Valentine’s Day 2014 – Lobster for 2 for less

Have you made your dinner reservation for Valentine’s Day yet?  I have a better idea.  Why not have…

A SUCCULENT LOBSTER DINNER PREPARED BY CHEF _________ (insert your name here)

Everyone loves lobster, but many people have never tried to prepare it, for fear of ruining something that often costs $20 or more per pound at the grocery store.  At $18 to $25 a pound, fresh lobster is expensive to buy, but it is still far cheaper than what you’d pay to have it prepared for you at a good seafood restaurant.  What follows is a simple recipe that is sure to impress your Valentine’s Day date.
Ingredients you will need:

• 2 lobster tails (the size depends on your appetite and budget)
• ¾ stick of butter
• Old Bay Seasoning
• 1 fresh lemon
• ¼ cup white white wine
• 1 –  9×9 inch baking pan
• Garlic salt

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Remove both lobster tails from their shells.  This can be accomplished by carefully splitting the shells lengthwise using a sharp knife.  Once the shell is split carefully remove the lobster so the meat remains a single intact piece.
3. Melt ½ stick of butter in a small sauce pan over low heat.
4. Pour melted butter into 9X9 inch baking pan
5. Add ¼ cup white wine to the baking pan
6. Place both lobster tails in the baking pan
7. Melt the remaining ¼ stick of butter and pour it over the lobster tails, ensuring each is uniformly covered
8. Season tails by sprinkling with Old Bay Seasoning and a dash of garlic salt
9. Slice 1 lemon crosswise as thinly as possible.  Slices that are 1/8 inch thick are ideal.
10. Cover both lobster tails with overlapping  lemon rounds
11. Bake at 350 degrees for 28 minutes

Lobster is often served with melted butter.  Once the lobster is removed from the baking pan you can pour the remaining butter / wine mixture into two small ramekins (bowls) and place one on each dinner plate.  This is the perfect dipping sauce!

Serve with Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice Blend and some steamed broccoli or asparagus and you’re set to go!

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What is a cover letter and is it optional to use one when applying for a job?

A cover letter is a one-page document, written using a formal business letter format, used to introduce the applicant to the hiring manager and to highlight the applicant’s key strengths, as they relate to the position to which one is applying.  Therefore the content of the letter is specifically tailored to each application one submits.  The general rule of thumb is – When applying for positions that require a resume one should always include a cover letter.  Within the business world applying for a position using a resume is standard fare, so it follows that a cover letter is also.  This is true of most but not all industries.  For example, within the food service industry, both sit down and fast food, resumes are not always used in the application process, but the same rule of thumb applies – if you use a resume also use a cover letter.  It should also be noted that a quality cover letter and resume will never hurt your chances of success, so even in the food industry Success Path Consulting would recommend using them.

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Superior Wisconsin’s 4TH OF July Parade 2012 – Success Path Consulting asked to serve as a judge

American Legion Post 435 float

Success Path Consulting’s CEO Mark Woodcock will serve as a judge in Superior Wisconsin’s 2012 4th of July parade.  The judge’s booth will be located at the intersection of North 28th Street and Hammond Avenue.  Please stop by and say hello!

Mark was asked to provide a short description of what the 4th of July means to him.  Here is what he said:

Success Path Consulting collaborates with each of their clients to help them achieve their goals, whether it is career consulting to find a new job, credit and debt consulting to achieve financial stability, or wealth creation consulting to ensure an adequate nest egg.  On Independence Day Success Path Consulting would like to remind everyone that many of our Veterans who are returning home from the Middle East are having a difficult time finding jobs.  The veteran unemployment rate is much higher than the national average.  If you are a business owner please give special consideration to veteran applicants.  These men and women have demonstrated a strong commitment and dedication to country and each of us owes it to them to do our part to ease their transition back to the civilian labor market.

For greater detail on how we can all help our returning men and women in uniform, check out Success Path Consulting’s Memorial Day blog:

 http://www.successpathconsulting.com/blog/?p=148

Due to construction on the Blatnik (Highway 53) Bridge the parade route is altered from past years.  The parade begins at 11:00.  The best places to view the parade are on North 28th Street and Hammond Avenue, or anywhere on Hammond Avenue between 28th and where Hammond terminates at Superior Middle School (North 37th Street).

In addition to a Superior parade there are several other family oriented activities:

  • Car show – 2:00 to 6:00 PM
  • Children’s Activities Center – 2:00 to 5:00 PM
  • Live Music by Free Fallin’ – 2:00 to 6:00 PM
  • Fireworks – 10:15

For additional information consult “The Chamber Superior-Douglas County Area” website:

http://www.superiorchamber.org/community/eventdetail.aspx?EventID=2320

Happy 4th of July!

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Wealth Creation Consulting – Yes, YOU need it too!

When people see my business card I am frequently asked the question – What is Wealth Creation Consulting?  Is that just for your rich clients?

The short answer NO, Wealth Creation Consulting is just as important for any income bracket.  What follows is an explanation of why.

For starters, Success Path Consulting employs financially knowledgable Wealth Creation Consultants as opposed to Financial Advisors.  The goal of our Wealth Creation Consultants is to educate our clients on the fundamentals of wealth creation, so the client is prepared to make sound, informed, self-directed financial decisions.

Most people in our culture spend a great deal of time thinking about how much money they make, and are frequently trying to figure out how to make more.  Simultaneously these same people spend very little time determining how best to allocate their paychecks.  This mistake is the number one obstacle to wealth creation.  When it comes to financial security and wealth creation, in the vast majority of cases, how much you make is far less important than what you do with your monthly paychecks, whatever the amounts. Sure, it would be nice to make $3 million a year instead of $25 thousand a year, but whatever your salary, you can’t afford to be uninformed, put your finances on auto-pilot, or wait until next month or next year to become informed.

Why you ask?  It takes less than a paragraph to prove my point.  It might surprise you to know that 78 percent of N.F.L. players are bankrupt or having a hard time making ends meet within just 2 years of retirement.  For N.B.A. athletes the statistic is 60 percent within 5 years (source: Sports Illustrated Magazine).  These are individuals who make salaries that are millions of dollars more than the average American, yet the nationwide bankruptcy rate in 2012 is just 1 bankruptcy for every 450 adults (NBKRC Monthly Bankruptcy Filing Report, June 2012, Ronald Mann, Columbia Law School).  Conclusion: The size of your paycheck, financial stability and wealth creation are only loosely correlated.  The most important component of your Success Path to wealth is your financial literacy.

As with all of our consulting services, Success Path Consulting uses a Sherpa approach to Wealth Creation.  We don’t make the decisions for you, rather we inform you so you are prepared to make good choices.  A Wealth Creation Consulting package includes the following topics.

Explanation of the terms:

• market • stocks • mutual funds • actively managed • passively managed • bonds • certificate of deposit (CD) • savings accounts

Strategies for investing:

• emergency savings • short term savings – for this purpose defined as less than 5 years • medium term savings – for this purpose defined as 5 to 10 years • long term savings – for this purpose defined as greater than 10 years • retirement savings • 401K / Roth 401K / 403B • traditional IRA • Roth IRA

Success Path Consulting holds personal accountability and financial responsibility as core values; therefore we believe that financial decision making should not be delegated.  We use an evidence based approach in our Wealth Creation Consulting sessions, as opposed to a faith based (AKA just trust us) approach.  What is the difference between evidence vs. faith based approaches?  We use the lessons of Enron, the mortgage melt-down of 2008, and the lessons of Ponzi schemes to demonstrate the difference.

We also provide an explanation of the common mistakes made by poorly informed investors, such as

  • the folly of investing in fad stocks and mutual funds and believing that they will significantly outperform the market
  • attempting to time the market
  • the dangers of purchasing large quantities of stock in one company, particularly in the company for which you work

And finally, as part of our standard Wealth Creation Consulting package we explain the variety of investment costs and the impacts to you of these costs:

  • loads (front end / back end)
  • expense ratios
  • the advantage of fee only financial planners

At first glance this seems like a long list of complicated topics.  The reality is we can provide you with a deeper understanding of everything above in just 3 to 4 hours’ time, and we break the consulting sessions into bite sized pieces so it is both FUN and informative.

Click the link to contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.  The sooner you start your Success Path the sooner you’ll reach your goal.  http://www.successpathconsulting.com/getting-started

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Support the Troops – Memorial Day 2012 – The time is now!

Over the past decade the U.S. has participated in two major conflicts on foreign soils.  Between Iraq and Afghanistan 6,442 Americans have given their lives since 9/11.  Throughout this time period there have been many calls to support the troops.  On this Memorial Day 2012 I’m going to suggest a very concrete way to provide meaningful support to vets who are returning to your home town.

With thousands of troops returning to the U.S. and civilian life this year, a top priority for nearly 100% of them will be the establishment of a career.  Unfortunately the country that they defended and to which they are returning is in the midst of one of the worst job markets since The Great Depression.  Translation – finding a job that will allow them to support themselves and their families will be a challenge.  According to the March 2012 Employment Situation for Veterans summary, released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for male veterans, age 18 to 24, stood at 29.1 percent.  The rate for age 25 to 34 was significantly better, at 13.4 percent, but still much higher than for non-veterans of the same age group.

So how can you help?  That depends on who you are.  If you are a:

BUSINESS OWNER – Initiate a plan to recruit and prioritize the hiring of veterans.  Even if you aren’t seeking to fill positions today, thousands of veterans will be returning to the U.S. over the next couple of years, therefore establishing a recruitment plan today is a prudent way to support the troops in the months ahead.  Advertising open positions to veterans is a straightforward act, but the more strategic you are in your advertising the more successful will be the result.  Contacting local and city government and chambers of commerce is usually a good starting point for generating productive partnerships.  You can also sign up for membership in websites that advertise directly to veterans, such as:

http://www.hireveterans.com/

Just as important as advertising to veterans is educating your hiring manager so they understand the value of the veteran job applicant.  This is one of the most formidable challenges that returning veterans face – explaining to a prospective hiring manager how their experience in a foreign country makes them a good fit for a U.S. based non-military position.  A good hiring manager will ask the right questions to help translate the military experience and military resume so the transferable skills are recognized.  Collaborating with local veterans organizations is one way to accomplish this.  There are also internet based sites that offer instruction.

http://www.thevalueofaveteran.com/webinars.html#translate

FRIENDS and FAMILY of VETERANS – As stated above in the business owner section, effectively translating military experience so a hiring manager will understand its applicability to the civilian workplace is a necessary step toward the veteran receiving a job offer.  Some corporations and businesses are making the effort to institute veteran recruitment policies, and are educating their hiring managers to better be able to translate military experience to civilian career strengths, but most businesses have no formal plan in place.  That means that the burden most often falls to the veteran when it comes to identifying positions for which they are well qualified, and convincingly translating their experience in a resume, in a cover letter, and in a formal job interview.  That is where the friends and family members of veterans can help, by soliciting the services of a professional career consultant – the perfect gift for the returning loved one.

Success Path Consulting well understands that veterans have unique challenges that must be addressed to help ensure a smooth transition to civilian careers, and we are well equipped to provide the necessary assistance.  Our starting point is always to ask the veteran to explain their career goals and aspirations.  We then move forward with drafting a plan – a personalized success path – tailored toward achieving those goals.  We will take the time necessary to ensure that each veteran’s resume highlights their specific accomplishments and strengths.  If job search assistance is desired we can provide it for one or more weeks.  We can even provide practice interview training to better ensure the veteran’s ability to sell themselves and their personal strengths to a prospective hiring manager.  In most cases the career services that we provide to veterans were solicited directly by the veteran, but career services is the perfect gift for your son, daughter, friend, neighbor, or spouse.  You want to know how to support the troops on this Memorial Day 2012?  Call Success Path Consulting today.  We’re eager to begin work on your loved one’s personalized Success Path.

    http://www.successpathconsulting.com/career-consulting-services-for-us-veterans

Posted in Career, Financial Stability, Uncategorized, Veteran Services | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

What are the most popular graduation gifts for 2012?

Do you have a friend, child, or grandchild graduating in 2012?  Are you looking to find the perfect gift and wondering what is trendy this year?  Thinking of an iPad, iPod, or similar gadget?  I’m a huge advocate of Apple products, but I have a much more original and relevant suggestion for your loved one’s graduation day – help that special graduate find a job by giving them a career consulting gift certificate!  That is after all the one thing that 100% of graduates have in common, they’re all hoping that the years of study, term papers, exams, and tens of thousands of dollars spent, will land them that long awaited dream job.  How better to increase their odds of success than by giving the gift of career consulting?  You could gift one or more of the following services:

  • job search assistance
  • professionally crafted resume
  • professionally tailored cover letter
  • job interview training
  • formal thank-you letter
  • salary negotiation coaching

The truth is a diploma alone is not enough – today’s graduates need to have more than a degree.  To land a job in a job market of 8.2% unemployment they need to know how to sell their personal success story to a prospective employer.  The vast majority of new graduates are iPrepared, but are ill prepared when it comes to how to locate jobs, understanding the importance of a professional resume and cover letter, and being able to create an outstanding face-to-face impression in a formal job interview.  An iPad gift will not prepare them.  Career consulting services is the answer!

Call Success Path Consulting today, select from an a la carte menu of career consulting services, and we’ll provide you with a gift certificate that includes exactly that – a tangible expression of your investment in their future.

Success Path Consulting is a Duluth based company, and we have a record of success in assisting clients in Duluth-Superior, the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs, and in more distant places such as Alaska, California, Alabama, and the UK.

http://www.successpathconsulting.com/career-consulting

http://www.d.umn.edu/commencement/  (UMD commencement information)

http://www.css.edu/Administration/Registrar/Commencement-Programs.html (St. Scholastica commencement information)

http://www.uwsuper.edu/registrar/news/spring-commencement-2012-2-pm-at-wessman-arena_article659452 (University of Wisconsin Superior commencement information)

https://events.umn.edu/commencement/index.htm (University of Minnesota Twin Cities commencement information)

 

 

 

 

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UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA DULUTH – Commencement Day 2012 Is Fast Approaching

If you’re a UMD senior you already know that Bachelor’s Degree Commencement exercises are at noon on Saturday, May 12th, at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC).  Success Path Consulting would like to take a moment to congratulate the class of 2012 for your achievement – one of life’s biggest milestones!

Now that four or more years of hitting the books, writing term papers, taking exams, and tossing back the Fitger’s are coming to a close, what’s next?  Are you taking the summer off to backpack Europe?  Are you hoping to land that first job in your field as soon as possible?

Whatever your timetable is for kicking off your career now is the time to implement a strategic plan to ensure that the tens of thousands of dollars that you’ve invested in your education actually land you a job.  The starting point of that strategic plan should be an acknowledgement of the challenging job market of 2012, as evidenced by a national unemployment rate of 8.2%.  In this job market you can’t afford to exit college like the majority of graduates – with a run of the mill resume, no cover letter, and little or no interview experience.  The student run UMD Career Services Center is well intentioned, but the reality is that effectively packaging and selling ‘you’ to a prospective employer is best accomplished using a professionally crafted cover letter, resume, interview training, professional thank-you letter, etc.

Learn what 2011 UMD graduates learned – You should partner with Success Path Consulting for you career service needs!

“Before working with Success Path Consulting I was helped by the UMD Career Services. The resume we produced was good, but nothing that would stand out from the crowd. Success Path Consulting helped me create a professional resume that made my experiences glow rather than just exist.”

Max Wagner – May 2011 graduate

And again, seven months later, after relocating to Chicago, IL.

“Success Path Consulting has made it very easy to work with them even though I have been living in Chicago. They take advantage of technology by using Skype, emails, text, and the telephone to still ensure the quality of their work. Living so far away you might think it would create some issues, but through their professionalism and customer service it seems like they’ve been with me every step of the way.”

Max Wagner – January 2012 – Chicago, IL.

Contact us today and we’ll begin crafting your personalized success path.

    http://www.successpathconsulting.com/career-consulting

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A STEP TOWARD FINANCIAL STABILITY – THE RULE OF 72 – The adult version of waiting 20 minutes to reap the reward of a second marshmallow

Some time ago I wrote a 2 part blog entitled “What Spending Plans and Marshmallows Have in Common.” I strongly encourage you to use the filter function on our site to find that blog entry, and read both parts before reading continuing with this entry. Today’s blog is an extension of the lessons learned.

Part II of my ‘marshmallow experiment’ blog ended with the statement “Only your employer can increase your pay. But we [Success Path Consulting] can increase your purchasing power by crafting a spending plan that will allow you to have two marshmallows for the price of one.” Today I will introduce you to some important truths that will assist you in achieving the adult equivalent of 2 marshmallows. The starting point of today’s blog is a great quote from an unknown author:

“Those who understand compound interest are destined to collect it. Those who don’t understand compound interest are doomed to pay it.”

I’m guessing that even if you don’t fully understand what the quote means, you know enough that you’d like to be the person who understands compound interest, right? Then let me quickly introduce you to the Rule of 72. The Rule of 72 states that if you take the number 72 and divide it by the rate of return that you are earning on invested money, then the result will tell you how long it will take for your money to double. This is a simple enough concept that one hypothetical example should make it clear. Let’s say you have $1,000 invested earning an 8% rate of return. This is how you would apply the Rule of 72:

72 / 8 (rate of return) = 9 (years for your money to double)
So in 9 years your $1,000 becomes $2,000

Now that you understand this basic concept, we can move on to the TRULY AMAZING PART. If it takes 9 years for money to double at an 8% rate of return that means:

• $1,000 becomes $2,000 in 9 years
• $2,000 becomes $4,000 in another 9 years
• $4,000 becomes $8,000 in another 9 years

The money keeps doubling without your adding a penny, just by your having the discipline to keep it invested and not spend it. Small dollar amounts become large dollar amounts, and if left untouched, eventually become really large dollar amounts. Most people would agree that $50,000 is a large dollar amount. At 8% interest, it too doubles in 9 years, so $50,000 becomes $100,000. EXCELLENT!!! So what is the take-away lesson? Understanding the Rule of 72 and the power of compound interest transforms you into someone who is financially savvy enough to collect it.

But guess what? Compound interest can work for you or against you based on the key life choices you make. In the example above $1,000 became $2,000 in 9 years. What does $1,000 sitting in your dresser drawer become? Assuming it isn’t lost or stolen even after 99 years $1,000 will still only be $1,000. What would $1,000 at 8% interest be after 99 years – OVER A HALF MILLION DOLLARS…

So what is meant by “Those who don’t understand compound interest are doomed to pay it?” Basically you are applying the Rule of 72 in reverse when you spend $1,000 that you don’t have by using a credit card. When you buy with a credit card the compound interest goes to your credit card company’s pocket, not yours. Here is just one example:

Making minimum monthly payments on a $5,000 credit card debt at 14 percent rate would take you 22 years to pay off. You’d pay over $5,887 in interest – so $10,887 in total. Spending money that you don’t have isn’t cheap!

CONCLUSION: I’m sure you’d like to be someone who uses the Rule of 72 to your advantage. Take a moment to play around with the Rule of 72 calculator on our website. One of the core services that Success Path Consulting provides is collaborating with people like yourself to craft spending plans that help you to achieve your goals. Only you know what your dreams and aspirations are. We take the time to listen to you and identify your goals. We then craft an individually tailored spending and savings plan – A Success Path – to achieving them. Only your employer can increase your pay. But we can increase your purchasing power. The Rule of 72 is just one of the tools we teach to achieving this.

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A Quality Application in the Hiring Manager’s Hand is Worth More than 100 Resumes in the Rejection Pile

I was recently asked the question by a client “how many resumes should I send out each day?” Before I could answer, he added, “because I was told I should be sending out about 100.” What! Really!? 100?! Was he serious? Clearly whoever gave this advice was not a career consultant, because a resume is just one of many components of submitting a quality application, and I can guaranty that if someone is sending out 100 resumes a day they’re not doing any of those components well.
I think a better question to ask yourself is, “what should my target be when it comes to sending out quality applications – how many per day is realistic?” Now, it is actually a false statement that “looking for a job is a full time job.” This is obviously just a euphemism, and the truth is much less appealing. A full time job usually affords you benefits, an 8 hour workday, breaks, and lunch periods. But when you are looking for a job in today’s job market, it is often 12 intense hours, and of course there is no pension, are no paid breaks, and no 401K.
So what is a quality application? A hiring manager can sense a blanket resume a mile away and it quickly gets filed into the DNH pile (Do Not Hire). If you have 12 hours a day to spend on the job hunt, use them strategically. First step, only submit applications to jobs that are right for you. I know some of you are saying to yourself “I just need a job, ANY job” but I encourage you, do NOT blanket your community with applications out of desperation. Find the job that is right for you and you can settle into a career, or at the very least longer term employment. Otherwise, even if you get lucky and your blanket resume lands you a job, you will probably find yourself back at the job hunt on short order. When you do find a job that aligns with your skills and experience, take the time to research the job, jobs like it, and the company. Get to know everything you can, CEO names, company growth, history, global locations, etc.
Now is the most important step, tailor your resume and your cover letter to the specific job posting. I don’t have a cover letter you say? I guaranty neither does that guy who recommended that you send out 100 resumes a day. A cover letter is an essential component of a quality application. A cover letter should not be considered optional, and should not be taken lightly. Take the time to ensure each detail is specifically designed to catch the eye of this specific hiring manager. This is not an easy task, but I cannot stress enough how important it is. The ability to convey a strong first impression in a cover letter and the corresponding resume is a talent few have, but a valuable one indeed. If you are not suited to this task, solicit the talent that is. A cover letter and resume that is expertly crafted to a specific position will have a much higher success rate of making it past the DNH pile and into the Interview pile.
So, in closing, 100 resumes a day may feel like you are accomplishing something, but in reality, sending 100 resumes a day is mistaking activity for productivity and depopulating forest land at an alarming rate! Be strategic and make your time count. Only apply to positions that are right for you and always send a quality correctly tailored resume and cover letter. If you follow this advice than the number of applications you submit per day will take care of itself. Contact Success Path today. We have the talent and experience necessary to create quality resumes and cover letters as well as services to assist in finding the right job for you. Don’t waist another day!

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