Are Working Women Choosing the Wrong Guys?


Traditionally women sought out guys to marry who showed that they could earn money and provide for a comfortable lifestyle.  Looks and personality were also factors, and certainly some women married guys with few prospects to provide an income out of love, but the ability to earn a living was always important. At one point in history this was probably the guy who could hunt and build a cabin, or who had land and could raise crops and animals, but with time it morphed into the guy who could earn a six-figure salary.  The guy with the nice car, nice clothes, and nice watch was the one who got the girl.  Guys would buy the meals and pay for everything on dates, give gifts, and even give an expensive diamond ring when proposing in part as a way to show the ability to provide.

For many guys, attractiveness, both physical and inner beauty, were important factors when looking for a wife.  Finding someone who was fun to talk to and nice to be around, and someone who was caring and nurturing, could also be important factors.  Few guys really cared about a woman’s ability to pay for things because they had always assumed that they would be earning money for the family.  Many guys might even feel intimidated if a woman earned more than them and was the primary breadwinner, and therefore not even seriously consider a woman who was more successful.  Likewise, many women would not respect a man who earned less than them.

Gender roles are all changing, however, with many women are choosing to primarily focus on a career.  Women are moving into top roles at companies and gaining parity with men in many fields.  There are even more women attending college then men in the US, so it only makes sense that many women are moving into the position of primary breadwinner.

Given this shift, one would expect more men to be taking the role of caring for and training the children, along with managing the household since it would make more sense for the wife to work.  Given this trend, you would therefore expect women to start seeking men who would be better at raising children.   You would expect them to be looking for men with qualities such as patience, concern, devotion, communication, an ability for multi-tasking, and selflessness instead of seeking the type-A personality with little patience who is quick to anger.

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And yet it seems as though men’s role has rarely changed, so we have ended up with scenarios in which both parents work and where both are heavily focused on their careers.  This can result in some high household incomes, leading to the generation of lots of tax revenue, but it leaves the children being raised by others or by themselves.  It is as if both parents have decided to leave the cave and hunt because the hunt has become such a focus that both parents have forgotten why they were hunting in the first place.  Society has suffered as the internet and television has raised the last generation of children and imparted its morals upon them, the morals of Harvey Weinstein and individuals in the darkest corners of the world.

Maybe it is time for career-minded women to seek out men who can better fulfill the role of primary caregiver and mentor for their children instead of choosing men based on their ability to provide.  A woman who can ear a six-figure income doesn’t need a man who can do so as well.  Most people who really crunch the numbers will find that a family will actually come out better on one income with a spouse spending time doing things like preparing meals at home and taking care of the children than they will with two incomes.  In addition, time spent in childcare for one’s own children is tax-free, where extra income made at work is taxed at the highest rates.

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Our children really need to become more of the focus.  Why wouldn’t we want to spend time training our children to be good, self-sufficient citizens that share our values and make the world better rather than creating the next report or presentation that will just be forgotten in a week?  Children are our greatest legacy and will make far more of an impact that anything most of us will do in the office.  Why would we be satisfied to pay a stranger minimum wage to simply watch our children rather than to make sure our children are educated, motivated, and cared-for?

So what do you think?  If you are a woman who is focused on your career, would you marry a guy because he would be a good parent instead of finding someone who would be a good provider?  If you are a guy, would you be satisfied raising your family instead of going into work each day, and would you feel important doing so?

Got and investing question? Please send it to vtsioriginal@yahoo.com or leave in a comment.

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment?

Contact me at vtsioriginal@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

An Update on The Kiosks are Here!


About a year ago I wrote the post below after seeing an ordering kiosk in a McDonalds down in Alabama.  I was in our Hardees last night, and they now also have kiosks in addition to a single person taking orders.  It looks like order takers will be replaced by kiosks and smart phone apps very soon.  The way to fight back is to give great customer service, making the restaurant make more per hour than your salary by your being there instead of a cold, humanless machine.

McKiosk?

McKiosk?

I was reading a stat this weekend that one in three working people were in a union in 1970 but only one in ten are now.  The author of the editorial used this to explain why wages have stagnated, but I took a different meaning.  Given that once a company is unionized it is virtually impossible to de-unionize it, this statistic means that we saw a lot of union jobs go away, forever.  A drive through Detroit (with your windows rolled up and at top speed, not stopping at the lights) would also show the effect of trying to force companies to pay a worker more than what the value of what he was doing was worth.  This, combined with absurd work rules (in some union car plants, you needed to continue to pay workers who sat and read the paper in a room in the plant if you didn’t have enough work for them), has chased a lot of companies out of the country or just out of business.

Now the same folks who brought us the unions and ran great American cities into the ground have their sites set on minimum wage workers.  With demands of $15 per hour wages, organizers are convincing some  misguided fast food workers (many workers wisely don’t participate because they can do the math) to protest at their place of business.  Note that the average McDonald’s worker produces about $13.50 in value for his/her company, so the company would be losing $1.50 per worker per hour if they paid $15 per hour.  Multiply that by thousands of workers, and you would see millions of dollars in losses each year.  No company could withstand that.

The solution for companies faced with rising labor costs who can’t just move out of the country as did the factories is to cut the number of workers.  Enter the ordering kiosk.  The picture above shows kiosks I found at a McDonald’s in Florida last week.  There were six kiosks setup and they were getting a lot of use by the customers without many complaints.  I went ahead and ordered at the counter (I like to support the workers, plus I would rather have a person help me with my order than go to a machine), but a lot of others chose the kiosks.  Smart phone apps are also being rolled out.  Raise costs enough and you’ll just have a cooked burger appear on a conveyor belt and you would add the toppings yourself.  The restaurant would just need to employ a couple of people to load the burgers into the hopper.  They could eliminate the need to clean by just making it a drive-thru with no table service.

People with three kids and a home should not be in these jobs.  These are jobs for teenagers and young liberal arts majors to take as a first job to learn the skills needed to get the next job and move up the ladder.  If you take these jobs away by raising the minimum wage or by protesting until McDonald’s and other employers relent, you’ll be cutting off this critical pathway to a better life that a lot of people need.  You can’t get a job without experience, and without minimum wage jobs, you can’t get experience.

So if you’re a fast food worker and want to keep your job, what can you do?  Be the best worker that ever existed.  Show up ten minutes early.  Leave your cell phone in the car and concentrate on doing your job to the best of your abilities.  Smile at the customers.  Help them with their orders.  Make suggestions for them to save a few cents by bundling items.  Provide value for your employer so that they have more business because of you.  Make customers visit your store to see you, rather than go to the place across the street with the kiosks.  In short, act like you work at Chick FilA.  Plus, don’t demand to be paid more than you create.

Got and investing question? Please send it to vtsioriginal@yahoo.com or leave in a comment.

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Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment?

Contact me at vtsioriginal@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

History Doesn’t Repeat, But Sometimes It Rhymes


boatdock2I had a long car trip, so I did as I frequently do on long trips and rented a book on CD from Cracker Barrel.  They have a system where you can rent at one location, then return the book to any location along the way.  I picture CDs crossing the country a little at a time.  Actually, since some of the books are 12 hours long or more, maybe they move rather rapidly.

This time I rented Playing with Fire, which turned out to be historical fiction about a Jewish family living in Italy who were sent to the death camps in Poland.  One brother, who played the violin, ended up being pressed into service playing in a small orchestra at a death camp in Northern Italy. The Commandant had the group play music all day long to drown out the noise from the executions and the screams coming from the crematorium from those who were not quite dead before being thrown into the ovens.  In the end, the members of the orchestra were killed and fed to the ovens as well before the Nazis fled to avoid capture.

While the characters were fictional, the book portrays real events that happened in Italy during 1942-1947.  Italy saw about 20% of the population of Jews killed during WW II.  In Germany and Poland, it was about 90%.  Of course everyone has heard about the horrors of that time and calling someone a Nazi is just about the worst thing you could call them.  And yet we fail to learn the lessons.

This has happened other times, although perhaps to different degrees.  In Russia, millions were killed by Stalin and other Soviet leaders after the violent Bolshevik revolution.  In Cambodia, the educated and literate were marched into the jungles and slaughtered.  I have no doubt that Hugo Chavez killed many of the farmers who refused to give up their land in Venezuela during the more recent take-over.  In all of these cases, while the Right is usually blamed for fascism, this was done by Socialists (note, the Nazis were the Socialist party in Germany).  Socialists who employ envy as a means to bring them to power and justify their actions.  Indeed, in Vietnam and North Korea the same thing has been done, although many times starvation has been used as the means of execution rather than a bullet or club.

Often when these events happen, people wonder how decent people could stand by and allow such brutality to happen.  And yet we see the stirrings of exactly the same thing in the United States today as we saw in Germany.  The speakers may be different, but the themes from Sanders, Warren, and others are the same.  In Germany Hitler vilified the Jews and convinced the population that they were the source of their problems.  Because the Jewish people have a culture of forming businesses and serving others, many of the shop owners, bankers, and business owners were Jewish.  They were also prominent as professors, engineers, and lawyers.  Because the Jews “controlled the means of production,” to borrow a phrase from Karl Marx, the Nazis were able to convince many of the other German citizens that their lives were miserable because the Jews were oppressing them, and that they should therefore take from the Jews and eventually kill them.  Hitler used envy to stir the population and turn them against their Jewish neighbors.  This envy turned to violence, as seen by the formation of the black shirts who would go and victimize the Jews even before the Nazis started marching them to the gas chambers.

Today we hear Bernie Sanders stoking the same envy when he talks about rich Wall Street bankers being the source of the troubles of the middle and lower class.  We also see race baiting by the President and others, causing blacks to turn against the police and whites in general.  Often envy turns to hate and violence.  We are also starting to see violence, including the execution of policemen, attacks on people at Donald Trump rallies, and riots in the street.    While some would have you believe these are just spontaneous protests and riots, these are actually planned events being lead by Socialists and anarchist groups who want to bring down the fabric of civil society and replace it with fascism and a culture in which the strong victimize the weak.  We could very well see another holocaust in the US, this time the target being Christians, whites, conservatives, or producers and business owners in general.

Even many of the “non-violent” protests show force being used by the Left as a tool to gain their goal.  While activities like blocking the road or breaking into a building may not be violent, they are using force to take things away from others, even it is their time.  No doubt these types of actions will lead to violence as tempers flare.

It is time for people to see this manipulation of people using envy for what it really is.  Envy goes beyond wanting what someone else has.  It is a belief that they should not have whatever it is, and it (and they) should therefore be destroyed.  It leads to the gas chambers in Poland and the killing fields in Cambodia.  It leads to unspeakable acts to which normally caring people turn a blind-eye.

Socialism is fundamentally evil.  It is founded upon the fundamentally evil idea that it is right to take what is not earned from another.  Evil only leads to pain and misery.  We have a unique capability in America to pull ourselves up by spending our time tending to the needs of others through our work and making fair trades for goods and services.  We need to choose another path than envy.

We need to call out this evil for what it is.  We need to talk about what has happened other times people who have turned neighbor against neighbor using envy have been allowed to rise to power.  We need to talk about our common humanity.   We need to show that people do not become wealthy in the US by victimizing others, but by serving them.  This path is open to all and leads to wealth and happiness.  I already see the black shirts coming out of the shadows to lay their abuse on others.  Are we going to turn away?

Got an investing question? Please send it to vtsioriginal@yahoo.com or leave in a comment.

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment?

Contact me at vtsioriginal@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

Not Saving for College? Really?


boatdock2In a recent Money poll, it was revealed that 68% of people with college-bound children had saved less than $10,000 for college for their kids.  38% had saved absolutely nothing.  Really?

While some expenses, like crashing your car or ending up in the hospital with a heart attack may be difficult to predict, you can pretty much determine when your children are going to head off to the dorms from the time they’re born.  Yet millions of Americans who have no problem buying several $7 lattes per week, have smart phones with huge data plans, and buy a new car every few years have little to nothing saved for college when the time comes. Then their children take out loans, use them for everything from drinks out on Friday (and Thursday, and Wednesday nights) and vacations, take six or seven years to graduate, and we hear about how unfair it is that they owe a house when all is said and done.

Most middle class people would not take charity for their food or housing, but they’ll be first in line to apply for federal student aid and subsidized loans.  Now they can even get their loans forgiven in a few years if they do something like become a social worker or work at a non-profit.  Great, now we have Cornell graduates with $300,000 degrees doing social work and the taxpayers get to pay for it.  Excellent.

In fact, Money magazine and other publications tell how to set up your finances so you’ll get a lot of student aid.  Don’t put money in your student’s name.  Don’t save up for college.  People are seen as suckers if they actually pay for their kid’s college because everyone else is getting a free ride on their backs.  And maybe they are.

Well, maybe there is no stigma anymore with getting financial aid for college.  Maybe there is no stigma attached to getting your loans forgiven.  We’ll, I’m not accepting that.  If your family is making more than $80,000 per year, have two or fewer children, and you’re not paying for your children’s education, you’re stealing from those around you.  (Note I’m not talking about true scholarships earned for academics or sports that the student has earned through their own hard work, or discounts given by the schools.)  If you take out student loans, not going to the cheapest school you can, put non-college expenses on the loans, not hold a part-time or summer job during college,  and not get out as fast as you can and then you get those loans forgiven, you’re stealing.

It is time for people to stop taking money from their neighbors  and face up to their financial responsibilities.  Think that college costs too much?  Well – you’re right.  So complain to your state legislature about the ridiculous salaries college administrators get and stop the state university from building new buildings constantly.  Maybe high-speed WiFi should be reserved just for academics and not sexting and YouTube.  Costs can be trimmed if people demanded it.  It is time for middle class Americans to stop relying on charity when it comes to college.

Got an investing question? Please send it to vtsioriginal@yahoo.com or leave in a comment.

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment?

Contact me at vtsioriginal@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

Can You Really Take from the Rich?


boatdock2It sounds really simple.  Some people have a lot of money.  Most other people do not.  But we live in a Democracy (OK, a representative Republic), so all we need to do is vote to take the money from the rich people and distribute it to the poor people, and we’ll all be happy, right?  Except for the rich people of course, but they’re somehow evil anyway, or so I’ve heard.  Hillary Clinton doesn’t even want to give them free college even if they pay most of the cost for everyone else to go to college.

The trouble is this has been tried time and again, going back the Bolshevik revolution in the nineteen-teens, and the result is always the same.  Scarcity.  Corruption. Long lines.  A lack of basic necessities.  Famine.  Death.  Every single time.

This has played out most recently in Venezuela,  where a Socialist leader, Hugo Chavez was elected.  It was thought that the wealthy farmers and the wealthy oil companies were keeping the rest of the people down, so the people rose up and demanded redistribution of resources.  They took the farms and gave them to the people, telling them they could now grow their own food.  They kicked out the oil companies and the State took control of the oil production.  But the people who took over the farms didn’t know how to run a farm, and didn’t feel much like doing the hard work needed to grow food.  The State doesn’t know how to produce oil.

Today people are starving, with food hard to get (available only illegally through the black market rather than the government system) and more expensive than many people can afford.  Oil exports have dropped dramatically.  There are no aspirin.  There is no toilet paper.  There is no electricity most days of the week.

The only thing that is growing is corruption, because the only way you can get things done is to break the law, which means paying people off to let you cut the line or look the other way.  You can’t get things legally because no one will produce things because of price controls, so people buy things illegally, paying officials to ignore the illegal trading.  Government officials now have power over whether people can eat or not, which gives them a huge amount of power.  And power corrupts.

So why does this never work?  Why can’t you just take things from rich people and be wealthier?  The reason is that rich people don’t have a big vault full of wealth that you can just take out and pass around.  They don’t have food to feed a million people sitting in their refrigerator.  They don’t have shelter for the masses in their tool sheds.  You could take everything that Bill Gates has and sell it off and you’d be lucky to feed the city of Chicago for a day.  To seize their wealth is a little like killing the golden goose to get the golden eggs you think are inside.

Instead, rich people have a bunch of IOU’s for things that are not produced yet.  Little numbers in bank accounts.  Pieces of paper saying they own shares of XYZ corporation.  If you have a million dollars in cash, you don’t have a million dollars worth of food.  You still need someone to produce the food who is willing to take your money for it. Likewise, you can’t trade your $1 M for a mansion unless there is someone with a mansion who wants to sell.  Money is only a voucher for someone to do something for you, it doesn’t get the goods produced.  And if you go and take the money that was earned the last time from the person who is producing those things from you, he won’t be that eager to produce again.

Many rich people also have the ability to get others to produce things efficiently, and the ability to decide what things need to be produced.  This is a personal capability that comes from personal ability, raw passion, experience, and really hard work.  You could take all of the office buildings and intellectual property that Microsoft owns away from the shareholders and give it to some people living on the streets in San Francisco. While the people running Microsoft currently can use it to generate billions of dollars per year, people who don’t know what they were doing would quickly see it all fall apart.  The people running things would quit, the workers who know what they’re doing would leave, and the company would be worthless within a year or less.

So you can’t just go and take things from the wealthy and expect for things to be better.  In order for people to have what they need, people need to spend time producing things, either for themselves or to trade to others.  In the end it is really no different from the homesteader who needed to grow his food, maintain his home, and mend his clothes.  The only difference is that we tend to produce one thing and trade to others for the things we need.

The only way we can all be equal is if we all have nothing.

Got an investing question? Please send it to vtsioriginal@yahoo.com or leave in a comment.

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment?

Contact me at vtsioriginal@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

So What Are You Doing by Raising the Minimum Wage?


McKiosk?

McKiosk?

It really seems simple.  People need more money, so you just require that they get paid more.  You say that it costs about a $15 per hour job to live in the city, so you raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.  Of course why stop at $15 per hour?  Why not just raise the minimum wage up to $100 per hour so that they could live in style and pay lots in taxes?

Obviously people know that you can’t just raise wages to $100 per hour.  The business would need to raise prices dramatically to pay those high wages.  But even raising wages from $7.50 to $15 per hour has a similar effect, although more subtle.  You can’t just arbitrarily raise wages because the person who is making $7.50 per hour isn’t producing enough to earn more.

You see, everyone who is earning a salary is actually engaged in a bartering transaction with everyone else in the economy.  They perform some task or make some product and then trade the value they create for something else they want. Maybe a McDonald’s worker in NYC enters orders into the cash register for ten minutes and trades that service to a farmer in Nebraska that grows an ear of corn he eats that night.

Of course he doesn’t actually meet with the farmer in Nebraska.  The farmer in Nebraska takes his corn to market somewhere in Nebraska and trades the corn for cash.  The McDonald’s worker goes to his boss at the end of the pay-period and collects a check.  There are several transactions that take place between people to connect the McDonald’s worker who wants an ear of corn with the farmer who grows it.  Cash just makes it easier to trade since the McDonald’s worker doesn’t need to make several trades himself to finally get the ear of corn he wants.

Now let’s say that you just raise the wages of the McDonald’s worker to $15 per hour since that’s what he needs to pay for things.  Now the farmer needs to trade two ears of corn for the same ten minute period of order taking.  He needs to do twice the work to get the same thing in return.

Now the price of an ear of corn compared to the amount of time spent pushing buttons on the cash register isn’t arrived at arbitrarily.  It is based on how much the farmer must earn after he has paid for all of his expenses to motivate him to go through all of the trouble to grow the corn in the first place.  If he is not paid enough, he may decide to stay in bed a few more hours.  He may decide to plant 50 acres instead of 100.  He may decide to trade his corn overseas where he can receive more per ear.  He may decide to do something else rather than grow corn. Or he may decide to just grow crops for his family and stop trading.  When any of these things happen, the amount of corn available declines, so now even though the McDonald’s worker earns enough to buy two ears of corn each time that he works for 10 minutes, he may go to the grocery store and find there is no corn to buy.

Note that Venezuelans a few years ago decided to vote in a government that went out to the farmers and demand they charge less for their crops.  In fact, they even went so far as to chase the farmers off of their land and give the land to squatters who were supposed to use the land to grow crops and feed themselves.  Because the squatters didn’t know how to farm, plus they probably lacked the drive and work ethic that the farmers had, the country went from one that was an exporter of food, meaning that they grew more than they needed to feed their people, into one where the people are starving.

And it extends beyond food into toilet paper, medical supplies, gasoline, and even electrical power.  There is a shortage of everything.  Today it was announced that state workers would only work for two days a week to save power and women are advised to not blow dry their hair.  Of course, the capital, where the ruling class live, has first dibs on electric power and they aren’t experiencing the same kind of blackouts that they are seeing other parts of the country.  The rulers in Socialist societies always take care of themselves first.

Now there is another possibility and that is that the farmer will simply raise his prices and require more money in exchange for each ear of corn.  In that case you soon end up with the McDonald’s worker making $15 per hour but needing $30 per hour to have enough to live on.  He may earn more per hour numerically but he still gets the same amount of value per hour of work because that is what the service he provides is worth.

The only way to improve the life of the McDonald’s worker is for him to learn new skills that will allow him to produce more per hour.  He can then get a higher salary without forcing someone else to pay him more than he is worth.  Millions of people do this during their lifetimes, starting from a minimum wage job but using that job to learn and develop skills and experience so that they can get that next job and that next one.  Maybe they even start a company and generate even more money, eventually becoming a wealthy person.  The trouble is that some people want to stay in that same job, doing a minimal amount, taking on the minimal level of responsibilities, and using a minimum amount of skills but get paid enough to support a family.  That is just not a sustainable plan.

Got an investing question? Please send it to vtsioriginal@yahoo.com or leave in a comment.

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment?

Contact me at vtsioriginal@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

The Kiosks are Here!


McKiosk?

                                     McKiosk?

I was reading a stat this weekend that one in three working people were in a union in 1970 but only one in ten are now.  The author of the editorial used this to explain why wages have stagnated, but I took a different meaning.  Given that once a company is unionized it is virtually impossible to de-unionize it, this statistic means that we saw a lot of union jobs go away, forever.  A drive through Detroit (with your windows rolled up and at top speed, not stopping at the lights) would also show the effect of trying to force companies to pay a worker more than what the value of what he was doing was worth.  This, combined with absurd work rules (in some union car plants, you needed to continue to pay workers who sat and read the paper in a room in the plant if you didn’t have enough work for them), has chased a lot of companies out of the country or just out of business.

Now the same folks who brought us the unions and ran great American cities into the ground have their sites set on minimum wage workers.  With demands of $15 per hour wages, organizers are convincing some  misguided fast food workers (many workers wisely don’t participate because they can do the math) to protest at their place of business.  Note that the average McDonald’s worker produces about $13.50 in value for his/her company, so the company would be losing $1.50 per worker per hour if they paid $15 per hour.  Multiply that by thousands of workers, and you would see millions of dollars in losses each year.  No company could withstand that.

The solution for companies faced with rising labor costs who can’t just move out of the country as did the factories is to cut the number of workers.  Enter the ordering kiosk.  The picture above shows kiosks I found at a McDonald’s in Florida last week.  There were six kiosks setup and they were getting a lot of use by the customers without many complaints.  I went ahead and ordered at the counter (I like to support the workers, plus I would rather have a person help me with my order than go to a machine), but a lot of others chose the kiosks.  Smart phone apps are also being rolled out.  Raise costs enough and you’ll just have a cooked burger appear on a conveyor belt and you would add the toppings yourself.  The restaurant would just need to employ a couple of people to load the burgers into the hopper.  They could eliminate the need to clean by just making it a drive-thru with no table service.

People with three kids and a home should not be in these jobs.  These are jobs for teenagers and young liberal arts majors to take as a first job to learn the skills needed to get the next job and move up the ladder.  If you take these jobs away by raising the minimum wage or by protesting until McDonald’s and other employers relent, you’ll be cutting off this critical pathway to a better life that a lot of people need.  You can’t get a job without experience, and without minimum wage jobs, you can’t get experience.

So if you’re a fast food worker and want to keep your job, what can you do?  Be the best worker that ever existed.  Show up ten minutes early.  Leave your cell phone in the car and concentrate on doing your job to the best of your abilities.  Smile at the customers.  Help them with their orders.  Make suggestions for them to save a few cents by bundling items.  Provide value for your employer so that they have more business because of you.  Make customers visit your store to see you, rather than go to the place across the street with the kiosks.  In short, act like you work at Chick FilA.  Plus, don’t demand to be paid more than you create.

Got and investing question? Please send it to vtsioriginal@yahoo.com or leave in a comment.

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment?

Contact me at vtsioriginal@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders Supporters


IMG_1836This is an open letter to those who are flocking to Bernie Sanders events and are proudly calling themselves Socialists.  You may be enjoying the excitement and talking about “feeling the Bern,” but do you really know what is at the root of Socialism, Democratic or not?

While Bernie Sanders may say in speeches that he will be making things fair by taxing rich corporations and stock speculators, the root of Socialism is armed robbery.  It is employing others to take things from people to give to you; taking things that you did not earn by putting the ones who did earn them under the threat of imprisonment.  And if you don’t believe it involves guns, just try to not pay your taxes and see whether the people who show up to arrest you are wearing guns.  And while you may believe from Sander’s speeches and the rants from your Socialist professors, who hide away in the ivory tower because they have no capability to do anything truly useful for society, that you would just be taking money back from evil people who came by their wealth dishonestly and by oppressing “the workers,” let me introduce myself as one of the people you would be stealing from to get your free healthcare, free college, and other free money.

Let me first say that I am certainly nothing close to a billionaire and that I have made less than six figures for most of my career, but I would be one of the ones paying for your “free college,” your “free healthcare,” your “free housing,” and your “free food.”  You see, if you took all of the wealth made by all of the billionaires combined in the US, it wouldn’t come anywhere close to covering even just “free tuition.”   This means that it will be middle class people paying for most of this free stuff Sanders is offering.

Despite not making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, I’ve been able to put myself in a much better financial position than most of my peers with a paid-for house, no debt, college savings accounts for our children, and enough savings and investments to greatly ease worries about losing a job.  Like virtually all people in my situation, I didn’t do it by taking from anyone or cheating anyone.  Anyone with whom I traded my services or goods has felt that they got at least in value what they gave me in return.  This is true of people who become wealthy because those who cheat others seldom stay in business or remain as employees for long.

The reason that I have been able to amass more wealth than my peers is because I made choices starting from high school to put me into the position that I am in today.  I came from a middle class family that saved up money for my college education because they felt it was important.  I worked hard in high school, completing all assignments and studying before every test, to graduate in the top 5% in my class, which qualified me for a scholarship to attend a state university. While I could have taken out loans and attended a private college like the University of Southern California, I chose to attend the University of Arizona because I could go on a full merit scholarship.

While at the University of Arizona, I worked extremely hard on my classes, studying and doing homework during any opportunity between classes and doing five hours of homework or more on a typical night, taking maybe one day off per weekend except during  finals.  I attended office hours regularly, read what I needed to read, got all of my homework problems right, and made sure all projects were my absolute best work.  I took between 19 and 21 credit hours per semester (including orchestra and jazz combos) to graduate as fast as I could (I graduated in four years, but could have graduated in 3 1/2 if the classes I needed were available).  This combined with my scholarships and living a very modest lifestyle allowed me to leave without undergraduate school without debt.

Because I worked so hard as an undergraduate, graduating Summa Cum Laude with an aerospace engineering degree, I was accepted into every grad school to which I applied, including Stanford and MIT.  Because U.C. Berkeley offered a full scholarship, which Stanford and MIT weren’t going to (or at least were slow to indicate what they would do), I chose Berkeley over the more expensive private schools.  I chose to live within my means rather than buy what I could not afford and then complain about how high my student loan balances were.  By taking a research assistantship, living modestly, graduating quickly and taking odd jobs here and there I was able to graduate without going through the rest of the money my parents had saved for school and without taking on any debts.  I didn’t have a lavish apartment.  I didn’t go on any expensive trips.  After graduating, it took 9 months to get a full-time job so I did part time and consulting jobs in the interim.

When I started a regular job I started at a salary somewhat above what people with BS degrees would have gotten.  This is not because I was privileged or because I cheated someone, but because I worked hard to get through grad school and graduate with a Ph.D.  I spent a lot of hours in the lab, working on my research and dissertation, studying for really difficult written and oral exams covering everything I had learned during the previous seven years, and writing and editing my dissertation.  Along the way I learned skills such as organization, research, writing, money management, and how to read complex journal articles, all of which made me more valuable.

Once I started work I continued to work hard but not just for the sake of working hard.  I worked to learn skills that were useful.  I tried to figure out what most needed to be done and to do it. I thought about the goals of my organization and how I could help it get there.  I didn’t wait to be told what to do, but instead thought carefully about how I could contribute and improve things.  I was reliable – coming in to work extra when it was needed without being asked, making sure I was ready for meetings and events and making sure my company was seen in the best possible light.  Because of this, I continued to gain salary and increase my income from work..

While having a good salary, after ten or fifteen years of working my way up helped, a lot of my wealth generation was due to the choices I made and the willingness to sacrifice and wait for things.  When I did get a regular job, I did make the stupid mistake of buying a new car and putting it on a 6.5 year payment plan, but I swore that would be my last new car, paid it off in 4.5 years, and am still driving it today 18 years later.  For our other car we bought a used Camry for $3,000, then five years later bought another newer model for $8,000.   We may sell this one next year since we’ve had it for about seven years and pay $14,000 cash for another Camry or an Avalon.  I saved thousands of dollars per year on depreciation by buying used cars for which I could pay cash and driving them for several years.  This has allowed me to trade up in cars with cash and to save and invest for retirement.

For the first several years in the new job and after getting married, our only vacations were  a weekend away or two and a road trip to visit in-laws.  We didn’t go to any all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean because we could not afford it.  We didn’t buy a time share.  We didn’t go to the beach for spring break.  Instead we saved and invested the money, knowing that we cold go later when we could pay cash for it instead of putting the trip on a credit card.

We also bought a modest house where we could afford the payments since they were less than 25% of our take-home pay.  We put it on a fifteen year loan and paid it off in twelve years, allowing us to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest.  If we buy another home we’ll pay cash using some of the money we’ve invested to upgrade.  When we want to make a home improvement, we save up and pay cash.  We save and invest for car repairs, home repairs, vacations, and home improvements.

And by investing, I am not taking advantage of anyone.  On the contrary, I’m providing money for people to start businesses and create jobs for other people. More importantly, I’m providing funding for people to create businesses that do things for other people, like feed hungry people through restaurant chains, make cellphones so that people can communicate, and create computer chips that allow people to use the internet.  I invested in Cypress Semiconductor that made the chips that made USB technology possible so that you can connect your iPod to your laptop.  (You’re welcome).  I invested in Home Depot that provided the building materials for thousands of homes.  (You’re welcome, again.)

None of the companies into which I invested have made people feel like they have been cheated.  In fact, people eagerly go to these businesses because they feel they are getting something of value that makes their lives better.  In exchange for funding these businesses I have received a small percentage of the profits (about a 2% return on my investments on average).  Other money I have made from these investments is because the businesses have grown to provide services to more people.  It is because I have been willing to risk my money that these businesses have been able to grow and provide more services for more people.  You see, you make money in a free enterprise society by helping people.  The more people you help, the more money you make.

So I have cheated no one.  I have stolen from no one.  I have made money by providing goods and services to people that they were delighted to receive and were eager to provide me goods and services in the form of money in return.  I worked my way up to earn more by being reliable and thinking of what I could do to provide what was needed to others.  I saved and went without many of the luxuries others around me were enjoying so that I would have money to invest.  My investments have allowed others to create and grow businesses to create goods and services that have delighted others.  I have fed the hungry.  I have clothed the  naked.  I have provided access to the vastness of the internet through chips and computer hardware that was created due to my investments.  Today I’ve amassed enough wealth to be financially independent, although I continue to work as hard as ever.  I don’t sit upon my wealth like Scrooge McDuck, but instead continue to invest and allow other businesses to grow and provide more services to more people.

And my having wealth does not prevent you from having just as much wealth or even more.  Bill Gate’s and Warren Buffet’s wealth has no effect on my ability to be wealthy.   What I have, I have created through my work and my sacrifice.  You could do the same and multiply the amount of wealth in existence.  You don’t need to knock down a home to build another.  Two people can have homes if they each put for the effort to build it.  Likewise, you could create just as much wealth by doing what I did – doing things for other people that they wanted and were willing to pay you to do, living below your means so that you could build up savings, and then investing that savings, providing even more things to even more people in doing so.

So if you think you deserve some of my wealth, don’t be a coward and hide behind Bernie Sanders.  Tell me why you think you deserve my wealth and I do not.  Tell me why you think it is right to steal what I have.  What have you done?  Who have you helped?  What have you provided to others?

You may think that Socialism will make your life better, but I can tell you that it won’t.  The only way those who work hard and those that do not can be equal is if they both have nothing.  Socialism destroys wealth, it doesn’t balance it.

Agree?  Disagree?  Please leave a comment.

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment?

Contact me at vtsioriginal@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

You Don’t Need to be Liberal to Help the Poor


Saturn FiveMany young people decide to support liberal candidates out of a desire to help the poor that they see around them, or even working class families.  They hear about the homeless seeking a place out of the cold, a working mother needing to find childcare for her toddlers, or even students getting out of college and trying to pay back student loans.  Suddenly the things Bernie Sanders says start to sound pretty good.  Who wouldn’t want to have free, quality college for all and to just feed all of the hungry.  Indeed, many young people have come to believe that if you elect Democrats, you’ll be taking care of the poor and less fortunate people.

But really Liberals don’t have a monopoly on helping people.  There are many fiscal Conservatives who also want to help people and do so every day.  (Note while “Liberal” and “Democrat” are synonymous today, “Conservative” and “Republican” are not, so I am speaking of fiscal conservatives, with the “fiscal” thrown in there to differentiate from religious Conservatives.) It is really a difference in the way you go about helping people.

The Liberal philosophy holds that government should control the production and distribution of money, so the best way to help the poor is to force people to give the money they have earned to the government and then have the government send it out as needed.  This philosophy has the advantage of not needing to rely on the goodwill of individuals.  One has no choice but to contribute since you’ll be thrown into jail if you do not.  Enacting Liberal tax policies also give people the feeling that the poor are being taken care of, so they don’t need to take personal responsibility.  I can step over this guy lying in the street and continue on with my latte since there are services available for him, so I don’t need to help.

The issues with the Liberal strategy are that it reduces the production of goods and services, it concentrates wealth and power which leads to corruption and fraud, and it relies upon a central group for management and distribution which often leads to waste, mismanagement, and bureaucracy.  When you tax people based upon how much they make, you reduce their incentive to produce, which means there is less “stuff” to go around.  If you provide things for people without their needing to produce anything, you also reduce the amount of things produced and thereby reduce the amount of wealth society has.  Collecting money from everyone and having a central body give it out puts a lot of power in the hands of a few people, and that kind of situation attracts and creates  people seeking power and money, leading to fraud and corruption.

Even if you have perfect, benevolent people doling out the money, it is difficult to customize  allocations for each individual when you have a large population and only a few people making the decisions on how to give out the money.  This results in a lot of money that is wasted, some individuals getting far more than they need and some getting far less.  There is also very little capability to give money in a way that helps individuals – for example, giving training instead of cash, requiring individuals seek to find a job, or provision of funds in exchange for entering a rehab program to address substance abuse issues.  It is far easier to just hand out a check even though many individuals have substance abuse issues or just very poor money management skills.  Note that despite providing all sorts of food assistance for children in the form of food stamps and other financial assistance, many children still show up to school hungry so schools end up providing free breakfasts and lunches.  The money that was provided to their parents was mismanaged.  Because there will be fraud with such a system, new regulations and requirements are enacted, which creates layers or bureaucracy that make it difficult for those who need assistance to get any.  This all makes the Liberal method of helping the poor very inefficient and very expensive.

The fiscal Conservative method of helping the poor relies more on helping people take care of themselves and also providing assistance privately when needed due to circumstances.  Conservatives believe that the best way to help people get food and shelter is to have them find and keep a job.  The way to earn enough to take care of a family and provide for retirement is to improve job skills and move into progressively better jobs, ideally before you have a family to support.  The advantages of this method is that it creates a sustainable system that doesn’t rely on the availability of government funds (read, the work of other people), it causes the production of more goods and services since more people are working rather than relying on a few people to take care of many others, and it provides incentives for people to work and produce more since they receive a direct benefit.

The way this is done is by lowering the barriers to entry into the marketplace through reduced regulation and increase the amount of investment capital available through lower taxes on successful individuals.  It is done by eliminating laws and regulations that result in lower employment, such as wage controls and requirements for unionization.  It is also done by forcing those who are able to work to do so since many individuals will not work if given a choice, but the kind of life they could have would be infinitely better if they found a job and worked their way into better jobs.  The amount that they can produce for themselves would be more than society would be able to provide, especially if a lot of people are not producing anything.

Fiscal Conservatives also believe in giving to take care of individuals who either cannot take care of themselves or to help get them to a place where they can.  The difference is that they believe help should be private since there is less waste and more customization possible that way.  Rather than have a check sent by a bureaucrat who could really care less how the money is used and just wants to make it to Friday, they would like to give to organizations that provide food and shelter for a time period but require people to start doing the things that will bring them to self-sufficiency.  They believe that having thousands of small, local organizations with thousands of dollars each is better than having one huge organization with billions of dollars.  At times, this would also take the form of people helping others directly rather than using any outside organization at all.

So, you don’t need to be politically Liberal to help others.  Certainly, fiscal Conservatives can and do help many people.  The difference is whether you believe it is necessary to force people to support others and if it is necessary to support most poor people for all of their lives, or if you believe in personal giving and requiring those who can support themselves to eventually get to the point where they can as a requirement for receiving assistance.

Got and investing question? Please send it to vtsioriginal@yahoo.com or leave in a comment.

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment?

Contact me at vtsioriginal@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

What Happened to the American Dream?


It Saturn Fiveseems like very other week there is a new survey of young adults asking them if they think the American Dream is still available to them.  The answers come back more and more negative each time, with a recent poll showing that only about half of young adults believe that the American dream is still there.  Part of the issue is that the media keeps talking about how bad things are for Generation Y and asking them if they think the American dream is dead.  So is the American dream gone, and if so, where did it go?

Well, first let’s talk about what the American dream is.  It is probably a little different for each person.  For me, the American dream is the ability for each person, regardless of where he or she started in life, to end up significantly better off economically if he/she has the drive and talents to do so.  In America, there are countless stories of individuals who immigrated into the US with nothing who were millionaires or billionaires within twenty years.  There are even more stories of parents who worked hard and gave their children the ability to go to college and move from the labor-intensive jobs they performed into office jobs and occupations where they used their brains more than their muscles to get work done.  Contrast this with places like India where the caste in which you are born or into which you marry determines how far you can go in life.  Be born into the lowest caste and you’ll spend your life cleaning up other people’s waste with your hands.

I would say that the American dream is not dead, but it is dying off and will disappear unless it is reinvigorated.  There are two factors involved – one that requires a change in laws and those within the political system, and the second that must come from within each individual.

The first factor is the prevalence of protectionist regulations and crony capitalism.  Many of the people who became very wealthy in the past did so through starting a business.  When they did so, they didn’t need to spend years and thousands of dollars getting certifications and applying for licenses.  They just raised the needed cash and started the business.  Maybe they started making baked goods in their kitchens.  Maybe they manufactured computers in their garage.  Maybe they started selling hotdogs on a street corner.   Maybe they started a bank by just opening up an office and putting out a sign.

Today you need many hours of training and expensive licenses just to cut people’s hair.  Due to Federal laws, you need extensive training in lead paint remediation to do work on windows and other home renovations.  If you hire employees, you’ll need to keep track of numerous tax and employment laws and possibly provide your employees with health insurance.  While some regulations and laws are well-intentioned, many are put in place by existing businesses to protect their turf from competitors.  These businesses either get grandfathered in and therefore not need to go through the training and other steps that new entrants would need to take, or they have the money and resources to comply with the regulations – plus they pass the costs onto the consumers – while the financial barrier is too great for net entrants into the field.

Perhaps one of the biggest example of crony capitalism is Obamacare.  In this law, consumers are forced to buy expensive health insurance.  This is a result of the hospitals, insurance companies, and politicians getting together and passing the law over the wills of a majority of the people so that they can make more money with a captive set of customers.  The real danger of Obamacare is that it will eventually take every extra dime that middle class workers have.  A big part of this blog is explaining how to grow wealthy through budgeting, saving, and investing.  If Obamacare is allowed to continue to exist, the costs will increase and swallow up everything people making between $30,000 and $150,000 per year make beyond what is needed to pay for basic necessities.  By design, the subsidies you receive are based on your income.  This means that if you earn more, you pay more, so that working harder or moving up in salary will not allow you to generate more free cash for investing and saving.   Getting a raise or working more hours will just result in paying more for health insurance to fund other who aren’t working as hard or as smart.  (Note that as people realize this, many will work less, causing the health insurance cost for those working more to rise still further.)  Middle class workers cannot save the money needed to become financially independent while paying usurious taxes.

Changing this will take a change in the political environment where politicians and businesses cozy up to one another.  It will take constituents paying attention to what’s going on; voting; and  expressing themselves in letters to the editor, calls and emails to their representatives, at public forums, and on the internet.  In some cases, it may take new people running for office and getting involved in the political parties which are run now almost entirely by those getting political favors.  In the least, talking to friends about the issue and making more people aware of crony capitalism will help.

The second factor comes within.  Unfortunately, many young people have come to believe that all they needed to do was to go to college and get good grades (either legitimately or through cheating) and they will be set for life.  They then get out of college and discover that there is no one waiting with a six-figure job with eight weeks of vacation each year.  In actuality, achieving the American dream will take a great deal of work, often for far less pay than your parents are currently making.  People who built great companies often worked for little or nothing in the early years.  Many had other jobs to pay the bills while they worked nights and weekends to build their companies.

Even if you decide to work for someone else, you may still need to start in a lower pay grade than you wish and work to move your way up to a higher salary.  You need to spend the early years learning skills and gaining connections so that you can become more valuable to your company.  If you do this for a number of years and can’t find a way to progress in your own company, you may need to look at opportunities outside.  Unfortunately, often the only way to increase your salary significantly is to change companies since most companies don’t give the raises they should for those early in their career who are learning new skills and becoming more valuable at a fast rate.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment?

Contact me at vtsioriginal@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.