She's Spoken

Advice, opinions, and critical thinking all in one place!

Archive for money

Customer Service?

I remember growing up that when my mother and I went shopping customer service was important. The employees at the establishments we frequented were decimated to helping their customer base, they smiled and greeted us and they were genuine in their interactions with us. Now, I am not sure if anyone knows what customer service really is. As consumers we have be taken advantage of, lied too, left in hold for 20 minutes at a time, over charged and the list goes on. Recently Verizon was hit with a huge a fine in the realm of $50 million according to some reports. Money they owe their customers for mis-billed data charges. The fact that the number even reach that much means that the mis-billing took place over a period of time.

Having ben a former Verizon customer I am aware of many of the issues that riddled that company. So, what I want to do is this: I am creating a list of the top four companies that have delivered repeatedly poor customer service and I will detail how they failed to make the mark. If you have companies please feel free to comment and add them along with the details.

1.) Verizon – Long Hold Times. Over Billing. Uninformed Customer Service Representatives.

2.) T-Mobile – Huge Account Errors. Long Hold Times. MIsinformed by Representative. Service Interruption Errors.

3.) Citibank -Clueless Representatives. Malicious Account Restrictions. Failure to Provide Service. Lied to by Representative.

4.) Wal-Mart – Ignored by Associates. Long Lines. Failure to Complete Transactions. Clueless and Unwilling Associates. Misinformation Given.

 

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Social Security -Sorry, I meant IOU.

If you’re like many Americans you can’t wait for the glory days. The planting of your garden, vacations with the prospective grandchildren, that national road trip, and some traveling abroad. Wait- not if social security is your only means of retirement income. The latest numbers indicate that like every other facet of our economic structure social security is in grave danger. As the 77 million or so baby boomers reach retirement age and as the job market continues to rain down pick-slips like torrential down pours, more and more people are requesting to draw their social security benefits. That maybe fine for them, but for you and me that spells disaster. The government estimates that by 2037 the fund maybe completely depleted unless legislative action and an overhaul are undergone. Unless that takes place you and I will both be the victims of government IOU’s that will forever remain outstanding.

 

This year and for the next few years to come the social security administration will have to pay out more in benefits than it collected, and in doing so they will have try to begin collection on the IOU’s that the federal government has so candidly issued. With layoffs at every corner social security is not experiencing the same financial participation that it once did. This spells benefit shortfalls and potential depletion. All that we have contributed; all that we have worked for is actually in the process of depletion. Without a strategic economic plan there simply will not be any social security for us to look forward to. The sad situation is that those who do see benefit payouts will have to learn to sustain themselves on a monthly income of about $1,200! That’s about what I spend on 4 months of groceries. How can a nation that is so proud and so strong allow for such a huge financial blunder? We pay exactly 6.2 percent in social security taxes on our wages up to around $106,000 and that number is matched by our employer, which means if you earn $30,000/yr. you are paying $1,860 in social security taxes. If you sustain that income for a period of 25 years you have paid in, $46,500 and you are only getting a fraction of that if you’re lucky.

 

The lesson here people is we need to get smart; we need to resort to the days of stuffing our mattresses’ and cookie jar hiding. With the markets the way they are and banks immerging and falling there are very few safe places to grow a nest egg. I am urging you to take a good hard look at your financial future. Take hold of it not only for your sake, but for the sake of your children and grandchildren. A simple savings of $100.00/mo. adds up to $1200.00 a year. If at the minimum you saved only that $100.00 a month for the next 25 working years you will have saved yourself, $30,000. While the numbers looks like something more in line with a year’s hard earned salary, it is about 2 ½ years social security. Now, put that away in a Roth IRA or some other account and now you’ve done yourself a financial service. The days of government bailouts and dependency are over, we are facing a national deficit in the trillions and it is going to take years to pay that off. Our debts internationally have also grown and funds are being, “barrowed” from federally promised retirement funds such as civil service and military pensions. Do the research, check the math and save your future.

Music?

The other day I heard a very distasteful song on the radio. It’s sad however because nothing that the radios have resorted to playing seems to shock me anymore. There was a time when certain content be it lyrical or otherwise had the ability to shock me. Anyway, the song was very explicit in the acts it wanted to perform. The chorus says something to this effect, “say ahhh, open wide and let me hear ya say ahh…” something like that. These lyrics and this song upset me for two major reasons. The first being that there are men out there bold enough to not only treat a woman this way, but sing about it on a record that will probably play worldwide. The second part of that anger is that there are women out there that are behaving in the manner that they are referencing. 

See we always attack the rappers and singers for their lyrical content and verbiage choices, and we should. However, we should not lay all the blame on them. There are the women behaving the way the songs describe and doing these nasty acts openly and freely. Then there are also the radio stations that choose to air these songs. These songs would have no personal applicability if these things weren’t happening so often and openly, and furthermore they would not be okay to sing about if the occurrence of this type of behavior was frowned upon more often. We have become to accepting of things in order to be a more tolerant and diverse nation. Somewhere along the lines of acceptance and tolerance we got confused and starting making room for distastefulness and degradation of mainly the women in our society. In becoming a more open minded nation that embraces multiculturalism and self-expression we opened the door for the senseless that we hear in our music. The reality is that there are women out there doing those things, behaving that way, using their bodies as bartering tools and they do it of their own accord. Even more disturbing is that there are men out there that will only treat a woman this way; they seem them as objects and nothing more.

Somewhere along the lines we lost our value system, we lost our self-respect and we need to get it back. I say we because more of us could do more to combat this type of thing. It’s in how we speak in regards to others, it’s how we view the world, and it’s in the music we listen to, in the shows that we watch and the list goes on. This is not the way that it should be. I know that there are far more of us who keep our private lives private and whom behave in a far more acceptable and appropriate manner. So, the next time you get mad at a woman or man, watch the choice of words you use when referring to them, and the next time you just nonchalantly flip through the radio stations pay attention to more than the beat and catchy phrases. Make sure that your innocent flipping doesn’t land you in nastyville. Lastly, ladies stop behaving in these ways, value you more than that. Your body is a temple and your mind is worth far more than any dance you can do in the bed or on the dance floor. Oh, and fellas find a woman that is smart and equal, someone to challenge you not sexually shock with her open sexual exploitations.

Debt anyone?

You know yesterday I read an article about a young lady that put herself through undergrad and eventually medical school. Upon completion she had acquired a debt of $555,000! All in student loans. That is a hefty price for an American education. This country has one of the steepest educational cost yet our aptitude scores and standardized testing scores pale in comparison to other countries with much more affordable higher educational costs. It’s as though institutions are financially penalizing those that make it too college, penalizing those who choose higher education. Yet, where is all that money going? How is it benefiting the country, the student, how is it benefiting anyone to be buried by such an insurmountable amount of debt? 

It’ strange because student loans are almost thrown at you when you’re a college student and in most cases without them you simply can’t afford school. It’s a financial catch 22 situation and its a education killer in my opinion. One of the biggest decision in weather or not I would go onto graduate school was the cost! Not the time, not the coursework, not the commute or any of those things, but the thought of taking another loan to finish my education. I had to make a financial plan, a budget and ask myself could I afford graduate school? With the economy in ruins and the number of military applicants on the rise because of the lack of jobs and job security, would it financially behoove me to obtain my graduate degree? I have am still pondering the question. I think we have it all wrong in this country. Over charging for higher education and under paying teachers and professors alike. We spend thousands, hundreds of thousands in some cases to learn to become better informed citizens and intellectuals and we pay those who teach us scraps. 

Maybe if we got things right educationally from the elementary school age and installed a solid educational basis then more kids would go to college. If we focused more on education and not all the fluff, our children would post better aptitude numbers and more people would get into college and just maybe this would combat the high cost of higher education. Did you know that here in Hawaii we have what they call furlough Friday’s? Yeah, for a minimum of two Friday’s a month the kids don’t have school because they state is broke. So, not only did they cut educators salaries they also cancelled classes two Friday’s a month and they release most of the elementary schools at 12:25pm one day a week. Can you believe that? They are robbing these kids of education today only to compound that with financial debt tomorrow. We really have it backwards on this one, we need to do better in terms of our educational institutions and costs. No one should have to bury themselves financially to obtain higher education in the world we live in today those that seek and complete post-secondary education should be rewarded.