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The Daily Digm (News)

It Pays to Vote + 50 Ways Government Works for Us



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 and Time to Vote. But this isn’t the first time that politics have affected your pockets. Below is a list recreated by 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
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
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
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)

Credit Union Loans Getting Riskier + How-To Not Get Risky with Your Student Loans



Credit unions have increasingly taken on high-risk loans, which could lead to borrowers or taxpayers getting burned in the event of another financial crisis, reports The Wall Street Journal. The member-owned alternatives to banks are designed to provide lower borrowing costs and higher deposit rates. Yet, credit unions’ assets have grown almost twice as fast as those of banks over the past ten years. High-risk loans from banks contributed significantly to the 2008 financial crisis. This is dangerous because unlike a traditional bank Credit Unions are owned by its members so it is the members who stand to lose the most. But how can you make your Credit Union loans less risky? This is the same question we ask when it’s time to pay off our student loans. Who will be the first? Or How can you pay off your loans faster? Here are six ways:

1. Develop a plan

Develop a plan to pay off your student loan debt before you graduate.

2. Save your money

Each summer throughout your college education, get a job or internship. Save half the money in a high-interest savings account. After a few months, consult a financial advisor to earn the highest possible return on your money. After college, you can use the money saved during all four years to pay down your college debt.

3. Consolidate your loans (But use caution)

Consolidating student loans combines your loans into one payment but may or may not provide you with a lower interest rate. Do extensive research before consolidating your student loans. In addition, you may not be eligible for various student loan forgiveness programs if you consolidate your student loans.

4. Exchange work to reduce debt

Perform volunteer work or work for the following in exchange for reducing student loan debt: teaching in certain locations with low-income students or areas with a shortage of teachers, providing legal and medical services in low-income areas or working for Americorps or the Peace Corps.

5. Get a work-study job

To help pay for the costs of college get a work-study job on campus to help defray the cost of college. Go to your campus employee office to ask about their work-study program. Work-study jobs pay at least the minimum wage for that state.

6. Apply for grants + scholarships

Apply for as many grants and scholarships as possible. Unlike loans, grants and scholarships never have to be paid back. Some grant websites are,,,, and

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The Daily Digm (News)

Black Friday Sales Could Hit $7.4b + How to Control Your Cyber Monday Spending



You get a deal, you get a deal, you get a deal and you get a deal!!! This year everyone from Amazon, Walmart and Target are offering “holiday deals” ahead of Black Friday so it’s safe to say, Black Friday isn’t even a thing anymore? Right??? Wrong!!!! Looking at early numbers Black Friday is very much alive and well. According to CNBC shoppers spent a record-high $4.2 billion online on Thanksgiving, a 14.5% increase from last year. In addition, their data suggests Black Friday online sales are expected to hit $7.4 billion, with shoppers having already spent $5.4 billion as of 9 p.m. ET, or a 22.3% increase from last year. 

While we know that Black Friday is intended to help us save money on things we wouldn’t purchase anyway, Black Friday has now been fueled by intense FOMOOD (Fear of Missing Out on Deals). The pressure of having to amass dozens of holiday gifts coupled with the frantic message that you’ll never see these deals again often sends shoppers into a tizzy of overspending, eventually culminating in personal debt.

To avoid the deep despair that can haunt your bank account long after Thanksgiving weekend, heed the following tips:

1) Be honest: how much can you afford to spend on Cyber Monday?

Try to answer this question rationally and honestly. Do you live paycheck to paycheck, or have you saved up a little bundle that you can use on deals? Make sure that if you are going shopping on Cyber Monday, you’re not behind on any bills, and you are not using your credit cards to finance your splurging.

2) Think like Santa Claus and make a dang list.

It’s all about planning ahead. If you go into the insanity of Black Friday shopping without a plan to keep you tethered to reality, you’ll get swept up in the excitement of seemingly attractive deals and overspend, resulting in a buyer’s remorse that could ruin the whole holiday season. So make that list — and stick to it.

3) Figure out a hard budget.

It’s easy to go into Cyber Monday, believing you’ll be cool and rational and definitely won’t spend too much. You’re too smart for that, right? The most clever thing you can do is sit down ahead of time and figure out a hard budget — an amount that you’re sure you can spend — and write it down so you won’t forget. Without any limits set ahead of time, you can quickly go broke without even realizing it.

4) Only use cash — and leave all credit and debit cards at home.

This one’s tough, but you’ll be glad for it in the end. Once you’ve figured out your budget, take out that amount in cash so you’ll have solid, visual evidence of exactly how much you have left to spend.

This trick won’t work if you also bring along credit and debit cards; however, because the temptation to use them will become overwhelming. Despite your preparation, there will be many tempting deals that may cause you to go temporarily insane, and with access to money at your fingertips, that can be a dangerous blow to your finances. Keeping your cards at home removes the ability to fold to temptations.

5) Don’t be overcome by emotions.

There’s a dizzying, frenetic energy to Cyber Monday, what with all the “once a year” deals demanding that you buy now or forever hold your peace. Combined with the sentimentality of the holidays, when you may be feeling more generous than usual, it becomes a perfect storm of excitement, obligation, and anxiety, causing you to spend beyond your means.

Don’t forget that retailers are actually playing upon these emotions in order to get your business. In fact, the reason why Black Friday is called Black Friday is because this is the day consumers (you) help retailers (them) get in the ‘black,’ which in accountant terms means profitable. See, they aren’t even hiding the fact that they are using you for their gain. And the reason they don’t have to hide it is because they get you to buy by appealing to your emotions. Toughen up and don’t be lured into spending money you don’t have.

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The Daily Digm (News)

Mcdonald’s Settles Its Wage Dispute + How to Settle Between Being an Employee or Entrepreneur



McDonald’s has finally decided to end a multi year-long dispute in California over wages by agreeing to pay $26 million to cooks and cashiers who say the fast-food giant didn’t pay them enough for their work. Tens of thousands of workers are behind the class-action lawsuit, which alleges in part that McDonald’s planned shifts so as to avoid paying overtime to its workers and did not allow fair breaks during shifts. McDonald’s denies any wrongdoing.

Issues like this has many people wanting to be their own boss, but what are the pros and cons of entrepreneurship vs. being an employee?

Employee Benefits vs Do It Yourself

As an employee, you get benefits, which include health, dental, vacation, sick leave, and holidays. This allows employees to have some time to create a work-life balance. They can enjoy paid time to work on personal relationships, hobbies, exercise, or just get some rest.

As an entrepreneur, you do not have a guaranteed income, so if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Many entrepreneurs don’t consider this, so a lot of them find themselves stressed out and overworked. For those who plan early enough, they budget accordingly to afford themselves some rest and relaxation

Guaranteed Income vs. Unlimited Income Potential

Obviously, a huge advantage of employment vs. entrepreneurship is guaranteed income. As an employee, you get a fixed amount of money deposited on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis into your bank account, which means you get afforded some level of financial security. But in the same breathe as an employee, your income is limited to what you agreed on as your salary or hourly rate, which means you are capped on the amount of money you can make.

As an entrepreneur, you have unlimited income potential, which means there are no ceilings when it comes to your income. If you put in the work and sell the right products or services, you can make a lot of money, but on the flip side, there can be months that you go without a deal or steady income and other months where the faucet is overflowing.

Fixed Working Hours vs. Flexible Working Hours

As an employee, you will agree on a fixed amount of hours and schedule in which you will work. Overtime or any extra hours needed will be worked at the employee’s discretion and can include time and a half pay. Sometimes instead of extra pay, you can agree to get comped time, which means you get extra time off.

As an entrepreneur, you choose your working hours. Many entrepreneurs work 80-hour weeks when they’re first starting out, but eventually, they will get people and resources to allow them to sit back and work as little as possible.

Less Responsibility vs. Everything is On You

As an employee, you are often assigned a particular role and are only responsible for performing the tasks that are directly related to that role when you are working. You don’t really have to worry about how others are performing in other parts of the company because they too have their roles, and you are responsible for you.

As an entrepreneur, you are responsible for everything. You are the janitor, the cook, sales, marketing, promotion, operations and everything else in between.

There are many other differences, but based on what you read so far, which would you choose? There’s no right or wrong answer, and honestly, the decision should be made based on your preference. There are many successful employees who love what they do and thrive, and there are many entrepreneurs who wouldn’t trade their life for the world. Ultimately it’s about your happiness and what makes you feel full. I believe that And is better than Or, so if you get stuck on making a decision, try both.

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