, for running surveillance flights over disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said China must set up a mechanism to address its problem of industrial overcapacity, saying it was “unacceptable” the European steel industry had lost so many jobs in recent years.

“Overcapacity is a global problem but there is a particular Chinese element,” he told a news conference.

Britain’s future after its departure from the European Union was also subject to discussion.

Obama reassured Prime Minister May that Britain’s closest political, commercial and military ally would stand by her.

But he did not shrink away from his stance that Brexit was a mistake and that London would not be able to jump the queue to arrange a bilateral trade deal.

Juncker said that if Britain wanted access to the European Union’s common market, it needed to respect the rules of the common market.

Turnbull, meanwhile, said Australia wanted an early free trade agreement with Britain so markets could remain open between them when Britain formally left the European trading bloc.

LATE NIGHT TALKS

Obama held talks with Xi on Saturday that ran late into the night.

He urged Beijing to uphold its legal obligations in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, and stressed U.S. commitments to its regional allies.

Xi said China would continue to safeguard its sovereignty and maritime rights in the South China Sea.

But China is keen to keep the summit focused on economic issues and to prevent other disputes from overshadowing it.

According to a “fact sheet” on China-U.S. relations issued on Sunday, the two sides agreed on a range of issues, including avoiding competitive currency devaluations and not limiting deal opportunities for foreign information and communication technology providers.

Obama, now in the last five months of his presidency, is using the visit to put a final stamp on his signature policy shift toward the Pacific, setting the tone for his White House successor, who will be elected in November and take office on Jan. 20.

His visit began chaotically at the Hangzhou airport, where his staff argued with Chinese security over media access. Obama said on Sunday he “wouldn’t over-crank the significance” of the airport events.

“None of this detracts from the broader scope of the relationship (with China),” he told a news conference. “The bilateral discussions that we had yesterday were extremely productive and continue to point to big areas of cooperation.”

Security was extremely tight in Hangzhou, with parts of the city of 9 million people turned into a virtual ghost town as China seeks to ensure that the G20 summit stays incident-free.

(Additional reporting by Sue-Lin Wong, Michael Martina, Roberta Rampton, Ruby Lian, Kiyoshi Takenaka, Vladimir Soldatkin, William James and Engen Tham in HANGZHOU, and Ben Blanchard, Nick Heath, Jason Subler and John Ruwitch in BEIJING; Writing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and John Ruwitch; Editing by Ryan Woo)

Grim future for small telcos like Aircel, Telenor India

Analysts portend a grim future for smaller operators such as Aircel, Tata Teleservices, Telenor India as Reliance unveils what may well be the world’s cheapest data plans.KOLKATA: Reliance Jio’s entry with disruptive offers of free voice calls, roaming and possibly the world’s cheapest data plans will push smaller mobile service providers such as Aircel, Telenor India, Tata TeleservicesBSE -0.97 % and Reliance Communications to the fringes, if not to exit altogether, analysts say

“In the medium term, Reliance Jio will ensure the likes of Aircel, Telenor India, Tata Teleservices and RCom will exit,” said a UBS note.

This position was seconded by brokerage BNP Paribas, which said Jio’s big bang entry is likely to “expedite exit of weaker operators dependent on cheap voice and not invested in data networks. These (weaker operators) still account for 25% of industry revenue and a likely 35%-40% volume share, given their low pricing.”

Deutsche Bank said weaker players with constrained financials will not be able to replicate Jio’s aggressive offers, and hence would eventually cede revenue-share to  ..

WAYS TO SAVE MONEY EVERY MONTH

  1. Switch to cloth napkins. I’m not sure why it took a down economy for this one to dawn on me, but cloth napkins are a great alternative to paper napkins, which increase waste and add to our non-food budget.
  2. Diversify your income. Look for ways to increase your income outside of your full time job. Do you have a hobby that you could make a small business? Could you spend some time working online surveys (many of these survey companies are scams, but the one I’ve linked is not. I’ve been aCashCrate member for over a year now)? Could you add some freelance work in the same line of work you do full time?
  3. Shop your car insurance coverage at esurance.com. Take 6 minutes to complete the free quote and shave a significant amount off your car insurance premiums.
  4. Scale back the cable. We’ve been living the last six months with only basic cable, and don’t miss any of the expanded cable channel offerings. Cable bill went down from $40 to $12 with this move alone.
  5. Don’t pay a dime for banking privileges. There are too many free checking options out there to pay one penny in fees for the right to write a check or use a debit card. Many banks and credit unions simply require direct deposit or a minimum number of debit card uses per month to qualify for fee-free accounts. If you can’t find one, try ING Direct.
  6. Look for a value internet package. While I was scaling back on cable service I asked our cable provider for a cheaper rate on internet service. They told me about a little-advertised “value package” which costs half the normal monthly rate for reduced speed. Since I mostly surf the web and check email I barely notice, but I saved about $20 a month on our internet service.
  7. Skip the theater, subscribe to Netflix. Going to the movie theater is a great way to beat the heat, but it’s also expensive. Skip the theater, and sign up for an online DVD rental service. No late fees, and no gas used up traveling back and forth to the rental store.
  8. Transfer existing debt using balance transfer offers. Transfer high-interest debt to a zero (or low) interest card.  By reducing your interest rate you will pay less interest to creditors each month, and make more of a dent in outstanding balances as you pay them off.
  9. Hang up the land line telephone service. If most of your calls are to other cell users in the same network, consider canceling the land line and using a cell phone exclusively.
  10. Have a no-spend weekend. Sometimes it takes a break in the routine to get spending under control. Try to go an entire weekend without eating out, shopping, or ordering something online. It won’t solve all your spending problems, but it’s a start.
  11. Carpool a few times a week. Take turns carpooling with a coworker, especially if they live close to you. Pick them up and take them home this week, and next week allow them to return the favor. You’ll both cut your driving time in half.
  12. Raise insurance deductibles. Assuming you have a proper emergency fund in place, raise deductibles on insurance policies. The difference in a $500 deductible and a $1,000 deductible on your car insurance policy can help reduce your monthly or semi-annual premiums.
  13. Check your vehicle’s tire pressure each time you fill up. Things like under-inflated tires and dirty air filters can reduce your gas mileage. Pick up an inexpensive tire gauge and check the pressure while filling up.
  14. Change your driving habits to save on gas expenses. Cut out “jackrabbit” starts and heavy braking.
  15. Do not buy new cars – Buy a used car, and drive it until the wheels fall off. My grandfather has driven two vehicles in 34 years! Sam Walton drove a twenty year-old pickup truck right up until the time he died. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. Remember, a new car is “used” the minute you drive it off the showroom floor.
  16. Consolidate errands into one trip. If you have to get out try to consolidate all of your errands into one trip away from home, instead of driving back and forth several times from store to home.
  17. Ride a bike for short commutes. I’m fortunate to live about 5 miles from my employer, so I occasionally commute by bike. If you happen to live close to stores, consider riding a bike for small errands. Take along a backpack, or put some panniers on your bike to carry things back home.
  18. Figure out how to do things on your own, rather than paying an expert. This year I’ve managed to rescue a toy from the bottom of our guest bathroom toilet and unclog and empty an air conditioner drain line. With the help of the internet, or a good “how-to” book such as Save $20k With a Nail, you would be surprised how much you can do on your own and avoid expensive repair charges.
  19. Just say no to social events, or agree to meet after dinner. Peer pressure can wreak havoc on your financial plans. It’s never fun to turn down a chance to go out with friends, but there are ways to say yes without spending a fortune.
  20. Look into 3-month supplies of prescriptions via mail order. Many employers now offer as part of the health insurance plan a 3-month mail order prescription plan. I only have one daily prescription for asthma/allergies, and the cost of a 30-day supply from a local pharmacy is $25. For the same cost, I can get a 90-day supply via mail-order.
  21. Wash your own car. Our town has one of those automated car washes and for $9.00 you can get “the works.” Essentially, it is a wash, wax and application of tire shine. I’m pretty sure I can do it for less. Better yet, employ the kids and let them earn a little extra money this summer.
  22. Bank “found” money in a separate account. With any income above your normal earnings, bank the amount in a separate checking or savings account and use the money to pay down debt, build up savings, or offset increased expenses. Overtime, tax refunds (and stimulus checks), gifts and similar windfalls belong here.
  23. Eat like a kid again. Eat off the same plates your kids eat off, which will force you to eat smaller portions. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you.
  24. Drink tap water. I don’t have the inclination to run a cost comparison between an ounce of Coca Cola and an ounce of tap water, but I’m fairly confident tap water is infinitely cheaper.
  25. Eat less meat. I’m about as far from vegetarian as you can get, but I recognize that my carnivorous habits cost me big at the grocery store. We’ve recently started having breakfast for dinner (eggs instead of meat), and substituting things like pinto beans (a great source of non-meat protein) in meals instead of meats.
  26. Look for manager meat specials. When you do buy meat, check the manager’s specials area for meat that is about to pass the “sell by” date. The meat is still perfectly good, but freeze it immediately if you don’t plan on cooking within the next day or two.
  27. Look for a used freezer to stock up on meat specials. Many times people relocating can’t take the extra chest freezer with them and advertise it on Craigslist or the local newspaper. If you can find a good used one stock it full of manager meat specials to reduce your food budget.
  28. Don’t be afraid to buy generic. Forget brand loyalty when trying to figure out how to save money every month on things like groceries. When we buy ketchup, we look for the lowest unit price, regardless of brand. Same with other foods and household supplies. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part generic items are just as good as name brands.
  29. When in the store, look high and low for deals, literally. Marketers know that eye-level is the place most people tend to shop, so they put the items with the highest margins right in front of you. Better deals are usually found on lower shelves.
  30. Cherry-pick coupon deals. Combine coupons with store sales to maximize savings. Our local Kroger store recently had mayonnaise 2/$4. We found a coupon for $0.50/1 that doubled to $1.00, so we picked up a mayo for $1.00. Don’t use a coupon to buy something you don’t need.

Financial Tips For Young Adults


Unfortunately, personal finance has not yet become a required subject in high school or college, so you might be fairly clueless about how to manage your money when you’re out in the real world for the first time.

To help you get started, we’ll take a look at eight of the most important things to understand about money if you want to live a comfortable and prosperous life.

Learn Self Control
If you’re lucky, your parents taught you this skill when you were a kid. If not, keep in mind that the sooner you learn the fine art of delaying gratification, the sooner you’ll find it easy to keep your finances in order. Although you can effortlessly purchase an item on credit the minute you want it, it’s better to wait until you’ve actually saved up the money. Do you really want to pay interest on a pair of jeans or a box of cereal? (To learn more about credit, check out Understanding Credit Card Interest and our Debt Management feature.)

If you make a habit of putting all your purchases on credit cards, regardless of whether you can pay your bill in full at the end of the month, you might still be paying for those items in 10 years. If you want to keep your credit cards for the convenience factor or the rewards they offer, make sure to always pay your balance in full when the bill arrives, and don’t carry more cards than you can keep track of.

Take Control of Your Own Financial Future
If you don’t learn to manage your own money, other people will find ways to (mis)manage it for you. Some of these people may be ill-intentioned, like unscrupulous commission-based financial planners. Others may be well-meaning, but may not know what they’re doing, like Grandma Betty who really wants you to buy a house even though you can only afford a treacherous adjustable-rate mortgage.

Instead of relying on others for advice, take charge and read a few basic books on personal finance. Once you’re armed with personal finance knowledge, don’t let anyone catch you off guard – whether it’s a significant other that slowly siphons your bank account or friends who want you to go out and blow tons of money with them every weekend. Understanding how money works is the first step toward making your money work for you. (To find out how to have fun and still save money, see Budget Without Blowing Off Your Friends.)

Know Where Your Money Goes
Once you’ve gone through a few personal finance books, you’ll realize how important it is to make sure your expenses aren’t exceeding your income. The best way to do this is by budgeting. Once you see how your morning java adds up over the course of a month, you’ll realize that making small, manageable changes in your everyday expenses can have just as big of an impact on your financial situation as getting a raise.

In addition, keeping your recurring monthly expenses as low as possible will also save you big bucks over time. If you don’t waste your money on a posh apartment now, you might be able to afford a nice condo or a house before you know it. (Read more on budgeting in our Budgeting special feature.)

Start an Emergency Fund
One of personal finance’s oft-repeated mantras is “pay yourself first”. No matter how much you owe in student loans or credit card debt, and no matter how low your salary may seem, it’s wise to find some amount – any amount – of money in your budget to save in an emergency fund every month.
Having money in savings to use for emergencies can really keep you out of trouble financially and help you sleep better at night. Also, if you get into the habit of saving money and treating it as a non-negotiable monthly “expense”, pretty soon you’ll have more than just emergency money saved up: you’ll have retirement money, vacation money and even money for a home down payment.

Don’t just sock away this money under your mattress; put it in a high-interest online savings account, a certificate of deposit or a money market account. Otherwise, inflation will erode the value of your savings.

Start Saving for Retirement Now
Just as you headed off to kindergarten with your parents’ hope to prepare you for success in a world that seemed eons away, you need to prepare for your retirement well in advance. Because of the way compound interest works, the sooner you start saving, the less principal you’ll have to invest to end up with the amount you need to retire and the sooner you’ll be able to call working an “option” rather than a “necessity.”

Company-sponsored retirement plans are a particularly great choice because you get to put in pretax dollars and the contribution limits tend to be high (much more than you can contribute to an individual retirement plan). Also, companies will often match part of your contribution, which is like getting free money. (To learn more, see Understanding The Time Value Of Money and Retirement Savings Tips For 18- To 24-Year-Olds.)

Get a Grip on Taxes
It’s important to understand how income taxes work even before you get your first paycheck. When a company offers you a starting salary, you need to know how to calculate whether that salary will give you enough money after taxes to meet your financial goals and obligations. Fortunately, there are plenty of online calculators that have taken the dirty work out of determining your own payroll taxes, such as Paycheck City. These calculators will show you your gross pay, how much goes to taxes and how much you’ll be left with, which is also known as net, or take-home pay.

For example, $35,000 a year in New York will leave you with around $26,430 after taxes without exemptions in 2015, or about $2,032 a month. By the same token, if you’re considering leaving one job for another in search of a salary increase, you’ll need to understand how your marginal tax rate will affect your raise and that a salary increase from $35,000 a year to $41,000 a year won’t give you an extra $6,000, or $500 per month – it will only give you an extra $4,129, or $344 per month (again, the amount will vary depending on your state of residence). Also, you’ll be better off in the long run if you learn to prepare your annual tax return yourself, as there is plenty of bad tax advice and misinformation floating around out there. (To learn all about your taxes, visit our Income Tax Guide.)

Guard Your Health
If meeting monthly health insurance premiums seems impossible, what will you do if you have to go to the emergency room, where a single visit for a minor injury like a broken bone can cost thousands of dollars? If you’re uninsured, don’t wait another day to apply for health insurance; it’s easier than you think to wind up in a car accident or trip down the stairs.

You can save money by getting quotes from different insurance providers to find the lowest rates. Also, by taking daily steps now to keep yourself healthy, like eating fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, not smoking, not consuming alcohol in excess, and even driving defensively, you’ll thank yourself down the road when you aren’t paying exorbitant medical bills.

Guard Your Wealth
If you want to make sure that all of your hard-earned money doesn’t vanish, you’ll need to take steps to protect it. If you rent, get renter’s insurance to protect the contents of your place from events like burglary or fire. Disability insurance protects your greatest asset – the ability to earn an income – by providing you with a steady income if you ever become unable to work for an extended period of time due to illness or injury.

If you want help managing your money, find a fee-only financial planner to provide unbiased advice that’s in your best interest, rather than a commission-based financial advisor, who earns money when you sign up with the investments his or her company backs. You’ll also want to protect your money from taxes, which is easy to do with a retirement account, and inflation, which you can do by making sure that all of your money is earning interest through vehicles like high-interest savings accounts, money market funds, CDs, stocks, bonds and mutual funds. (Find out all you need to know about insurance in Understand Your Insurance Contract, Five Insurance Policies Everyone Should Have and Insurance 101 For Renters.)

The Bottom Line
Remember, you don’t need any fancy degrees or special background to become an expert at managing your finances. If you use these eight financial rules for your life, you can be as personally prosperous as the guy with the hard-won MBA.

3 Lessons to Learn From BlogHer’s Trio of Pioneers

3 Lessons to Learn From BlogHer's Trio of Pioneers

 

In 2005, BlogHer founders Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort Page and Jory Des Jardins wanted to know where all the women bloggers were.

Back then, it was the Wild, Wild West days of blogging. But if you don’t ask, you’ll never get an answer.

So Stone, Camahort Page and Des Jardins invited women who were active online to meet up in person.

More than 300 women showed up. These three pioneers pulled something off that many people only dream of doing: They built a company — and a successful brand.

BlogHer has grown into an audience of 100 million across premium blogs, websites, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter and aims to educate, empower and bring more exposure to women writers. “Since 2009, BlogHer Inc. has paid out $36 million to 5,700 bloggers and social media influencers who embrace our editorial guidelines and produce community content,” according to the company’s website.

The company’s publishing network grants revenue from ad campaigns to participant bloggers, who can also be can be part of “blog-based sponsor pograms.”

In November the three founders sold BlogHer to online media company SheKnows Media but they’re still running BlogHer.

I had the opportunity to sit down with the founders of BlogHer to learn more about their story at a recent conference.

It all started with an idea – and a few smart, simple philosophies that all executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders should remember:

Related: Sheryl Sandberg Encourages Women Bloggers to ‘Lean In’  

1. Develop a strong team.

Opposites attract. But when forming a partnership, the differences have to be complementary.

Stone, Camahort Page and Des Jardins don’t share the same background, skills or expertise. Their personalities are similar, however, and their differences help them complement one another’s skills perfectly.

“We have complementary skills, which makes it a lot easier to be collaborative and not competitive,” Stone says. “Our collective intelligence makes for much more of a superpower than if all three of us came from the same background.”

When looking to build your team, don’t hire those whose skills and expertise closely mirror yours. As the driver of the bus, fill the seats with the right people — individuals who want to go in the same direction and who can do parts of the job requiring different skill sets and experience.

Related: 15 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2015

2. Pull your own weight.

So many partnerships fail because someone isn’t pitching in. Sure, it’s fun to be visionary, to talk about the big picture and plans for the future. But then you have to get to work.

Stone, Camahort Page and Des Jardins have no problems rolling up their sleeves and doing what needs to be done and they each share a similar level of intensity for getting the job done.

That’s not to say everything has always gone smoothly. They’ll be the first to tell you that they’ve butted heads a few times over the years. But you’d never know it.

“We fight fair,” Stone says. “We’ve been able to fight for years without it being personal.”

Don’t be afraid to have hard conversations. When something doesn’t go as planned, deal with it quickly and honestly. Make it about the solution, not someone’s personality. Then move forward — together.

3. Ask your customers what they want.

You can do all the market research in the world, but sometimes, you just have to flat out ask people what they want. And it turns out, they’ll tell you.

Stone, Camahort Page and Des Jardins knew just how important it was to find out exactly what women bloggers wanted.

They asked. Their community answered: They wanted ways to get together with other bloggers. They wanted to be compensated for their work.

BlogHer responded with more conferences, with an ad network and social-media enhanced publishing platforms. And by doing so, BlogHer quickly opened up opportunities for everyone.