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How many times in one day are you bombarded with opportunities to work from home with the promise of earning great pay and benefits, only to find that the job that caught your interest is just an illusion?

What do I mean?

Imagine a job with a description that seems to be exactly what you have been waiting for appears in your inbox.  Although you had searched through a gazillion listings, this particular position seemed to just come out of nowhere.  Just like that, days, weeks, months, years of depression have lifted.  While thanking God, you quickly gather your papers.  Suddenly, there is light at the end of this dark tunnel.  You have to get ready.

So, you immediately head over to the site/board/posting with your information in hand.  However, when you attempt to apply for the position, you notice so many other job offers keep appearing.  But, somehow, the specific one you were applying for (you know, the one that caught your eye in the first place) isn’t even listed.  In fact, you can’t find it anywhere on the employment website, even after an exhaustive search.  Isn’t THAT interesting?

Okay, you’re disappointed but, these things happen sometimes.  You can roll with the punches, right?  Never mind the fact that the perfect job you wanted and that was advertised minutes earlier seems to have disappeared into thin air and has left you scratching your head.  You’re willing to apply for a similar position.  After all, you’re talented, versatile and more than a little desperate.  So, you do just that.

To your utter amazement, the description of the next position you’re interested in is almost identical to the position that had initially caught your eye!  Things are looking up for you…again! What more could you ask for?

That’s when you notice that although the title of the new position and the description of duties is almost the same as your initial choice (maybe evaluator changed to specialist), somehow, the pay is what really changed…a lot.  Somewhere between evaluator and specialist, a substantial pay cut resulted.  Unbelievable.

Okay, you’re even more disappointed but you’re a trooper…and you still need a job. Thankfully, you don’t have that many bills, you don’t eat much and if you cut back on foolish or unnecessary spending, you can still make it.  So, you trudge on through the grueling employment process.  You’re now on your way to gainful, full-time employment…from home no less.  Exciting, right?

Wrong!

Upon further review, you now notice that the new position is only part-time so, the benefits (health insurance, profit sharing, etc.), that you were counting on no longer apply.  Thank goodness you’re relatively healthy.  Outside of occasional allergies, you’re as healthy as a horse.

Although this isn’t good news at all, it will have to do for now.  You have résumés all over town.  And while other potential employers aren’t exactly beating down your door, something else is bound to turn up, right?  So, you decide to work this position until something better comes along.  Sounds like a plan?

Until you read the even finer print and discover that the employer pays only once a month using an outdated, antiquated check system (in 2018) with no firm payment date and, if that isn’t enough, charges a you fee for using its website.

You guessed it, this dinosaur of a company is somehow able to retrieve monies from your bank using updated banking withdrawal technology—every month without fail—but pays its employees with checks—actual, outdated checks, not direct deposit—that, in addition to being inconvenient, requires additional processing time to be printed, mailed and then cashed.

Imagine all of that happening at one time.  Or go through it and then you can just remember instead of imagine.

It’s enough to make you quit before you even get hired!

Can anybody hear me?

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Why is it that, when people borrow money from you, they almost inevitably duck and hide at the very thought of you…and actually get angry when you manage to catch up with them simply because you have the audacity to want your money back?

It usually goes like this:

Act 1: They come to you with a sob story detailing why they need money. Note: They never ask you if it would cause you any discomfort or inconvenience to loan them the money; they just let you know that their situation is dire. Some even go as far as to give a definitive date that they would be able to return any funds borrowed.

And, like all bleeding hearted dopes, you take the bait.

Then, when the time comes for the big payback, you sit quietly and await contact from them.

Nothing.

All is quiet.

They don’t even have the courtesy to reach out to you – if only to let you know that they will not be paying you back yet or maybe ever.

When you finally reach them (after spending only God knows how long showing up in places they frequent, like their job, their home, Church, etc.), they have the unmitigated gall to be irritated and more than a little angry with you!

It’s like they are saying, “How dare you contact me to get your money back? Wait until I contact you (or not depending on what I want to purchase using the monies I promised to return to you) like a civilized sucker!”

Act 2: After you have tracked them down (in a feat that would impress Scotland Yard), you get the next set of sad circumstances that renders them unable to pay you back. Never mind that you loaned them the money based, at least in part, on their promise of repayment on a specified date/time or your own level of need. You simply are not getting your money back…point blank, period.

Now, your own bills, debts and obligations will be affected unless you find a way to borrow from yourself (because, of course, there’s no one around to loan to you). So, you’re out of money and out of time. But you learn from this. You learn to institute a foolproof system of never loaning anybody more than what you can afford to lose. I don’t care if you have $50,000.00 in your bank account and the borrower only needs $3,000.00 and has a great job, only loan them an amount that will not place you in jeopardy.

For me, I have a set amount. If you need $500.00, I will loan you no more than $50.00 to $100.00 at any given time. That way, even if you don’t pay me back, I won’t have to hunt you down, threaten your livelihood or, much more likely, never speak to you again in life.

Even if I never see a penny of recompense, we can still maintain some sort of relationship without the casual jeopardizing of my soul.

Can anybody hear me?

Making money seems to be relatively easy in the United States.  I guess that’s why individuals seeking refuge from their respective countries of origin migrate here.  With our love of singing, sports and entertainment, many people find that talents which were of no use in their home countries (or even home cities) can suddenly propel them to the top of society.  No.  With the right talent and drive, making money is not a problem.  Keeping it, however, seems to be a major one.

I cannot help but consider the many athletes and entertainers who accumulate vast wealth during their lifetimes, only to die destitute and penniless years later.  Of course, there is no ONE reason for this trend.  It is a combination of trusting the wrong people, living above one’s means (no matter how big the means in question are) and not planning for the future.  I also cite back taxes, unfamiliarity with tax shelters and laws—laws that somehow don’t apply to them (you know who they DO apply to), poor investment choices and possible addictions as some of the main causes.

I cannot tell you how often I have seen it happen.  A young entertainer rises to the top of the musical charts.  He continues this trend for a number of years to the excitement of all, including his record label.  Then, with little to no explanation other than a few disparaging reports in the tabloids, he disappears from the spotlight after music changes course and/or the discovery of the next Idol.  Just a few years thereafter, he makes headlines once again, only this time it is because he is sick, dying and broke.  Yet, somehow, the Executive with the dark blue pants and the white shirt—who, mind you, has never sung a single song—has managed to maintain the wealth he received as a result of the entertainer’s efforts.  Somehow, the Executive manages to own the original tracks—tracks which, once again, he neither wrote nor performed—of the former artist such that all royalties, rights etc., associated with this entertainer belong to the him.

How is this possible?

To some extent, one must blame a lack of understanding.  Many people simply do not understand the intricacies of finance and live as though the high times will continue forever.  As someone who has watched the lives of many young entertainers and athletes end in ruin, let me tell you, they will not.  And the only way to weather the storms ahead is to gain the understanding and knowledge of how to use wealth to accumulate more wealth; that is, diversifying one’s interests so that other forms of income will continue to come in, even if the main career goes down.

That being the case, I suggest that rather than simply focusing on gaining wealth, we open ourselves to the benefit of financial education.  Just a few business courses can be the difference between rising and falling and rising and maintaining.  Can anybody hear me?