Angel’s Advocate Column

Sometimes a Devil’s Advocate just isn’t fighting against conventional wisdom that’s strong enough to stand on its own, so that’s when we bring in an Angel’s Advocate to give the little guy some extra punch. In these columns, we argue on the side of conventional wisdom that may have fallen out of favor or simply finds itself up against too much.


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 Angel's Advocate 
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Boss ripping you off? Here’s what to do about it

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This is a Angel's Advocate post.

Earlier this year, beloved celebrity chef Mario Batali agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by his employees for $5.25 million. Their claim? Batali’s restaurants were allegedly confiscating tips from workers to increase profits.

Maybe it comes as a surprise to you; maybe it doesn’t. But wage theft is a pretty common occurrence in the United States. Kim Bobo is the author of Wage Theft in America: Why Millions of Working Americans Are Not Getting Paid-And What We Can Do About It. She says the issue is a systematic problem that’s often assumed and accepted, despite the fact that it’s illegal.

“It’s a business model that is accepted. It’s almost like the Wild, Wild West in terms of wage theft right now. It’s so pervasive in this society,” Bobo says. “I think what happens is that so many of us think it’s just an individual problem. We don’t think about it as sort of a systemic problem.”

Bobo explains that the problem exists in a variety of industries, but especially construction, retail and restaurants. Essentially, low-wage workers are targeted most. In fact, about $2,600 a year is stolen annually per low-wage worker.

And it’s not limited to skimming tips.
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Adjust Your W-4 Withholdings

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This is a Angel's Advocate post.

Over two years ago, one of the first Devil’s Advocate posts I wrote was that you shouldn’t adjust with your payroll deductions. Back then, as it is now, conventional personal finance advice told you to adjust your withholding so that you don’t have too much tax withheld from your paycheck.

How do you adjust your withholdings? You adjust your withholding by submitting a W-4 to your company’s HR or payroll department with an updated number of exemptions. To determine how many exemptions you should put down, I would use the IRS Withholding Calculator because recent laws have made numerous “rules of thumb” obsolete.

Now that you know how, let’s talk about why!

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 Angel's Advocate 
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Don’t Check Your Score Every Day

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This is a Angel's Advocate post.

The conventional wisdom is that you should check your credit reports at least once a year and your score only when you need it. This morning, I argued in a Devil’s Advocate post that services make it easy (and free, in some cases) to check your score all the time so you might as well do it.

This is part two of a two part Devil’s Advocate, Angel’s Advocate article in which I argue both sides of an issue. This is the Angel’s Advocate post, here is the Devil’s Advocate post where I argue you should be monitoring your credit score all the time!

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