Pay More Get More

771202d32fb3103bc8526feaaccd4d27After dismal 2015 customer service reviews with only 16% of stores nationwide meeting their goals in this area, Wal-Mart decide to try an almost unheard of idea in the arena of large discount stores.  In early 2016, they increased employee wages across the board and began offering more focused training and streamlined schedules for hourly workers. This new investment has already shown promise in both company loyalty and customer reviews.  The profit landscape is still not as sunny, but that’s another story.  One where Amazon and Target play key antagonists.  For now, have a look around your local Wal-Mart store and see if the good cheer, cleaner restrooms and well stocked shelves have reached your neck of the woods.

How Did Walmart Get Cleaner Stores and Higher Sales? It Paid Its People More

Married or Single?

beautiful wedding ringsThe statistics show that many more older men are married than older women.  Although there is the fact of womens vs. mens longevity, but Paula Span for the New York Times felt this could not be the only reason.  What she found was that women, both widowed and divorced were better able to navigate the single life.  With already supportive groups of friends, events, book clubs and volunteer jobs, women’s networks helped them blossom.  Read more about her fascinating and somewhat familiar findings here, The Gray Gender Gap: Older Women Are Likelier to Go It Alone.

They’re Watching You

allinoneicon The service recommended by this article.

We’re nearing the age envisioned in the movie Minority Report.  Of course, they were arresting people before they could commit  crimes, but remember all of the screens in the stores that would speak to John Anderton, or the directed advertising as he would walk past store windows and on his computer screen?

Companies are harvesting all kinds of information about you through the sites visited on your linked devices, and using it to send targeted advertising.  Ever noticed that the ads on your browser change based on your recent searches?  Brian X. Chen and Natasha Singer for the New York Times explore this phenomenon more closely in the article, Free Tools to Keep Those Creepy Online Ads From Watching You, as well as offering reviews of four tools that can help maintain your privacy.

Singer Cancels Austin Show Due to Campus Carry

quote-don-t-let-your-eyes-refuse-to-seedon-t-let-your-ears-refuse-to-hear-ray-lamontagne-91-44-32From the beginning of this academic year, the campus carry law has allowed students at the University of Texas with concealed carry licenses to bring their weapons onto campus.  Due to this law, folk singer Ray LaMontagne has cancelled his show scheducled for Thursday evening at the Bass Concert Hall.  In a Facebook post he stated, “No matter how hard I try to understand the rationale for allowing guns on campus or more broadly, the ‘concealed carry’ law in general, I just cannot in any way support that ideology.”  University officials confirmed that the campus carry law would indeed allow students to bring firearms into the concert venue.

College Financial Aid Changes

fafsaProposed changes in the timeline for college financial aid offers will give students more time to weigh their options and make an informed choice about which school is the best fit.  Starting this year, families can file FASFA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as early as Oct. 1st.  This  gives students more time to compare the affordability of various schools and to gather information about their educational programs, leading to a more informed choice and a better college experience.

At Last, Your Financial Aid Ordeal Has Gotten Easier

A Little Bird Told Me

5peepyeljpg-c3f3b79c7059f81aSo it’s the dead of summer, at least here in Texas and not really anywhere near Easter but I thought we could all use a little #FridayFun in our lives.

Anyone else love Peeps candy?  They were created by the Just Born company of Brooklyn in 1953 and have been an Easter delicacy ever since.  Enjoy the Peeps trivia in this article from the AARP magazine, 11 Things You Didn’t Know About Peeps and don’t worry, if reading this makes you crave that soft, sugary treat, they sell them year round!

This Just In
Workers at the Bethlehem, PA plant where they make Peeps have walked off the job in protest of a proposed change from a pension plan to a 401K.  Might want to get your Peeps sooner rather than later.  Although, the company is reportedly hiring replacement workers to keep production up and running.
‘No pension, no Peeps:’ Strike threatens holiday candy supplies

Stock Photography Profits to the Photographer

the hands of a young Christian child are folded in prayer over the book the Holy BibleImagine a site with amazing stock photos.  Now imagine that the majority of the profits go directly to the photographers.  That is exactly what Bruce Livingstone and Brianna Wettlaufer created not once, but twice.  Previously they owned iStock which billed itself as “by creatives, for creatives.”  This business was later acquired by Getty Photos.  As the amount of royalties paid to photographers began to lessen, the team decided it was time to start again.  Together they created Stocksy, where photographers are paid 50-75% of sales as well a 90% distribution of profits at the end of the year.  Next time you need a stunning stock photos, give Stocksy a look.

A New Wrinkle in the Gig Economy: Workers Get Most of the Money

Long Term Care, Worth It Or Not?

v_3975Long term care insurance is quickly losing its shine.  In the 1990s these policies were sold in large numbers and seen as the best way to preserve your style of living as you aged.   Since that time, premium rate increases due to high claim volumes and low lapse rates have made the plans much less affordable.  Darla Mercado for CNBC examines when these policies may be right for you and what other ways you can plan for unexpected care needs in Less is more: The dilemma over long term care insurance.

The IRS Always Sends A Bill First

safety-first-283x300Recently there has been a rash of phone scams concerning taxes.  Many people have paid money over the phone, believing that they would be in trouble with the US government if they did not.  As a certified public accountant, I wanted to make sure you understand that the IRS will always send you a letter first.  They do not make cold calls demanding money.  Please read this article to better inform yourself about the scams currently in play, and remember that the IRS will not call you, they will send a bill.

Phone Scams Continue to be a Serious Threat, Remain on IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2016 Filing Season