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It Pays to Vote + 50 Ways Government Works for Us

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It’s starting to pay to exercise your right to vote… At least for close to half of US employees. Bloomberg reports that a record amount of companies are offering paid time off for their employees to vote. About 44% of U.S. firms are offering the perk to their employees for the Nov. 6 midterm elections, compared to 37% during the 2016 election, according to the Society for Human Resources Management. Additionally, 400 companies have signed on to efforts to boost voter turnout through ElectionDay.org and Time to Vote. But this isn’t the first time that politics have affected your pockets. Below is a list recreated by SEC.gov breaking down 50 Ways Government Works for Us:

1. Social Security payments help 51 million Americans.
2. College loan programs help millions who might otherwise not be able to afford higher
education.
3. U.S. Postal Service inspection programs help prevent mail fraud.
4. Social Security disability provides benefits if you become too disabled to work.
5. Medicare provides government health care for seniors.
6. Food stamps protect families facing hardship by helping them buy the food they need for
good health.
7. Organic foods are certified by U.S. Department of Agriculture standards.
8.OSHA regulations and inspections protect America’s workforce by limiting exposure to
toxic chemicals.
9.The federal minimum wage law makes sure every covered worker gets paid a basic wage.
10. The Family and Medical Leave Act provides the right to take time off from work to care
for a sick child or parent without losing your job.
11. The National Archives is the nation’s record keeper, overseeing the Declaration of
Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.
12. The Department of the Interior protects our national parks for the enjoyment of all
Americans.
13. Bank regulations limit your loss to $50 if someone steals money from your account with
your ATM card.
14. Copyright and patent laws protect an invention or creative work from being stolen.
15. Child-resistant packaging rules reduce poisonings from medicine and household cleaners.
16. Public education is available to every child.
17. The U.S. Mint prints currency and manufactures coin.
18. Inspection of meat, dairy and food protects against contamination and disease.
19. Truth in Lending laws discourage rip-offs by credit card companies.
20. School lunch regulations mandate nutritious meals.
21. Enforcement of the federal Clean Air Act guarantees commitment toward providing safer
air to breathe.
22. Federal dams provide electrical power, flood control and irrigation.
23. Federal deposit insurance protects bank accounts.
24. Construction and maintenance of interstate highways link the country.
25. The government provides assistance to artists and musicians to help develop and preserve American culture.
26. Military doctors eliminated disease like typhoid and yellow fever.
27. Regulations prevent the sale of alcohol and tobacco to minors.
28. The U.S. Weather Service provides storm and hurricane warnings.
29. Federal law prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of age, race, gender, color,
national origin, religion, childbirth or disability.
30. The Federal Housing Authority helps Americans become homeowners.
31. Consulates and embassies help U.S. citizens traveling abroad.
32. FEMA provides support for victims of hurricanes, floods or other disasters.
33. The National Park Service maintains several thousand miles of trail for park visitors.
34. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers helps maintain the nation’s ports, harbors and
navigation channels.
35. Veterans receive education assistance through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’
GI Bill.
36. Each year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves new medicines.
37. The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world with millions of books,
recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections, which are made
available to the public.
38. Public water systems provide safe drinking water based on standards set by the EPA.
39. The Transportation Security Administration monitors the 39 billion tons of cargo t
hat are transported annually by passenger and freight carriers.
40. Thanks to the Federal Aviation Administration the United States’ air traffic control
system is the safest in the world.
41. Universities receive 60 percent of all research funding from federal agencies.
42. The Small Business Administration helps Americans start, grow and build businesses.
43. The Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees equal opportunity for people with
disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local
government services and telecommunications.
44. Veterans Affairs’ facilities treat millions of Americans each year.
45. Customs and Border Patrol agents protect our borders every day.
46. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health sequenced the human genome, which set a
new course for developing ways to diagnose and treat diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s
Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease.
47. Labor laws guarantee you cannot be prematurely replaced if you strike over unfair labor
practices.
48. The National Cancer Institute has made many discoveries in the treatment of the disease.
49. Economic statistics-keeping helps track inflation.
50. The “Do Not Call” Registry makes it easier for consumers to stop getting telemarketing
calls that they don’t want.

Ash Exantus aka Ash Cash is one of the nation’s top personal finance experts. Dubbed as the Financial Motivator, he uses a culturally responsive approach in teaching financial literacy. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money. The views and opinions expressed are those of Ash Cash and not the views of BankMobile and/or its affiliates.

The Daily Digm (News)

Amazon Prime Day Kicks off W/ Competition + How to Kick off the Habit of Paying Full Price

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Ready, set, go! Amazon’s Prime Day starts today and continues through Tuesday, bringing a whole new meaning to retail wars, as Walmart becomes the latest rival to try to get in on the mid-summer online-shopping bonanza. This year marks Amazon’s fifth year of Prime Day, and according to Salesforce’s Rob Garf, the shopping event has prompted “rising shifts” for the entire month of July. Target and eBay have also announced sales of their own. There is definitely competition in these mean retail streets but how do you compete with yourself to save money?

I have a friend who spent time as an intern and then as an assistant buyer at a Fortune 500 specialty brand, and from her experience, she vowed never to pay full price for a pair of jeans again (unless the price is already right of course). Working in the buying department opened her eyes to reality behind retail. For instance, jewelry can be marked up to at least five times its value. As a buyer, you’re the one who actually chooses what looks go into each door. You also have the privilege of watching sales trends and dealing with a lot of retail math. You consider the cost of goods sold, retail price, and yes, the markup.

Markup is when a company produces or purchases a good at one price and then sells the good for a higher price.

Here’s how it works:

Selling price = [(Cost) ÷ (100 – percentage markup)] × 100.

So, a company buys a pair of jeans at wholesale for $60 and needs to sell it at a 60 percent markup. The calculation would be [($60) ÷ (100 – 60)] x 100. This breaks down to ($60 ÷ 40) x 100, resulting in a selling price of $150.

By having a markup on goods, a company is able to earn profits even when goods go on sale. But what does that mean for the consumer? Well, your pricey luxury shoes, shirt, and hand bag aren’t all that expensive. You just paid an absurd amount for it.

This leads me to the premise of this article – start at the sales rack. Being trendy with your finances should come before fashion. See what deals you can get before paying full price. There is nothing more fashionable then extra cash in your money bag.

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The Daily Digm (News)

Another One! U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Wins Again + How to Win in Your Personal Finances

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The U.S. women’s soccer team are the World Cup champions after beating the Netherlands 2-0. It’s the fourth title overall for the Americans, and the first time they have won back-to-back trophies. The team has also launched itself into the gender pay gap debate with its lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation: the women can expect a guaranteed payday of about $250,000 with Sunday’s title, says the New York Times, while the winning team of the men’s World Cup would have received roughly $1.1 million each, per CNBC.

What about in your personal finances? How do you win? The short-term sacrifice of becoming financially focused early on has long term benefits that are totally worth it also. Here are just a few:

Financial Freedom. The definition of financial freedom varies depending on the person, but it boils down to being able to cover life’s necessities, including food, clothing, and housing expenses. Buckling down in your twenties and thirties to focus on laying a financial foundation leads to financial freedom. And the sooner you get there, the better off you’ll be.

Stress Free Living. Most stress is self-imposed and generally centered around money. Some relationships crumble due to tension perceived by finances. The highest liability we encounter is housing. The second and third largest consist of health care and food. While food and medicine are ongoing obligations, owning a home can eliminate a chunk of financial responsibility, freeing up more money to save and invest. Start early when it comes to homeownership. You may miss a few parties, but the peace that comes with owning the home you rest in will be made up for it.

Generational Wealth. Chances are you’re considering starting a family. What better way to honor those you love with an abundant financial future? Each generation should be able to start a notch above the last. Investing five years of your young adulthood can make a 10-year difference in the lives of your unborn children. This sacrifice isn’t only for you but for those to come after you.

More Time. We are not so much looking for more stuff but for more time to enjoy the stuff we already have and the people we can share that stuff with. The reason most look to retirement is to enjoy what they have worked so hard for. The moment you decide to be financially responsible is the moment you begin to enjoy the journey, both the highs and lows of creating wealth. By all means, don’t save the party until the end. Celebrate while you build but remember to never lose focus of the building. 

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The Daily Digm (News)

Nike AIMS to Get on the Right Side of History + How to Be on the Right Side of Your Legacy

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Nike has pulled a U.S.A-themed sneaker from its range after receiving objections from Colin Kaepernick, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing anonymous sources. The former NFL player reportedly told the company that the early American flag featured on the Air Max 1 USA, created in celebration of July 4, was offensive due to its connection to slavery. Nike also recently stopped selling some products in China after a designer’s support for Hong Kong protests sparked backlash, and reportedly cancelled a sneaker in May following objections.

The flag in particular is the Betsy Ross flag which Wikipedia states: The Betsy Ross flag is an early design of the flag of the United States, attributed to Betsy Ross, using the common motifs of the alternating red-and-white striped field with five-pointed stars in a blue canton. Grace Rogers Cooper noted that the first documented usage of this flag was in 1792.[1] The flag features 13 stars to represent the original 13 colonies with the stars arranged in a circle. The 13 Colonies has a deep connection to Slavery which is where the objection is coming from.

It is good to see that someone is using their influence in the right way, but also this tells you how influence can affect the bottom line. This move is helping Nike create or clean up its legacy.

We are now in graduation season, and for many students, graduating college is an enormous feat that starts the beginning of their legacy. But after you are now free to do as you wish, how do you continue to add to that legacy? Yes, you are going to start a billion dollar business or work as an exec for a fortune 500 company but beyond your title and accolades, what else can you bring to the table? The truth of the matter is that what you do with your money is more important than how much you have. It is said that a good man (or woman) leaves an inheritance for his (or her) children’s children. And even if we don’t have children, leaving an inheritance of wealth on earth for the benefit of others is the truest form of what we call being rich. If one is truly wealthy, he or she freely gives. Making your riches count is found in your legacy. So, while we may not fully understand what our legacy will be when all is said and done, we can aim to leave the following:

Knowledge & Wisdom.

Maya Angelou told Oprah Winfrey that no one truly knows their legacy because they can influence different people differently. No matter your level of education, you have the ability to give a word of wisdom because the wise are those who have experienced life and learn lessons along the way. Never underestimate your ability to encourage another person.

Kindness.

Ellen DeGeneres is synonymous with kindness. At the end of each show, she can be heard saying Be Kind to One Another. The impact that she has had on students, families, young stars, and animals is surely a legacy. Something as simple as kindness, an ability we all have access to because it resides in us, goes a very long way. It literally changes lives.

Money & Assets.

Robert Kiyosaki said money isn’t everything, but it does affect almost everything in our lives that is important. Leaving beyond money and financial assets to your children and their children can put your loved ones ahead 10, 20, and even 50 years. While you are building wealth, keep future generations in mind. Most of our early adulthood is spent paying school loans, discovering our purpose, and laying a financial foundation. Imagine what life would be like if your parents set up twice as much as they did for you financially. You’d most likely be at least five years ahead of where you are.

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