Money: Relatively Speaking

Money is a topic that is on every adult’s mind a great majority of the time. But there’s a big difference in what people are thinking when it comes to money. Some people wonder how their earned income stacks up against others. Some people create financial goals and save and invest diligently to meet them. Others just wonder if they’ll have enough to pay all their bills this month.

Recently, an employee at Wells Fargo bank sent an email to the CEO there requesting that every employee in the company be given a $10,000 salary increase. This equates to an increase of $4.71 an hour. Moreover, the cost to the company would be about $3 billion a year; a veritable drop in the bucket of the company’s net revenues. The employee cc’d 200,000 of the employees who worked at the company and the email was quickly picked up by the press. He refers to his lone email request as one voice that is a mere whisper, but calls upon his 300,000 colleagues to make their opinions heard.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Wells Fargo Worker Asks CEO for Raise in Email, CC’ing Hundreds of Thousands,” from CNN Money, accessed Oct. 10, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the Wells Fargo employee email at CNN Money, Oct. 10, 2014.]

This email was distributed the same week the White House started making a big push to increase the minimum wage across the country. It is pressing Congress to raise the wage to $10.10 an hour, as was increased by executive order for individuals working on new federal service contracts.

[CLICK HERE to read “Raise the Wage,” from The While House, accessed Oct. 10, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Small-Business Owners Push Back Against Ballot Measure to Increase Nebraska’s Minimum Wage,” from Fox Business News, Oct. 9, 2014.]

Opposing points of view on this topic are both valid and impassioned, with very little middle ground. Still, one quote from Vice President Joe Biden is worth a second thought: “No one in America should be working 40 hours a week and living below the poverty level.” The current minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, or $15,080 a year. Technically, the national poverty line for a single person is $11,670. By that argument, a person making minimum wage wouldn’t be living in poverty, but most people would find it difficult to live on $15,080 a year, or $30,160 for a two-income family of four.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “From Mid-Atlantic to Midwest, Voters Express Frustration and Fatigue,” from The New York Times, Oct. 10, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Vice President Biden: No One Who Works 40 Hours a Week Should Live in Poverty,” from The White House, Oct. 8, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the 2014 Poverty Guidelines from The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, accessed on Oct. 10, 2014.]

Of course, no discussion of income inequality is complete without comparing men’s and women’s wages. This year, Pew Research published findings concluding that young adult women are entering the workforce at near parity with men — at least for now. Women working in the technology industry may disagree, based on a recent comment from Microsoft’s CEO that drew criticism.

[CLICK HERE to view the video, “There’s More to the Story of the Shrinking Pay Gap,” on YouTube, Jan. 9, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to view the video, “Nadella’s Advice to Women on Raises Comes Back to Bite Him,” from The Seattle Times, Oct. 9, 2014.]

Wherever you stand on the pay dispute, or the income continuum, one thing remains the same: It’s personal. Our circumstances, our backgrounds, our experiences, our dispositions, our efforts, our challenges and our achievements; they are all different and combine to form the basis of our opinions on the topic.

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This content is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.

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