FTC Disclosure:

I am not paid or compensated in any way to write product reviews posted to this blog. There are affiliate links posted throughout this blog. So, when you click through on links and buy something, I may receive a commission. I pay for the products with my own funds. Product reviews always reflect my own experience with and honest opinion of the product as a consumer.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Junk Food is Eating Away Your Wealth and Health

The food industry generates billions of dollars every year, especially those companies which produce junk foods.  What do I mean by junk food?  I use the term to describe any food that is over processed, loaded with chemicals, and preservatives, while not providing much nutritional value.  I consider such grocery items as pastries, chips, cereals, sugary juices, sodas, energy drinks, to be junk food. Most items that you can find on a fast food menu fall under the category of junk food.  Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of what constitutes junk food.

You might be wondering, “How does junk food relate to my wealth?”   Well, have you ever heard of the Latte Factor®, by David Bach?   It goes something like this:  If you stop (or drastically) reduce your spending on that daily latte, and other similar impulse buys, you will be in a stronger position to save and invest money, as well as get yourself out of debt.  The money that you spend on lattes can be used instead to do other things like, fund your retirement or invest.

I can honestly say that I have spent well over $75,000 over a 15 year period on junk food.  That works out to about $13.70 daily that I spent on garbage foods. And I am being extremely modest as this figure only includes money that I spent on fast food and energy drinks.  Now imagine what I could (and should) have done with $75,000 instead of spending it on fast food.  Had I invested this money in an stock index fund with an average 10% annual return, rather than wasting it, I would have more than doubled the money at the end of 15 years!  That’s the power of compounding. 

Overspending on junk food comes from bad habits, poor programming and ignorance. It is very hard to kick that junk food habit, because it may be a habit deeply ingrained in our subconscious, from childhood.  I remember reading about a study which concluded that children can identify the golden arches of McDonald’s before they know how to spell their name.  So, seeing the imagery of junk food in advertising has subliminally programmed children in Western societies, to crave junk foods and to think that consuming it is somehow cool. 

It does make sense doesn’t it?  Think about how you react when you see commercial advertisements of food on television.  When you see those images of piping hot, aesthetically pleasing foods, your mouth may start to water like Pavlov’s dog.  You may even begin to feel hungry, when you weren’t even thinking about food moments before the ad.  The advertisers know what they are doing.  They use psychology to try and manipulate the subconscious mind and push our hot buttons.

Plus, we sometimes live a very fast lifestyle and desire instant gratification.  We feel often pressured to multi-task and get everything done rapidly.  Instead of taking the time to cook good, natural food, we might develop the habit of running to a fast food joint.  We run to the store or a fast food joint almost in a trance, with very little after thought of what we are doing to our physical and fiscal fitness.

In the short term, junk food is more convenient and appears to be cheaper.  Over the long haul, junk food is not cheaper, because junk food is bad for the human body.  As you know, consuming junk food may increase the likelihood of developing chronic illnesses, like Type II diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, high-blood pressure, etc. Medicines and medical treatments for these illnesses are not cheap at all. In addition, people who require treatments for these ailments, spend hours per year in doctor’s offices or hospitals, receiving their medical treatments.

So, if you are struggling with spending your money on junk food, then it is time for a paradigm shift in this area of your life.  You might think that spending $5 here and there on junk food is not much.  However, by sitting down and running the numbers you will see that it all adds up rather quickly. 

I have a few simple suggestions. If it didn’t come from the Earth, then it is most likely junk food.  That means that you should avoid eating it.  Also, start planning your meals and your shopping trips ahead of time.  This will cut out impulse buys at fast food joints and retail stores.  Prepare your meals at home and pack them.  For people that aren’t very good with cooking, there is an awesome website called www.allrecipes.com, where you will find lots of recipes for tasty, and easy to prepare dishes.

Take the extra money that you would have spent on junk food and pay down your debt or put it in a savings account.  Many online savings accounts offer higher interest payments and they aren’t quite as accessible as traditional banks.  So, that decreases some of the temptation to go and withdraw your savings for foolish spending.

© Copyright 2014 Susan Broadbelt

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Old Farts and Sexual Harassment

This woman that I worked with came to me with a very pressing issue, called workplace sexual harassment.  She needed some advice on how to deal with a male co-worker whom she alleged was sexually harassing her.   I will call the male co-worker Dennis (not his real name) for the sake of simplicity.  He is roughly 15-20 years older than her, and he is a Black man from the Caribbean.  I was shocked by Dennis, since he is actually a very cordial person and he never gave me any indication that he would do that.  The woman, whom I will call Martha (not her real name), is a White woman and she originates from the Midwestern United States.   

She told me that Dennis got a hold of her cellphone number and constantly called her and sent text messages.  She didn’t answer the text messages or his phone calls.  He would also leave voice mail messages suggesting that they go out on dates or meet somewhere.   Martha became disgusted with his constant pestering and told Dennis that she was not interested in dating him or meeting with him outside of work.   However, Dennis didn’t seem to get the message.  He continued to pressure her for dates and even hinted that he wanted sexual relations with Martha.

Not that Martha is to blame for this situation, but part of the problem may lie in her personality and how she deals with conflicts. Now, Martha is a very nice, reserved, and easy-going person.  She tries to avoid conflicts with others and is even somewhat of a people pleaser.   Martha rejected Dennis, but I have a feeling that she was rather wishy-washy with him.  The other part of the equation is that Dennis is apparently a desperate, horny, old, dusting farting geezer, who didn't want to accept "No" as his final answer. 

Having experienced sexual harassment firsthand, I understood what Martha was going through.  My advice to Martha was that she toughen up on Dennis and become a total bitch.  If I were in the same predicament, I would not talk to him.  Nor, would I continue to smile or joke around with a person like that.  Anyone who carries on in this manner, and who doesn’t accept “No” for answer, isn’t worthy of my respect or time. In spite of the fact that she was being sexually harassed by Dennis, Martha continued to have lunch with him and other co-workers!  It just didn’t make sense to me.

Some of you may not agree with this approach, but I have found that it has worked like a charm for me over the years.  Some people just don’t comprehend polite “No’s” or diplomacy.  The only time that it occurs to these types of people that they should back off, is when they are put in a position of feeling threatened.  If you hurt their feelings by letting them know what an A-hole they are, more often than not, they will leave you alone. If you make it clear to these people that you won’t tolerate harassment and help them to understand the potential threat of job loss, they will leave you alone. 

There was this instance where another male co-worker was sexually harassing me.  Even after telling this man “No” and  “I am not interested”, he still persisted with the sexual advances.  This is the straw that broke the camel’s back:  One day a friend of this man, told me that someone wanted to speak with me inside of a room at the workplace.  He didn’t reveal the identity of the person waiting in the room.  The man’s friend followed me into the room.

When I entered the room, I discovered that the man who had been sexually harassing me was waiting.  I suppose that he was looking for the opportunity to make an appeal to me.  Well, I didn’t give him the opportunity to speak.  I immediately told him in a very stern manner, “Look here, I don’t want to date you.  I don’t want to be your girlfriend. I don’t want to marry you.  And, I don’t want to fuck you.  LEAVE ME ALONE.” 

The man stood there astounded and speechless.  His friend stood to the side with a smirk on his face and gloating.  After that explosive outburst, I didn’t have any further problems with this man.  As I said before, this is the approach that I use when all else fails.  This is because I prefer to try and resolve problems directly with the other party, before escalating things to the next level.  Also, I don’t like the idea of having my name on the record, or in a file somewhere connected to a sexual harassment complaint.

Most companies in the United States take the issue of sexual harassment very serious.  The larger companies provide training to new employees at orientation in order to educate them.  Sometimes people blatantly sexually harass their co-workers or subordinates, like in the case of “quid pro quo”.  Some people are guilty of sexual harassment without even knowing it.  This could be due to cultural and social misunderstandings. Therefore, companies will provide education and training on this matter, in order to help prevent it and avoid costly sexual harassment lawsuits.  Most of the time, a person who is rightfully accused of workplace sexual harassment will either, be severely reprimanded or terminated. 

Martha was at her wits end and had reached a point where she was ready to go ahead and report Dennis.  I never mentioned her problems to Dennis or anyone else, because I didn’t feel that it was my place to do so.  Oddly enough, she had even asked me a few weeks later if I said anything to Dennis about the fiasco.  Of course, I reassured her that her secret was safe with me and that Dennis had not approached me regarding the issue.  While I would handle the situation differently, I still support Martha if she ever decides to file a formal sexual harassment complaint against Dennis.  

© Copyright 2014 Susan Broadbelt


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