Where’d Everyone Go?

From going out to eat to going shopping anyone can see that there is a shortage of workers. Everywhere you go the staff is shorthanded, yet the unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in two years. It is a no brainer that the employment rate has been so high due to the impact COVID had on the entire world but now that things have calmed back down and jobs were offered back, you would think those who lost their jobs would be scrambling to find work. Fortunately, they found a better and more convenient option.

Before COVID hit and left us all a mess, it was completely abnormal for most people to work from home. Waking up, getting dressed and commuting to your workplace was just the way of life and no one seemed to question it. That is simply how having a job had always been. When an unexpected pandemic hit the entire world, working from home became the new normal and now there is a large majority of the workforce that do not want to go back to the old normal. But can you blame them? 

Working from home means staying in your own home all day, being able to use your own restroom and kitchen on breaks, and most of the time wearing comfy clothes. Many say they have been able to eat healthier since they have the resources to prepare their own lunch within minutes. Not only is it more comforting and convenient, but it also saves time and money. On average, working from home saves 40 minutes of a person’s day as well as a large amount of fuel since they do not have to commute. Many of those who remote work say that they are much more productive since there are not as many distractions at home. It can also make your work schedule much more flexible. With more time you can exercise, spend time with you family, and even catch up on housework. You can also work from literally anywhere! 

One study found that post-pandemic, 35 percent of job holders in the United States were offered remote work full-time and 23 percent offered remote work part-time. Almost all of those who are offered the option, have chosen to take advantage of it. Only working remote part of the time could be great option for those who like the office scenery but not all the time since you get to experience in office days and enjoy your co-workers and getting out of the house, but you also get to enjoy the quiet days at home. 

Working from home has not only helped employees, but it has also helped employers. Several employers have reduced costs since they no longer have a brick-and-mortar office. They cut the expenses of utilities, office rent or payments, and even office supplies. Most of them did not even endure the expenses of equipment for their employees since they already had equipment provided to them that they were able to take home. For those who do have to provide extra equipment, only endure the cost one time. With the expenses being lower it has allowed some companies to pay for their employee’s internet and phone, so the employee does not incur the charges themselves. 

Next time you wonder “where did everyone go?” think about how many people found great jobs from the comfort of their own home. Although it may not be for everyone, there are many who enjoy the benefits of being able to work in their own space. Something that became so popular due to a worldwide pandemic has become one of the best things to some. 

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Young & Investing

Have you ever thought about what all your smartphone can actually do for you? Generation Z, also known as Gen Z, has taken full advantage of the services it has to offer.  Gen Z is now using social media and online search engines to get their finances in order. Recent studies found that fifty four percent of Gen Z holds at least one type of investment, including mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, or even cryptocurrency. These same individuals have also learned how to control their cash flow, cut unnecessary expenses, pay their debt quickly, and even how to raise their credit score. Although these are all topics that should be learned at an early age, this is not always the case. 

Gen Z has shown that they are working hard to be financially satisfied and are using technology to make it happen. Social media apps such as TikTok and YouTube have become everyday life coaches for almost everything, including finances. According to a recent study conducted by Qualtrics on behalf of Credit Karma 1, 56% of Gen Z and Millennials intentionally seek out financial advice online or through social media. They have introduced many opportunities that Gen Z were unaware they even had.

When you get your first adult job and start making adult money, but there is no one to guide you on how to spend it, you quickly realize that you may need some help. If you are already having money trouble, you clearly cannot afford to seek help that may cost you more money. Someone along the way realized this and started sharing how to be financially successful on your own. Financial professionals now give advice on online platforms for free. Not only is this information helpful, but it also in small bits and easier to digest. Most of the time it is even entertaining. Research shows that 38.8% of Gen Z have learned about personal finances through TikTok, YouTube, or other social media platforms and 7.2% said they did their own research online. Only 22% stated that they had learned from their parents or another family member. 

The best part is you can do all these things you are learning from the device you are learning them on. There are many apps that help budgeting, paying bills on time, and keeping track of your credit score. You can now even open an investment account directly from your smartphone. All you have to do is download an app, add your information, and deposit your funds. They make it too easy! From there you can personalize all your investments. Although the account is easy to setup, actually investing and managing it is another story. So, how are they choosing their investments?

Yep, that’s right. They use what they have found on their online platforms. Gen Z takes information from strangers to manage their investment portfolios and doesn’t even question it. That does not mean that they do not care though, Gen Z tends to be very hands-on and active in their investments. According to an article on Nasdaq.com, 48% of Gen Z investors check their portfolios multiple times a day and 24% check their portfolio at least once per day. Unlike generations before, Gen Z has taken it upon themselves to do research and find their own way to earn money. This has been much easier and hands-on since technology makes it all possible.

Starting to invest at an early age only means you have room for more risk and growth. As their account grows and they feel like it has outgrown their knowledge, they will be financially stable enough to seek professional help, such as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM. The convenience of technology has made becoming wealthy a bit easier and so much more convenient. 

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Work to Live, Not Live to Work

According to NC State University, the Gen Z motto is “Work to live, not live to work”. As we get older, we are taught that your job should be your number one responsibility, but why? If you work a full-time job, you work around 40 hours a week and 8 to 10 hours per day. Only giving you 16 to 14 hours to commute to work, eat balanced meals, take care of yourself, complete household chores, enjoy family time, and sleep. Most of those who work have a “second shift” when they get home. Some are even trying to complete higher education, so adding in the time it takes to work on those projects takes away a few more hours. 

The ideal work week became a law in the United Stated in 1938. This created a 40-hour, five-day work week with overtime pay for any hours worked beyond that. During this time, it was the norm for one person in a family, usually the woman, to stay home and look after the household chores and children. Since there was someone doing all the household work, it was not that big of a deal for the other person to work so many hours. Now that both parties of the household usually work full-time, this no longer makes sense. 

Although the work week hours have been reconsidered many times, the reality of work during COVID-19 showed that reduced work hours not only benefits the employees, but also the employer. Iceland conducted a trial from 2015-2019 and found some not so surprising results. Having a four-day work week increased the employees productivity and well-being, improved the balance between work, health, and home life, and reduced burn out. Being at work 8 hours each day, does not mean you are working at your best for those 8 hours. Shortening the work week may lose work hours but increases the amount of productivity. Working less hours means less burnout. When you have time off to look forward to, you are more likely to get your work done so that you can enjoy your weekend. 

How does the work week successfully get shortened? The work culture will have to be changed as a whole. Overworking is glamorized and the employee who works the most is the one that stands out, but that is not how it should be. Being a good worker is not about proving yourself individually but making sure that you are playing your role in your team. To make this clear, each employer should have ground rules on employee work hours to prevent the overwork culture. 

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