IS YOUR ECONOMY MATCHING THE NATION’S?

#economy #YourEconomy #jobs #raises
OK. The numbers show a booming economy.
Corporate profits are up. The unemployment rate is at a historic low.
So, how are you doing – financially, that is?
Arizona Republic columnist Russ Wiles poses that question in a column for USA Today. It was also published July 1, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
If you don’t find yourself in a booming financial situation now, here’s what Wiles suggests: find a better, steadier job, while the unemployment rate is so low; He admits, however, that a lot of jobs pay poorly or feature irregular work hours.
He also suggests getting financial help from someone outside your household – hey kids, ask mom and dad or supplement your income with a part-time job in your off hours.
He even suggests the bold move of asking your boss for a raise. Wiles says the employee may be in the driver’s seat in this economy. We’ve all been told, perhaps, that it never hurts to ask. After all, the answer is always NO if you don’t ask. As a practical matter, however, most request for raises generally receive a NO, perhaps in a more graceful manner.
Let’s look at this problem from the employer’s perspective. The general rule of thumb is to pay people as little as you can get away with. However, if you have good, dependable people working for you, it may improve your bottom line – and cut down on work you have to do yourself – to INVEST in those people.
It’s not just in raises, though they indeed may be necessary. You want to make sure that if you know of some particular hardships that a good employee is enduring at home, that you help relieve some of that stress as best you can. Recently, an Alabama worker just hired by a moving company walked 20 miles, hitching rides along the way, to make sure he showed up for his first day of work.
The employee’s car had broken down and he had no other way to get to work. The boss, realizing how difficult it is to buy that kind of dedication, gave the young man a car.
That CEO should make sure he has a decent career ladder crafted for that employee, so that he never leaves.
Of course, at the same time, we read about employers dealing with workers who don’t show up for interviews, or, worse, are hired and don’t show up for their first day of work. Or, they abruptly leave a job without giving the employer any notice.
Reports indicate that during the recession, people would apply for or be interviewed for jobs, and the employers never get back to them. This may be in retaliation for that.
If you follow Wiles’ suggestion and consider getting a second, part-time job to boost your finances, consider a thought outside the box. There are many ways out there to pick up some extra money – perhaps eventually enough to quit a lousy job you hate, that doesn’t pay you enough – that do not involve a second, traditional job. To check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
In short, these are supposed to be among the best of times for workers. However, many jobs involve hard work and low pay – or at least lower pay than many deserve. Companies have to keep their costs down to compete. The employers have to make money. No one wants to work for someone forced to go out of business.
It’s up to employers and employees to learn more about each other’s circumstances. There’s really no good reason for people not make good wages, while companies make decent profits. It does workers little good to keep changing jobs, and it does employers no good to have to be constantly rehiring.
Everyone – employers and employees – wants options. If everyone treats everyone fairly, there’s no telling what great options everyone will have.
Peter

MIDLIFE: A NEW ERA

#midlife #MidlifeCrisis #MiddleAge #MidlifeRelaunch
Midlife, generally defined starting at age 40 to about, say, age 60, has always been a time of change.
Some, particularly men, tend to long for their youth, when their bodies and minds were fit and nimble. They tend to look for love and respect – at home, at work or both – and don’t always get it. So, they may venture out of their regular lives and make impulse purchases or, worse, mistakes.
Others may see it as the best part of their careers. For example, a lawyer who may have spent his entire career since law school in the same firm, may look to become a full partner. He goes from doing the legal grunt work for others, to schmoozing and recruiting clients.
But, alas, midlife is changing in modern times. Companies see older workers as more expensive than younger ones. They may have a good deal of seniority, higher salaries, more vacation time etc. There’s also an attitude of older workers not being as comfortable with rapid change as younger ones.
Jonathan Rauch addressed this issue in a story for The Washington Post. It was also published April 22, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“If you wanted to design a society that exacerbated midlife misery and squandered the potential of later adulthood, you might deliver education in a single lump during the first two decades of life, load work into the middle decades and the herd healthy, happy and highly skilled older adults into idleness. In other words, you would do more or less what we have been doing for the past century or so,” Rauch writes.
That model, he writes, made some sense when people mostly needed a high school diploma, held one kind of job for life and died around 65. “But it offers nothing by way of guidance and support for the kind of midlife relaunch that today’s Americans increasingly demand, and that today’s America increasingly needs,” he writes.
It really hard to jump out of the lives we’d carved for ourselves by our 40s, he writes.
“How can I reinvent my life while meeting responsibilities and making ends meet? What are the options and how can I sort through them all? Those questions and many more clobber anyone who contemplates a midlife relaunch,” Rauch writes.
Midlifers need employers who want to hire and/or retain them, who find them not only useful, but valuable. They need employers who will hire workers who not only want some flexibility in their lives, but also can apply old skills to new ventures, the article points out.
If you are hitting midlife today, it’s a scary place. If you are still working at a job you like, or are using the skills you were trained for, you are indeed fortunate. However, beware. Companies today reorganize frequently, and without warning to employees. Younger managers are coming in, and may not view you in the same way as they view others in his cohort.
If you’ve been pushed out of your good job for one reason or another, and are not mentally, psychologically or financially ready to retire, you may have to think outside the box on what to do next.
Perhaps, instead of taking a job that pays much less than your old one, and underutilizes your skill, you can find a new way to earn an income without having the obligations, headaches and fear of what’s next that a conventional job creates.
There are many such vehicles out there, if you are willing to look for them. To check out one of the best, message me.
If you are middle aged and at a crossroads in your life, try to first see all the good that is in your life. Then, give some thought about what to do next.
If you are younger, say, in your 20s or 30s, you don’t know what middle age will bring. You, too, should start to consider what YOU will do if, or when, your good job – and potentially your career – suddenly goes away. You don’t know when or whether that will come, but it’s best to prepare for it.
Hard work and achievement can get you a long way. But it may not save you when that next reorganization, or bad manager, comes into your life.
Peter

HOW TO DEAL WITH TOO MUCH MONTH AT THE END OF THE MONEY

#spending #saving #overspending #TrappedByLifestyle
“People … make $250,000, $500,000 a year and they don’t know where their money is going,” says financial adviser Lori Atwood.
How can this be?
Thomas Heath spoke to Atwood, and wrote an article for The Washington Post. It was also published in the April, 9, 2018, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“How does a family drop $500 in one month at McDonald’s?” Heath asks. “When you have a husband and wife with high-powered jobs working 10 or 12 hours a day, who feels like cooking?” Heath writes.
Atwood, Heath writes, calls the phenomenon, “trapped by the lifestyle.”
Yes, people making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year – working, working, working – yet have no savings. “It’s true, but ridiculous, “: Heath quotes Atwood, founder of Fearless Finance financial software.
Speaking about folks who live in Northwest Washington, D.C., Heath quotes Atwood as saying many people have “over-housing. They don’t have to have the house they own,” she’s quoted as saying.
Over-housing, she says, is a savings killer, along with child care expenses, private school tuition, student loan payments etc.
“People say getting rid of x,y,z is not an option,” Heath quotes Atwood. “Groceries, electricity and heat are not options. Anything else is on the table.”
Does this sound familiar to you? Is your lifestyle killing your future? Are you living well above, instead of below, your means?
If so, you can do something about it. As Atwood suggests in the article, you can start by moving to more affordable, yet adequate, housing. There are plenty of places you can live in which the schools are perfectly fine, the neighborhood is safe and it’s relatively easy to get back and forth to work.
Lifestyle entrapment also generally leads to being time-broke. If you’re working that hard to make a good living, chances are you are missing out on some things you should be a part of, or present for, i.e. some of your children’s accomplishments.
No one should advocate that a parent should be around for EVERY activity for a child, but you should understand the difference between the important ones, and the lesser ones – the ones you can really skip if something important occurs in your job.
If you find yourself trapped in a certain lifestyle, as Atwood points out in the article, find out where your money is going, what is necessary spending and what is not, and prioritize.
If all this not only makes you financially broke, but time-broke as well, there are many vehicles out there that will let you, by spending a few non-working hours a week, augment your income. There’s even one that will allow you to find ways to spend less on essentials, as well as non-essentials. To learn more about that, message me.
The article illustrates that it isn’t just poor people who are broke. Others who are making good money are making poor decisions on how they spend it. They don’t realize they are, essentially, mortgaging their futures to have certain things now.
Certainly, there is nothing wrong with working hard, making good money, giving your kids perhaps something you didn’t have as a kid, etc. Just understand that the future will not take care of itself. You have to plan for your own future.
Besides, wouldn’t you like to have something to show for all your hard work, long after you stop working?
Peter

NOT BUYING LUNCH CAN CREATE $90,000

#LunchMoney #savings #retirement
On average, Americans eat out lunch twice a week.
It could be more than that, if you buy your lunch at work every day.
The average American forks over $11.14 twice a week for lunch, according to a Visa survey.
If a person skipped that meal – or made or brought his own lunch – and redirected that money into an investment account earning 6 percent, he’d have an estimated nest egg of $88,500 30 years later.
These numbers were quoted in an article by Adam Shell for USA Today, also published in the June 8, 2017, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
OK, sometimes dining out for any meal is a nice treat. And, one does not want to live a life of deprivation.
But if you are having trouble saving for retirement, or you believe you don’t have the money to do so, perhaps one can find the money in places he never thought to look.
As a child, if your parents gave you an allowance, it usually was meant to teach you how to make the most of your money.
If you got a weekly allowance, did your spending habits cause you to run out of money before your next allowance installment?
Ask the same thing, now that you are an adult, about your paycheck. Are you accustomed to cashing the check and spending the money until you run out? Put another way, how much of your money do you spend without first giving it a thought?
Some people are well off in retirement because they had a great job, with great benefits and a great pension plan or 401(k). Others have a nice retirement because, from the beginning of adulthood, they earned a paycheck, and knew where every cent was going. These folks also made sure that a certain percentage went into savings.
Once they saved enough money, perhaps they parlayed it into a house, which, for them, was probably a good investment. As they kept saving, they then began to invest in other things so that, when they reached retirement, they didn’t have to worry how they were going to live.
The younger you start this process, the more you will have when you get older.
So, let’s pose the question again: is skipping a couple of lunches out every week worth close to $90,000? Some might say that $90,000 won’t go far in retirement, which is true. But eating lunch at home, or bringing your own lunch to work, is just one way to build a bigger nest egg, even if your job is hardly lucrative.
Another way is to use some of your non-work time to find, and work on, other great ways to make extra money. There are many such vehicles out there that don’t involve taking a second job. To check out one of the best, message me. Perhaps you will also find other ways to save money, besides not buying lunch.
So, it is possible to have a nice retirement, even though your income is hardly a rich person’s tally. You may have to do without some things that give you a moment of pleasure. Naturally, don’t cut ALL fun out of your life, but just take great care in your spending habits. Perhaps you could not only bring your own homemade lunch to work, you could brew and Thermos your own coffee.
Then, you have to be disciplined enough to put that money into safe savings at the start. As your nest egg grows, you can graduate into investing, without being overly aggressive at first. Then, as the money grows you can parlay it into more diversified investing – all with the help of a trusted adviser.
So, to borrow from Stephen Sondheim, here’s to the ladies (and gentlemen) who lunch – without spending $11 a pop.
Peter