Archive for Finance – Page 2

Who is Responsible to Provide Basic Needs of Americans?

There are some people who believe that the government is responsible to provide basic needs of Americans.  Others believe that each individual is responsible for providing basic needs for themselves and their own family.  Which are you?

Who Provides Basic Needs

Don’t know about you, but I am responsible to provide for myself and my family

To Provide Light not Heat

Let me say up front that the intent of all my posts are to bring light, not heat.  By that I mean I want to share information not inflame emotion.  I know that many people are emotionally charged by the topic of government assistance.  It is a hotly debated political topic that divides our government along party lines.

The topic of government handouts is a sensitive one because no one wants to see suffering, and various political groups see solutions differently.  I am not taking any side about whether we should or should not provide for the less fortunate.  My hope is for you to find a better solution for yourself than being dependent on anyone else.  Your freedom is what I am writing about here.  I believe that you will have greater freedom if you shoulder the responsibility for providing for yourself and your own family.

If you feel like you are dependent on someone else or the government to help you make ends meet, I know how you feel.  I felt the same way.  There was a period of my life where I was dependent on government assistance to feed my kids.

How I Ended up on Government Assistance

Having been on the receiving end of government assistance in the form of WIC, I can assure you that being free from that lifestyle is a blessing.  I much prefer being able to provide for my own family.  There is no satisfaction in receiving handouts.  WIC is state assistance to help cover the cost of foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.  For more facts on WIC, see the USDA site The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

So, how did I end up getting government assistance and how did I get off it? Read More →

5 Better Solutions Than A More Competitive Minimum Wage

An increased minimum wage supported by the White House is the subject of an ongoing national debate.  The minimum wage should be going up in most states over the next few years whether a new national minimum is established or not.  Earning competitive pay is part of the American Dream.  Wouldn’t it be great if the national minimum wage was higher?  Not necessarily; there are better solutions.  I will discuss a few of them in this post.

Why Would an Increased Minimum Wage Not Be the best Solution?

Unless you plan to exist on minimum wage for many years, an increase in the minimum wage would be a negative factor for you.  If the minimum wage increased as your experience increased, then you will continue to earn the minimum for a longer period of time.  You should only work for minimum wage for a short period of time at the entry level.  Furthermore, minimum wage earners will continue to be the lowest paid employees even after a minimum wage increase.  Although they are making more money, the buying power of minimum wage earners will remain what it was due to price increases to cover the additional cost of these wages.  Wear as, if you get an individual raise and minimum wage stays constant, you will have more buying power.

1. Get a Pay Raise

If after three to six months of working at minimum wage, a higher wage has not been offered for the work you are doing, then consider changing something in your situation.  It is not normal to be at a fixed income at the entry level.  This would be a good time to evaluate what you could be doing differently to receive a higher wage.

You should only work for minimum wage for a few initial months until you prove your worth and start getting better wages for the position or identify a higher paying position to move into.  The employer has at that point, invested in you as a new employee.  There might be uniform expenses he has paid as well as training and on-boarding expenses.  Once he has recouped these expenses, you are now more valuable as compared to replacing you.  If he does not compensate you better than minimum, you could take your new experience and training to a different employer that would be willing to pay more.  The three to six-month time frame is the time to start investigating which track to take.  Either approach the employer and seek a raise or start the hunt for your next position.

2. Move Into a Higher Paying Position

Being promoted to a better paying position has the added benefit of more responsibility and more job satisfaction.  Moving up the rungs of the corporate ladder instills a feeling of dignity.  It is surprising how many people resist the opportunity for more responsibility.  They assess the benefits of having responsibility are outweighed by its liabilities.  That is shocking to me as I have always pursued the opportunity to take on more responsibility.  From my experience, I can tell you that the rewards by far outweigh the liabilities!

From the day you start a new position, you will want to continually seek the next higher job.  Work toward mastering the current position as well as skills of the next higher rank.  Set measurable goals that will get you into that higher paying position.  There should be a period of time that you perform at the next higher position before you reap the rewards of it.  You will want to prove your worth before expecting the employer to promote you for a short period of time. Read More →

Is The College Education Route Best For You?

Are you a high school student who has been thinking that perhaps you were not meant to go to college?  Maybe you are right and College is not the best choice for you.  College was certainly not the route I took right out of high school.   Maybe you are feeling pressure from teachers, parents, relatives and fellow students to go to College.  Let’s explore the pros and cons of going to college vs not going, and look at some options that might be a better match for you in your particular situation.

The Big Decision – College or Wait

This post is not intended to talk you out of going to college, nor is it intended to talk you into going.  The intent is to help you as you make one of the most significant decisions you will have made up to this point.

In my case, I did eventually get a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree and ultimately a Masters’ of Science (MS) degree.  But that is a long way from where I started out.  Early in my senior year in high school, I enlisted in the US Navy; October 28 to be precise.  My GPA in high school was not very high.  In fact, I often joke that I was a high school push-out.  My French teacher made me promise not to take another level of French before she gave me the passing grade I needed to graduate.  She said that if I didn’t promise, she would not give me the passing grade.The Big Decision - Go to College or Wait Click To Tweet

The decision as to what to do after high school graduation can be daunting!  What will happen if you don’t make the right decision?  Like, what if you go to college, but it is not right for you? What will be the worst case scenario?  Failing out and returning home? Disappointing parents and grandparents? No one wants to let our parents down.  What if you don’t go to school?  What will you be labeled by your family and friends?

Before you make the decision to go to college or take another route, let’s examine the options and make sure you are equipped with knowledge to make the best choice for you.

What are the Options besides College

Read More →

How to Replace Consumerism with Proven Wealth Building Strategies

Devoid of wealth building strategies, almost one-half of all Americans do not have $400 to their name.  This statistic includes people from all income brackets.  No matter how much money people make, it seems they just can’t manage to hold on to it.  Here’s the test – if you had an unexpected expense of $400 pop up right now, how would it impact you?  Could you pay it with cash or check?  Would it impact your ability to pay other current obligations? Or would you have to borrow the money, use a credit card or sell something?

American’s have been consumed with consumerism for the past few decades.  As credit became easier and easier to obtain, Americans began to rely on credit as a safety net rather than build up their savings as a safety net.  They also use credit to obtain more material possessions.  So credit has replaced savings as a means to purchase and protect possessions.

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the government encouraged Americans to continue spending as before to prove that our economy would not be affected by the attacks.  That encouragement would have been good advice if the status quo before the attacks was to earn and save money before spending it.  Since using credit to purchase everything was becoming the status quo, this advice was feeding the vice of consumerism.

The impact of continuing the rise of consumerism will result in an unhealthy financial state.  It is time to reverse the trend.  Americans need to learn to replace Consumerism with wealth building practices.  That begins with becoming financially literate.

Financial Literacy

A majority of Americans have become financially illiterate.  Despite the fact that we now have access to more information about how money works, we do not partake of that knowledge.  This financial ignorance has led to financial distress in many households.  There is a tendency to spend a little more than we make, no matter how much we make.  Earning more enables you to borrow more and so many people do just that.  Rather than learn and leverage financial principles, people have begun to live for today and wind up dealing with the consequences when it catches up with them.  Some do things like use credit cards for daily purchases, losing track of their spending and then when the bill comes, they don’t pay the balance in full.  An understanding of the principles of compounding interest and avoiding that expense would save many people thousands of dollars every year. Read More →