The COVID-19 pandemic has made the divide between economic classes in the US more clear than ever before. From housing to healthcare, one’s ability to survive the impact of these times has been largely dictated by income.
Billionaires, however, sit in a league of their own. Mostly, they have been impacted by becoming much wealthier.
Jeff Bezos is an easy example of wealthier billionaires. He has added $74 billion to his already eye-popping net worth over the 8-month course of the pandemic.
Not just because of the shift away from shopping in-person, either – Watchdog group public Citizen has alleged that Amazon raised its prices as much as 900% on essential goods like face masks, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and shelf stable food staples, though Amazon has denied this. And while the company regularly speaks out against price gouging, their efforts primarily fixate on third parties.
But as far as I know, only one person has intentionally lost their billionaire status recently. The “James Bond of Philanthropy,” Charles Feeney, just shuttered The Atlantic Foundation after 40 years of giving. In that time, he has donated away nearly his entire $8 billion fortune to charities around the globe.
Feeney, now 89, cofounded Tourists International with Robert Miller in 1960. The luxury retail chain, later known as Duty Free Shoppers, was fueled by cash from international Asian tourism and military service members.
Unbeknownst to his fellow shareholders, Feeney transferred his company assets in 1982 to start the Atlantic Foundation and for years the Atlantic Foundation’s grants were bestowed totally anonymously. His secret wasn’t discovered until court documents regarding a conflict with Miller, his former business partner, forced him to come forward in 1997.
Feeny is far from broke today, living in a San Francisco apartment (hey, they’re expensive) and holding onto a tidy $2 million.
Still, he has given away the greatest proportion of his wealth out of all American philanthropists. The Atlantic Foundation’s legacy remains a powerful acknowledgement of the responsibility that comes with holding a vast quantity of resources and capital.
After all, human brains struggle to really ‘get’ the sheer scale of a billion – let alone give it away.
Weed greed: Some states are raking in the tax dollars on cannabusinesses
(FINANCE) The tax profits from weed sales in these states just may be enough to push politicians toward legalizing the drug cross-country.
States are making bank on weed taxes
The Marijuana Policy Project makes the case to legalize cannabis with its recently released report. According to the report, as of December 2021, states that legalized adult-use cannabis brought in a combined total of $10.4 billion in tax revenue since 2014. This tracks the 18 states where marijuana is legalized for recreational use. It does not include medical marijuana, which would dramatically increase the figure. The figures also don’t include local tax revenue, just tax revenue at the state level, nor does the report include any licensing or business fees that are generated by the industry.
Which states are bringing in the money with cannabis taxes?
Eighteen states have legalized marijuana for adult use. In some of those states, the laws were just approved, so tax collections have not begun or not yet available. Here are some of the figure’s from the MPP report.
|State||Tax collection in 2021||Total taxes received since cannabis was legalized|
|Colorado||$367+ million (thru November)||$1,791,138,715 (2014)|
|Washington||$480+ million (thru September)||$3,051,390,820 (2014)|
|Oregon||$138+ million (thru September)||$635,512,128 (2016)|
|Alaska||$24+ million (thru October)||$95,004,906 (2016)|
|Nevada||$471+ million (through September)||$471,544,647 (2017)|
|California||$976+ million (through September)||$3,123,477,637 (2018)|
|Massachusetts||$205+ million (through November)||$384,529,750 (Nov. 2018)|
|Michigan||$188+ million (through November)||$271,129,649 (Dec. 2019)|
|Illinois||$387+ million (through November)||$562,750,974 (2020)|
|Maine||$11+ million (through November)||$13,063,204 (Oct. 2020)|
|Arizona||$121+ million (through October)||$121,463,757 (2021)|
Most states have legislation that puts the tax revenue toward specific initiatives. In Illinois, 20% of the revenue goes into mental health services. In Michigan, many of the funds have been put toward schools and transportation. California directs its revenues toward local non-profits that benefit “people adversely impacted by punitive drug laws,” and invests a portion of the money in environmental programs.
Marijuana is profitable
The Hustle reports that Denver generated over $237 million and West Hollywood in California has generated $2.2 million in one year from 6 dispensaries in less than 2 square miles. The Tulsa World reports that Oklahoma, which has only legalized medical marijuana, collected over $55 million in 2019. With more Americans leaning toward decriminalizing marijuana and making it legal, the profits to be made from marijuana sales may push politicians toward legalizing weed.
Get outstanding invoices paid to you by following these 7 steps
(FINANCE) For a freelancer, it’s more important than ever to bring up the issue of getting paid on time. Here are 7 tips to get your money.
For many, an awkward topic of conversation revolves around getting paid. Whether asking for a raise or asking to borrow money, people often feeling uncomfortable when talking money.
This is equally, or possibly even more so, true for freelancers who are solely in charge of their finances. Without a system of weekly direct deposit, freelancers have to work overtime to keep their earnings in order.
The issue with this is that clients also have a lot on their plates, and something as simple as a freelancer’s paycheck is common to fall through the cracks. This causes freelancers to have to work friendly reminders into their repertoire.
However, freelancers may not always be knowledgeable of the best ways to keep their finances in check (no pun intended). Below are seven ways to enhance payment methods.
- You have to be willing to make billing a priority. Due to the fact that money is awkward to talk about, as aforementioned, many let this fall by the wayside. The best way to do this is to keep up to date with your invoices and send them as soon as they are done. Making a calendar specific for billing can help with this idea.
- This second bit dates back to when we were young and learning our manners: it is crucial to be polite. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also increases speed in payment. Using “please” and “thank you” in invoicing emails are said to get you paid 5% faster.
- It is best to try and keep a complicated concept like finance as simple as possible. Make sure you are creating specific due dates. This will help to signify importance of payment.
- Now that virtually anything can be done online, it would make sense to use electronic payment verses an old-school check. Accepting online payments will get a user paid, on average, eight days faster as opposed to a check.
- This is an important notion to keep in mind for any aspect of your business life: be professional. Invoices are often seen by many eyes so it is best to include your business’s logo on said invoice. This has been found to increase chances of being paid on time by 10%.
- Specificity is urged again in the form of transparency. Make sure you are giving detailed descriptions on each invoice so that anyone looking at it knows exactly what you are being paid for. By doing this, you are 15% more likely to be paid on time.
- While you may be invoicing month by month, try to avoid sending on the 30th or 31st. Being that everyone, generally, sends their invoices in on these dates, it takes 10 – 20% longer to be paid. With everyone sending it at the end of the month, it has a tendency to back up payroll.
The most important thing to remember is that while the topic of money may be awkward, it is your money. If you let a few invoices fall behind because you are uncomfortable reminding your client, this has a way of adding up. Be sure to keep on track with your finances to earn what you are working for.
Why you will pay more to live in larger metros: job opportunities
(BUSINESS NEWS) Small to mid-sized metros offer higher adjusted salaries, but don’t pack your bags just yet because your job may not be there
When I told my parents how much my partner and I would be paying for rent at our new apartment, they quickly pointed out that I could purchase a home for that kind of money in my hometown.
My parents are right, I could literally buy a home for the amount of money I pay in rent every month to live in a large metro area. But the equation that determines where I and many other workers should live, is more complex than salary minus housing.
These areas are cheaper to live in, in part, because they may not offer the kind of job opportunities, and therefore social mobility, you see in larger metro areas. Sure, I could make my money go further in my hometown, but the chances of me finding a job in my industry there are smaller.
Your field of work does matter when considering whether or not the “small-city advantage” could work for you. If you work in tech or finance, two traditionally high-paying fields, then this advantage doesn’t apply.
“Before adjusting for living costs, typical technology salaries are 27% higher in two-million-plus metros than metros with fewer than 250,000 people. Even after adjusting for those costs, tech salaries are still 5% higher in the largest metros than in the smallest ones,” finds Indeed.
If a huge tech company offering thousands of high-paying jobs moved into a smaller city on the map, over time, it would get more expensive to live there. It’s the hamster wheel that is currently driving income inequality in some of America’s largest major metro areas.
Finding the right place to call home is never going to be a single factor decision. Yes, salary is a huge factor, as is the cost of living, but there are also lifestyle factors to consider. What kind of opportunities would you have in this city? How much will it cost to move there? How will this affect the other members of your household?
It’s nice to play the ‘ditch the corporate world and buy a country house’ fantasy after a long day at work, but the reality is far more complex.
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Get outstanding invoices paid to you by following these 7 steps