Could These Three New Year’s Resolutions
Fix Income Inequality Forever?

By this time most people have ran through their New Year’s resolutions and basically forgot all about them. Humans seem to be hardwired to forget resolutions within about two weeks. I think it could be  some kind of survival mechanism.

That’s okay for the typical lose weight, exercise more, drink less, and read more resolutions because in the grand scheme of things if you weigh a few more pounds, can’t run a four-minute mile, have a few beers on the weekend, and haven’t read Moby Dick it’s not really going to have a huge impact on your life.

Maybe that’s why these kind of resolutions usually evaporate in a week or so… No real urgency.

So now that you have these basically unkeepable resolutions out of the way how about a few real resolutions that could profoundly change your life for the good or for the bad if you don’t do them?

And of course, these better resolutions all have something to do with income inequality.

No matter where you are on the income ladder climbing a few more rungs up or keeping yourself from falling a few rungs down will make you feel less unequal. And that’s a good thing.

It should be no surprise that all three of these better resolutions have to do with education… That may seem odd but education is the only sure fire proven way to add value to yourself so you can move up the income ladder.  It’s definitely an antidote for income inequality.

Unfortunately waiting for someone else to boost you up the income ladder is probably not going to get you where you want to be any time soon. Especially if you are waiting for some government agency to come to your rescue… Not gonna happen. You need to do it yourself.

First resolution…

Do something in 2018 to learn as much as you can in an area that will get you to a higher paying job or a higher paying position in your current company.

This may sound like a tall order but with free options like Coursera ( https://www.coursera.org/ ) where there are classes in a range of subjects from things like better math skills to improved selling and people skills. Other places to hunt for education opportunities could be a community college or even the Human Relations department at your company. When you get on HR’s radar as someone with a desire to move up the ladder you will be surprised what can happen.

This “get more education” resolution has a potential pitfall. And it’s a big one.

That leads us to the second resolution…

Don’t overspend on education.

This may seem like a no brainer but when you look at the huge amount of student debt outstanding your nose will start to bleed.  How much? Does $1.5 Trillion (that’s with a “T”) make you feel a little queasy?  That comes out to an average close to $30,000 per graduate. And if that number doesn’t worry you then consider it is just an average. Estimates show that almost 2.5 million people owe over $100,000 in college debt.  Make no mistake, with that much debt the rungs on your ladder to a better life will be firmly blocked.

This college debt or any money you spend or borrow for education should be thought of as an investment in your future. And like any investment you need to be reasonably sure that you will see a solid return on your investment. And this particular education investment can cost you a lot of money and time.

Sure… People might be telling you to follow your dream in college. But the way I think about it is that college is career training. Getting a job. If you want to pursue poetry, creative writing, psychology, history, or a foreign language don’t mortgage your future for something that at best will get you a job frothing cappuccinos. You can always pursue these dreams for free at your local library where stacks of books await you at no charge. Probably the same books used in a college course that could cost you up to $10,000.

So… Do the math and make sure a job awaits you and the end of your education adventure that can actually provide enough money pay back all of your education loans in not more than ten years.

And of course, this leads to resolution number three…

Don’t get suckered into paying for someone else’s education.

This may seem harsh but some parents (and even grandparents) have an attitude that it is required for them to pay for their children’s college education. Sort of like how Disney has everyone convinced that every parent has an obligation to bring their kids to Disney World.

Here’s the dilemma… When a parent diverts money to paying for college for a kid it comes from somewhere. Usually indirectly from retirement savings.  The parent is basically trading off future security so some kid can go off to a four-year party. And the bill for that education adventure can be as high as $250,000 when you include everything.

Now here’s some interesting math to show what this $250,000 really costs the parent… Assume the Parent is forty-five years old. That means that the $250,000 would have twenty years to grow in a retirement account if it was not spent on a kid’s college. At a conservative 7% interest per year that means the college adventure actually cost the Parent $967,421 of retirement savings.  And that is just for one kid.

That’s another income inequality aspect of this… Will an extra million dollars have any impact on your retirement?  I bet it will…

Bottom line is that a kid can take a loan out for college. The government and banks are standing in line ready to loan kids money for college. But when you get to the ripe old age of sixty-five no government agency or bank will be ready to loan you a million dollars so you can pay for food, housing, medical, and other expenses in your retirement.

So… If your kid is putting the pressure on you to pay for college simply ask them this question… “Since we will be taking this money out of our retirement savings we may be at risk of not having enough money for food, housing, and medical when we retire… Can we count on you to financially help us when we are retired?” If they ask how much… Figure the million dollars over 25 years or around $3,500 a month.

If they say sure they will send you the monthly checks… Then you have a great kid. Get your attorney to draw up the papers. But I will bet that most kids will laugh when you suggest they help you out in retirement. Mine did…

I hope these New Year’s resolutions will be easier for you to keep than the ones you already forgot about. Good luck…

Mike Pence Can Save Trump and the Republican Party – Why Not Make Some History Today?

sad-trump-bigDonald Trump is looking like Dog Dirt today. Finally, his past indiscretions may have caught up with him. More and more former supporters are saying they will not vote for Trump. The Republican Party has been reluctant to fully embrace Trump from the start. What did they know? What other shameful evidence could be trotted out over the next few weeks leading up to the election?

Which brings us to the thorny subject of making history…

On a good day The Donald might make one of the greatest presidents of all time… His combination of transparency, business acumen, and negotiating skills might just make America great again.

But with the latest evidence about his dark character I think most people can agree that this guy is not going to make it to the White House. A week ago maybe there was hope but today no way. His candidacy is done.

This thing can go two different ways right now and the future of our two party system hangs in the balance:

1) Trump stays in the Presidential race – He will lose in the biggest landslide in history.
2) Trump bails out right now – There is still time for the Republican party to partially recover and at least gain back some credibility.

The problem is that Trump has said he will not bail out and I believe him. Why quit when he has come this far. Somewhere in the back of his head he is hearing a little voice saying “No publicity is bad publicity”.

Well this time that old saying doesn’t count.  The American people will not put a person like Donald Trump in the White House. The big hint for Trump should be the number of Republican Leader who have said they will hold their noses and vote for Hilary Clinton.

sad-penseThis brings us to Mike Pence the Vice Presidential Candidate and Trumps running mate and how he has a chance to make history and right the Republican ship…

Mr. Pence has the choice right now to follow Donald Trump down the river in a stunning presidential loss that not only will cost the Republicans the White House but very possibly Congress, too.

Or…

Mr. Pence can choose to make history right now today and step up to a podium some place and resign as the Vice Presidential Candidate. And along with that say a few choice words about Mr. Trump’s character and why he is no longer interested in working with Trump.

And… Mr. Pence should resign about seven minutes before Donald Trump steps up to the podium to debate Hilary Clinton tonight.

Let’s see how Mr. Trump takes that news…

Could These New Year’s Resolutions Chip Away At
Income Inequality?

New Year 2016This is the time of year when people might be thinking about New Year’s resolutions. So here are five New Year’s resolutions that just might help get us on a path to solving this Income Inequality dilemma…

As a transparent person I really can’t ever claim to know anything about the struggles that confront people of color (any color beside transparent) in the United States. I can’t claim to have a real sense of the fear some people feel when a police officer stops them on the street, or the feeling of being turned down for a job when I met every qualification, or the realization that I just won’t be able to give my kids a wonderful “story-book” Christmas.

So please cut me some slack as you read this. It comes from the right place. Give me a chance. Maybe the same chance you might want some day…

I recently watched a speech by a young black man. He had been a victim of unwarranted police violence. He survived physically but the his mental scars cut deep and may never totally heal. A white kid in the same situation probably would not have been victimized. But unfortunately this is the world we live in today. It is appalling…

Although my heart goes out to this young black man for the injustices he has suffered, unfortunately I could not agree with the theme of his speech. And… You might not either…

He restated his theme over and over. He pounded it as hard as those cops pounded on his face. Maybe harder.

His theme was that black kids in this country have no hope of improving their lives.  No matter how hard they work they have no hope. Poverty, discrimination, futility was all they could ever expect from life! His words. Not mine.

This young black man was a student at a leading university. He was from a poverty level broken home but he had somehow found his way out of the inner city. He was born when his mom was a in her teens and his father was largely not involved in his life.

Hopelessness Is The Real Problem

Hopelessness Is The Real Problem

The scary part for me is that this young black man is being given a national platform to bring his THERE IS NO HOPE message to the masses. I could picture thousands of five year old black kids hearing this well-spoken articulate young man tell them they had no hope.

My hope is that those kids don’t believe him.

Believing a THERE IS NO HOPE message means only one thing… Failure is assured.

I wish this young black man would have used his new found notoriety to instead talk about how he made it. What were the key things that got him from a desperate childhood to a classroom in a leading university and certainly on the way to a bright future.

Instead of preaching a message of THERE IS NO HOPE maybe he could lay out the four things black families could do to be sure that this terrible Police Brutality, Hopelessness, and Income Inequality gets put a path to ending.

These four things could be just the New Year’s resolution needed that could make a big difference.

First lets agree that education is the key…

lottery

The Best Way To Succeed At Life And Love

Barring any effect related to wizarding magic, winning lottery numbers, and inheritance from a long lost rich uncle the only way to get ahead is to get a good education. In an information centered economy like ours people with a solid education in marketable fields will always find work. You will probably always find work if you are a plumber too. But that takes education also.

So where is the education breakdown in this country?

We can complain about the schools, the teachers, and the lack of classroom technology but all those will probably cost money that schools and municipalities just don’t have. And the rich (those 1% to 10%ers) alone can’t pay for what’s really needed even if we had a 99% tax rate. The middle class has been hollowed out or left the areas where the tax revenue is needed. And those people below the middle class don’t pay enough taxes.

Bottom line… There is not enough money for the government to solve this education problem on their own. If you think they can solve the problem on their own then you probably believe in wizarding magic, winning lottery numbers, and inheritance from a long lost rich uncle.

So… Baring wizarding magic, a huge lottery win, or a rich uncle (even all Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s  money could not solve this education problem)…  What can be done?

We can whine and moan while we tell everyone else what to do or what we deserve.  And… tell our kids their future is hopeless or we can formulate a plan for real change like these five New Year’s resolutions:

  1. HAVE A BETTER ATTITUDE – Tell our kids that their future is bright if they work hard and make the right decisions. And offer to support them any way we can. More on this later.
  2. FOCUS ON FAMILY – Teenagers stop having kids so young. Moms have fewer kids. Mom and Dad stay together if you
    Family Is Important

    Family Is Important

    can. If you split up still take full responsibility for your kids. Forget about your potentially terrible childhood. That’s over. This is a chance for you to make a difference going forward.

  3. PARENTS TAKE RESPONSIBILITY – Own your child’s future. No one else is going to do this for you. Not teachers, not politicians, not anyone. What you do and how you behave will dictate 80% of how your child will end up in life. Things like showing an interest in their school work, providing a good environment for doing homework, requiring they do their homework. Sure you might say that what if the kids are just bad or refuse…. Start when they are four years old. Start the habits early and stick with them. If you are not willing to put in the effort then there is a high probability of failure. Your child’s failure. Like I said no one else can do this. It’s your responsibility.
  4. MAKE BETTER DECISIONS – You are not powerless. You decide how you spend your time and how to set your priorities. These decisions are a key to what happens in your life. Here’s a secret… Only make a decision to do something that will improve your current situation. If doing something move you to a worse place then don’t do it. The long-term (even just a year) cumulative effect of making decisions that only improve your situation are huge. These small steps add up. I know I’m repeating here but… Little things like showing interest in your child’s school work, going to a parent/teacher conference, praising your child for accomplishing an class assignment, keep the television (one any of the other screens) turned off until homework is done. I’m sure you can think of about a thousand other example decisions you might be faced with in 2016… Before your decide what to do and take action simply ask yourself, “Will this improve my (or my child’s) life?” If yes, then proceed. If no, don’t do it!
  5. FIND A MENTOR – Absolutely no one has all the answers on their own. Look at your community and try to find
    The Right Mentor Can Make A Difference

    The Right Mentor Can Make A Difference

    someone you can talk with to help you make the right decisions going forward. This could be a person at your church, a business person, a person at your child’s school, or your great aunt Wilma. Pick someone you admire. Someone whose life you would like to emulate. Whoever you pick, I can guarantee they will be flattered and glad to help. Test your key decisions with your Mentor. See what they think. They may make some suggestion for options you didn’t realize existed.

If you try these New Year’s resolutions and they do not help your child get a better education then you have only wasted a year… A year of having a better attitude, focusing on your family, taking responsibility for your kid’s future, making better decisions, and spending time with a mentor.

Sounds like a pretty good way to spend a year.

Stack up five or ten or eighteen years like this with your kids and you can expect they will value education more, learn from your example on how to make good decisions, and most importantly learn to depend on themselves to make a change in their lives.

NYC Imagrents

They Started With Nothing But Built A Nation

And here’s the big secret… These five New Year’s resolutions are nothing new. This is how people have been working for and achieving the American Dream since 1776.  And I am talking about people who have splashed up on our shores without any skills, ability to speak English, or any education. And most of these people achieved their dreams in a time when a thing called “Discrimination” was an ugly part of the landscape. There were no laws to protect them.

All they had was hard work, persistence, and hope. And… that was enough!

What’s really going on with Income Inequality anyway?
It may take a year to find out.

incomeeq1-21-2014aThis whole subject of Income Inequality has been stewing for a while. It seems like most of the noise is cooked up just to get attention. The problem is that people may be getting all fired up based on news papers trying to create headlines that sell more papers.

Inocmeeq1-21-2014b

Or maybe what’s really happening is more sinister than anyone could ever imagine. Sort of like that NSA phone hacking thing really being worse than anything you would see in a bad Hollywood movie thriller.

Well… Now that I have cracked the formula for the perfect omelet 2014 seems like a great year to dive in and see what I can uncover on the Income Inequality subject.

Death-of-the-Middle-ClassEspecially as things get louder and sides start to form based on what could be inaccurate facts. But don’t worry I will still keep working on the Perfect Low Glycemic Bran Muffin formula. No use derailing that effort. You can actually eat muffins while money is largely not edible.

DTAbbyAlso… I have been watching Dowton Abby lately (just started watching season one on Amazon Prime – Thank you Jeff Bezos)  so it looks like this Income Inequality is not really something new. The residents the Abby all look pretty capable so as the season unfolds I hope to learn more about why they seem to need over twenty people to take care of the family of five. And that does not count the grounds keepers, barn help, and the IT guy who keeps their WiFi running.