Military service has long been a path for social and economic mobility – the gateway to the middle class – for thousands of young American men and women. Service is both a way to see the world and learn valuable skills that can be transferred into civilian life – and many enlistees would not have the opportunity to attend college or purchase a house without the benefits associated with military service. Furthermore, veterans who forego college are likely to earn higher pay than non-veterans who do the same. According to Jay Teachman, a sociology professor at Western Washington University, interviewed in The Fiscal Times, “Even if they [veterans] don’t earn more education, they certainly earn more money.”
It has been said that we live in a throwaway society. We clean our hands on paper napkins, and wipe our noses with paper tissues, tossing them in the trash after a single use. We upgrade our computers and replace our cell phones nearly every year. Many of us even change our whole wardrobes every season, discarding old clothes that are in perfectly good shape because they’re “so last year.”
All this waste is costly – both for us and for the environment. We could all stretch our dollars much further by using the same item many times, rather than just once. And because we’d be buying less, we’d cut down on our use of energy and natural resources as well. So whenever you choose to reuse, you’re making your life greener and cheaper at the same time.
The loss of American jobs has become a potent political issue. Politicians promise to reverse the trend of offshoring and to restore American workers to their previous position as the premier workforce in the world. Many tout new reshoring initiatives, claiming that jobs will return as wage differentials shrink, the quality of foreign goods falls, and shipping costs increase. Others propose new punitive legislation with penalties for moving jobs to foreign countries while erecting trade barriers to ensure that domestic products can compete with lower-priced foreign goods.
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How much money are you leaving on the table?
Even if you maintain strict budgetary discipline and consider yourself a frugal person who resists the temptation to splurge, you probably still spend more than you should – or could – to get by comfortably.
Do you use credit cards regularly? Perhaps you have a favorite cash back rewards credit card that offers a small but meaningful return on every dollar you spend. Or maybe you use a travel rewards credit card to earn points or miles that can be redeemed for free or reduced-cost flights, hotel stays, or car rentals.
Whether you’re a habitual credit card user whose wallet is stuffed with plastic, or a judicious spender who keeps a single, lonely square on hand for emergencies only, you’ve probably received correspondence from your issuers about the switch to EMV (chip) technology. You’ve probably received new cards in the mail too, complete with little circuit-like chips on the front face.
Student loan debt can be an albatross around the neck of recent graduates. Although the number of students with debt didn’t increase by much between 2004 and 2014, the amount of debt held by students did, according to the Institute for College Access and Success. About 69% of 2014 graduates from public and nonprofit universities and colleges had debt, compared to 65% in 2004. The average debt held by 2014 graduates was $28,950 per borrower, an increase that was twice the rate of inflation.
Whether you’re earning your degree at a local community college or living halfway around the world to save money attending a foreign university, you’ve probably considered pursuing internship opportunities in your field.
You’re not alone. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Class of 2015 Student Survey, 62.8% of students in the class of 2015 participated in an internship at some point during their college careers. That represented an uptick from the previous year.
At some colleges and universities, internship participation is much higher. U.S. News identified 10 American institutions where “almost everyone gets internships.” Even at the lowest-ranked school, 94% of students wore the “intern” badge during their college careers.
I think there’s a new syndrome that psychiatrists need to start treating. It’s called a “home inferiority complex.”
You’re at risk for this condition if you spend a lot of time reading decorating magazines or watching HGTV. The first sign is that you find yourself drooling over images of beautifully redecorated rooms, outfitted with thousands of dollars’ worth of new furniture and accessories. Then, as you realize you could never afford this kind of makeover on your modest personal budget, feelings of inadequacy set in. You become depressed at the idea that you’re going to be stuck staring at your bare walls and dated furniture forever.
How’s your commute?
If you’re like most Americans, it probably involves a single-occupancy vehicle that you own or lease and takes a little less than 30 minutes each way. You spend at least some of that time in slow or stopped traffic.
The vast majority of Americans commute in private vehicles – 85.8%, according to the Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey. That figure accounts for both driving alone (76.4%) and carpooling (9.4%). Some commuters use multiple modes – for instance, driving to their a nearby commuter rail station, taking the train into the city, and walking to the office once there. In such cases, the primary mode of commuting is rail, because it’s the longest leg of the trip.
$1.2 million is a lot of money. According to The Hamilton Project, that’s about what the typical four-year degree holder earns over the course of their career. Some majors earn more – up to $2 million or so. Others earn less – just $800,000. Other factors, including geography and career trajectory, obviously factor into these calculations as well.
$1.2 million in career earnings might be enough to support a comfortable family life through three to four decades. However, for most celebrities who’ve achieved household-name status, it’s pocket change. A-list film stars earn 20 times the lifetime earnings of the average bachelor’s degree holder – for a single film. Top athletes can easily pull down $20 million or more per year, depending how their contracts are structured. After accounting for endorsements and business ventures, their earnings can be much higher.