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Immigrants and culture change

CULTURE CHANGE – SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR IMMIGRANTS

Immigrants come to Canada from many countries around the world. They leave behind lives they have known and start new lives. For a majority of immigrants, coming to Canada means adapting to a new way of life.

Culture: There are cultural differences between societies and countries. It is often difficult to change anything that one has learnt and known over time. Changing culture is no different. In fact the phrase “culture shock” is often used to refer to the impact of culture change on immigrants. So how does one adapt to the new culture? Here are some suggestions:

  1.  Observe: Pay attention to what goes on within your immediate community and across the country. Most of Canada experiences four weather seasons and there is plenty to learn by observing what activities go on in each season.
  2.  Use a television: Almost all homes in Canada have televisions. Buy a television and a cd/video player and use them as a learning tools. You will learn a lot by watching some public broadcast television shows.
  3. Library: Visit a local library and become a member. Membership is free and you can learn a lot at the library. You can also borrow some material to use at home.
  4. Community events: Many communities have events that are open to the public and are often free. Make an effort to attend these events in order to learn what takes place in the country.
  5. Participate: You are now in a country that provides everyone some fundamental freedoms.
    • (a) freedom of conscience and religion;
    • (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
    • (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
    • (d) freedom of association.

    Whereas moving to a new country and immediately adapting to a new culture is challenging, it is not impossible. You can get the shock out  and adapt to the culture. Enjoy your new home.

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How to collect overdue bills and retain your customers- 11 tips

Businesses sell goods and services to customers everyday and in many cases expect payment at a later time. In order to remain in business, it is important that you get payment on time based on your contracts with customers. Failure to get payment and on time can mean the difference between staying in business and getting out of business.

This is where a bill collector comes in handy. The collector’s job is to recover unpaid bills and preferably retain customers.

The best collector will always get paid before other collectors. The best collector will also often retain customers.

Here are 11 tips to to help you sharpen your collection skills, get paid and grow your business.

  1. Always smile: Many collection phone calls can be difficult. When making a collection call, smile and visualize the call conversation from start to end. This will help you assess the entire conversation and increase the likelihood of getting paid.
  2. Calling time: Are you making the call at the right time? If not, set up a good time to call back.
  3. Be courteous: Remain calm and courteous during the entire call.
  4. Ask questions: This will help you find out what might have caused non payment, so you can empathize, offer suggestions and payment options.
  5. Listen: You will find out plenty if you listen patiently, attentively and actively. If you are not a good listener, it will take a conscious effort over time, to practice and perfect this skill.
  6. Don’t interrupt: Unless you notice repetition, avoidance, rudeness, insults etc., always avoid interrupting.
  7. Stay positive: Start the call well and end on a positive note. Recap the payment arrangements you have made including dates, method of payment and amounts.
  8. Be professional: Watch what responses you provide and how you respond. Ensure that you use clear tone of voice, good speed/rate of speech, have clear pronunciation, are loud enough but don’t shout.
  9. Don’t get hooked: Stay focused on the reason for the call. Avoid getting dragged into unproductive side issues and  arguments. Sense any of this and steer yourself back to the objective at hand. Redirect the customer in cases of ranting and verbal abuse. To regain control of a conversation that is not going well, you can place the customer on hold for a minute or so. Silence will let you regain your calm and might change the customer’s attitude. In many cases customers will apologize for inappropriate attitude when the call resumes.
  10. Make notes: During the conversation, make accurate notes. This will help you paraphrase the customer’s statements during the call and also recap facts at the end of the call.
  11. Collect: Always keep in mind the purpose of your call is to collect the unpaid bill(s) and retain the customer. In the end your call is successful when the debtor pays and stays with your business. That is what you want. A win win outcome. Happy collecting!
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Good Credit – Why you need it

Good credit is good for you.Unlike countries where most of the citizens need cash to buy things such as cars and household furnishings, good credit is very important if you live in countries where goods and services can be acquired on credit. It means you can borrow, enjoy now and pay later. In Canada and the United States of America having good credit is like having another wallet that you can access whether or not you have the cash to buy goods or services. Just like governments or companies endeavour to maintain good credit, individuals can benefit greatly from having good credit. This article will briefly cover the importance of good credit to you as an individual.

  • ACQUIRE ASSETS: With good credit you can qualify for a mortgage worth hundreds and thousands of dollars or even millions. You can also buy expensive vehicles and furnish your house as you wish. All this can be done when lenders check your credit report and like it. What will follow based on their faith in your credit report is simply for you to sign several papers and the assets become yours. If your credit checks out as excellent, you will likely borrow the money at a very low interest rate. Just like that, you now have the things you could have worked many years to acquire,  had you needed to pay in cash.
  • LOW BORROWING RATES: With good credit, you will be able to borrow at low interest rates. This means that you are using other people’s money and not paying too much in interest for it. High interest rates can eat away at the money you should be keeping in your pocket. Some people borrow to invest. This gives them the potential to make more money using borrowed money. If all goes well with the investment, they repay the lender the principal loan plus interest ands keep the profits from the investment. Therefore it is very important to ensure that you minimize the amount of interest you pay back (cost of borrowing).
  • EMPLOYMENT: Whether you are looking for work or not, it is important to be aware of your credit score. Many employers check your credit before hiring you. Needless to say, if you have bad credit, you reduce your chances of being hired over someone who has the same qualifications, depending on the type of job.
  • CREDIT CARDS: Many North American’s shop with credit cards. Credit card companies always approve and issue cards at different interest rates. The better your credit, the lower your interest rate and hence the more money you keep in your pocket.
  • CREDIT CARD LIMITS: A credit limit is how much a lender is willing to allow you to spend on a credit card. Usually, the newer your credit record, the lower the credit limit. For example if you are a student with a small or no source of income, lenders may be willing to risk a credit limit of say $1,000. If you continue to use your credit card and make payments on time, the lender can approve a higher limit, therefore giving you the ability to spend more.

In Canada, the two consumer credit reporting agencies are Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada. Once a year, you can get a free credit report sent to you by mail from either of these companies.  The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada(FCAC) protects and provides financial information to consumers. This is a good place to find plenty of information about consumer credit in Canada.

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT:

  • Pay your bills on time – Paying late, missing payments or letting some accounts get to a collection agency can hurt your credit. Therefore it is important that you keep proper records of what credit you have and when the different payments are due.
  • Use it if you have it– Getting a credit card and fearing to use it often will hurt your credit. You are better off making sure you pay off in full whatever you charge on the credit card as soon as possible preferably within whatever grave period is  allowed.
  • Keep credit for a while – This allows lenders to look at your record over time. If they don’t have a long history to look at you come out as new and high risk.
  • Don’t frequently apply for credit– The more inquiries you have on your report the lower your score will be.
  • Mix it up – Don’t just get store credit cards or one type of credit product. Your ability to properly manage different types credit will improve your credit report.

In conclusion, you need to be aware of the health of your credit report and if it is not good, work on improving it. Some companies and governments have become wealthy by wisely managing and using large amounts of credit. The opposite is true of others that have failed to meet their debt obligations and gone bankrupt. There is alway the risk of poor management and coming accross conditions beyond ones control.

In my opinion, you should assess your needs, get some credit and manage it wisely. Depending on how well you do this and if no major unforeseeable circumstances drop in,  you can become wealthy.

 

 

 

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Climate Change/Weather Change?

There is a huge debate that is happening about climate and weather changes on planet Earth. There are numerous theories and facts. To make sense of it all, one will have to absorb and digest so much information and still come out uncertain. Whether you are a skeptic or believer, it is worth paying attention to what is taking place around you.

Here in southern Ontario, I have personally noticed a warmer than usual winter this year. This is welcome news to me as I love warm weather. My observation reveals that the weather is not the same as always. There must be some change taking place. To those you who love warm weather, please join me for a toast. To more warm weather…Cheers!

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Some Canadians don’t welcome Immigrants

Not every Canadian welcomes immigrants with open hands and cheer. There are many documented cases where some Canadians have made several statements including that:

  • Immigrants are here to take their jobs
  • Are here to change the Canadian culture and way of life
  • Immigrants exploit the welfare system
  • Government should not spend money on immigrant resettlement

To these Canadians, I suggest that they look deeper into their statements and seek facts about immigrants. Keep in mind that you are human and if this ever happened to you, it would be great that other human beings welcomed you. To the immigrants, I suggest you don’t get confrontational, steer clear of such utterances and stay focused. I suggest you work hard at whatever you are gifted at and love others like you love yourself. With time you will be rewarded and you will live a peaceful happy life.

 

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Immigrants – Some challenges in Canada

There are many reasons why people leave their countries of birth and  start life in different countries. Recently, Canada welcomed many immigrants from Syria who were forced out of their country. As I write this, as many as 10,000 immigrants have already set foot in Canada and are now settling into new homes and starting new lives. Some will call Toronto home and others will settle in other parts of the country.

Starting life in a new country is full of challenges. I have lived in three countries and here are three of the many the challenges  I encountered and ones I think new immigrants will likely encounter in Canada.

  • LANGUAGE: – Many immigrants who come to Canada already know English, French or both languages. Knowing either of these languages simplifies communication with more people and allows for faster adjustment. There may still be challenges communicating in either language due to  differences in accents.  There are also many cases where immigrants don’t know English or French and have to start out by learning the language. This is one of the biggest challenges that must be overcome by immigrants coming to Canada. Being a multi cultural country, there are some exceptions to leaning language.
  • CULTURE:-Immigrants have to learn a new culture. This often requires one to be open minded, willing to learn and adapt.  However many people don’t easily accept change or are unwilling to adapt. In such cases, the experience of living in Canada can be very stressful and full of regret. Culture change  is another of the challenges that immigrants must face.
  • WEATHER:- Canada experiences many weather conditions marked by four seasons namely winter, spring, summer and fall. Winter weather is often very cold and summer can be very hot. Depending on where  immigrants come from, Canadian weather conditions can be very challenging and not easy to  get used to.

Overall, Canada is a safe and good country to live in. Here are some suggestions to overcoming challenges.

  1. Keep an open mind, be willing to learn and love the country that has welcomed you.
  2. Get along with people and adapt to the new culture.
  3. Find an activity to keep you busy through all the weather changes for example learn how to skate or ski. Winter can be fun!

 

 

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Pray for Migrants

News about migrants in Europe and other parts of the world is not good. Leaving ones country involuntarily is not good. Many people in Canada are immigrants and many did not come here by choice. If you have migrated in your life you will know this first hand.

Say a prayer for all migrants around the world. May they have faith and hope. May they endure what has come upon them with strength and courage. Back your prayers by finding a way to help them financially. You will feel good about it!

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Imagine Financial Freedom

Imagine being financially free. You will not have to think about where your next dollar will come from. You will not have to worry about how expensive things are. You will be able to do whatever you want, and go wherever you want and spend freely. You will be able to complete dream projects without worrying about the cost. You will be able to share some of your wealth with those that are less fortunate. Some people have such financial freedom and are doing as much as they can to help others less fortunate.

Challenge: If you ever found such financial freedom, consider sharing some of it with others. But hold on, don’t wait until you become very rich to share. You might wait all your life and never see great wealth.

How about sharing what you already have even if you are struggling. Many people who give and share whatever they have are discovering the satisfaction and peace  resulting from giving.

Message: Give now and don’t worry much about it. The next time you drive up to a begging hand at a corner, give a coin and don’t worry how it is spent.  Amazingly the more you give, the more comes your way. Happy giving!

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Dream of Peace

I dream of a day when all of humanity will get along. That will never happen you say. Well there was a time we thought South Africa would never see a time without a racist government. I am lucky to live and see that it is not true anymore. It was a struggle to get it all working but thanks to dreamers and fighters who never quit,  life changed and continues to improve.

You should dream and never quit. It may not happen in your lifetime but all humans will live in peace one day, without war and hatred.

How about that for a dream? What is your dream?

 

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Elections

Voter Turnout

 

Canadian Federal Party politicians are out campaigning again and citizens will soon be voting to elect a Prime Minister and members of parliament. One worrying fact that is based on statistics is that many people will not vote. In the most recent Federal election, 61.4% turned out to vote How about the rest?

  • Would results be different if all eligible voters exercised this right?
  • Would you consider the convenience of voting online? The time and technology is certainly here and now.
  • Should voting be made mandatory like payment of taxes?

After the election, whether you voted or not, leaders will make decisions that affect you. Decisions such as to how your tax dollars are spent will impact you and family.  This is another call to you to get out and vote and be part of the process. You will feel good that you were part of the decision whatever the outcome. After all there will only be one person elected as Prime Minister.  So don’t worry if your choice is not elected. You will have to work with the majority to shape this country, just like all the unsuccessful people.

Every vote matters including yours. So get out and vote.

AFTER THE VOTE

Canadians voted in record numbers and the outcome was a majority Liberal government with a new Prime Minister. Thanks for exercising your right. Now the real work begins and it must include all who won and lost. In order to get things moving properly, it is important that all parties come together, forget about continuing with political division and work for the common good of the country. I plan to watch how all this works out. If done properly we shall see great growth in this great country. Stay tuned.