Another Gun Shooting

So the other day on Facebook I posted about gun shootings … and how every single shooter technically is a hot tempered, hurt, rejected, suicidal individual. No shooter ever thinks they are going to get away with it free and clear. Well, not school shooters anyway. So just in case you forgot, there was a black shooting in a grocery store in New York, a school shooting at an elementary school in Texas, and now another shooting at a hospital in Oklahoma. President Biden is proposing banning assault weapons, like Canada. AND raising the gun age to 21!
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While many people feel that illegal immigrants shouldn’t be here, the reality is our economy needs them. Think of the millions of workers that legally paid into a social security fund they will never legally be entitled. So you are wondering how is it that they can get jobs? Well, that is up to the employer to “verify” their documents that they are legal. They never go anywhere, and there is no administration or department that keeps a copy of those when you get a job. Weird right? It is all up the the HR person to say, “Yep, you look good.” and then they sign their name on a piece of paper no one ever looks at again. So maybe the HR person signs it anyway or doesn’t file it all together. When times are tough and you have ZERO applicants for your business, 10 illegal workers who want to clean, cook and serve doesn’t sound so bad. Just saying, … it happens.
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Biden also wants expanded background checks. I think that is a great idea. Can they also tap into every pharmacy database to search for particular mental instability drugs that could cause a patient to snap? Hmm, now there is an idea. They are also proposing a “Red Flag” law that would help prevent future crimes. I am hypothesizing that it would entail “friends” reporting anyone they think might be a risk, such as that cray guy on Facebook who isn’t a friend but you … somehow? Would social media cooperate and provide user data?

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If you are an Amazon Prime customer, “The Boys” season 3 is coming out like, any day, so now is a good time to binge watch 1 & 2. The Kardashians is the same show, different day. But man oh man do I love Kris Jenner’s new home and I am in love with Khloe’s new home, which is right next door to her mom. Selling Sunset is my new favorite show. It has supermodel real estate agents selling million dollar mansions in West Hollywood. It actually is more like “Pretty Little Liars” after they get real jobs and get super rich. No one dies, because they are real life people, not characters. And talk about some bitchy characters. Check it out. I love it. You might like it too. Justin Hartley’s wife is in it, and also Tarek from Flip or Flop, his girlfriend is in it too, Heather Young. AND if you have Disney+ a new series Obi Wan Kenobi was just released. Looks good, can’t wait to see it. The first episode is 3 parts.

 

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Staffing Solutions

Everyone is having staffing issues. Lack of staff, no one applying for open positions, and the COVID workers refusing to go back to the office, opting for new lifestyles that allow them to work from home or remotely. One semi-positive note is that there are literally thousands of graduates that are entering the job market as high schools and colleges award those valuable degrees. Some will join the military, some will go to trade schools. Others will get married and start making babies, … hopefully. Although that does not solve the issue of entry-level, low-end jobs that don’t pay a lot of money. Frankly, who wants a low paying job? No one. Except maybe someone who would LOVE to have a job, any job … in America. There are still thousands if not millions of immigrants who want to come to the great USA.

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So, Biden, Congress, if you’re listening, you need to open the borders, lessen the reigns on the number allowed into the United States, and help solve many of these staffing shortages/issues. The bigger issue that is dominant everywhere, in every country is affordable housing. You can’t just let a few million people move  here when they will have nowhere to live. As is stands now, there is a shortage of housing and people can’t afford their rent as it is. So what do most people do? They have roommates, they live with their parents … in their basement forever.

 

And here are the latest COVID number from the NT Times:
DAILY AVG. ON MAY 18 14-DAY CHANGE TOTAL REPORTED
Cases 103,231 +57% 82,874,061
Tests 801,177 +31%
Hospitalized 23,223 +29%
In I.C.U.s 2,497 +23%
Deaths 304 –17% 999,607

So I guess in the next day or week, the United States will hit a million deaths. Thankfully everyone has their shots and boosters, … right?

 

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Help Wanted

For the past few years, the economy has been experiencing staffing issues. And in case you forgot, over TEN THOUSAND baby boomers are retiring every day, … and have been for quite some time. Throw in the COVID work at home variable and now you have even more people that don’t want to go back to a “normal” job. And while millions of people stopped driving to work, they also stopped buying gas and changing their oil. Trickle effect. Did you know there were gas stations that closed and went out of business due to no customers? For some people gas prices can dramatically affect their weekly cash flow. Most people only have a ten gallon tank, so a buck or so more shouldn’t destroy everyone. No one is crying because the cost of meat as doubled. The reality is most people have a lot of extra money because they aren’t doing other things that they might spend money on; like fancy dinners and date night. Concerts and festivals are out and have been, but things are opening back up again. Although I still am not going to Coachella. There are still millions of people who aren’t vaccinated.

And here are the latest from the NY Times:

DAILY AVG. ON APR. 5 14-DAY CHANGE TOTAL REPORTED
Cases 28,693 –1% 80,128,432
Tests 870,272 +13%
Hospitalized 15,383 –27%
In I.C.U.s 2,308 –35%
Deaths 602 –40% 981,112

Technically if you have been hiding out for 2 years, and most of society got the shot, in theory, you could be safe without the shot. You still need to wear a mask and wash your hands like cray, but it could potentially happen. Due to staffing issues, many savvy travelers are taking advantage of the Air B & B market. There are a lot of really expensive homes that are dedicated just to being rented by the night. VRBO is another resource that takes advantage of people who bought into the whole “timeshare” scam. Gosh, that one week a year sounded great until you can’t change the dates. I have sat through timeshare presentations and it sounds all neat, but the reality is you want to travel to different places, see new things. Even the hotel or resort they are selling will lose its wow factor after a couple of visits. As a smart consumer, you can just rent those rooms/homes for the weekend or whenever. You still won’t come close to spending the money you put into a timeshare.

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Think about it, you really only have so many years of fun travel … before you get old, can’t walk, need help or extra time. Those good years are usually the years you don’t have the time or money. Just don’t get sucked into thinking a timeshare is a good idea. Take those fun vacations, save up for it. It doesn’t have to be super expensive. Don’t stay in a villa. Rent an air b&b that is AS nice or nicer than a villa. Home owners you stay with are happy to give you a fresh towel. Hotels have extended wait times for everything. I told you a long time ago that harsh immigration practices would eventually affect you and your vacations. The Motley Fool recommends buying some air b&b stock. That is a market that is continuing to explode as smart investors are buying homes just to rent. Real estate in any form of investing is a good if not great idea.

 

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Who taught you how to lie?

How old were you when you realized you could tell a lie and get away with it? Oooooohh good question! It usually is one that you have to think about for a moment, and then you think about what it was that you did when you lied. Or worse, you think about the one time you decided to lie and you actually got caught. Damn. Not exactly ideal. Some parents like to live in this fantasy that their kids don’t lie, at least … not to them. My mom certainly did not teach me how to lie, and my dad wasn’t going to share HIS secrets. He was one of the biggest liars I knew and never once did he tell me the tricks of his trade. While it is something you aren’t going to ask your parents, it is something that everyone should be aware of, and what the consequences are. Just so you know, lying under oath is against the law, and if you lie in an interview, pray they don’t follow up with further questions. Termination can be an option. Remember the movie “Don’t tell mom the babysitter’s dead.”? Of course, you might not get caught and if it happens, they might just look the other way like in the movie.

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Did you know there are certain clues or signs that someone is a liar? Yep, it is true. In HR you learn all kinds of things when you interview someone face to face. Not looking at someone directly in the eyes many times can be a red flag. Whatever you do, don’t look away when asked a challenging ethics question. Don’t exaggerate your skills or abilities. Sure some things are hard to verify, but other things sometimes it takes a simple phone call. If you claim to know and have mastered Adobe Photoshop, then you should be able to detail your thought process when you retouch or edit a photo. Such as, “Well, before I touch a photo, I lock the layer and create a duplicate layer of that first layer in case if I need to revert back to original. I also like to have a “before” photo to show my results and the work that I have done.” Don’t be taken off guard or suddenly surprised when you are asked a technical question to determine your ability. Once I had an interviewer ask me to submit a marketing plan for the organization to prove my skills. I said I don’t work for free. If you want a marketing plan you hire me and I will do a SWAT analysis of your current offerings and make my recommendations for changes for improvement. In my opinion, if they are fishing for marketing plan proposals, they are already in big trouble. You better have an impeccable memory — so you can keep track of all your lies.

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Whatever you do, don’t change your “story” or lie.  Especially if you are being questioned by a police officer. Stick to your story, no matter how awful or stupid it may sound. Although, technically, you are not under oath talking to a cop, supervisor, HR representative or even your parents, so you can just lie all you want. Just remember, there are consequences for those actions. Am I saying it is okay to lie? Yes, no … maybe. Would you spare someone’s feelings by not telling the truth? “That skirt is F’ing hideous.” vs. “I love your skirt! Vintage.” Exactly, we all saw Mean Girls so we know there are all kinds of lies we tell/see.

 

And for the record, “I” didn’t teach you how to lie. You’ve been lying for years. Some people lie to themselves daily, like the ones who catch COVID and are literally on their deathbed telling the doctor they don’t have it. Millions of people don’t go to a physician for a health check because they don’t want to hear the results, so they just live in denial. Words are power. Use yours to empower.

 

 

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Veritas — Truth Serum

“A drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts.”

 

Dispensing more good advice … this is my favorite quote. What it means in the simplest terms — if you get drunk and your sober friend does not, chances are you will spill your secrets and or truths. You won’t remember it, but he/she will.  So keep that in mind the next time you decide to get hammered with your best “work” friends. You really don’t want your subordinate employee knowing all the dirt. Years ago I created a rule for myself that I did not associate with people from work, while I was still employed there. If one of us quits or moves on then it would be okay to “hang out” outside of work. If you go to the happy hour events with coworkers you will find out all kinds of secrets.
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Now some people think this is bad advice as they have made a lot of good or great friends from the workplace. Good for them. I also know of “friends” who had dirt on their other friends and used it to blackmail their coworkers into doing their bidding. In some companies things like, days off and preferred schedule shifts are highly coveted that can be easily granted or denied. Of course you can BE friends AT work. I am saying when you leave the building and go off into your merry little world, there really is no need to have a work friend join you.
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Women are catty (bitches) and men are … untrustworthy. And when it comes to money and the workplace, things can get even nastier. I am talking about sales people who steal sales from each other. Commissioned sales and friends in commissioned sales are not a good combination. Just remember that everyone comes from a different background and way they were raised. Simply being employed at the same company and working in the same department is not reason enough to have a new best friend. I have also witnessed when two best friends apply for the same promotion.  You can already guess where that is headed. In the game of sales, there is only ONE number one salesperson each month.
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And just in case you haven’t had a role model tell you … NEVER get drunk at a work function. Romance and the workplace is not advised. You don’t want to work with your ex if you have a bad break up, right?  I also do not advise in “friending” your new coworkers on any of your social media platforms, especially Facebook. People are weird and some people do not have good intentions. Remember, there is evil in this world, and sometimes it is in your own company. Trust no one.

 

 

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My Resignation

Today’s date.

 

Dear Employer,

I quit. My last day will be __/__/2021.

Sincerely,

Me

Wow, didn’t that feel good? Your resignation is simply a formal proclamation of your intention of separating employment with a company. Some companies may find you a literal threat once you submit your resignation and will terminate you immediately, yanking back that card key, credit card and all computer access. If they didn’t know you were pissed, you could sabotage the company from within, if you haven’t already. If you are around products or merchandise, or even cash, you could rip them off since you know how the systems work. In many companies, for some positions it is automatic for security reasons.

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In this day and age, your clients/customer list is also an asset and you certainly don’t want one of your employees walking off with it and stealing your business. It happens. Anything you do online, including your keystrokes can and will be monitored. If you are in a situation where you KNOW you are going to lose your job, such as a company lay off or downsizing, be very careful not to let your guard down and screw it up. Meaning, don’t be late to work, don’t do anything illegal on company time (drinking on lunch), failing a random drug test, … surfing porn on company computers. Yes, all these things can and will end your employment AND that severance package AND your unemployment. Remember, you are a liability at this point and the company will try to cut it’s losses as much as they can.

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So that resignation example was SUPER simple, and of course you can outline and detail every single reason why you are quitting that company, and you can nail them (whomever you hated for quitting) to the cross at this point. It is formal, in writing, and a “complaint” that HR and management will need to address. If that supervisor gets an abnormal amount of employees quitting then HR will step in and try to prevent it, by PIP of that supervisor. Sometimes he/she will get demoted. Yeah, that is super fun. It is even more fun when an employee “steps down” on their own. If you are a supervisor, and you are addressed with some “issues” then you may need to take a step back and determine your areas of opportunity as it will definitely affect your annual review.

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A two week resignation is only a courtesy, and by no means required. You can walk out of a job and never return. You are not required by law to list that shitty job on your resume. And if it was under a year, it might not be worth it at all. I am pretty sure you can even text message or email your resignation if you don’t want to show up in person. There are literally thousands of “jobs” out there, so there is no need to be abused by an employer/supervisor. GTFO and save yourself. Do you drive a car? Wow, you can be an Uber/Lyft driver. If you haven’t heard, there is a driver shortage … oh wait, there is an employee shortage. Why? Oh, you know, some of them just died. How dare they. Some retired. Lucky ducks. Others found that they don’t need a double income to survive. If you don’t have your shot, mask up buddy. Lots of weirdos out there are not vaxed and are running around naked.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, daddies, and of course all the mom’s who had to BE the dad (single, divorced, widowed). We can’t forget our father, who art in heaven. Say it. “Thanks Dad. You’re the best.”

 

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Just Another Bad Situation

So, let’s pretend your work/life situation is not to your liking. It happens. There might be a coworker, a customer, or even a manager that you just absolutely despise. In some businesses, you might see that problem customer, over and over again, month after month. If it is a supervisor or manager, then you might be faced with making a difficult decision. Do you make that conscious decision to actively start looking for a new job, secretly, or do you suck it up and make the best of a shitty situation? Well, it really depends on how much you really hate that individual.

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Like I said before, people don’t leave jobs because of the nature of work, they leave because of conflicts with managers. That “manager” might be the owner of the company so there may not BE any workable solution other than leaving. I worked for the owner of a 3 person company and he said to me “My company. My rules.” He was a financial planner and unethically told all his clients to sell a particular fund against his own prior advisement. Then he insinuated he had “secret” insider information (hush hush don’t tell your friends). Also illegal. He is long dead now, so no repercussions to him.  Well, if you didn’t know, there is a fee associated with selling and when you have hundreds of clients all selling and then buying, that broker gets paid. It’s a really shitty way to rip off your customers so you can make more money off of them. Most people pay a professional to make smart decisions for them so they make money, not so they can keep paying stupid fees.

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So with any relationship situation, it is best to start the list. You know, the pros and cons of that relationship. This applies to dating as well as work. What do you like? Why is it beneficial for you? Are you paying your dues? Is the person who is making life difficult really a secret mentor in disguise? Are you supposed to learn something from this person or teach something to this person? In many years to come you will look back and understand the “why” behind your reason for being there.  Now ask yourself, do you REALLY want to start all over in a new environment? Bottom guy on the totem pole? Starting all over again sucks. Making new friends (if applicable). For some people the thought and idea of getting out is a fresh of breath air. Others are in their comfort zone and will continue to tolerate the shit. When you tell your employer all your life stories, they got you. You’re trapped. You just bought a new car. You have kids. You have a mortgage. You aren’t going anywhere. They will work you to death and you are just an employee number to them. Seriously at the end of the day, unless you are married to the owner or his/her kid, they don’t really give a hoot about you. If you leave, so what. There are a dozen struggling, unemployed people out there someone will happily take your job and laugh at why you quit. Your new job might be worse off than the one you are in now. So you hate ____ about your job. Everyone hates something about their job.

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Artists who become self employed realize they have to collect on accounts and those types of conversations might not be so fun for them. Most small business owners find themselves in a boatload of administrative HR stuff, along with accounting. Hate it, but have to do it. So think carefully before you leave that cushy job in the nice cool air conditioning. What if that problem person just went away instead? Now there is an idea. Can you outlast that person? I worked retail for a really, really long time. I know that most hourly retail workers don’t have more than a year in them before they burn out. Sometimes you can just wait until they leave on their own, … or get enough bad surveys. Hmm, could your friends be that person’s customer and then they give him a shitty survey score constantly to get him/her fired? Yes. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and the only one who is looking out for you (other than me) is YOU. At the end of the day, you got bills to pay and responsibilities.

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So I know that some of my readers are EXACTLY is this situation right now. My advice, if you are going to start looking for a job, tell your network. Let one of your contacts be your champion and get you that interview. Did you know you have been considered for positions before, but the hiring manager thought you were happy and would never leave your job? Oops. Always open to new opportunities and challenges. Actively seeking new projects/clients/1099’s. We never know what tomorrow holds, unless we are dealing the cards. So deal a wild card today. Did you write your items for your dream job? Who knows, it might be in your near future.

 

 

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We Need To Talk

Those scary 4 words. You hear them from your spouse, teacher, supervisor and you cringe. From an HR perspective, I usually have to close the door as it usually means that employee is in trouble for … something.  Attendance, no call no show, customer complaint, … or the dreaded “survey results” conversation. As a consumer, you can use an internal “anonymous” review of employees. We call this “Mystery Shopper”. Of course, this doesn’t work in every industry or field, but it is something that can actually get an employee fired if they get enough bad survey results. Every Fortune 500 company that has customers have surveys. They also have reviews. They also have to fear angry customers exploding on their social media pages. If management or someone in the company wants to get rid of you, they are going to find a way. Sometimes they are assholes and get you on a “technicality” like a survey result that you can’t prove or disprove or defend yourself. If you didn’t know, your “5 star” review of your Uber/Lyft driver is super important. You can use that as a weapon. However, they can rate you too, and if you get too many 1 star reviews, no driver will pick you up, regardless what level of car you select.

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So if you are the employee being rated, and you establish rapport with your new customer/client/friend, you can coerce them into giving you 5 stars. How? Ask them is there anything you can do for them before they leave the store to improve their 5 star experience. Maybe they wanted you to pair their phone to their car and you didn’t offer or ask? You are not a mind reader so ask before they rate you. When you are interacting let them know your goal is to provide a 5 star experience, and anything less is not acceptable for you. You can also let them know your job security and likelihood of helping them in the future depends on it. So, bad score, no employee. Got it. They get it. If they like you, they will use your name and say how amazing and awesome you are, and they are bringing all their friends and colleagues as new customers. Seriously, management loves hearing actual comments like that. I would tell my wireless customers I would give them free rollover minutes. <wink> Cost me nothing, but meant the world to them. It is also kind of important to know what you are being scored on so you meet or exceed those expectations. Like, did you offer financing? Join the membership rewards club? Ask for referrals?

 

So if you are working on your career plan, you should also track it. If you are collecting unemployment this is required. Use Microsoft Excel or some spreadsheet and copy and paste the job description, company information/history, in a way you can follow up and remember what you applied for. What if you apply for 25 jobs, all the same, and 10 call back and you have no clue what it is you applied. You want to sound smart and intelligent. Keep it in the cloud so you can update/review it on the go, or when you are about to walk into your in person interview. Having zero clue about the job or company shows you are unprepared and not a good fit. Use Glassdoor.com for additional company research. It is also a good idea to know who the owners/leadership are in the company.

 

 

 

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90 Day Probation Period

So before you get all excited about your W-2 permanent position, you need to know a few little things so you don’t screw up and lose your job. What? Yep, it happens. A lot of employees are actually “temp” with no benefits until their 90 day probationary period is over. That also includes your employee discount. We don’t want to hire someone who robs us blind with discounts and then quits. Yes it happens. Technically it is considered theft. Using your employee discount for someone who isn’t entitled is also theft, and also punishable by termination. Crazy right? It happens. Do people really get fired for employee discount situations? Yep, when I worked at the jewelry store my first week, 2 people got fired for giving the discount to a former employee. Yeah, diamonds have a high mark up so we are talking significant money. Personally I would have just made the current employee pay back the difference and not lose a good salesperson. HR is not always so black and white and managers do have discretion. Some people might say playing favorites, others … discrimination. Why did that white chick just get a slap on the wrist for the same offense when the _____ guy got fired? Manager discretion.

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So the reason for the probation period is a lot of employees simply don’t work out and within a short amount of time, 3 months, it can be determined that a hiring mistake was made and that employee needs to go. Hooray, unemployment! Nope. Wrong. You gotta work there for like, 18 months or longer to get anything from unemployment. AND you are employee at will, so you are screwed. You have no recourse. You can’t sue. You can’t get severance. You can get your box of “things” and be walked out the door never to enter again. Yeah it is kind of a sucky situation for the employee, but it is costly and expensive to hire employees, have them take advantage of resources and then end up leaving. It also is a way for companies to churn through employees with the “they are a dime a dozen” mentality. Companies like, … apple, Google, and Microsoft will always have thousands and thousands of people who WANT to work there. They don’t have a labor shortage crisis.

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So once you make it past the 90 days, you should get your healthcare, vision, dental, 401(k), bus pass, company credit card … AND now that you are in the system, if they want to get rid of you, they have to have a PIP, performance improvement plan, which, from my experience can take up to TWO years to successfully terminate an employee. Most companies have a 3 strike rule, but you are employee at will so keep that with a grain of salt. It starts with a verbal warning, a written warning, final written warning, termination. If you don’t show signs of improvement, they can terminate you and you get no unemployment. Just so you know, the 2 things that are easiest for the employer to prove and win is …. attendance and theft. Fuck up either one or both of those and you are gone. No call, no show, is also terminable offense. But if you have an arrest or jail time proof you might get out of it. Although I don’t recommend sharing any personal information with the employer. Need to know basis.

Moral of the story: This is your dream job. Put your best foot forward. Show everyone you are a great hiring choice/decision and not something they are going to regret. Don’t screw it up in your 90 days is all I have to say. Good luck and have fun making new friends and lunch buddies!

 

 

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401(k) or 403(b) Advice

Okay now that you are hired and you have made it through orientation, you will hopefully get a benefits package. If you are fortunate it will start immediately. If it is for profit, is it a 401(k), nonprofit is 403(b). Most normal people don’t know much about either of these, and the HR people flat out tell you – I aint telling you shit. I know, how rude. Well, if they give bad advice, that is like, called malpractice, and they aren’t insured, so they really don’t have any business telling you how to invest your hard earned cash. I have worked for a financial planner and know a few things about those cool HR benefits. I don’t have malpractice insurance, and it is ultimately up to YOU how you spend your salary, before and after taxes. You might be in a different stage in your life than your new friend from orientation. You might NEED all of your paycheck instead of getting it 50 years later. You need to do what is best for you. So, think of these “funds” this way. If it is aggressive growth and income, it is like the horse races. You will win big fast, but can also lose it fast. Moderate growth is like, federal bonds, city bonds, much safer. And low to no growth but super safe, is like a money market account at a bank. Only invest what you can afford to lose. No one is forcing you to invest or take advantage of that benefit. Chances are you’ll end up cashing it out when you have a life situation/crisis. And that is okay too. If they match 3%, and you an afford it, donate 3% to your rainy day fund. Congrats on that new job. And of course, seek out your inner circle for that investment advice. Or pay someone, that is always an option.

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