Is Walmart Being Treated Unfairly?

 Is Walmart Being Treated Unfairly?  

 A group has organized to expose Walmart and their treatment of their employees. The group is organized by Making Change at Walmart and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. They are also supported by the AFL-CIO. The 22 state, 30 city cross country tour made their stop in Dallas last week. This was from their press release:   

 “Walmart’s failure to pay a living wage costs taxpayers an estimated $682.0 million annually for its employees’ public assistance needs (as of 2014). Because Walmart refuses to do the right thing, thousands of its workers are forced to rely on government assistance programs to survive. In fact, a single, full-time Walmart employee, working 34 hours a week with 2 kids, still qualifies for Medicaid and food stamps even if they make Walmart’s average wage claim of $13.75 for full-time, hourly workers.

Irregular schedules and insufficient sick days also make Walmart a difficult place for families to work. Walmart’s low wages and poor benefits drain our community’s taxpayer-funded resources and hurt working families. Walmart already costs federal taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion every year to cover their employees’ government assistance needs, like food stamps, CHIP, Medicaid, and subsidized housing. With Walmart profiting $13.6 billion last year, it is outrageous that a company this wealthy would depend on taxpayers and the community to subsidize its operations.”

The last sentence of their press release I think creates the question. Just because they make 13.6 billion, should Walmart pay more? Is this a classic call for wealth redistribution? Is Walmart being unfairly attacked? Let’s think about this for a second. Are they paying at least the minimum wage? Are the labor laws being violated? Did employees know what they were getting when they accepted employment at Walmart? Are they being forced to work against their will?

It doesn’t seem like they can answer any of the above questions and point to unfair treatment of Walmart employees. Having said that, it is unfortunate that Walmart does not value things such as the work/family balance. Further, it is even more unfortunate if employees are not offered fair compensation that is line with industry averages.

Then there is the accusation that Walmart is costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money through government assistance programs. There is a portion of the workforce that gets paid hourly and needs help taking care of their families. That is why we have government assistance.   

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of Walmart. I do think there is a lot of truth to the dark side of Walmart. I also think that there are some moral issues at stake here. Expose them breaking labor laws and then you have something to expose. What are your thoughts? 

Is Being a Millionaire a Worthy Goal?

Is Being a Millionaire a Worthy Goal?

 

 

Since most people don’t have adequate education on how money works, they end of relying on Pop Culture Finance  as means of education. They read articles on the fly and attempt to get education along the way. The problem with that approach is Pop Culture Finance oftentimes sends incomplete information leaving the reader to rely on assumptions which are based on misleading, unclear points. In this latest article, they are writing about attaining the goal of being a millionaire by age 67. They rightly make the point that the earlier you start saving and investing the easier it will be. However, they leave out two very important points.

 

 

1)     Being a millionaire 30 years (as an example) from now is not like being a millionaire today

 

 

Say you are 37 years of age and your goal is to accomplish that goal by age 67. A million dollars is worth the equivalent of roughly $522,000 in today’s dollars given a 2% inflation rate. It is worth even less given a higher inflation average. At a 5% withdrawal rate, that produces a retirement income of $ 26,100 assuming that you survive future financial meltdowns. Can you live off of $26,100 and whatever is left of social security in 30 years?

 

 

2)     It probably takes more than being a millionaire to make retirement work

 

 

In the article, the writer states that a million dollars “is not an adequate goal for every saver.” Considering how much future income that million dollars produces I doubt it is adequate for the majority of future retirees.

 

 

Instead, go through the proper process of setting your goals and know what your number is that you need to accumulate in order to one day claim financial independence and retire the way you want. The last thing you want to do is set your sights on the wrong goal and find out in 30 years that being a millionaire is nothing more than being a “thousandairre”!

 

 

To go through an individualized process of goal setting and planing, email me at bob@prudentmoney.com

An Easy Way to Teach Your Kids About Investing

An Easy Way to Teach Your Kids About Investing

 

When I come across a great idea, I want to share it with you. I am always trying to think of new ways to educate my boys on how the stock market works. Really the best way to do it is by participation. It is tough to purchase with a kid’s allowance. However, with Stockpile’s revolutionary platform, it is as easy as buying a gift card and purchasing and owning a share or part of a share in a company such as Apple.

 

Here is how it works:

 

You can purchase a gift card to purchase stock at over 14,000 grocery and retail outlets. You can also purchase stock at www.stockpile.com or purchase an e-gift and send it to someone.

 

The beauty of this platform is that your child can (with the supervision of an adult) purchase a stock such as Apple, Amazon.com, Tesla, etc. for $25.00. If for example your child wanted to purchase McDonald’s and the stock was trading at $50.00 a share and your child had $25 to invest, you would purchase the stock and own 1/2 of a share. The platform allows you to purchase fractional shares.

 

This platform allows your child to buy stock at low dollar amounts and be a shareholder in a publicly traded company.  If the share price goes up, then the fractional shares will go up. Your child can go online to access the brokerage account and see the growth for themselves. You give them the decision-making authority to buy and to sell and they can learn in real time how the stock market works. It is a great way to have a conversation about how stocks grow.

Give the Gift for Stock for Graduation

 

Looking for a unique gift for graduation? Either send an e-gift or purchase a gift card to stockpile and gift the new graduate the ability to purchase stock of their choosing. I think it is a much better gift than the standard gift of money.

 

The bottom line is that we as parents need to educate our kids about how investments work and stockpile.com gives parents a perfect way to teach in real time.

 

For more information to go www.stockpile.com.

Should There Be Separation of Church and State?

Should There Be Separation of Church and State?

 

Last week, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at the Johnston Amendment. First, a little history on the Johnston Amendment. This bill was introduced and written by Senator Lyndon B. Johnson in 1954. The story goes that he was angry that a few non-profits ganged up on him in his race for the Senate by labeling him as a communist. The bill was designed to authorize the IRS to take away their tax-exempt status if a non-profit ever heavily participated in politics by making endorsements and or getting involved in campaigns. Thus, this separated church and state. Of course, churches were included because of their non-profit status.

 

As a side note and from the dark world of politics, it was a brilliant political move. Can you imagine if organized religion were heavily involved in politics? I doubt that there are too many politicians who openly want to give the church a voice.

 

Did Trump give the church a voice? Well, sort of and not really. He signed the executive order so that people were not penalized for their “protected religious beliefs.” In the executive order, he strongly discourages the IRS for going after churches for engaging in politics. However, it doesn’t change the law. President Trump can’t pull that off with the stroke of a pen.

 

Is the Johnston Amendment a good thing or a bad thing? I really don’t know the answer to that question. The list of positives includes completely free speech for everyone. The church banding together to throw support behind a candidate would be strong. Unfortunately, the cons of repealing the bill seems to be much worst then the good that would come of it.

 

After all, you are bringing the dark underbelly of politics to the church. Pastors, if not careful, could be bought and sold with money changing hands. How about a huge donation to the church? The worst-case scenario is involving the church in questionable political processes and activities. Obviously, not every Pastor would end up being seduced by the world of politics. Why create temptations for churches and Pastors?

 

Would the good outweigh the bad? Would this executive order be enough to motivate a Pastor to take a chance and endorse from the pulpit? What is your take?

Dallas Fort Worth #12 on the Cinco De Mayo Burrito Index

Dallas Fort Worth #12 on the CInco De MAyo Burrito Index

To spill the beans on America’s burrito-eating habits, Postmates [https://postmates.com/] (America’s most popular universal delivery app) partnered with the bean counters at NationalToday.com [https://nationaltoday.com/us/cinco-de-mayo/] to rank cities across the U.S. based on the total number of burrito deliveries, the frequency of these deliveries, and the overall preference for burritos over other foods.

*** POSTMATES CINCO DE MAYO BURRITO INDEX ***
(data analysis conducted by National Today Data Insights)

>> AMERICA’S TOP 30 BURRITO-LOVING U.S. CITIES:

#1: Los Angeles
#2: Chicago
#3: Bay Area
#4: New York City
#5: Phoenix
#6: Miami
#7: Las Vegas
#8: San Diego
#9: Washington, D.C.
#10: Seattle
#11: Atlanta
#12: Dallas / Ft. Worth
#13: Portland
#14: Sacramento
#15: Charlotte
#16: Kansas City
#17: Oklahoma City
#18: Nashville
#19: Denver
#20: Austin
#21: Columbus
#22: Houston
#23: San Antonio
#24: Pittsburgh
#25: St. Louis
#26: Boston
#27: Philadelphia
#28: Minneapolis
#29: Raleigh
#30: Tampa

To encourage even more Dallas-Fort Worth residents to go burrito-tally crazy, Postmates is rewarding a free burrito to the first 10,000 Dallas-Fort Worth dwellers who download Postmates and order on May 5.

1. Download the Postmates app by visiting:
>>  http://springboard.postmates.com/CINCODEMAYO

2. Add a burrito to your cart from your favorite local or chain restaurant

3. Use code CINCODEMAYO to get it for free

To get the full rankings and unwrap other insights from the Postmates Burrito Index, visit:

Top 10 Reasons Texans Should Consider Living in Panama…At Least Part-Time

Top 10 Reasons Texans Should Consider Living in Panama…At Least Part-Time
By Evie Brooks
 1.  Weather – Panama has consistent temperatures throughout the year, with highs between 80 and 90 degrees. It has a rainy and a dry season, with the dry season starting in December and ending in May. If you’re looking to escape winters up north, you can spend time in Panama during the best weather months of January, February, and March. In addition, Panama is outside the hurricane belt. 
2.  Cost of Living – Panama offers coastal living at a fraction of the cost of comparable coastal locations in North America and Europe. Panama City isn’t super cheap as an international business hub, but outside the city both daily costs of living and of real estate are very low. 
3.  Ease of Residency – Panama offers several residency options, including one of the best pensionado (retiree) visas in the world. You can obtain a retirement visa in Panama by showing as little as $1,000 a month income from a pension, government or private. In addition, Panama’s Friendly Nations visa program is easy and low-cost and can mean a work permit.
4.  Ease of Access – With many daily flights to the United States and Europe, Panama is easy to get to and from if you want to travel home regularly to visit the grand kids and other family. Plus, Panama offers easy regional travel for vacations and sightseeing. 
5.  Ease of Transition – Panama can be called a “halfway house” for expats. Thanks to the country’s standard of infrastructure (the best in Central America); Panama City, the most developed city by far in the region, with its U.S.-style malls, shopping, and restaurants; and large English-speaking population, moving to Panama doesn’t come with the same level of culture shock as moving to other countries can mean.
6.  Language – Part of the ease of transition in Panama is that a high percentage of Panamanians speak English. Add to that the large international community, both in Panama City and other areas of the country, and you don’t have an immediate need to learn much Spanish when you move to Panama. 
7.  Health Care – Panama has some of the best hospitals in the region. Johns Hopkins-affiliated and -managed Hospital Punta Pacifica gets most of the attention, but most all Panama City hospitals have state-of-the-art equipment, as do many of the regional hospitals in the interior of the country. Medical tourism is a booming business in this country, thanks to the quality of service and the excellent costs. 
8.  Diversity – Panama offers diversity of lifestyle, with attractive beach, mountain, and city (including PanamaCity) options. 
9.  Recreation – Panama has some of the best fishing and bird watching in the world. The best sport fishing on the entire Pacific coast of the Americas is said to be in and around Coiba National Marine Park, which is just a two-hour boat ride from Los Islotes. Panama is home to more species of birds than neighboring Costa Rica, and bird-watching tourism is expanding. And, because it’s out of the hurricane zone, Panama is a perfect place for owning a boat year-round. 
10.  Taxes – Panama is a tax haven, meaning retirees have little to no income tax exposure in this country
Evie Brooks is Access Panama Director for Live and Invest Overseas. She’s an international real estate investor with more than 23 years experience, a former Real Estate Investor Educator with the Rich Dad Poor Dad organization and a mentor advisor for professionals who want to learn the art of real estate investing.
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