Breaking the Barriers of Information Dissemination

Communication which is a process of sending and receiving messages has a starting point. This point is not the actual sending, but deals with something which occurs in the sender before he initiates the acts of sending the message. There is the stimulation which comes first – that thing which propels or moves one to take an action. It is the reason for a communication encounter, and it takes place in the sensory nerve of an individual known as the Source.

The Source is that individual or group, which initiates a message. The source is the encoder or sender of the message – the one who receives the stimuli from inside of him and then decides on the means of transmitting the conceived message to the receiver. Because processes are involved in communication, the Source faces so many problems in achieving communication. Before information or opinion is passed to the receiver, the Source makes a move that shows that he wants to pass a message across. This move or initiative could be through speaking, gesturing, writing, or whatever means he feels is appropriate to transmit the message. In communication process, this move is known as an ACTION.

After taking an action, what follows is a REACTION, which is the result of the action taken by the sender or the communicator. It is the response to an action, which may come in form of a reply, answer, rejoinder, retort, acknowledgment or defense. The one chosen determines the next line of action by both parties, and to complete the process, the parties INTERACT. Interaction could be between two or more people showing that the message was duly communicated.

There are so many information messages going around the globe today, as well as counter behaviors of people. These show that not all messages that are sent across got to those they were meant for. So many factors are responsible for this. Skills used in communicating to people are more or less not considered by the communicator. It is his duty to however, ensure that he has a good grasp of the means he chooses to communicate. This will enable him reach his target audience effectively.

The message to be transmitted must be known to the communicator. If he does not have a good knowledge of the message, chances are that he will not be able to win the attention of his audience, appear important with the message or deliver it confidently. Effective communication can also depend on to a large extent on the knowledge of the environment in which the communication is to take place. The diversities that exist in different communities or areas help in forcing the Source approach on location and target audience. In Nigeria, for instance, consideration is given to age, status, social class, seniority, etc, quite different from what is obtainable elsewhere in the world. However, apart from this socio-cultural context, there is another important factor that bothers on attitude. The attitude of the Source of communication towards himself by way of displaying confidence in the message is very important to the successful transmission of his message. It should be noted that time after time people continuously are sending out messages to their various receivers, yet the level of ignorance exhibited by those to which these messages are meant for are alarming. Research has shown that the current method of information dissemination is not ideal hence the introduction of information repackaging.

This implies translation of the information in the language of the people; adopting the right medium familiar to the people and providing the right environment that would generate the required interest from the targeted group. Though this involves training and re-training, yet adopting the techniques of information repackaging would assist in redesigning the information meant to address the needs of the people, especially the rural dwellers. This may involve the transformation of printed information into oral form, using community information centers, Community Based Organizations (CBOs), radio jingles, television programmes, and focal group discussions, among others.

Transforming printed information into oral form: – The level of illiteracy in rural areas of does not support reading and writing. Therefore, oral information delivery is the most suitable means of reaching out to the people. Much of the existing information that people receive today appear mainly in print formats and often through medium that is not easily accessible to the rural dwellers. This is why people who are trained in the skills of information storage, retrieval and dissemination should be used in sourcing the required information and disseminating them to the rural dwellers.

Use of focal group discussions – Another good method of repackaging information is the use of focal group discussion. Information can be repackaged in form of stories, songs and drama, and presented to a particular target group.
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Translation of existing information to local languages – Another approach in information repackaging is the translation of existing information which appears in foreign languages into local languages. The intention here is to ensure that such useful information is disseminated to the target audience with ease. The information professionals and other related organizations and agencies should be involved in this translation project.

Use of posters/handbills – The technique here is to transform information on which is not accessible to the rural dwellers into posters and handbills to meet the information needs of the rural people. Such posters and handbills should be designed in such a way that it will attract the attention of the people. They should also be posted in strategic locations such as village squares, churches, hospitals and other public places. Most often information professionals may take some time to explain some of the posters and handbills for them to understand the message clearly.

Radio programmes and jingles – The radio remains a medium which permeates every location. A major advantage of repackaging information through the radio is the depth of its penetration and affordability of radios by so many families. Besides this, it is very easy and cheap to power the radios. Therefore, much of the needed information in print and online resources would be repackaged in local languages and disseminated through the radios. Programme designers in the radio stations should equally use these repackaged information in radio jingles to create more awareness. The dominance of certain strange languages like the English language in programme presentations should be de-emphasized in local radio stations so as to improve on the listening audience in the rural areas. There are many programmes in both the radio and television that are meant to educative and inform which should be repackaged and presented in local languages for wider reach. Presenters of programmes should equally consider the time of their presentation. Since rural areas are dominated by farmers, the timing should be seriously considered. Evening period is the most adequate, for many families would have come back from their farm works.

Television/home videos – The use of motion pictures creates a near real life situation and therefore, deepens the penetration of the message. The popularity of home videos and other television programmes on the people’s viewing culture is no longer in doubt. The availability of electricity in many rural areas, even though it is still very epileptic, has created opportunities for many families to enjoy films in their houses.

The use of community information centers – There are community information centers already existing in most rural communities. These centers are hospitals, churches, schools, village squares, civic centers, markets, etc, which are heavily depended on for effective information dissemination in rural areas. This makes it easier for information to be translated in local languages and disseminated through staff of these centers. For instance the teachers should be involved in enlightenment campaigns through the pupils and students. The Church, as another powerful institution in information dissemination, should be involved in the public enlightenment campaigns, using the repackaged information. In the same vane, enlightenment campaigns should be organized in markets and village square, where it is very obvious that the rural dwellers would have time to listen.

Community Based Organisations (CBOs) – Community Based Organizations (CBOs) have been recognized as very useful in reaching out to the rural dwellers with useful information. They are vital in promoting healthy living and socio-economic development of rural areas. Among these organizations are the age-grades, social clubs, women groups, town unions, co-operative societies, youth movements, etc. Since these organizations are closer to the people, information professionals armed with the repackaged information should reach out to these groups. However, the language of the people should be used and rendered orally.

Women groups – Women form one of the most formidable groups anywhere in the world. Their opinions on important issues of public interest are respected; therefore, it is imperative that focusing enlightenment campaigns on them would generate positive results. Existing information on major, but important matters should be repackaged to suit them. In most parts of the world, women groups exist. In Nigeria, for instance, women in the South Eastern areas are noted for their ability to organize themselves in groups and unions. The idea is to advice the communities on crucial matters that may bother on security, social life, family and education. The annual gathering of these women together with the mass return of those in urban areas to their various communities for this very important meeting, popularly referred to as “August Meeting” is now an integral part of Nigeria’s social life. Information professionals could as well avail themselves of such opportunities in using such meetings as a means of informing and educating these rural women on issues of public interest. In most cases, this can be done through talk shows, film-shows, seminars, etc, in their native languages.

Community leaders – Rural development activities have been usually propelled through the community leaders. This group of people include political leaders, religious leaders, village heads, school heads and other people in the community that command high degree of respect and follower-ship. Community leaders form the bedrock of information in the rural areas. Being the light of the society, they are strategically placed in obtaining the right and timely information. They often serve as intermediary between the sources of information and the people. As enlightened members of the society they are often involved in repackaging the information obtained for the general public. Information professionals should therefore, exploit the roles of these leaders to get their subjects informed on various matters of public interest. The approach here is to organize meetings with this group and then use the forum to train them on how to use the repackaged information to pass important messages across.

Website Indexed in Days – How to Get Your Site Indexed in Just Days by All the Search Engines

Some people have trouble getting their site indexed quickly by the search engines. There are a number of easy ways to make sure that your website does get indexed and quickly.

What is indexing?

It is the adding of a website or web page to the index of a search engine like Google, Bing, Yahoo! or Ask. The index of these is the collection of web pages that they have crawled and can return in a search result.

Obviously if you want to show up in search results to get free traffic it is crucial that you get as much of your site indexed.

Hypothetically search engines are happy to index a website within seconds if they see it as very important. So the key to getting indexed is making your site seem more important. There are a number of ways to do this.

Build high Page Rank backlinks

Backlinks are links from one website to another. They are seen as a vote for a website. The more votes a web page has the more important it is. Unfortunately backlinks are not made equal the more Page Rank they carry the more important the vote is to the search engines. Here are a couple of easy link build techniques:

Article marketing

Writing and submitting articles to article directories is a great way to build inbound links. This is because all article distribution sites allow you to place links at the bottom of your article to your website.

Write an eBook

Writing an eBook and giving it away for free is a fantastic way to build a profile for yourself as an expert in your field as well as build high quality backlinks. You can place as many backlinks as you want within the text of the eBook and then all you have to do is to get other sites to host it and make it available to their users. There are a number of eBook directories for free eBooks.

Video marketing

Much like article marketing, video marketing is creating videos and submitting them to the numerous video directories like YouTube. You can place a hyperlink at the start of the description of the video.

There are a couple of other ways you can make your website so that it will be indexed in days

Site architecture is very important. In general a three tier system is preferred in particular for small to medium sized websites. This entails only having any of your pages within two clicks of a button i.e. you could go from your homepage, to a second category, to any page on your website. This is ideal for a search engine robot who wants to be able to navigate a site easily. Another important part of site architecture is internal linking which is linking from one page of your site to another. The search engine robot wants to find its way around your site by following links so oblige it by placing links within the text, as well as in images and navigational bars. The use of breadcrumbs is another great way to break your site into easily accessible categories.

Create an XML sitemap, this a sitemap that is only available to the search engine. You can create one on any number of free tools. It is basically a list of all the pages you want indexed on your site and their importance. You submit the sitemap to the search engine from their webmaster section and they will prioritise their robot’s visits to your site. It will go to the high priority pages first making them the most likely to be indexed.

Don’t worry too much about indexing if you have high quality content and a website that complies with the search engine’s guidelines you will have most of your site’s pages indexed and showing up in the natural search results.

Risk Free Real Estate Investing

There is no such thing as a risk free investment. But there are ways of investing that can reduce the risk well below what any investor would consider to be acceptable. Investing in National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) Real Estate is arguably the lowest risk real estate strategy available in Australia today.

Reduced Risk Profile

 

  • With rents at 20% below market value and a large pool of eligible tenants, investors can expect reduced vacancy risk.
  • With rents at 20% below market value and tenants qualifying income levels at up to $100,000 investors can be more selective in their choice of tenant.
  • Certainty of contributions from the Australian and State governments for a period of 10 years. Improved Rental Yields
  • The $9,140 annual National Rental Incentive for each rental dwelling, combined with the actual rent will improve rental yields over conventional residential investment properties.
  • The national Rental Incentive is income tax free, indexed to the rental component of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and is additional to existing taxation arrangements including depreciation.

Further Benefits

 

  • NRAS is a Government Subsidised Property Investment
  • Secured Income Stream (10 Years)
  • Potentially Cash Flow Positive Investment
  • $90,000 Plus Tax Credits Over 10 Years. These are tax credits, not to be confused with tax deductions. Tax credits are effectively cash in your pocket. If your tax liability is lees than the credit, the difference is paid to you tax free.

 

NRAS property investment can counterbalance the risk and volatility of equity markets and helps to provide a balanced portfolio. The location of the properties and the attractive rents mean a stable and reliable income stream regardless of economic fluctuations.

With more than 1.5 million households eligible to rent NRAS properties, the vacancy risk is negligible. Properties must meet strict criteria for location, available facilities including public transport, schools, shopping centres etc as well as a healthy balance of rentals to owner occupied residences. All of which means high demand from tenants and potentially strong capital growth.

Investors can pick any tenants for NRAS properties, as long as these tenants do not exceed a certain income threshold. Income levels for eligible NRAS tenants are generous and allow for tenant salary increases of 25 per cent above the entry income limit.

For example, a couple with three children, earning a gross income of $100,768 per annum, is eligible to rent an NRAS dwelling. With the income increase allowance of 25 per cent, this family could earn up to $125,960 for two years before they become ineligible to remain in an NRAS property.

So investing in a National Rental Affordability Scheme property means:

 

  • Better rental yields
  • High demand from tenants meaning more choice for owners
  • Negligible vacancy rates
  • Strong potential for capital gains

 

That may not be risk free, but it is possibly the closest thing to it.

5 Reasons to Purchase an Indexed Universal Life Insurance Policy

As a financial planner, I feel like Indexed Universal Life insurance is one of the most misunderstood and underutilized tools and asset classes in the market today. I believe that this is because of the newness of the product itself. Indexed Universal Life(IUL from here on out) has only been around for a little over 15 years. Because of this, most financial advisors don’t fully understand it. IUL’s came around after they received their education and set their practices. Thus, individuals aren’t learning from experts, but rather, they rely on media pundits for any information on these programs. In an effort to further educate you, and promote a wonderful product, I give 5 reasons to buy an IUL.

The first great reason to have an IUL in your retirement portfolio is the fact that these products provide minimum guarantees. Unlike placing your funds directly into the market, these funds are protected from the market. They earn interest in a unique way. Interest is credited based on the performance of a chosen index. Rather than being invested in the actual market, you merely receive a portion of the index return. Again, the worst-case scenario is that you earn 0% in a given year. You can never lose money due to market fluctuations. Each year that you do earn interest, that interest is locked in and becomes part of the principal amount guaranteed to not be at risk to the market. What a great way to plan for retirement. This system of guarantees also removes the risk of retiring at the wrong time, when your account value is low due to market losses. It also prevents catastrophic damage to your retirement due to losses in the early years of your retirement.

In addition to the downside protection, these products can perform very well; often times outperforming the market returns seen in a typical investment portfolio. So you don’t have to give up a good return to find a safe haven for your retirement nest egg.

The second great reason for purchasing an IUL is the tax-free death benefit.

Life insurance is often used as a tool in estate planning. It is treated favorably by the IRS tax codes. Often, the funds coming from a death benefit from a life insurance policy are passed on to beneficiaries income tax free. Indexed Universal Life is no different. It becomes a wonderful tool to pass on assets tax free. Unlike other retirement options, such as a 401k, the assets held in an IUL pass on without taxes and give you immediate access to the funds, unlike assets held in real estate. It is also very typical, due to the death benefit common in all life insurance policies, that the death benefit will exceed the accumulation value of the account, meaning you not only leave more to your beneficiaries by paying less in taxes, but also because of the higher death benefit.

The third great reason for looking at an IUL is for the incredible supplemental retirement income that can be generated from it. What if you could put an unlimited amount of money into a Roth IRA, pay taxes on the principal now and have an income generated, tax free, for your retirement, and you could even access it early if you wanted? That would be an incredible deal, right? Well, it exists. It’s called an IUL. You can create a tax-free income through these IUL’s without having to worry about the timing of the market. Rather than rolling the dice of where the tax brackets fall out over your lifetime, why not draw at least part of your income through a program that allows you to fund it limitlessly, and not have to worry about paying taxes on the gains?

This is achieved through policy loans. It’s a new concept, but hear me out. Through a policy loan, you are able to draw out an income from your IUL tax free. Everyone always asks me “what if tax laws change?” Valid question. In theory, it is possible that the laws change and these funds do become taxable, but that would be odd. The government doesn’t tax our loans, only the asset by which the loan is guaranteed. Think for example of your car loan… you pay a property tax on that auto, but you don’t have to treat the loan from the bank that you used as income because it wasn’t income, you have to pay it back. These policy loans function the same way.

Diversification is the fourth reason to purchase an IUL. Since the bulk of your retirement funds are probably in taxed deferred savings accounts, like traditional IRA’s and 401k’s, IUL’s can provide a diversification, not only in asset class, but also in the tax treatment of the account. We typically believe in diversification and have been taught that since our high school years, yet we all have our retirement in the same types of vehicles. All are tax-deferred time bombs with minimum distribution ages and minimum distribution requirements or maximum contribution amounts controlled by the government and current economics in the USA. We are all typically in a blend of stocks and bonds, crossing our fingers that when that day comes to retire, we are up, not down. Hopefully we’ve picked well, though we be uneducated as can be, and yet we bank on this as our retirement program and a whole industry has built itself around it. Amazing that we’ve heard this same concept preached for over 2 decades and we’re still drinking the kool-aide. I’m not going to tell you to not drink, just try a different flavor for a minute. It should be noted that when taxes go up, and they inevitably will, you will pay taxes on those funds that are in taxed deferred accounts. This can hurt the value of the dollars you have saved in those accounts. There is also a little thing called an RMD. Required Minimum Distributions are what the federal government requires us to withdraw from our retirement accounts, based on our age, as a percentage of our account balance. There is always the possibility of these percentages increasing so the taxes can be collected on these funds. This could also cause you to withdraw funds you don’t need. An IUL gives you a great hedge against these potential tax issues.

Finally, the fifth reason to purchase an IUL is because they allow you to work towards becoming your own banker. Have you ever found it odd that you borrow money from a bank even though you have money in the bank? I have. Most IUL’s have loan provisions allowing you to borrow from and pay back your life insurance. The nice thing is, by doing this, you pay yourself the interest rather than the bank. You continue to have a retirement fund that is growing and you aren’t losing years’ worth of interest to the bank. Think of all the interest you have paid for credit cards, auto loans, your mortgage, etc. You can borrow yourself the money instead and you don’t have to worry about the approval process at the bank. Many business owners feel that term insurance is the only type of life insurance for them because they don’t want to tie up their money. This is a false assumption. The funds “tied up” in life insurance are not locked up, but rather, provide more access to funds than most investment opportunities. The funds can be borrowed and replaced with relative ease, making it a wonderful program for creating your own personal banking system.

One final little bonus is that your IUL is permanent insurance, as long as it is built correctly and you fund it properly. You’ll likely have lifetime coverage, even after stopping your premium payments and taking withdrawals. Long after your term insurance is gone, you’ll still have a death benefit to leave those you love.

For these reasons, along with many others, indexed universal life insurance is a great way to help fund your retirement. It is not perfect for all situations, and it is always wise to consult your advisor before purchasing any retirement funding program. That being said, there are five reasons you should give your advisor a call and find out if an IUL is right for you.