Retirement is a scary thought for many. Why? Aside from retirement ringing the alarm that the end is nearing and we need to have fun everyday, 60 year olds and older either have had to tap into their retirement already to live in the present or they have not begun to save money. According to the most recent State of U.S. Employee Retirement Preparedness study from financial education provider Financial Finesse, sixty-one percent of respondents never calculated their retirement.
State of U.S. Employee Retirement Preparedness compared those who hike the Appalachian Trail for 2,200 miles unprepared. They forge ahead with no compass for direction or gauge to let them know where they stand, having no idea how long the trip will take or how much food they will possibly need and wearing only a single pair of sneakers. When the picture is painted in that way, there are millions of Americans in this position.
A long hot journey has to be planned out. Many are starting out in the wrong vehicle that is unable to get them to their destination. The road to retirement suggests most Americans are starting out unprepared and have no idea why to prepare.
While the numbers are mind numbing and float over the heads of many Americans, employee retirements have improved since 2011. Up from 18% in 2012 and 14% in 2011, the State of U.S. Employee Retirement Preparedness believes the improvement is due to market appreciation and improvements in employees’ investing behaviors, not increased savings. Many Americans do not earn enough to save.
If the numbers are still not making any sense, go back to walking the Appalachian mountains. We all need a guidebook or map. If you are young, female, not making nearly the amount of money you are worth or any combination of the three, read On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance, subscribe to a personal finance magazine such as Money or signing up for Go Girl Finance to read online.
We are instructed to take a map and structure our retirement plan. There are millions of people out there who have attempted this great feat many times and have failed miserably. The thought of retirement sends them into a depression simply because they cannot afford to hire anyone to structure a retirement plan for them or hire anyone to be sure they stick to the plan. What ends up happening is he or she living paycheck to paycheck with more month at the end of the money.
What do you tell those who are over 40 years of age who have been laid off several times due to down sizing or has had to take a job in the meantime at a job working as a barista at Starbucks while they hold a Masters and PhD? Life has happened to them and there just is not enough money to set aside for retirement. It comes down to them making a choice between groceries tonight or putting the grocery money into a retirement account to be able to eat twenty years from now. No one has been able to talk to these people about how to prepare for retirement. What will happen to them?
The alleged suicide of Fox Lake police lieutenant Charles Joseph Gliniewicz just gets crazier by the day. The moment the news broke of Gliniewicz’s alleged corruption which reportedly lead up to his perfectly staged death, every news station covering the tragedy were forcing it down America’s throat that he killed himself. I sat at home looking at the news reporters side ways because it was so obvious that they were selling the suicide – not reporting it.
Since the reporting of Gliniewicz, who was once considered a community hero, embezzling thousands of dollars from the Explore Youth Training Program that he ran, the story just gets more and more bizarre and suspect.
What’s so strange is that if Glineiwicz needed money so bad, he could have gone to friends, family member, his church, credit cards, or lenders in San Antonio. Why did he have to embezzle it?
Unfortunately, his family is being punished until the investigation into his death and alleged criminal dealings is complete. Residents of Chicago donated money to support the family during their loss, but the bank account set up to collect funds for the family has been frozen. The sudden passing of a family member is not only taxing emotionally on loved ones, but the funeral costs as well as everyday expenses that used to be taken care of before the family member passed away are now in the red. Those thoughtful donations would have helped Gliniewicz family a great deal. If his death is ruled a suicide, it is highly probable his family would not be able to collect on his life insurance policy. Spokesman for Harris Bank Patrick O’Herlihy reported Wednesday that the funds were being held pending the results of the investigation. O’Herlihy could not confirm the amount in the bank account or who it will be released after the investigation is completed.
According to the Associated Press, authorities are investigating Gliniewicz’s wife and oldest son for their possible role in his alleged criminal activities. As the case continues to unfold, Detective Covelli advises people who donated to the family should contact the charity groups to inquire about receiving a refund. Fox Lake police officers who sold t-shirts in honor of their fellow officer to benefit Gliniewicz’s family. According to the Fire & Police Commission, the t-shirts raised $126,000 for the family. The village of Fox Lake did not set up accounts for Gliniewicz family and they did not sponsor any fundraising events.
The Lake Zurich Police Department set up a collection site to gather donations for the family as well. The amount collected is unknown and the Lake Zurich department does not know if the money was deposited into the account that is now frozen. Those demanding their donations back are being directed to the Gliniewicz’s attorney. Believing officer Gliniewicz was killed in the line of duty, The CEO of the 100 Club Joe Ahern handed the family a $15,000 check. They, too, are wanting their donation returned after learning his death might have been a suicide. Ahern stated suicides do not fit their mission statement to assist widows of fallen police officers and they want the community to believe the 100 Club are “good stewards” of their money. So are widows to suffer because their spouse chose to commit suicide?
While the community is seeking to get refunds on their donations that were supposed to come from the heart unconditionally, the investigation could possibly prove officer Gliniewicz was murdered and set up to look like a suicide. In the underworld, those who threaten to “snitch” usually end up in a perfectly staged suicide. This investigation sounds like a movie. It will be a while before the mystery is solved on this one. The story continues to unfold…
Steve Jobs and the word failure are seldom ever in the same breath. When we think of the late, great co-founder of Apple Incorporated Steve Jobs, words such as brilliance, pioneer, businessman, and legacy usually come to mind. As I type this article on a Mac laptop, I cannot help but to think about Jobs’ contribution to world. It was always rumored that the innovator allegedly stole ideas from those who worked closely with him and that he was a cold and calculating man. It is possible Jobs was just misunderstood throughout the years as he tried to actualize what he envisioned.
There have been several attempts made by different directors, writers, and producers to depict the life of a man described as a genius by some and a monster by others. Every attempt has been judged harshly as epic fails. Fascinated and intrigued by the college drop-out turned mogul, I could not wait to see the movie Jobs. When I heard actor and tech-head Ashton Kutcher would be playing Jobs, I was eager to see the finished product. Kutcher put on those coke-bottle eyeglasses that was Jobs signature and he became him. The production piece gave more insight into the man behind the Apple empire. It captured Jobs’ grassroots efforts in a garage to turn his vision into a reality. Many gained more respect for the revolutionary. Others, however, viewed the 2013 film as slow. One critic compared it to watching paint dry.
The release of Steve Jobs on October 6, 2015 possibly sent a message to the production crew behind Jobs that their version did not do the man justice. However, the public was just as critical on the second attempt to capture Jobs on-screen as the first attempt. Many wanted the film to expose why those who worked closely with Jobs questioned whether or not he was allowed into heaven or went to the blazing hot place instead on October 5, 2011 when he succumbed to pancreatic cancer. With a star-studded cast Michael Fassbender as Jobs, Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman, and Seth Rogan as the whiz-kid who was there from the beginning Steve Wozniak. Directed by Danny Boyle and produced by Legendary Pictures, critics chewed the film up and spit it out.
However, Fassbender was given rave reviews for his portrayal of Jobs, stating he gave a towering performance of limitless firepower and savage wit.
Winslet’s performance was incredible. Hoffman was known as the Assistant in Job’s life who often gave him a reality check. Critics were surprised by Rogan’s emotional role as Jobs’ business partner. The cast was impressive, but the box office numbers were not. Maybe there is something to two films about the same person released within a couple of years of one another is not a good idea. If the public was disappointed by the first film, they are not likely to spend money at the theater to see the second one.
Though Jobs has not succeeded in Hollywood on the big screen, this amazing man achieved phenomenal success in his real life as an innovator, visionary, and pioneer. He brought change to technology that will be a part of his legacy and our history for centuries to come. Jobs, even in the afterlife, can never fail.
The Jetson Age appears to be here. I remember growing up watching the futuristic cartoon The Jetsons wishing we could see who we were speaking to on our phones, food nuked and prepared within seconds, and children flying around on skateboards without wheels like little Elroy. Every childhood fantasy of the Jetson’s television show actualized over time. FaceTime, microwaves, and hover boards are Jetson modern conveniences that manifested right before our eyes. Never believing I would still be alive to see the technology that it has evolved into, I always figured my great-grandchildren would be the first to see a hover board. Now the world is ready for drones to fly over our homes, delivering all of our Walmart purchases directly. It is truly an exciting time.
However, I would rather see the funds that are currently being used to invest in drone testing to, instead, go into higher wages for Walmart’s employees. I must say that I am fascinated by these flying contraptions. Using the Chinese-made DJI drone first, America has actually fallen behind on this latest technology, waiting on Federal Aviation Administration approval. As exciting as it is to see this machine take to the sky to its destination and return on command is amazing. The dark side to this phenomenon is that drones will definitely eliminate the need to hire human employees to work in Walmart’s 5,000 stores. The $250 billion franchise is possibly looking in the future to save money by cutting their employees along with their healthcare. Drones could be looked at as the answer to a need or the demise of those in need.
According to USA Today, Walmart plans to, not only use the drones to make home deliveries directly to a customer’s home, but the franchise will also use it for surveillance and security of their stores and warehouses. The Federal Aviation Administration, crossing every ‘t’ and dotting every ‘i’, cleared drones used for commercial use only granting over 2,000 permits. The risk of a drone interfering with an airplane or crashing down from 2,000 feet in the air at high-speed onto a human being is beyond dangerous. Walmart has tested the drone indoors, but still waiting on a permit to test the drone outdoors.
I could think of some other great uses for the drone such as keeping a watchful eye on our children following them where ever they go, catching a cheating spouse with his or her lover, filming amazing aerial shots of the city or mountain tops for television and film, capturing a criminal in the act and following him until he is caught, and the list continues. The drone can be used for so many things. But eventually putting minimum wage earners on the unemployment line for the sake of progressive technology, I guess a company cannot make it to $250 billion by having a conscience all the time. Sometimes it is just business and nothing personal. If Walmart does not keep up with the trends in technology used to enhance business to stay ahead of its competition and increase its bottom-line, that $250 billion could start to dwindle.
I would not want to be the person who has to lay-off thousands of Walmart employees and explain to them they have been replaced by a flying drone. Tough spot to be in. To drone or not to drone? Given Walmart’s reputation in handling consciousness in the community, goodbye to man and hello to the drone.
Playboy magazine has been ubered. Who would have ever thought the day would come when America’s most popular pornographic publication since 1953 would stop selling nudity? I remember growing up going to visit my great grandfather in his barbershop. Our family was proud because he owned the most successful barbershop in town. The only problem was, when I went to visit him in the shop, I was always told to cover my eyes the entire time. Quite naturally, as any six-year-old would do, one day I decided to peek anyway, lifting my hand from over my eyes. I stood stunned looking at nude centerfold models in all sorts of positions taped from floor to ceiling on every wall like wallpaper. Everywhere I turned my head, I saw a nude woman. My mouth dropped as my aunt yanked me by the arm, pulling me out of the barbershop as fast as she could. She warned me not to look. I was speechless and I also realized, at that very moment, why my great grandfather had the hottest barbershop in town. He thanked Miss August and the pioneer to the sexual revolution Hugh Hefner for his prosperity. Generations of young boys around America were turned into men flipping through the pages of Playboy. When Hefner recently announced the magazine needed to change its winning formula, I could hear my great grandfather turning over in his grave. The nation is in shock.
As founder and editor-in-chief, Hefner sat in a meeting with his magazine executives on Tuesday, possibly surrounded by his Playboy mansion bunnies, and laid out the current state of the market and his vision. Due to the fact that the Internet and social media has provided easy access to porn to the public for free, magazine sales went from a reported 5.6 million in the 1970s to a sad 800,000 in 2014. Hefner, 89, explained to his staff, in order to keep his legacy alive, he needs to change with the times. Instead of gathering a round table of computer geniuses to come up with an innovative way to merge Playboy with the interactive world on some higher level no one has thought of yet, Hefner has decided to focus simply on the articles. Believing that the magazine was not only known for its beautiful nude women, but it also provided amazing articles. With all due respect, when Marilyn Monroe graced the cover of Playboy, many find it hard to believe that men were also interested in the automotive article on mufflers.
Larry Flynt, founder of the popular girlie magazine Hustler, reported to CNN that he believes Hefner has lost his mind. Flynt stated he will always respect Hefner for being a pioneer in the porn industry and an artist, but he will not be remembered for his business savvy. Though Hefner successfully sustained Playboy for over 60 years, the future to his legacy is uncertain. Playboy chief executive Scott Flanders assures readers that the magazine will feature beautiful women, but clothed in a more intimate setting with an “Instagram feel” to the photos. Reportedly, there will still be a Playmate of the month with PG-13 style photos.
If my great grandfather were still alive today running his barbershop, I am for certain a wallpaper of informative articles would not have the same draw or impact on his profit margin as would a kazillion photos of nude women taped to the walls. There would definitely be a decline in his loyal customers. My great grandfather was pretty savvy though. He probably would have evolved with the times and had video vixens playing non-stop on a big screen or possibly beautiful women offering neck massages and beer to his customers while they wait for a shave and haircut. At the end of the day in any industry, sex plays a role. Whether subliminal or raw in the consumer’s face, sex will always sell. Maybe Hefner has forgotten that?
Former NBA star Stephon Marbury went on social media recently to promote the relaunch of his Starbury sneaker brand. In the process, Marbury criticized NBA stars like Michael Jordan.
Marbury retired from the NBA and currently plays in China for the Beijing Ducks. The New York City native called Michael Jordan “greedy” on Twitter and even accused him of “robbing the hood” with the high end $200+ Air Jordans basketball shoes that many wear as a status symbol. Marbury tweeted “real people know. I am off the kids getting killed for Jordan’s. I hate that this dude won’t change that. Greedy!” Neither Nike nor Michael Jordan responded.
Stephon Marbury’s sneaker line named Starbury initially launched in 2006 and sold for less than $10 in the retail outlet Steve & Barry’s, that has since went bankrupt. The relaunched sneaker will retail for slightly more at $15. By comparison, Nike’s Air Jordans range from $140 to $250. The limited release versions sell for even more on eBay, which has resulted to several high profile armed robberies.
Marbury does not seem to just be interested in publicizing his new sneaker line. Industry insiders believe that although sneakers like Starbury cost about $5 to manufacture and another $5 or so to ship and distribute, even shoe manufacturers that target the low end market regularly price their products for $40 and up. If Marbury wanted market share, he could have priced them at $30 or $35.
Marbury grew up poor in Brooklyn and most of the clothing he wore was handed down from his siblings and cousins. To him, the sneakers’ price is low enough for parents to be able to afford to buy a pair for each child. Stephon wants kids to take pride in having something for themselves endorsed by an NBA player. “Stephon Marbury is bucking every trend in shoe wear by pricing the gym shoes inexpensively enough to initiate a viral marketing campaign. The price point alone is enough for people to stand up, take notice, and maybe even purchase the shoes just to support Stephon’s message” said Kim Wang, a former executive at the now defunct retailer Steve & Barry’s. Manish Tripathi, an assistant professor of marketing at Emory University in Atlanta recent echoed Wang’s sentiment, even suggesting that Marbury called out Jordan just to build hype around the newly released shoes. “His ability to communicate to a lot of people pretty easily and in a cheap fashion, that has definitely changed. He can make these comments that are a little bit inflammatory, get people to start talking about it, draw some awareness to what he is trying to do.”
Regardless of the marketing pitch and Stephon Marbury’s true motivations, the $15 sneaker endorsed by a basketball star represents a tidal shift in the way celebrities and shoe manufacturers approach fashion. America’s consumer outlook is becoming more and more bifurcated as the middle class continues to struggle. Consumers on the high end are able to afford designer wears and $250 Jordan sneakers, while consumers on the low end are going from store to store looking for the best value. If athletes and celebrities are able to tap into this second market, they can open up their brand to an entirely new consumer and sell their products at unprecedented volumes.