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Job Growth in the U.S. Slows down + How to Use Entrepreneurship as a Plan B

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Job growth across the U.S. took a big hit in May, with private payrolls growing by just 27,000, against the 173,000 estimated. The disappointing figures from ADP and Moody’s Analytics are the worst since March 2010, when the employment market posted a loss of 113,000 jobs. Small businesses with less than 50 employees were the worst hit in the most recent report, posting about 50,000 lost jobs. “Labor shortages are impeding job growth, particularly at small companies,” according to Moody’s Analytics.

With job uncertainty looming, it is time to sharpen up our skills, but it’s always a good idea to get your feet wet first before you fully jump in. As always, we are here to help. Here are some ways to get you started as an entrepreneur:

1. Sell your good-quality, unwanted items.

Since one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, consider selling unwanted items on eBay, Craigslist or other similar sites—it is a great way to begin learning about entrepreneurship. You simply have to take all the stuff that you have laying around the house that you don’t need, and sell it. You’ll learn how to price your items, ship them, and many times how to negotiate.

2. Sell freebies from Craigslist.

Continuing in that same vein…what if you want to keep everything you have? Or what if you just don’t have anything to sell? Well, selling freebies from Craigslist is a great alternative. Just look for free stuff on Craigslist. Some items are in great shape. But if they’re not, spruce them up and resell them either on Craigslist, at a flea market or a garage sale.

3. Sell yourself (not that way).

Fiverr, Elance, Craigslist gives you a platform to sell your skills. Have a beautiful voice? Create personalized phone greetings. Are you a wiz at editing videos? Do it for others. Are you knowledgeable about design? Create a logo for someone. The list is endless.

4. Teach classes online.

Teaching classes online is actually a very lucrative business if you can find your voice and audience. How lucrative? It’s a 100 billion dollar industry! If you are particularly good at something, you can create online courses on Udemy or start your own online school using teachable.com or thinkific.com. Though top experts use this as a worthwhile way to earn residual income, everyday Joes and Janes use this as a way to sell anything from how to knit to their mobile app development expertise. Don’t know where to start? As you can see, there’s a class for that.

5. Offer to watch children.

Another way to start your journey as an entrepreneur is to hit up mom and dad. No, not your mom and dad. I mean parents who are busy professionals with small children. They may have to strain to remember the last time they were able to go to a restaurant or spend some quiet time with their significant other. Offering to watch their children can give you a head start on creating your own business as well as a valuable lesson in patience.

6. Become a brand ambassador.

Lastly, becoming a brand ambassador is a great way to not only get your feet wet in business but your knees and thighs too. Whether you have a small or large social media presence, you can use your influence to promote brands and get paid for it. (Make sure you’re only aligning yourself with brands you believe in). Doing this will give you an inside look into how established businesses (and even start-ups) want to portray themselves to the public.

While there are many other ways, those mentioned above are just some to get you started. What are some ideas that you may have? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below and let me know how you believe that you can start your journey as a business owner/side-hustler.

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)

America’s Richest Families make $4 Million Every Hour + Things Not to Do If You Ever Strike it Rich

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The fortune of America’s richest dynasty is growing by $4 million every hour, according to Bloomberg’s annual list of the world’s wealthiest families. Those are the stats for the Walton family, which draws its $190.5 billion fortune from Walmart. The Mars family (of candy fame) comes in second on the list, with $126.5 billion, while the Kochs round out the top three with wealth valued at $124.5 billion. Collectively, the 25 families on the list are worth nearly $1.4 trillion — a 24% increase from 2018.

$4 Million every hour is a lot of money! What would you do with that type of bank? You might think you’ll be fine with managing your money but that may not be the case. When winning a large sum of money you do not win the financial education that needs to go with it so many unintentionally squander the funds away. Check out the following 10 storys from PennyHoarders.com article of 21 Lottery Winners Who Lost Everything:

1. A Typical Story?

Lisa Arcand won $1 million in the Massachusetts lottery in 2004. She bought a house and went on vacations like many winners.

Of course, a million dollars isn’t much after taxes, so she also opened a restaurant to make some additional income. Sadly, within a few years she ran out of money and closed the failing restaurant. In 2007, she said of her lottery experience, “Actually, it’s been very depressing.”

2. From Millionaire to Factory Worker

Michael Carroll was a garbage man in England when, at age 19, he won £9.7 million (about $14.4 million at the time) in the lottery in 2002. A mansion, drugs and gold jewelry ate up the money quickly.

By 2012, Carroll was broke and living off unemployment checks. Now he works in a slaughterhouse, making £400 (about $511) per week.

3. Party Down… and Down, and Down

Gerald Muswagon, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, won $10 million in 1998. He bought cars for friends and family, and made his new house into a “party pad.”

Eventually, he’d spent all his money and he took a minimum-wage job to support his six children and his girlfriend. In 2005, just seven years after his big win, he took his own life.

4. Generous to a Fault

Janite Lee won $18 million in 1993. Although her gambling habit reportedly cost her more than $300,000 per year, she may have spent more on charitable and political donations. Her generosity included $1 million for Washington University to build a new library. In 2001, she filed for bankruptcy.

5. Millionaire or Murderer?

Willie Hurt won $3.1 million in the Michigan lottery in 1989. The money didn’t last long. Within two years Hurt wrecked his marriage, lost custody of his kids and was charged with attempted murder. He spent his winnings on his divorce and drugs, according to his attorney.

6. Big Winner Goes Deep in Debt

Suzanne Mullins won $4.2 million in 1993 in the Virginia lottery. She split the prize with her husband and was supposed to receive 20 annual after-tax payments of $47,778.

But when money got tight, she borrowed from a company that lends cash to lottery winners. In 2000, the lottery rules changed, allowing Mullins to collect the rest of her money all at once. She apparently spent the money rather than pay back what she owed to the lottery lender, and in 2004 a court ruled she still owed the company $154,147.

7. $31 Million Gone in Two Years

Billie Bob Harrell Jr. won $31 million in the Lotto Texas game in 1997, and he no longer had to stock shelves at Home Depot.

He bought a ranch and a few homes, gave money to his church and made loans to friends. Everyone wanted a piece of his money, and soon his marriage was in trouble as he lent and spent all of his winnings. In 1999, less than two years after his big win, Harrell took his own life.

8. Big Spending

Sharon Tirabassi, of Hamilton, Ontario, won $10.5 million in 2004. She treated friends to vacations in Cancun, Las Vegas, California, Florida and the Caribbean. She got married and bought a house for $515,000 — and got a $360,000 mortgage loan rather than paying all cash. She bought numerous cars, including one that cost more than $200,000, and gave millions of dollars to family and friends.

By 2007, half of her money was gone. By 2008, with her husband in jail for a DUI, Tiribassi lost their home. Now, to pay the rent and support her kids, she takes the bus to her part-time job.

9. Living for the Moment

Lou Eisenberg won $5 million in 1981, which at the time was the largest lottery win ever. After taxes, he received payments of $120,000 annually for 20 years. He bought a condo in Florida, took trips to Europe and Hawaii, and gambled. He also gave cash to whoever he figured needed it. Of his spending, he says, “I lived for the day.”

Shortly after cashing his last check in 2001, Eisenberg was broke. Now 81 years old, he lives in a mobile home on social security and pension income that amounts to about $1,000 a month.

10. Elderly Lottery Winner Looking for a Job

Vivian Nicholson, of Castleford, England, won £152,300 in 1961, the equivalent of about £3 million today ($3.5 million). She famously vowed to “spend, spend, spend!” She bought expensive designer dresses, vacations, and a new car every six months.

By the 1970s, Nicholson was broke. In 1998, she received money from “Spend, Spend, Spend,” a musical about her life, and spent it all quickly. By 2007, at age 71, she was living on a pension of £87 weekly ($102), and was looking for a job. After sending out 25 resumes, she still hadn’t found one. She died in 2015.

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Apple Is Officially in the Credit Card Game

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Apple has officially started accepting applications for its new credit card offer, issued by Goldman Sachs. They’re not the first tech company to have its own credit card so what’s the big deal?

Experts from the personal-finance website WalletHub have the answers to burning questions like: Is the new Apple Credit Card any good, who should get it, and what does the launch mean for the credit card business overall? After doing a thorough review of the Apple Card’s publicly available terms, here are a few highlights from WalletHub’s analysis:

  • Not a Good Financing Option: Apple previously said its “goal is to provide interest rates that are among the lowest in the industry.” But now that the terms are official, it’s clear the card should be avoided by anyone who doesn’t pay their bill in full every month. It doesn’t offer 0% introductory rates, and it has a regular APR of 12.99% to 23.99%, which is unfavorable compared to the average APR on a credit card, 15.09%.
     
  • Strong Apple Pay Rewards: The Apple Card is most rewarding when used through Apple Pay. Cardholders earn 3% back when buying Apple products using Apple Pay. Other Apple Pay purchases earn cardholders 2% back.
     
  • Average Physical-Card Rewards: Apple Card purchases made with the physical credit card, rather than via Apple Pay, earn just 1% back. The average cash rewards card gives 1.06% back on all purchases, according to WalletHub data. In contrast, the best rewards credit cards offer the equivalent of at least 2% back on all purchases.
     
  • No Fees: The Apple Card has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and no late fee. The average credit card charges a $18.61 annual fee, a 1.49% foreign fee and a late fee of up to $32.94, according to WalletHub’s Credit Card Landscape Report.

Q&A with WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitrious

Who should apply for the Apple Card?

“The only people who should consider applying for the Apple Card are those who pay their bills in full every month and spend a lot via Apple Pay,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “Everyone else is better off with one of the best rewards credit cards or one of the best 0% APR credit cards.”

Does the Apple Card improve privacy and security?

“Apple Pay is a more secure way to pay, but you can use any credit card with it. The seemingly unique aspect of the Apple Card is the access it gives users to virtual card numbers, but most credit card companies allow users to request virtual card numbers these days. So that alone isn’t a reason to get a specific card,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “Most importantly, at the end of the day, all credit cards give $0 fraud liability guarantees, so consumers are protected from having to pay for unauthorized charges no matter which card they use.”

Should Apple investors be happy about the Apple Card?

“I think Apple investors should actually be angry about Apple going into the credit card business,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “The move is simply more evidence for anti-trust investigators that Apple is exercising an unfair competitive advantage in an attempt to enter adjacent industries in a meaningful way. Similarly, credit card companies will be concerned and may start rethinking their support of the Apple ecosystem altogether.”


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The Daily Digm (News)

Retail Worker Pay Hits 15-Year High + What to do with that extra cash in your paycheck!

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Minimum wage increases by states and across major chains, like Walmart Inc. and Target Corp., have created substantial income gains for retail workers. Average hourly earnings for 13.4 million non-supervisory retail workers surged 5.1% last year for the biggest advance since 1981, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The good news is that they’ve kept rising, hitting $16.65 an hour in July. When adjusted for inflation, that’s the highest level since December 2003.

However, the bad news is that while retail associates have made recent gains, they still earn much less than hourly workers other sectors. They are now making 29% less than the average for all non-supervisory employees, just a small improvement from 30% a decade ago. But let’s focus on the positive and anticipate greater improvement in the future and celebrate this small win!

So now that people will receive extra money in their paychecks, what should they do with the extra funds? Here are seven ideas:

1. Start (or contribute more to) a financial freedom fund.

It is a good practice to have at least six to eight months’ worth of expenses in a savings account as an emergency fund or, as I like to call it, a financial freedom fund. Use your bonus as an opportunity to either start your own financial freedom fund or put more into it. Having this money in an account will help you weather any financial storm and give you the strength to walk away from a toxic working environment.

2. Put more money into your 401(k).

A 401(k) is a great way to save for retirement. Even more so, if your employer provides a matching program, it gives you even more of a reason to start participating. Your bonus can give you the cash flow you need to increase your 401(k) contributions. While tax laws may not allow you to deposit your bonus into your 401(k) directly, having access to the extra cash will allow you to increase what you normally contribute from your check without the fear of not having enough money to meet your budget.

3. Put money aside for a big purchase.

Many of us would love to buy a new car, fancy furniture, trendy electronics, or upgrade our wardrobe, but may not have had the funds to do so. If your bonus is big enough, this may be the time to set aside money to make a big purchase. While I don’t suggest that you use all of your bonus, this can give you a head start on achieving your dreams.

4. Start investing in the markets.

Many people do not invest their money outside of retirement savings plans. But now may be the time you take a shot at it. Investing money outside of your retirement account can give you some good returns in the long run and diversify assets to mitigate risk. Instead of putting all of your eggs in one basket, spread them out to increase your chance of reaching true financial freedom.

5. Invest in yourself.

Author Robin S. Sharma said, “Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life; it will improve the lives of all those around you.” Take this opportunity to invest in a certificate program, buy some books, hire a coach, or take an exciting online course (like the ones they offer on Udemy.com). Invest in yourself and allow your value to go up in the long term.

6. Give to charity.

Not only is giving to a good cause a noble thing to do, but it can also help increase your blessings. There is a universal law that says, “The more you, give the more you get.” Use this blessing to be a blessing to others.

7. Have some fun!

If you have been following your budget strictly and have been diligent with prioritizing finances, then this might be a good time to let your hair loose. Have some fun—use some of your bonus to simply enjoy yourself! Buy an expensive dinner, purchase a piece of jewelry you’ve always wanted, or go on a two-week excursion that’s on your bucket list. You only live once, so if you’ve been doing so responsibly, then it’s about time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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