Richest 85 People Own More than Poorest 3.5 Billion

Yikes, I know that concentration of wealth among the richest, or the wealth inequality gap, has been on the rise over time here in the U.S.. That’s lead to a number of people criticizing the outrageous increases in CEO pay compared to their own employees, or calling for tax reforms so people who make a majority of their income off of investments don’t end up paying less in taxes than working class people who earn the income actively.

The latest report from Oxfam sheds a whole new light on the gap in wealth between the richest in the world versus the poorest in very stark terms, however. Shockingly stark. The richest 85 people in the world have more wealth than the poorest 3.5 billion people combined. take a moment to let that sink in. Something is very wrong when so few people can control so much of the wealth in this world.

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Money Can Buy Happiness… To a Point. Maybe.

We’ve all heard it before: “Money can’t buy happiness”. And of course, this has been an interesting research topic for economists for a very long time. Is it true? Do people get happier as they get richer; or more miserable as they get poorer? Or maybe money can buy happiness…

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Jobs Without a Degree: Become an Uber Driver!

Good news for those of you looking for jobs without a degree came out today from Uber, the private car service startup – It could be just what you’re looking for. For those of you who aren’t aware of the company, it operates a new-fangled town-car service. Basically they offer an app, you use it to request a ride and a car comes to pick you up at your location and take you to your destination. Think like a nicer taxi service where you don’t need to stand by a curb waving your arms hoping one will pull over and pick you up. They have a variety of car options with varying pricing: a Prius, an Escalade, a Caddy, a Taxi, etc.

In the markets where they’ve started to take off, they’re really taking off and having issues meeting demand with driver supply. They’ve been using peak demand pricing to up the price to try and affect the supply/demand imbalance, but that can only take them so far. They really need more drivers out there in these cities. So they’ve decided to partner with auto manufacturers to help drivers get a sweet deal on financing.

They’re stating the drivers can save $100 – $200 a month on payments and Uber can even estimate the gross revenue per car – which they say is more than $100,000 a year! Ka-ching! Now, I know that’s the gross figure and I’m sure you have to pay a lot for maintenance and upkeep of these vehicles, plus the car payments – but this right here sounds like a pretty sweet stimulus package for people who might be looking for a new job/career. Hustle baby.

Uber is running a trial in the cities with the most demand: New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, and San Francisco. In case this sounds like something you might wanna look into, check out Uber’s driver signup page.

Calculating Your Savings Rate

Ah, savings rates. The pissing contest of the frugal.

People in the financial independence / early retirement community love to compare their numbers and accusations are flung about once people post ridiculously high numbers.

Here’s the issue: I’m not sure people are comparing apples to oranges. Some people use net income, some use gross. In the net income camp, some use “after-tax” income, while others use “take-home”. In some cases people confuse the two, using take home pay but then add their pre-tax savings (like a 401k) to only the savings side of the equation. This can lead to some pretty drastically different numbers. And the latter can lead to rates that are effectively unattainable by a normal human being.

Let’s step through some examples to see what savings rates we end up with using the same income / savings as our base.

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