The Best Banking Options For Millennials

When Scratch surveyed over 10,000 millennials, they found four of the top ten hated brands are all banks. The term ‘millennials’ refers to anyone born between 1981 and 2000, and it is this group of tech savvy, futuristic individuals that see a very different future for the world of banking.

Our attitude towards banking comes from everything our generation has seen over the years, leading to the conclusion: big banks and other large institutions can’t be trusted. We have seen them lie, contribute to the housing bubble, and charge sneaky fees to hardworking, loyal customers. We have also seen that they won’t always face the consequences for their actions.

One third of millennials believe people will be able to live bank-free sometime in the future. Sounds nice in theory, but we are not yet there. So how can you —a smart, financially knowledgeable millennial— find a bank that doesn’t make your skin crawl on the regular?

Banking With The Most Hated Banks Of All

The ten most hated companies by millennials include four of the biggest banks. That doesn’t mean our entire generation avoids Wells Fargo and Bank of America entirely. Many millennials remain members at the very banks they detest. This is partly because the biggest banks offer convenience and more advanced mobile banking options.

According to app store reviews, Capital One has the highest rated mobile banking app, followed by Wells Fargo, ID Bank, and then US Bank. Big banks have even bigger budgets, but mobile banking apps are still far from perfect. For one, scanning a check through your phone isn’t as easy as it should be (although Bank of America has this feature down much better than Wells Fargo!).

Yet none of this matters if you’re sick of supporting what our generation sees as Big Banks. They still remain big, but there are simply too many other options.

Switching To A Credit Union

Millennials are 80+ million strong in the US alone, meaning we carry a lot of power. Due to millennials’ distaste for big banks, many financial analysts predict credit union banking will continue to grow in popularity. A Credit Union is not publicly traded on the stock market, so unlike big banks they are not solely set on pleasing market investors. On the contrary, credit unions are all about pleasing their customers, the real shareholders.

It’s not as difficult to become a member at a credit union anymore either. Many simply require you live in the area. Credit unions don’t have as many convenient locations, but most now offer mobile banking apps. According to overall app ratings, the very best credit union mobile banking app is offered by Eastman Credit Union, followed by ESL Credit Union, Redstone Federal, SEFCU, and VyStar.

Conduct a quick search in the app store on your local credit union(s) to see if they offer a mobile banking app, as well as what type of rating it gets.

What About Internet Banking?

When is the last time you actually walked into your bank? Bank branches are far less crowded than they once were, most millennials don’t enter the bank unless they absolutely have to. What’s the point anyway when you can use mobile banking, drive-through ATMs and customer service phone lines? For this reason many people are switching to Internet banking, a banking institution that has no store front at all.

Internet banks offer a number of ways for you to access cash and use your account, through apps, telephone, snail mail, and ATMs. But because there isn’t a physical store to pay for, internet banks are able to offer better rates and fewer fees.

According to user ratings and honorable mentions by trusted sources such as CNNMoney, ConsumerSearch.com, and BankRate.com, the best of the best in regards to Internet banking include: Ally Bank, ING Direct, PerkStreet, Connexus Credit Union, and Bank of Internet USA (Bofi).

If you feel a twist of hate for the institution that currently houses your money, you can find other options. It is this plethora of options coupled with millennials’ desire to explore those options that will help this generation shape the banking industry.

What does it take to start a business?

A lot of people wonder what it takes to start a business. It seems to coincide with times of restlessness, when people become disenchanted with their jobs or their boss and begin dreaming of greener pastures called self-employment. Entrepreneurs must go through the standard procedures such as creating a business plan, securing financial backing, and finding a good location, but there are other factors we must consider.

Starting a business takes courage, sacrifice, intuition, and the ability to learn. Lots of people have meticulous business plans, spiffy marketing campaigns, well-connected friends. Yet, most new businesses fail within the first 18 months. So who makes the cut? Those who know that business plans can only go so far.

Most people don’t put in their business plan how many hours they are going to work to get the new business going. If long hours at the office bothered you before, wait until you start your own business. Often times, you are the only employee until things get rolling, which requires you to work nights, weekends, and all the hours in between. This pattern can last for years! Overtime is required, and most of the time, you don’t get paid for it.

Lack of adequate capital is one of the biggest reasons for failure. As the owner, you must secure cash to keep the business afloat. You may not earn a salary every month, instead paying other employees or vendors. Some entrepreneurs have had to take out a second mortgage to afford development costs. Some also have had to dissolve an old 401(k) to make payroll. Sacrifice is the name of the game when starting a business.

You not only sacrifice money and time, but you will also sacrifice your pride. Rolling up your sleeves and doing what it takes equals success. Sometimes this means starting a business in your basement instead of in a fancy, client-facing showroom, or having your fourteen-year-old cousin design your logo instead of a professional graphic designer. You may have a Masters in Finance and be CEO, but when you own your own business, you may also be the guy to lick stamps, take out the trash, and assemble parts together. Do what it takes to make things work. There will be time to hire the right person for the job later. Right now, that person is you.

Another common catastrophe among new businesses is not creating a unique product or service that meets the needs of the marketplace. Learning requires listening, observation, interpretation and analysis. As a new business owner, take every opportunity to speak to clients, industry experts, market influencers, employees, vendors. Listen to their pain points, listen to their needs, listen for trends, listen for ideas. Constantly observe the competition; analyze what they do right and wrong. Create experiments like you are back in sixth-grade science class, observe your findings, create a hypothesis. Keep yourself informed by reading the news and influential magazines, and attending seminars and networking events. The process of learning means doing research all the time, not just when writing the business plan. When you are a business owner, the process of learning never ends.

Very importantly, it takes intuition and courage to start a business. If your knees are knocking at the thought of no vacation and little pay for the next few years, this might not be the venture for you. To start a business, you must be a confident decision-maker and a fast learner. You have to be motivated, adaptive, resourceful, and resistant. You have to have the gut instinct to know when something is the best. Again, not everyone has what it takes to start a business, but being honest with yourself and taking a personal inventory before you embark on this adventure can save you a lot of heartbreak (and money) down the road.

The other side of the fence can be greener, very green. Look around you. There are tons of successful business owners in every town making a great living, but almost all of them will tell you stories of struggle, long hours, mistakes and hardship.  What does it take to start a business? You. Make sure you are the right person for the job before you hop the fence.

Negotiating a Better Salary

One of the most challenging and awkward moments for people at work is negotiating their salary with their employer. Whether you were just hired or you have been in the same position for a while, resistances might come up when it comes time to talk about your salary. Asking for a pay raise or negotiating a salary can have a poignant effect on innate feelings of our own self-worth, self-esteem, and value as a participant in our workplace. Even more, some companies and workforces can be constructed in hierarchical or pyramidal structures to help achieve the most functional and efficient operations at the lowest costs possible, so it might feel like an incompatible norm to negotiate a salary. These organizational bureaucracies are constructed with norms of obedience of authority, and it can put the employee in an awkward and unfamiliar territory when wanting to negotiate a salary or ask for a pay raise. Yet, it is important to be prepared and understand that negotiating salary is a regular process in the workplace.

Do Your Homework
It is vital to do your research to know the proper range for your salary within your particular market (i.e. profession, level of education, and work experience). You can have the knowledge of what is expected in your field for your particular job and the potential salary. This is where you can build your case; go over all your duties, responsibilities, and skills demonstrated in the job to see where you can emphasize certain strengths that stand out in your job performance. If you have been in your position for a while, point out the aspects of your proven job performance. Always assume that your salary is negotiable, yet once you know the salary range within your job market, make sure you understand the context of the negotiation. In other words, use the information to set a realistic goal for your salary or pay increase.

Know Yourself
Just as I mentioned before, negotiating a salary might activate some resistance inside of yourself, and you might feel uncomfortable engaging in this conversation. It is important to know what these resistances feel like: get to know them as a physical sensation. Maybe you feel tense in your chest or you feel shortness of breath. Learning what the physical sensations feel like in an experience like this makes it easier to navigate the tense moments, allowing it to become background noise and get you back in the present moment. Understand this is a business transaction and is a regular process for a company. Your personal and self-worth is not tied to this transaction. It might help to have a script or at least some rehearsed bullet points of your key arguments to help navigate the conversation.

Stay Assertive
The most effective way of communicating is staying assertive, non-defensive, and calm through the negotiation. Assertive communication is the way to stand up for your true perspective without being reactive in a passive or aggressive tone; it is about mutual respect while staying true to yourself. This is an opportunity to get through to your employer where they are not distracted by reactionary tones or deliveries. It’s a way for you to model aspects of a leader through effective communication. Staying assertive not only means verbal communication but also non-verbal cues. In this case, it is important to stay attentive, maintaining good eye contact, posture, and tone of voice. Be ready for a time where compromise happens. Know what is the lowest value you’re willing to accept, again using your research and realistic goals to guide you. Keep in mind that there are other forms of compensation such as additional vacation or sick days. It is possible that your employer might need time to think about it. If any increase or better starting salary seems inaccessible at this moment, end the meeting in a positive note and tell your employer that you hope that with a continued strong performance, you can revisit this discussion at a future time. Overall, embrace the opportunity and challenge of negotiating your salary.

Buying A Car: 4 Tips From a Car Dealer’s Daughter

At some point in your life, you have to buy a car, and it’s a big decision. My dad worked in the auto industry for many years, and you learn a lot growing up around car sales, dealerships, and auto auctions. There are many great, honest car dealers, but there are also scammers just looking to make a quick buck. You don’t want to find out down the road that you got a lousy deal on your car. There are so many financial factors to consider before buying a car. Shop smart for your next car with these 4 insider tips!

1. Practice Your Car Payments

Before you even start shopping for your new car, you need to figure out how much you can afford to pay each month. If you think you can handle $250 per month, start setting this money aside for a few months to see if it’s doable. If all goes well, when it comes time to buy your car, you’ll be more than ready to make your payments. Plus, you’ll have extra money saved up for your down payment.

2. Check Out Financing Options Elsewhere

If you head straight to the dealership without first securing a car loan, or at least doing some research, you might not get the best deal on your car. If you get financing through the dealership where you buy your car, this loan becomes a part of the deal, or another way the dealership can make money off of you. The same can be said about the bank, but banks are much more regulated when it comes to loans than car dealerships. At the very least, you should know your credit score and the current average loan rate for your credit score. A dealership can make your credit seem less valuable than it is, leaving you with an unfairly high interest rate that hikes up your monthly payments.

If you have a trade-in, try and sell it on your own before taking the rock-bottom price a dealer will offer you for it. With sites like Craigslist, it’s easier than ever to sell your vehicle, and you’re almost guaranteed to make more money selling it yourself than trading it in.

3. Beware of “Four Square”

Four Square is a fun game you play as a kid, but it’s also a trick employed by auto dealers. No two people ever pay the same amount for a car. A dealership can sell 3 of the same make and model vehicles, all for a different sales price. Negotiation is a powerful tool and car salesmen are some of the best negotiators. A trick called Four Square helps dealers secure the upper hand when negotiating your car payments and total vehicle costs. According to The Consumerist, if you even know about the Four Square trick you are “already ahead of 99.9% of the people walking in.”

Many dealerships use Four Square to come to a price agreement, although the tactic doesn’t typically benefit the consumer. The Four Square worksheet includes the purchase price, down payment, trade-in value, and monthly payment. Don’t let all of these numbers confuse you. For starters, you can help protect yourself by knowing your trade-in car’s Kelly Blue Book Value. Secondly, instead of allowing the dealer to ask you what you can afford to pay each month, stick to a certain final price point. If the dealer asks you if you can pay $375 a month and you simply say yes, you might be paying more than is necessary – meaning you’re paying over value for your new car. Make sure your monthly payments are fair by doing the math yourself before agreeing to anything.

4. Save Money, Buy Used

Buying a used car can save you a lot of money. The moment you drive a new car off of the lot, the car plunges thousands of dollars in value. Buying a car with 20,000 miles on it is going to be just as reliable, and will be more affordable. Used cars also retain better resale value.

Smaller, used car dealerships tend to be more honest than new dealerships because they have to better protect their reputation in order to stay in business. A new Hyundai dealership, for instance, can work off of its big box name. A smaller (non-franchise) dealership must build up a good reputation or risk going out of business. A small car lot that’s been in business a long time is likely doing something right.

Do your research and be prepared. You should end up with a great car at a price you can afford!

The Psychology of Bubbles

Market Bubbles

The history of economic bubbles has indubitably shown enormous impact on certain markets and the public. The term “bubble” is often used by economists to describe how an asset price rises significantly over its fundamental or intrinsic value but then crashes with a market slowdown or contraction. Historical examples of this include the famous stock market crash of 1929; the Dot.com bubble in the U.S. information technology stocks in the late 90’s and early 2000’s; and, the more recent housing and credit bubble that has impacted U.S. and global markets. There is anything from small to large market bubbles that can have either local or even global impact. Although it is easy to see the consequences of these bubbles bursting, price bubbles still puzzle economic theory (Levine and Zajac, 2007). Although there is no clear agreement, price bubbles have been attempted to be explained by the effects of social psychological factors, how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others.

From a social psychological perspective an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors drive our social interactions. Often an individual’s ability to process information from the environment can be overstimulated, so as an adaptive skill, she creates mental short cuts called heuristics in social situations. Although these mental short cuts can help process information efficiently, they can also create cognitive bias which leads to a distortion in an individual’s judgment or thinking. Cognitive bias is present in everyday life but can skew decision making, belief formation, and overall behaviors that can be detrimental to such matters such as economic and business decisions.

The Greater Fool Theory

Especially in highly competitive market landscapes, self belief can be a key adaptive skill for success. The Greater Fool Theory, however, demonstrates the potential destruction of this adaption on a collective scale. It relates to the naturally overconfident investor who buys an over-priced asset and still assumes that he can resell at even higher and inflated price. The goal of this buyer is to seek out even more gullible investors, known as the “greater fools” (David Dreman, 1993). The heart of this stubborn overconfidence is called self serving bias, where one can overlook negative feedback or external stimuli to maintain one’s own self esteem or worth. According to research, people have the tendency to assess themselves to be above average in various positive characteristics such as driving, ethics, productivity, and other desirable traits (Ola Svenson, 1981; Linda Babcock and George Loewenstein, 1997). If this were true in pertaining to a collective society participating in the rise of overpriced assets, the average participant in buying the asset will believe they could outsmart the next buyer therefore creating a chain effect until the asset plateaus and diminishes in value.

Herding

Herd mentality and behavior can also help describe how bubbles happen because herd behavior is rooted in how individuals tend to adopt to group behaviors, trends, and purchasing/consuming decisions without planned direction. This has been an exercised theory to help explain market bubbles since herd behavior explains how individuals are driven by irrationality and emotionally-charged decisions through the trend of the group. Another cognitive bias also known as the bandwagon effect, where despite the underlying evidence, people still participate with the trend of the group. From an individual outside of the group, seeing people participating in the group has an attention-grabbing effect that most likely acts as the best evidence of success. The Self Herd theory is an evolutionary theory that proposes the idea that it is instinctual to fundamentally feel safer with more people, leading individuals to gravitate towards a herd. These biological herd instincts could help explain when rationality is bypassed and individuals make decisions based on the trend of the herd.

Bounded Rationality

The basis of bounded rationality is that rationality is only limited to the resources or information one can have to make a decision. For instance, in experimental designs it has been shown that bubbles abated when participants traded repeatedly within the same group (Levine and Zajac, 2007). The basis of this adaptive bias is that our minds are built to adapt the best we can given the information present in the social situation. It seems that this effect could accumulate in small groups when individual cognitive processing is limited to the knowledge of the group such as wrong pricing of the intrinsic value of the asset.

Normative Institutionalism

Similar to herd behavior, economic theorists have talked about the effect of how social norms could play a significant role in market bubbles. Groups often hold onto implicit rules and expectations for the participants of the group to follow, which in time become internalized into preferred behavior by the group. For instance, the simple impulse of saying “bless you” when a person sneezes demonstrates a norm. These norms differ from culture and environment, but in all societies, become an overarching influence in behavior. Therefore in an economic market, direct communication might not be necessary to enable members of groups to internalize a belief: “the mere posting of bid and asks can be sufficient to spread beliefs and sway markets away from intrinsic value” (Levine and Zajac, 2007). This might seem like the exact same thing as herding and although very similar, I refer herding as the direct impulse and instinct to gravitate towards group trends contrary to institutionalism, where the internalization of the working model of expectations or deemed a social norm creates the effect of institutionalism.

Although there has been inclinations to separate each one of these factors to explain the phenomena of market bubbles, I would propose that the complexity of market bubbles is the result of the interactions of these distinct social psychological factors. The fragility of an individual’s and groups’ reasoning and actions can be influenced and swayed by the uncertainty of real world markets. Therefore, individual cognitive bias along with social influence could create large sways in the asset prices increases, creating bubbles imminent crashes.

Levine, Sheen S.; Zajac, Edward J. (2007-06-27). The Institutional Nature of Price Bubbles.
Dreman, David. “One More for the Road?” Forbes. New York, 1993, 363.
Svenson, Ola. “Are We All Less Risky and More Skillful Than Our Fellow Drivers?” Acta Psychologica, 1981, 47, pp. 143-48.
Babcock, Linda and Loewenstein, George. “Explaining Bargaining Impasse: The Role of  Self-Serving Biases.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 1997, 11(1), pp. 109-26.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_psychology
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selfish_herd_theory
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias#Types

Green is Good

Greed is good.

~ Gordon Gekko in Wall Street

 

Oliver Stone’s Wall Street is one of my favorite films. Gordon Gekko, a Vulture Capitalist of yore played by the iconic Michael Douglass, declares that “greed is good”. Gekko goes on to explain that greed helps guide successful decisions. I would argue that the new mantra should be “Green is Good”. I’ve found that using ecological intelligence to make decisions can positively impact one’s mind, body, finances, and the environment.

 

There are many different facets of intelligence. Dan Goleman has written about emotional, social, and ecological intelligence. At the beginning of this year I expanded Spendology’s mission to include advancing both financial and ecological intelligence. I did this because making good financial and ecological decisions has a positive impact on one’s mind, body, money, and the environment.

Mind Body Money Environment
Mind Body Money Environment

 

It pays to go green. Spendology has a Gas vs. Electric Car Calculator that shows the cost benefit of available subsidies for electric vehicles and not paying an estimated $1500+ per year for gasoline. I’ve also detailed how switching from bottled water to filtered water reduces waste, saves money, and it is better for your body and the environment.

 

Spendology will launch the Z Hook next week on Earth Day. The Z Hook (short for the Xerothermic quick-drying bath towel hook) dries bath towels in a third of the time, saves time & money from washing towels very frequently, and prevents the growth of mold & mildew. The Z Hook is also made in America. This is a green product that will positively impact your body, wallet, and the environment. Investing in green technology and sustainability is important not only because we should be good stewards of the environment but because it means that we will be healthier and wealthier.

 

www.zhook.co

Want Less Stress and More Stability? All You Need Is A Savings Account

Happy National Financial Literacy Month! Allow the month of April to remind you that you can always take steps to improve your financial security and reduce your daily stress. If you don’t have enough money saved up for an emergency, you’re not alone-in fact, in a recent study, 76 percent of those surveyed claimed to be living paycheck to paycheck. More startling, 27 percent had no savings at all, while 50 percent had less than 3 months of livable income saved.

Perhaps that’s why the stress levels of Americans continues to rise. “Nothing helps you sleep better at night than knowing you have money tucked away for unplanned expenses, ” says Greg McBride of Bankrate.com, who released the study.

So if having an adequate savings account can help reduce stress and cushion the blow of unforeseeable disasters, why aren’t more people saving money? If you’re a part of the majority, the answer might seem simple: there is hardly enough money left to save after paying bills and other routine expenses. It’s time to start thinking of your savings as a mandatory bill, even if it’s only a $30 bill each month. Anything is better than nothing and over time you’ll be grateful you saved.

 

The Fundamental Reasons For Saving

There are truly unlimited reasons you need a savings account. No matter how passive, ordinary, or routine your life seems, the unexpected will happen. If you’re hesitant about transferring money into your savings account this month, realize that this money is only going to pay you back in the future.

Your savings account can help you:

-Have money for unexpected bills or incidents

-Protect you from steep overdraft charges

-Get a boost when you need a large down payment on items such as a house or car

-Reduce your overall stress

-Pay for college tuition

-Plan for a comfortable retirement

 

Change Your State of Mind

A savings account can actually change your state of mind. Once you start seeing your savings increase, you’re going to feel proud and accomplished. You might imagine yourself splurging on new golf clubs or a weekend getaway when you’ve reached your goal, but you will feel such a relief in having a fund for a rainy day. In fact, you will likely be motivated to save more. You will learn quickly that the good feelings derived from having savings can supersede the fun of splurging and the imminent guilt.

 

Debt Never Pays Off Alone

Are you skipping on saving because you are instead paying off debt? This is a legitimate concern, but it should not be enough to stop you from saving, even if it’s a tiny amount. Should something happen, you might re-load the same credit card you just paid off and incur the linked interest charges. This is part of the reason Forbes actually rates saving for an emergency cushionas more important than paying off debt. Try finding a balance between paying off debt in a timely manner and creating an emergency cushion. When an emergency arrives, you can use your savings instead of tackling on debt.

 

Reduce Your Risk, Increase Your Savings

Because of the low interest rates, you might be dissatisfied with the returns routine savings accounts are currently offering. On the other hand, the stock market is on a tear and placing your money in here might seem like the more lucrative option. But beware; the market could keep gaining, but there’s always sizable risk involved. Nellie Huang argues in this month’s addition of Kiplinger Magazine that bonds deserve a second look. He adds that while a safe and well-diversified stock portfolio takes around $100,000 of capital to maintain, “most bond funds, by contrast, let you through the door for $2,500 or less.”

It’s true that savings accounts, bonds, and low-risk retirement funds don’t provide the same yield as riskier investments, but it’s smart to have some money you can count on. And, you can always diversify later on, as your wealth increases. In fact, professional money advisers suggest having a variety of investments and always a reliable savings account.

Corporate Privilege

Imagine that a terrorist organization aimed to poison the water supply with dangerous chemicals, blow up a fertilizer plant in a residential area, or dump nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The US Government would waste no time smoking said terrorists out of their holes. However, this is not the case for corporations. The events I mentioned were perpetrated by corporations – corporations that have invested in lobbying and political action committees to reduce or eliminate regulations aimed at keeping the public safe. The fertilizer plant that exploded next to schools and homes occurred in West, Texas. We are all perhaps familiar with the BP oil spill and the recent chemical spill in West Virginia that rendered municipal water unusable.

The major tragedy in West Virginia is two-fold. On one hand, regulations on chemical storage for coal suppliers was eliminated. Thus, companies like Freedom Industries had not had a site visit from State or Federal inspectors since 1991 despite being located right along the Elk River, a major water supply. On the other hand, there was very limited knowledge of  the chemical that was spilled. The tragedy goes a bit further when politicians on both the right and the left loudly boasted right after the incident that regulations on the books are sufficient, e.g., Speaker John Boehner and Senator Joe Manchin. West Virginia is a state that is hard-pressed for job growth so this is used as an excuse for lax regulations on coal and coal-related industries. Yet, it seems like profit trumps the safety of citizens.

I founded Spendology because I wanted to bring decision tools used by executives to individuals. I literally wanted to give Decision Power to the People. I am an African-American male. I am very familiar with the concept of white privilege. Dave Chappelle  jokingly highlighted this concpt with one of his stand-up routines. Chappelle was with a white friend who was driving under the influence who got stopped by police. His friend simply told the police officer that “he didn’t know that he couldn’t do that” and was allowed to go about his way. Mr. Chappelle hilariously expressed his shock. Stop and Frisk data shows that blacks and latinos are stopped more often and arrested at higher rates than whites. Yet, white privilege emboldened former Mayor Bloomberg to say that black males are not stopped enough.

It appears that the concept of being privileged has somehow extended to corporations. Actions that would be considered terrorism are reduced to the “cost of business”. Companies like Apple proudly proclaim that they must offshore and minimize taxes in the interest of shareholders. Companies like Walmart and McDonald’s depend on US Government subsidies like welfare, food stamps, and Medicare to subsidize their poverty-level wages. Nonetheless, politicians and some people hardly bat an eye because this is somehow what companies are supposed to do. The extent of the privilege appears extreme when we look at what executives and lobbying efforts are pushing for: weakening the social safety net, eliminating regulations, and lowering taxes. The tax issue is huge. We usually hear that taxes are too damn high. In fact, although the US corporate tax rate is 40%, the Government Accountability Office found that the effective corporate tax rate was 13% in 2010.

Moreover, companies have been shifting the burden of training and taxation to the State and its citizens, respectively. At one point in American history, corporations and individuals paid taxes at roughly a 1:1 ratio. At this point, individuals contribute 6-fold more to taxes than corporations. Corporate executives and Governors are pushing for a Common Core curriculum so that students are ready for work on day one – perhaps because internships, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training is on the decline.

Tax Disparity Chart - Spendology

Moreover, members of the elite 1% are striking back against calls for a living wage or income equality. Multi-millionaire venture capitalist, Tom Perkins, even joked that you should only be allowed to vote if you paid taxes and that the power of your vote should be in proportion to the taxes paid. There was a time in America when you had to be a white male landowner to vote. Comments like that from Mr. Perkins are a reminder that privilege is not about seeing reality. The 1% don’t just want to be wealthy and successful. They also want reverence and respect despite lacking respect for those who work full-time for little pay and no benefits. However, my biggest problem with corporate privilege is that it is robbing workers of dignity and dollars as well as the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.