You might not want to max out your 401(k)

October 16, 2017

By Anna-Louise Jackson/NerdWallet via   Article

3 Reasons You Might Not Want to Max Out Your 401(k) After All

1. Non-retirement goals

… Jeff Weber, a certified financial planner … ‘Most people think that putting extra money aside for retirement is the best policy,’ he says. ‘But we like to take a look at the big picture and make sure they’re covered in other areas, too.’ …

  • Do you have any high-interest credit card debt? If so, pay that off ASAP.
  • Have you built up an emergency fund with three to six months of living expenses?
  • Do you have adequate health insurance?
  • If you’re married or have children, do you have adequate life insurance?
  • Do you have adequate disability insurance in case you’re out of work for six months or more because of an injury or ailment?
  • Do you have a basic will or trust established?
  • If you’re close to retirement age, do you have long-term care insurance?

Generally, Weber wants his clients to have these goals in place before maxing out a retirement plan. But if they don’t, he still urges clients to contribute the minimum to get their employer’s match … if it’s offered. …

2. Today vs. tomorrow

… A about half of Americans are saving less than 5% of their income and only 35% of employees are on track to meet their retirement goals. … the knee-jerk reaction for many advisers is to encourage people to max out savings — and even max out a 401(k), says Rick Irace, chief operating officer at Ascensus. ‘But that’s not realistic for everyone.’ …

The company-match perk, which is fairly common among firms that offer retirement plans, means your employer will match your contributions up to a certain percentage. While the amount varies, it’s free money for those who contribute to their plans.

3. Other investment options

… When choosing between the traditional and Roth variety of an IRA or 401(k), the difference comes down to when you’ll be taxed. In traditional accounts, contributions are pretax and distributions in retirement are taxed; with Roth accounts, contributions are made after taxes but retirement distributions are tax-free. (Learn more about traditional and Roth IRAs.)”


Everyone has bias – including you and me

October 16, 2017

By Dan Rockwell via   Article

Bias When Hiring Mommies, Musicians, And Light Skinned Blacks

“Everyone has bias. It’s dangerous to think otherwise. When you meet job candidates, you form first impressions that include stereotypes and biases. (Not all stereotypes are bad.) In order to recruit and retain the best talent leaders must confront unconscious bias.

Confront bias:

Try a few Implicit Association Tests on Project Implicit to reveal unconscious bias. In order to overcome bias, you must first identify it. I took the Gender-Career IATon Harvard.Edu. The result indicates that I associate men with career and women with family. People in my category tend to give more opportunity to men, unless we confront our bias.

Gender bias:

‘In the 1970s and 1980s, orchestras began using blind auditions. Candidates are situated on a stage behind a screen to play for a jury that cannot see them… Even when the screen is only used for the preliminary round, it has a powerful impact; researchers have determined that this step alone makes it 50% more likely that a woman will advance to the finals.’ (The Guardian)

Skin color bias:

Light skinned Blacks are judged more intelligent than dark skinned Blacks. This is true even when darker skinned persons have more education. (University of Georgia)

Motherhood bias:

We have a tendency to believe mothers are less committed to work. Mommy bias accounts for a large portion of pay disparity between genders. (NY Times)

7 ways to deal with bias:

  1. Take an IAT test.
  2. Discuss bias in team meetings.
  3. Evaluate hiring decisions with bias in mind.
  4. Monitor the way you assign tasks and give credit.
  5. Define evaluative terms. For example, you might say a person is aggressive. If the person is female, “aggressive” is more likely to be negative.
  6. Expand your experiences. Visit a country where you don’t speak the language.
  7. Attend Unconscious Bias Training.”

The cue ball

October 16, 2017

Via   Article

The Four Types Of Relationships And The Reputational Cue Ball

“There are four types of relationships with people: Win Win, Win Lose, Lose Win, Lose Lose. Seneca says ‘Time discovers truth.’ Only one of those relationships is sustainable over the long-term. And longevity is the key to so many things. Yet so many of us operate in the short term. Today. This week. This Month. This Quarter. We want to WIN even if that means the other person LOSES.

… The person on the LOSING side of any relationship tends to coil like a spring, the latent energy building with time, frequency, and magnitude of slight. The more they perceive you taking advantage of them, the higher the odds they negatively become spring-loaded. This creates a negative leaping emergent effect. That’s human nature. Given the chance to punish someone that we feel wronged us, even at personal cost, we will often take it. These outcomes are avoidable.

Biology has taught us that the key to evolving is to be sustainable over a long period of time. We must reproduce. A one-and-done species is not even a footnote in history. … And yet so few of us design systems that incorporate duration as an element. We make them short term. Designed to maximize the short run while ensuring we never get on a path of sustainability.

  • When you treat people badly they will respond (eventually) in kind.
  • When you rip your customers off they will (eventually) go elsewhere.
  • When you rip off your suppliers they will (eventually) stop doing business with you or return your behaviour in kind.

Anyone can come into an organization and start throwing their title around to get things done. We’ve all met this person. This works for a while but eventually fails. And who is interested in a tactic that only works for a short time? Ideally, we want something that works for a long time. Taking advantage of relationships, while it may achieve the desired results in the short term, takes you off a path that involves time. …

Peter Kaufman, who published Poor Charlie’s Almanack, describes this as the Reputational Cue Ball

Non-Win/Win tactics are akin to playing a billiards tournament with a focus on sinking only the first shot or two. Billiards—or life—is a multi-shot game. When we fail to consider the future consequences of mistreating our counter-parties in a current ‘deal’ or first phase, it can wind up leaving our ‘reputational cue ball’ ill-positioned for the next shot—the next deal or phase to come down the pike.”


3 really dumb things

October 16, 2017

By Marcel Schwantes via   Article

3 Really Dumb Things That Managers Should Never Do To Their Employees

“The importance of emotional currency — what makes people feel supported, valued, developed and appreciated — has become a hot commodity for impacting businesses, satisfying customers, and keeping shareholders happy. Workplace values like freedom, democracy, trust, transparency, ownership, and happiness — unheard of less than a decade ago — are quickly becoming the norm, thanks in part to the influence of Millennials. … allow me to clue you in to 3 really dumb moves you should absolutely avoid.

1. Stop ignoring employees.
If you’re hoping to keep your best Millennial employees engaged (or any other generation, for that matter — this is the human condition), start talking about their work regularly. … half of all Millennials surveyed said that they do value the obsolete HR practice of performance reviews, but not as an awkward, once-a-year event. They want it in the form of feedback at least monthly, if not more frequently. Only 9.8 percent prefer the standard annual version. … The focus for managers worried about carving out time to do this should be on making your feedback shorter, more frequent, and constructive. …

2. Stop treating employees like cogs and numbers.
… 50 percent of employees left their job ‘to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career.’ In other words, those 50 percent of employees left because managers didn’t care about them. …What do employees want and need the most as a performance motivator? While a paycheck helps, that money will be spent tomorrow. They are looking for recognition and praise. … For Millennials, recognition is especially important as this generation has a particular sensitivity to it.

3. Stop calling all the shots without involving the team.
Since employees are the ones most intimately acquainted to how things are going on in the trenches — with customers, tasks, processes, what is working and not working — leaders will gain their trust by coming to them first for input, buy-in, advice, and strategy. This fosters a culture of trust, questioning and creativity, where followers feel safe enough to contribute ideas and share concerns that have value and can help resolve situations.

The cultures at many of these Best Companies (think Google, SAS, and Acuity) are known for giving employees a meaningful voice in how the business gets run. Workers are encouraged to contribute ideas outside of the scope of their day-to-day functions and job descriptions. So what do you do in practice? You allow your key employees a seat at the table to make decisions and exercise influence over things that matter in the business. Think of projects, tasks, and meetings about strategy, mission, and culture in which you can involve your people.”

Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

October 9, 2017

By Steve Keating via   Article

“There is a great story about a young woman who went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as if she solved one problem only to have a new one pop up almost instantly.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.  In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ‘Tell me what do you see?’

‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ the daughter replied. The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. The daughter did and noted that they got soft. Her mother then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, the daughter observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, her mother asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she smelled its rich aroma. The daughter then asked. ‘What’s the point, mother?’

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity — boiling water — but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. It’s thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, it’s inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.

‘Which are you?’ she asked her daughter. ‘When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?’

That’s a fair question for all of us. When ‘stuff’ happens, how do you respond? Do you get weak in the knees? Maybe hard headed or worse, hard hearted? Or do you take control and change the very circumstances that created the challenge in the first place?”

‘Smiley’ emojis create frowns

October 9, 2017

via   Article

‘Smiley’ Emojis in Formal Workplace E-Mails could Create Frowns, says BGU Study

“A smiley face emoji and similar emoticons included in work-related e-mails may not create a positive impression and could even undermine information sharing, according to a new study by researchers at BGU.

‘Our findings provide first-time evidence that, contrary to actual smiles, smileys do not increase perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence,’ explained Dr. Ella Glikson, a post-doctorate fellow at BGU’s Department of Management in the Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management. ‘In formal business e-mails, a smiley is not a smile.’

According to a new paper, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers from BGU, University of Haifa and Amsterdam University conducted a series of experiments with a total of 549 participants from 29 different countries.

… The results demonstrated that in contrast to face-to-face smiles, which increase both competence and warmth, the smileys in an e-mail had no effect on the perception of warmth, and in fact had a negative effect on the perception of competence.

‘The study also found that when the participants were asked to respond to e-mails on formal matters, their answers were more detailed and they included more content-related information when the e-mail did not include a smiley,’ says Dr. Glikson. …

‘People tend to assume that a smiley is a virtual smile, but the findings of this study show that in the case of the workplace, at least as far as initial ‘encounters’ are concerned, this is incorrect,’ Dr. Glikson says. ‘For now, at least, a smiley can only replace a smile when you already know the other person. In initial interactions, it is better to avoid using smileys, regardless of age or gender.'”

Smiling changes everything

October 9, 2017

By Jordan Harbinger via   Article

Dale Carnegie Was Right: Smiling Changes Everything

A smile costs nothing, but creates much.

In his landmark work How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie devoted an entire chapter to smiling. Since that time, much digital and actual ink has been spent analyzing the power of the smile (real ones vs. fake ones). What Dale Carnegie knew instinctively from study and life experience has been vindicated by science: smiling is truly and simply powerful.


It is said that the smallest action is greater than the grandest intention. Smiling is one of those very small actions with disproportionate effects. It can help you build rapport with strangers, break down barriers with people you may be interacting with for the first time, or even give a bit of inspiration or hope to that person who is not feeling his/her best that day and manages to see you.


The science of smiling gets reaffirmed in study after study, and apart from it being something you can use to project outwards to affect others positively, you can also use it as a weapon against the challenges and struggles you face every day.

When you smile, dopamine and seratonin are released. These chemicals help relax your body, but also can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Seratonin specifically acts as an anti-depressant. Endorphins are also released, and they act as natural pain relievers. It turns out “grin and bear it” isn’t just stoic advice, it’s practical too.


Dale Carnegie wrote a poem about smiling which is likely to crack a smile even among those who smile the least.

It costs nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give. It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None are so rich they can get along without it and none so poor but are richer for its benefits. … it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anyone ’til it is given away. And if in the hurly-burly bustle of today’s business world, some of the people you meet should be too tired to give you a smile, may we ask you to leave one of yours? For nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none left to give.”