In an era of unprecedented openness and ease of communications, where even the most controversial subjects can find their time in the limelight, there’s one subject that remains perplexingly taboo: Money. So much so, in fact, that a recent study demonstrated that Americans were twice as likely to feel comfortable discussing subjects such as drug use, mental illness, or marital difficulties than have a conversation about their household income or debt.
This long-standing aversion to discussing money can cause us to miss out on essential conversations, information, and joint decision-making processes that can benefit our finances and reduce stress and worry regarding our finances. It can also engender unrealistic expectations about money; deprive us of support and advice from trusted friends and family; and cause us to avoid learning more about managing our finances.
Our physical and emotional health can also suffer, as demonstrated in studies that indicate those with financial worries used painkillers at a significantly higher frequency. If fear or embarrassment are causing you to avoid seeking financial advice, help, or support, it can reflect in your overall quality of life.
How to break the money taboo
Learning to talk about money is similar in some ways to discussing other contentious topics, such as politics or relationships. We expect that it can bring forth uncomfortable emotions and conflict, yet many of us have learned how to do so, anyhow. There are some learnings from other difficult subjects that we can apply to our money conversations:
Money concerns are universal. Unless your last name is Buffett, Gates, or Rockefeller, it’s likely you’ve experienced financial worry, and so have your neighbors and friends. In fact, over 77% of Americans report feeling anxious over their financial situation. Recognizing that most of us feel stress over our finances helps us understand that we’re not alone, and would probably find a sympathetic ear when discussing money.
Draw on comfort with other “taboo” subjects. Most of us have learned how to discuss other subjects that previously seemed taboo – such as sex, relationship problems, mental health, politics, and so on. Draw on the confidence you’ve gained from speaking candidly about other subjects you once found difficult. What did you do or say to gain confidence with those subjects? Can any of those learnings be applied to the way you talk about money?
Understand Your money emotions. What emotions are you currently experiencing about money? Is it shame over debt, fear of not knowing enough, or something else? Identifying these emotional triggers can help you see your problems more realistically and not catastrophize.
Talk to the right people. Your money conversations can take many shapes, depending on what you’re experiencing, feeling, and who’s involved in your finances. Identify who you feel comfortable with that can help you make sense of your problems. Sometimes, that’s a partner or family. At other times, that can be a professional, such as a financial planner.
Increase your confidence online. If you’re still not quite ready to make the leap and discuss finances with people in your life, then consider starting online. Popular discussion boards, such as Bogleheads, can provide you with an anonymous place to air your concerns and receive feedback.
Source: – CNBC
Kuwait’s New Emir Takes Over an Economy Paralyzed by Politics
(Bloomberg) — Kuwait’s new leader, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, 83, will take the reins of one of the world’s wealthiest countries as it faces a financial crisis made worse by internal political wrangling.
Sheikh Nawaf succeeds his half brother, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who died on Tuesday at the age of 91. Sheikh Nawaf, the crown prince since 2006, had been serving as acting head of state since July, when the emir was flown to the U.S. for medical treatment.
The new leader comes to power at a time when Kuwait is facing the highest budget deficit in its history, brought on by the drop in oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic. A potential solution to its brewing liquidity crisis has been blocked by parliamentary opposition to a law that would allow the government to borrow, as other Gulf nations have done in response to the dual crisis.
While Kuwait’s oil and foreign policy is unlikely to change, its domestic political landscape could be redrawn under the new leadership, particularly if Sheikh Nawaf makes a bid for national reconciliation. Such an initiative could help unblock Kuwait’s gridlocked politics and restore some balance among the different branches of the ruling family.
Kuwait is the only country in the Gulf where nationals have a genuine say in how they’re governed, but the resulting political paralysis means it’s been left behind by less democratic neighbors like the United Arabic Emirates. The emir appoints the prime minister and political parties are banned, so there’s no coherent opposition. The elected parliament is often filled with populist independents who butt heads with governments they accuse of being too soft on corruption.
Sheikh Nawaf has split from his predecessor in meeting with two of Kuwait’s veteran opposition politicians, Ahmed Khateeb and Ahmed Al-Saadoun, amid calls to allow the return of self-exiled opposition leaders. The new leader also recently received proposals for political and economic reforms from two opposition politicians. The meetings came ahead of crucial parliamentary elections later this year.
The opposition has boycotted parliamentary polls since December 2012, when the electoral law was amended at the order of the former emir. The boycott followed one of the biggest opposition rallies in the nation’s history, as critics called for the government to share more power with elected politicians.
The opposition claimed at the time that the changes to voting rules were aimed at reducing its chances of winning and made it easier for candidates to buy votes. The government said the amendments were intended to ensure stability and boost democracy.
According to the constitution, the crown prince ascends to power upon an emir’s death. That would leave Sheikh Nawaf with the duty of appointing a new crown prince, which he has one year to do. The new emir needs the endorsement of parliament for his crown prince nominee. In theory, parliament could reject the emir’s choice, forcing him to submit three fresh nominees for the house to vote on.
Sheikh Nawaf, born in Kuwait on June 25, 1937, is the sixth son of Kuwait’s tenth ruler, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah. He was first appointed to the cabinet in 1978 as interior minister, and thereafter held the defense and social affairs portfolios. Sheikh Nawaf has also served as deputy chief of the national guard. He was educated in Kuwait and is married with four sons and one daughter.
Source: – BNN
16 MLAs retiring from BC politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation
As a number of provincial politicians have bowed out of running for re-election ahead of Oct. 24, a national tax reform advocacy group is highlighting the cost of political retirement– to the tune of $20 million – with taxpayers footing the bill.
“While we thank these retiring politicians for their work, taxpayers need to know the huge cost of these gold-plated pensions,” said Kris Sims, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
“These pensions simply aren’t affordable for taxpayers. MLAs need to reform their pension plan.”
According to the government, MLA pensions are calculated by taking the highest earning years of the retiring MLAs and factoring in their years of work. The annual pension payments are capped at 70 per cent of the highest earning years.
That means that for every $1 the politicians contribute to their own pension plans, taxpayers pay $4, Sims said.
“It’s time to end these rich pension schemes,” said Sims, adding that MLAs not seeking re-election are allowed to collect the equivalent of their salaries for up to 15 months while they look for new jobs, and they get up to $9,000 if they need skills training.
The federation calculated the expected pensions for 16 retiring MLAs, and determined that former house speaker and BC Liberal MLA Linda Reid is expected to collect the highest per-year amount, roughly $107,000 annually when she turns 65 years old.
Reid, who represented the Richmond South Centre since 1991, is the longest-serving woman in B.C.’s government history.
Other estimated pension totals for MLAs include:
- Tracy Redies, B.C. Liberal MLA – ineligible due to less than six years in office.
- Claire Trevena, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $80,000 per year, $1.9 million lifetime.
- Shane Simpson, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $80,000 per year, $1.9 million lifetime.
- Scott Fraser, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $80,000 per year, $1.9 million lifetime.
- Carole James, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $82,000 per year, $2 million lifetime.
- Michelle Mungall, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $58,000 per year, $1.4 million lifetime.
- Judy Darcy, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $37,000 per year, $647,000 lifetime.
- Doug Donaldson, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $58,000 per year, $1.4 million lifetime.
- Rich Coleman, former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister – estimated $109,000 per year, $2.6 million lifetime.
- John Yap, former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister – estimated $65,000 per year, $1.5 million lifetime
- Darryl Plecas, Independent Speaker – estimated $38,000 per year, $714,000 lifetime.
- Andrew Weaver, former Green Party Leader – estimated $31,000 per year, $764,000 lifetime.
- Donna Barnett, B.C. Liberal MLA – estimated $46,000 per year, $400,000 lifetime.
- Linda Larson – B.C. Liberal MLA – estimated $29,000 per year, $469,000 lifetime.
- Ralph Sultan, former B.C. Liberal MLA – estimated $74,000 per year.
- Linda Reid, former B.C. Liberal Speaker – estimated $107,000 per year, $2.6 million lifetime.
Source: – Victoria News
The Only "Black Issue" In American Politics Is Opposition to Racial Inequality
We’re about a month away from the November Elections.
One of the voting blocs that could decide the presidential race this year is the African American vote. Both candidates have talked quite a bit about what a vote for them would mean for Black Americans. But both of them have mischaracterized African American political views and loyalties in recent months.
“The existence of the Black electoral monolith is evidence of a critical defect not in Black America, but in the American practice of democracy.” — Theodore Johnson, Brennan Center for Justice
That’s nothing new, writes Theodore Johnson in the New York Times. He joins Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today and says that Americans have viewed Black voters as a monolith without really taking the time to understand the diversity of political thoughts and views that exists among Black voters.
Listen: Theodore Johnson on the African American vote that could decide the 2020 election.
Theodore Johnson is a senior fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice.
Johnson writes, “An enduring unity at the ballot box is not confirmation that Black voters hold the same views on every contested issue, but rather that they hold the same view on the one most consequential issue: racial equality. The existence of the Black electoral monolith is evidence of a critical defect not in Black America, but in the American practice of democracy. That defect is the space our two-party system makes for racial intolerance and the appetite our electoral politics has for the exploitation of racial polarization — to which the electoral solidarity of Black voters is an immune response.”
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