Working for the manWritten by Nolan Baker Mark Clair | | email@example.com
I, Nolan, remember many of the conversations I overheard from the top of the stairs as a child growing up in the home of two business owners.
My dad sat me down at the age of 12 and started talking with me about “working for the man” or “being the man when” I got older.
He pointed out to me that I had the freedom to choose my future. I could rely on someone else and probably get paid less money, which in theory should be safer than starting my own business and taking the risk.
However, being my own boss would give me the opportunity to have more income and more control on how I spent my time. After reviewing the recent U.S. Commerce Department report on the wage comparison between federal civilian employees pay and the average private industry pay, does that hold true today and how can you take advantage of this information?
First, make sure you are sitting down, the report is shocking! The average federal employee, excluding the military, made $123,049 versus $61,051 for the average private worker.
As we reviewed the numbers, the added benefits that federal workers earn, such as health, pension and other areas make up a large part of the difference.
Mark and I both know as private business owners the cost that goes into maintaining health insurance alone. Today I spend about $700 a month for my health savings account with a $5,000 yearly deductible for my family.
Pensions for most private companies are pretty much a luxury of the past. In fact, many private employers have even reduced or eliminated the matching contributions in the past few years on the 401(k) plans as the economy got tougher.
It is time we all tightened our belts. The recent recession made many private companies lay off or let go thousands of employees. Other employees took pay cuts or even had their wages frozen until things got better.
The trends nationally still continue to this day, as another 50,000 people filed for unemployment benefits recently. On the other hand, the House of Representatives and other Members of Congress voted against freezing federal pay raises.
In these tough times, we are in this together, and it is once again a failure by our leadership to make financially responsible decisions.
Now, keep in mind, we are not at all saying that the many men and women who work for our government don’t do a great job. Also, all government jobs are not federal jobs.
In fact, I live in Waterville because of the local, not federal, leadership in our small town, the police that protect and serve our community, and I am very thankful to have two boys in the Anthony Wayne School district.
So, if you are mad at the fact the pay difference is more than double, don’t take it out on the postal worker as he or she brings you mail this weekend or the civil engineer who is working on the road in your neighborhood. Instead, be mad at your political leaders and make sure you get out and vote this fall or send a letter to your elected leaders.
Locally, we have seen some improvements. Our overall unemployment rate has dropped from 13.6 percent in January to 11.5 percent in July.
Yet a great tip for the 37,900 Toledoans still looking for a job is to consider thinking outside of the box. Use this knowledge if you or someone you know has been affected by the recent economy and consider opportunities for working in the federal government.
According to a USA Today analysis of the difference in private versus federal jobs, there are a number of jobs that offer a lot more to federal workers. Those jobs include chemist, clergy, cook, graphic designer, landscape architect, paralegal, pest control worker or a recreation worker.
Start looking right away so you can get back to work. We may not agree with many of the ways our government spends our money, but the wage difference is a fact that could improve a family’s financial situation.
It could be awhile before our country as a whole comes together and forces Washington to act. Just keep in mind that Americans are beginning to wake up and change will come, so even if you do get a federal job, save and invest and don’t rely on the government to take care of you in the future.
For more information about The Retirement Guys, tune in every Saturday at 1 p.m. on 1370 WSPD or visit www.retirementguysradio.com. Securities are offered through NEXT Financial Group Inc., Member FINRA / SIPC. NEXT Financial Group, Inc nor its representatives provide tax advice. The Retirement Guys are not an affiliate of NEXT Financial Group. The office is at 1700 Woodlands Drive, Suite 100, Maumee, OH 43537.
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