Women in agriculture are challenging stereotypes

(BPT) – About a third of the nation’s farmers are women, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And most of these women are working family farms, since 99 percent of all American farms are family-owned and operated. Just under 1 million women farmers contribute $12.9 billion to the nation’s economy and are responsible for farming more than 301 million acres.

More women are seeking careers in agriculture, and they’re breaking stereotypes about what their roles can be. Many women in the agriculture industry are farmers who grow crops and raise animals, while others are helping advance agriculture by fulfilling non-traditional roles:

Seed sales representative

Megan Moll grew up working on her family’s farm in central Michigan. Today, as a sales representative for Syngenta, she supports a network of independent seed advisers who sell the company’s corn hybrids and soybean varieties. She started with the company as an intern. “If you want to go after it, go after it,” Moll advises women who may be considering a career in agriculture. “Don’t let anything stop you.”

Grape growers and winemakers

In 1999, Brenda Wolgamott and her husband, Duane, entered the wine-growing business; and in 2002, they created their own label — Marin’s Vineyard — named for their daughter, Marin Wolgamott. At age 14, Marin began delving into the science of winemaking, learning how to test grapes for sugar and pH levels in a lab, so she could provide the service to neighbors who would otherwise have to send their grapes to far-off labs for testing. Today, she is the winemaker for the vineyard. Marin’s experience and career path demonstrate “there are different avenues to get in,” she says. “Whether you want to do chemistry or love to get your hands dirty in the cellar, everyone’s job in the winery is always appreciated.”

TV host and photographer

Born and raised in rural Iowa, Marj Guyler-Alaniz graduated from Grand View University with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, photography and journalism, and immediately went to work in agriculture for a crop insurance company. Inspired to draw attention to the roles of women in agriculture, she founded FarmHer, an online social community for women farmers. She now hosts the award-winning television show “FarmHer on RFD-TV.” “I think showing women who are successfully farming or ranching plants a seed in the younger generation,” Guyler-Alaniz says. “Younger girls who are interested in getting into agriculture or carrying on a family tradition can see for themselves that they can do it.”

Agrobacterium researcher

At a time when few women went to college, let alone pursued a higher degree in a scientific field, Mary-Dell Chilton, Ph.D., had the curiosity and drive to bring about major change. When one of her students turned in a paper suggesting bacteria that caused a common plant disease could actually transfer a portion of its DNA to the afflicted plant, Chilton thought his theory was wrong. In the spirit of the scientific method, she tested it and instead found her student’s theory to be true. Her research laid the groundwork for transforming how scientists conduct plant genetic research. Her work in plant biotechnology has significantly affected the global agriculture industry. “I give young people today the same advice I’ve given throughout my career,” Chilton says. “Pursue what you love and what fascinates you, and the rest will follow.”

To learn more about women in agriculture and farm news, visit SyngentaThrive.com.

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22 million strong: 4 ways to make VA loans work for you

(BPT) – If you’re a veteran, active military member or reservist, you’ve likely heard about all the benefits offered with VA home loans.

Since 1944, some 22 million vets have taken advantage of the powerful U.S. program enabling affordable low-interest mortgages that require no down payments, no mortgage insurance payments and no prepayment penalties. Last year alone, the federal government issued 705,474 VA-guaranteed home loans adding up to some $179 billion — a 12 percent increase over 2015, representing the biggest year ever.

“We have definitely reached that tipping point where veterans know we are no longer ‘My father’s VA,’” Mike Frueh, chief of staff of the ‎Veterans Benefits Administration, told the Huffington Post last year. “The pace of changes … in our program has increased dramatically the past few years. We are agile, we are responsive and we are definitely meeting their needs.”

When considering such a mortgage, however, you’ll want to confirm the amount of “entitlement” that applies to you — in other words, the percentage of your loan the VA will repay if you must default. That’s important, since it will determine the maximum loan you can secure for buying your house. The key numbers to find are your basic and bonus VA entitlements; the former can be found through the Veterans Information Portal and the latter through your loan officer.

In general, VA loan institutions can finance vets or soldiers with mortgages at four times their entitlement amounts. Fortuitously, all first-time users of VA home loan benefits start with enough combined entitlement ($104,250) to purchase a house via a mortgage ranging from $144,000 to $417,000. However, the maximum is higher in high-cost counties including some in California, New York and New Jersey. That same guarantee allows military borrowers to refinance mortgages even when they lack home equity. That said, all borrowers must still meet the income, credit and other requirements established by the lending institution to which they’re applying.

Need more specifics? Here’s what else you should know:

1. Half-civilian couple? No worries

Civilian-servicemember couples need not worry.

Vets may secure loans based on their full entitlements if they’re buying a loan by themselves or with a non-veteran spouse.

2. Buying with a buddy? A little muddy

Purchasing with a non-servicemember non-spouse, conditions can vary.

Vets seeking to buy a home with another person who’s not their spouse can only secure a VA home loan based on half their entitlement amount. If a vet is buying with another (non-spouse) vet, a down payment may be required.

3. Benefits don’t double

Purchasing together and merging your entitlements.

Two vets taking out a mortgage together can each use only half their total entitlements, combining them so that the maximum mortgage will likely be $417,000. However, each can use the other half of their entitlement to buy another property.

4. Fund, pay, repeat

After payoff, renew and reuse.

After paying off a loan, a veteran can use his entitlement to buy another property once again.

Don’t hesitate to use your record of service to secure VA loan benefits superior in many ways to civilian loans. Others are doing so in increasing numbers.

“The VA loan program’s 22 millionth loan guarantee comes during a period of tremendous growth, not to mention tremendous promise,” wrote Chris Birk in the Huffington Post. “Market share for this program once hung in the low single digits. Today, VA loans account for about 10 percent of the mortgage market, and the VA expects loan volume to increase 36 percent over the next five years alone.”

Interested in reaping the benefits of a VA mortgage? LoanDepot can walk you through the home buying process so you can move forward with the next phase of your life. Call us at 1-888-983-3240 to learn more.

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The time is right to seek new income opportunities

(BPT) – Whether you plan to watch the ball drop in Times Square this New Year’s Eve or be in bed by 10 p.m., one thing is certain: a new year is coming, and with it comes a chance for change. It’s a time to reflect on what works best for you and reset your course for the coming year. Research shows that 41 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, and after spending the holidays indulging in food and festivities, it’s not surprising that the most popular resolutions include weight loss, improved fitness and healthier eating.

As the holiday bills start coming in, it’s also common for people to focus on getting their finances into better order. The Federal Reserve Board discovered in a survey of working Americans that nearly half of U.S. adults don’t have enough cash on hand to pay for a $400 emergency. If that’s a concern for you, consider joining the 44 million Americans who have found ways to make money in addition to their main source of income. Common options include waiting tables, working retail, becoming a rideshare driver and direct selling.

Direct selling, also called direct-to-consumer sales, has been around for over 160 years, and companies like WorldVentures, Avon, Tupperware and Amway have been offering new business opportunities to independent sales representatives since they opened. The direct-sales business is still booming, with a record 20.5 million people involved in the U.S. alone in 2016. The estimated direct retail sales of $35.54 billion in 2016 was the second-highest in direct-selling history.

Is working in direct sales right for you? Benefits of working in the industry can include:

* Flexibility — You determine your schedule, and you choose to work as many — or as few — hours as you want. If you have a knack for direct selling, you could ultimately make it your main source of income.

* Personal growth and development — Take advantage of the tools and training offered by your direct selling company to help you build your business.

* Companionship — Connect with fellow sales representatives and prospective customers, any of which can lead to lasting relationships.

Passion for travel and financial freedom prompted Wayne Nugent, founder and “chief visionary officer” of WorldVentures, to launch his direct sales business in 2005. “We’ve been changing the way people take vacations for more than a decade, all while helping our independent representatives discover their potential and experience more in life,” says Nugent. “We have a world-class product and we embrace a culture of success.”

WorldVentures, a direct seller of travel and leisure club memberships, is just one of many opportunities waiting for you. Whether you decide to go into direct sales, housesitting or part-time bartending, the possibilities for supplemental income are limited only by your imagination.

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New ways renters are becoming homeowners

(BPT) – Sponsored Content from Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc.

The world that millennials have grown up in is a lot different than the world the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers knew. The digital revolution, widespread use of smartphones and adoption of disruptive technologies such as ride sharing and vacation rental apps are just a few of the factors that have altered the social landscape.

Unfortunately, rising student debt, rising home prices and other economic factors have hit many millennials and left them to believe that they cannot afford a home. Many feel as though they have been priced out of the American dream and they will never be able to buy a home.

But no matter what your age, there are plenty of ways to become a homeowner, you just have to think a little more creatively.

The rise of the rental

Looking at current trends, a recent research study found that more U.S. households are now renting than at any time in the last 50 years. With a rising number of renters, many have worried that we are becoming a nation of renters rather than a nation of homeowners.

This is most evident with the younger generation, people under 30, who the National Multifamily Housing Council have found now account for 50 percent of all renters in the U.S.

They aren’t renting because it’s a more affordable option, either. As many residents know throughout the country, rents are going up and up. Between 2012 and 2015, the median gross rent has gone up 8.24 percent, rising to $959. When you combine that with the utilities, a deposit and first and last month’s rent, it’s a lot of money to spend on something you will never own.

So why do people choose to rent? One reason is that many don’t realize that just like phones, cars and countless other things we use on a daily basis, homes have changed.

New priorities mean a new solution

As demand for housing increases, and prices on new and existing homes continue to rise, manufactured housing has adapted to the standards of today’s first-time homebuyers and provides a solution for a market in short supply of quality, affordable options.

In 2016, the average sales price for a manufactured home without land was around $70,600 — that’s an average of $48.82 per square foot — making them an affordable solution to renters looking to become homeowners.

“We believe manufactured homes offer a great solution for many households seeking affordable housing,” says Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance Inc. President Eric Hamilton. “We work with our customers to help find financing options that fit their needs and circumstances.”

Renters don’t have to continue doling out a monthly check for something they’ll never own. The housing market has changed and with this change, manufactured homes have brought forth new opportunities to become a homeowner.

NMLS Disclosure

Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc., 500 Alcoa Trail, Maryville, TN 37804, 865-380-3000, NMLS #1561, (http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/), AZ Lic. #BK-0902616, Loans made or arranged pursuant to a California Finance Lenders Law license, GA Residential Mortgage (Lic. #6911), Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee, Licensed by the NH Banking Department, MT Lic. #1561, Licensed by PA Dept. of Banking.

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Growing need for ag expertise: Not all high-paid careers are on the farm

(BPT) – (BPT) – As the farming industry faces growing consolidation in the U.S., one might get the impression fewer jobs are now available in agriculture.

In fact, just the opposite is true. Today, one in three people worldwide — more than a billion employees — work in an ag-related industry.

Industry growth and digital innovation combined with retirements are driving significant demand for college grads and other professionals, including those without experience in typical ag-related subjects, and many feature excellent salaries. The USDA and Purdue University predict 57,900 jobs requiring ag skills will become available each year between now and 2020 while only 35,000 grads in food, ag, renewable resources or environment studies will look to fill those jobs each year. Further, the average starting salary in the U.S. for those graduating with bachelor’s degrees in agriculture or natural resources was a healthy $54,364 as of winter 2017, a 12 percent increase from 2016.

“People are starting to discover (agriculture) is a pretty good industry to be in,” Iowa State College Career Services Director Mike Gaul recently told CNBC. “They realize this sector isn’t our traditional what-we-joke ‘cows, plows and sows’ industry anymore. It’s incredibly diverse.”

The expectation is that grads with expertise in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources and/or the environment will fill 61 percent of all ag-related openings, while employers must seek grads in other majors to fill the 39 percent gap. Notably, women already make up more than half of the higher-ed grads in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources and environmental studies.

High school grads considering degrees in agriculture might consider one of these highest-paying ag occupations:

1. C-suite executives: The CEOs, COOs and CFOs at ag startups or established corporations routinely earn $200,000-plus for overseeing company growth and profitability. A bachelor’s or master’s degree is generally needed in addition to a background in leadership and at least five years’ industry experience.

2. Ag lawyers: Because ag is so highly regulated, such professionals may handle issues related to water, land use, pesticides, seeds, the environment, labor/HR, immigration, commerce, intellectual property, mergers/acquisitions, etc. Salaries average out at $160,000. Required: a bachelor’s degree followed by a J.D. and completed state bar exam.

3. Ag sales managers: Those skilled in overseeing sales teams are earning an average $125,000-plus annually. Most hold bachelor’s degrees in agronomy, crop science, soil science, biology, agricultural business or a related field.

4. Ag scientists: Salaries average out at $120,000. A bachelor’s degree is usually sufficient, with in-demand specialties including bioinformatics, animal genetics or the regulatory environment (managing and strategizing a product through the regulatory process).

5. Ag engineers: Among specialties in demand are environmental, ethanol and mechanical engineers, with average salaries running upwards of $80,000 for those holding bachelor’s degrees.

Bottom line: The next generation of ag specialists will be crucial to helping solve the world’s most pressing issues.

Agricultural company Syngenta is supporting that cause by bestowing multiple college scholarships to ag students each year, and of course hiring many grads in various majors.

“This is an exciting time in agriculture because we have new tools to develop better seeds and crop protection products, as well as digital solutions to help farmers be more productive,” says Ian Jepson, head of trait research and developmental biology at Syngenta. “We encourage students to think about the wide range of challenging and rewarding careers in companies like ours to help develop and deliver what farmers need to feed the world.”

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5 Must-know Investing and Retirement Tips

(BPT) – Parents and grandparents typically pass down many things to the next generation — jewelry, furniture and other family heirlooms. But what if the best thing that the preceding generation passed along was their financial wisdom? Through years of investing and saving for retirement, Baby Boomers have experienced a lot and learned many helpful lessons along the way.

A recent survey from Capital Group(R), home of the American Funds(R) and one of the world’s leading investment management firms, studied the dynamics for Boomer investors as they transitioned into retirement. The survey revealed what expenses cause the most sticker shock for retired Boomers, why they retire earlier or later than they planned, how they see the financial markets performing over the next 10 years, and their goals for growing their retirement nest egg to ride out the market’s ups and downs.

Five Golden Rules From Retired Baby Boomers

Boomers have learned many lessons — some good, some bad and all beneficial to future generations of investors. Here are five rules that these seasoned investors found to be essential to saving for a secure retirement.

1) Stay invested for the long term — A large majority (92 percent) of retired Boomers say that Americans need to save more for retirement by getting and staying invested in the market. When asked about what they would do in fluctuating markets, only three in 10 (32 percent) would adapt their strategies based on market conditions.

2) Keep an eye on fees — Low fees and transparency really matter to Boomers. Ninety-four percent of retired Boomers want to be able to easily understand the fees they pay, and 78 percent stressed low-cost simple investments to buy and hold for the long term.

3) Diversify your portfolio — Eighty-five percent of retired Boomers believe that building a diversified portfolio is one of the most important elements for a safe path to a better retirement.

4) Protect yourself against market downturns — Eight in 10 (80 percent) retired Boomers stress the importance of protecting their nest egg and lowering the risk of losses during market downturns. Thirty percent of Boomers wish that they had learned sooner what to do in turbulent markets — near the top of the list of lessons learned.

5) Start saving early and often — Eight in 10 (79 percent) retired Boomers believe saving a portion of monthly income toward retirement is one of the best things you can do, and 60 percent said they wished they had started investing as young as possible.

Unexpected Retirement Costs

Retired Boomers are surprised by their spending patterns and are paying more than expected on unanticipated items.

Health care tops the list in terms of surprise costs and unanticipated spending in retirement, with 43 percent saying they are spending more on health care than they had planned. Travel, an activity popular with retirees, is also more costly than expected, with 40 percent of retired Boomers spending more on travel than they anticipated. Rounding out the top five items: One-third (34 percent) report paying more in taxes than expected, and about a quarter say they are spending more than they had planned on food (25 percent) or utilities (23 percent).

While these surprise costs may exceed retired Boomers’ expectations, they are not losing sleep over their finances. Among Boomers who are already retired, less than one in three (27 percent) list having enough money for retirement as a top concern, while two-thirds (65 percent) of Boomers still working say it is a top concern.

Whether your “perfect retirement” is traveling the country on a motorcycle, sitting by the pool all day or starting your dream second act, following these rules could put you on track to fulfilling your retirement dreams.

For additional findings and the full report, “Expect the Unexpected: Baby Boomer Lessons on Investing and Retirement,” visit http://bit.ly/2y8rokm.

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Top trends for the 2018 housing market identified

(BPT) – In the real estate market, springtime is go time. It’s the busiest time of the year for home sales, and with this year’s stable economy and low unemployment rate, the spring of 2018 has the potential to be especially active.

Every market is defined by its trends, and while each year is different, identifying these trends early on can be a useful tool for buyers, sellers and agents to navigate the upcoming market and secure the best long-term solution for themselves or their clients.

With that in mind, here are a few top real estate trends to watch for in 2018, according to the real estate experts at RE/MAX.

1. Generations on the move

The shift in home buying preferences is more than just an individual choice; it’s a generational one. Two of the nation’s largest generations are suddenly competing with one another in the real estate market. Millennials have come of age, so to speak, and they’re starting to abandon their condos in the city for single-family starter homes in the suburbs to raise their families. This shift has put them in direct competition with baby boomers, who are looking to downsize to something smaller that meets the needs of their new lifestyle.

With these two groups looking for similar housing, well-maintained single-family homes are expected to go very quickly in 2018.

2. Inventory is tightening

While the spring will be flush with buyers, it remains to be seen if sellers will follow suit. The fall of 2017 proved to be sluggish in regard to the number of homes available for sale; in fact, total housing inventory was down 13.4 percent in October 2017 compared to the same time the year before, according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report.

The report also found that only three of the 53 metropolitan areas reported being in a buyer’s market or having an even balance. For the rest of the country, sellers seem to have the advantage. Will that change in the spring? It may, but buyers should be prepared for a market where they will have to be aggressive to purchase the home they want.

3. Housing policies have shifted

The presidential election in November 2016 and local elections from this past fall both have implications on housing policy. Adjustments to tax rates, the growth or decline of suburban options and zoning ordinance changes may all impact the markets where consumers are shopping.

To better understand how these changes may affect the housing search in a given area, potential homebuyers should contact a licensed real estate agent who understands the latest housing policies and how those policies will affect a potential home sale.

4. Technology is king

Like most other industries, real estate today is profoundly affected by the advent of technology. Homebuyers and sellers can go online or use apps to access information about a house or the market like never before, and virtual walk-throughs allow a buyer to enter a prospective home for the first time with few surprises.

For buyers and sellers, technology has the potential to reward those who do their homework and make the most of digital options before deciding how to use their precious time.

Navigating the 2018 market requires expert advice

The 2018 market will be dictated largely by what takes place in the spring, and the trends above figure to play a prominent role in most home sales and listings across the country. Every market contains its own subtle nuances, but homebuyers and sellers everywhere will benefit from the expertise of an experienced real estate agent, one who can help them capitalize on these latest trends and leave the 2018 market with everything they ever wanted and more.

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5 strategies for protecting your valuables

(BPT) – Home is your sanctuary, your castle, the place where you feel the most secure and protected. It is natural to feel this way. So, it is not surprising that you store your prized possessions and valuables at home as well. But is that the best choice for all your valuables?

The recent wildfires in California are the latest in a string of devastating disasters to impact homeowners in the U.S. Together with the hurricanes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and tornadoes and flooding in the Midwest, residential property losses are expected to approach $100 billion according to CoreLogic. Making matters worse, as much as 80 percent of these losses are not insured. Together with the surge in residential burglaries over the last few years, it appears homes are under siege.

Because of these events, the cost of homeowners insurance is expected to increase dramatically in 2018 and beyond.

Now more than ever, you need a thoughtful examination of how best to protect your valuable possessions and to identify strategies to reduce your insurance costs.

These tips will help get you started:

* Create an inventory. Start with a written and video inventory of your prized possessions and valuables, including jewelry, cash or hard assets like gold, electronics, family heirlooms, and collectibles, such as coins, watches, or anything else that has monetary or sentimental value. Prioritize it starting with the highest value items first. With this as your starting point you can now begin putting a plan in place.

* Maintain secure off-site storage. On average, $2 billion of gold, silver and jewelry are stolen from homes each year and 93 percent of that property is never recovered, while fires and natural disasters destroy billions of dollars of valuable personal property every year. Using a safe deposit box to store these smaller valuables, cash, and collectibles substantially reduces the risk of loss from such events.

* Follow basic security rules.

– Don’t broadcast on social media when you are out of town for work or vacation.
– Leave lights on variable timers.
– Accompany repair or utility staff while in your home.
– Keep valuables out of sight and make sure to stop mail delivery while out of town.
– If you have a safe, make sure it is bolted down, preferably to a concrete floor.

* Evaluate your insurance. Standard homeowners or renters insurance places relatively low limits on jewelry, cash, and many other items. It also does not cover losses from flooding, earthquake, and hurricane unless you insure your valuables by a special endorsement or policy. Check your policy to see if you’re fully protected. If you rent a box, inexpensive safe deposit box insurance covers any property stored in your box against virtually all events. Additionally, using an insured safe deposit box can significantly reduce your insurance costs and give you the ability to insure items that are not covered under your homeowners policy.

* Have a disaster plan. You typically have advanced warning of flooding, most wildfires, and hurricanes. Know what you would take if you needed to flee your home, what you would place in your safe deposit box and where you would store items left behind. Place your important documents in your safe deposit box and store them digitally in the cloud where they can be accessed at any time.

Today, when the 100-year event seems to occur multiple times every year, these basic steps can help you begin to manage the real threat to some of your most valuable property.

For more details on protecting your valuables, go to www.sdbic.com/savemoney.

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5 tips for working adults returning to college

(BPT) – Most working professionals want to advance their skills, land that promotion and get a raise. However, some 36 million adults face a significant barrier to achieving their goals and aspirations: They still need to complete a significant amount of coursework in order to earn a college degree.

While many of these adults have completed at least some higher education classes, the demands of family life and maintaining a career, along with a lack of financial resources, can both be forces that derail these plans.

Fortunately, the pathways to earning a college degree are evolving, which means a working professional now has more affordable and efficient means to finish the coursework. With a smart strategy, a busy working professional can make that dream of earning a diploma into a reality.

1. Define your goals

Some people know exactly what they want from life and how a college degree will help them fulfill their goals. Others may have more general ambitions related to finishing the degree, but they may need to take time to create a more detailed plan. In either case, before choosing a higher education program, it’s important to take time to inventory skills and career experiences. The insights from this exercise can be helpful in charting your course to earning that diploma.

2. Consider your time and explore your financial options

For a working adult, using traditional means to earn a degree isn’t always best-suited to the realities of life — not to mention finances. With the demands of family and work encroaching on study and class time, fitting it all in can seem overwhelming.

It’s important to take time to research your options, because there may be more flexible and affordable paths to choose from.

One great example is a new program from Kaplan University called ExcelTrack. Students begin with an assessment, which measures what they already know and advises a course of study. Even better, the coursework allows them to focus on what they need to master, not what they already know. They then work through the courses online — which entails participating in seminars, doing practice activities, completing projects that demonstrate what they know and can do — all while taking as much or as little time as they need.

For people who are able to move at a faster pace, the option can be more affordable than the traditional route because they can pay a flat fee for 6 weeks (graduate level) or 10 weeks (undergraduate level), enabling them to take and complete as many courses as they can handle. This makes earning a degree from an accredited university much more affordable and flexible.

3. Get organized

Working toward a degree can be an intense experience for anyone, which is why it’s important to create the right environment to focus and study. Start by setting up a study station. Ideally, this is a desk or table that’s clean, well-lit and organized with plenty of supplies on hand, and a comfortable chair.

Begin by holding study sessions at different times of the day, while paying attention to energy and productivity levels. Many do their best when they rise an hour or two before their families do, while others come alive in the evening hours. Studying online offers this kind of flexibility so whatever time of day works for you, be sure and stick to your study routine. Before long, your mind will anticipate and expect a study session at certain times of day, which makes it easier to get focused.

4. Get support

With the demands of school and work, now is an appropriate time to seek help from family and friends. Talk to your partner, parents or siblings about taking on child care duties a few days or evenings a week so you can work without interruption. This is an opportune time to give older kids additional responsibilities, such as folding their laundry, starting dinner and packing their own lunches.

Beyond that, consider informing your employer about your college courses and your goals. If your degree is relevant to other work at the company, you might discover they are willing to help. After all, they already have an employee who knows the business, and they will more than likely appreciate your ambition.

5. Keep it in balance

When life gets this hectic, especially when it’s consumed with family, work and school, it’s easy to burn the candle at both ends, leaving you feeling overextended and burned out. This is why it’s important to schedule some down time. Having a break to look forward to can be a powerful motivational tool. Maybe it’s a weekly bike ride, or relaxing with a favorite movie. Whatever it is, don’t feel guilty about taking this time for yourself.

For more information about earning a degree online from Kaplan University with its new ExcelTrack program, visit kaplanuniversity.edu.

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