Author Topic: Overheard at Work  (Read 10604417 times)

nnls

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20600 on: July 30, 2018, 09:47:50 PM »
The median Australian household income is now AUD79,160. Apparently, this means life is a huge struggle.


Also, women are less financially literate than men, and unsurprisingly,


"The survey found that the poverty rate among the least financially literate group is more than twice the poverty rate among the most-literate group."

Education is important.

it worried me people couldnt answer those questions, most were basic maths

LennStar

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20601 on: July 31, 2018, 05:48:06 AM »
The median Australian household income is now AUD79,160. Apparently, this means life is a huge struggle.


Also, women are less financially literate than men, and unsurprisingly,


"The survey found that the poverty rate among the least financially literate group is more than twice the poverty rate among the most-literate group."

Education is important.

it worried me people couldnt answer those questions, most were basic maths

To be fair, most of those questions are extremely simplyfying and as such, if you take them without guessing the intention, must be answered "wrong".

Quote
Suppose that by the year 2020 your income has doubled, but the prices of all of the things you buy have also doubled. In 2020, will you be able to buy more than today, exactly the same as today, or less than today with your income?

Since the "things I buy" are only 20% of my income, I can buy a lot more then. But I dont think a "more" would be counted as correct right?

The most important think for any questionaire are the questions, and they seldom are good.

Davnasty

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20602 on: July 31, 2018, 07:44:13 AM »
The median Australian household income is now AUD79,160. Apparently, this means life is a huge struggle.


Also, women are less financially literate than men, and unsurprisingly,


"The survey found that the poverty rate among the least financially literate group is more than twice the poverty rate among the most-literate group."

Education is important.

it worried me people couldnt answer those questions, most were basic maths

To be fair, most of those questions are extremely simplyfying and as such, if you take them without guessing the intention, must be answered "wrong".

Quote
Suppose that by the year 2020 your income has doubled, but the prices of all of the things you buy have also doubled. In 2020, will you be able to buy more than today, exactly the same as today, or less than today with your income?

Since the "things I buy" are only 20% of my income, I can buy a lot more then. But I dont think a "more" would be counted as correct right?

The most important think for any questionaire are the questions, and they seldom are good.

I don't see how you're coming up with more. Are you considering future savings or perhaps the fact that you could spend more now if you wanted to?

The wording is "will you be able to buy more". I don't read it as relating to actual spend.

On the other hand, I wonder if #3 was missed more than the other questions; I don't think that necessarily equates to financial illiteracy. Diversification of investments does seem fairly basic but it's also not simple math.

Just Joe

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20603 on: July 31, 2018, 07:46:36 AM »

2) also in the finance office: "So I told them, 'if you give me 6% apr, I'll take it.'"
3) "I'm just going to refinance it and hopefully get 5.5%"

I do not miss the days of buying cars on credit and having to play this game.  Hoping my credit and debt to income ratio was good enough to please the banker.

I have zero interest in ever negotiating the price of a new(er) car again. What the best "out the door price"? I'm not negotiating. I have my own financing. No trade-in. Tell the dealer they have half an hour before we walk out the door.

Or just skip it all and get the financing through your bank or credit union. Last time we bought a car with financing I called the credit union, they readied the paperwork over the phone and I stopped by to sign it and picked up the check.

And buy from some place like CarMax where what you see is what you get, no negotiating the price. The time we used them the car was much cheaper than the dealers and flawless. Still serves us well today.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20604 on: July 31, 2018, 08:48:32 AM »
Quote
Suppose that by the year 2020 your income has doubled, but the prices of all of the things you buy have also doubled. In 2020, will you be able to buy more than today, exactly the same as today, or less than today with your income?

Since the "things I buy" are only 20% of my income, I can buy a lot more then. But I dont think a "more" would be counted as correct right?

The most important think for any questionaire are the questions, and they seldom are good.

This was a poorly worded question. The correct answer is supposed to be 'exactly the same', but it assumes you spend 100% of your income.

$100k income, buy $50k stuff --> $200k income, buy $100k stuff. Doubling income and expenses still allows for double the amount of stuff I could buy. That's the way I thought of it too, so I guess I'm financially illiterate according to that article's definition

grandep

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20605 on: July 31, 2018, 09:12:29 AM »
Quote
Suppose that by the year 2020 your income has doubled, but the prices of all of the things you buy have also doubled. In 2020, will you be able to buy more than today, exactly the same as today, or less than today with your income?

Since the "things I buy" are only 20% of my income, I can buy a lot more then. But I dont think a "more" would be counted as correct right?

The most important think for any questionaire are the questions, and they seldom are good.

This was a poorly worded question. The correct answer is supposed to be 'exactly the same', but it assumes you spend 100% of your income.

$100k income, buy $50k stuff --> $200k income, buy $100k stuff. Doubling income and expenses still allows for double the amount of stuff I could buy. That's the way I thought of it too, so I guess I'm financially illiterate according to that article's definition

Say a widget costs $10. I make $1000 a month and choose to spend $200 a month on widgets, or 20 widgets per month. That leaves me with an extra $800, enough to buy another 80 widgets if I so choose.

By 2020, my income has doubled to $2000 a month, but the cost of widgets has increased to $20. I still want my 20 widgets per month, so I now spend $400 each month on widgets, leaving me with $1600 left over, enough to buy another 80 widgets if I so choose.

So it seems that the correct answer is, in fact, exactly the same. In absolute terms, I have more money left over, but the purchasing power has decreased.

Am I missing something? Perhaps I am financially illiterate, but it seems to me that the questionnaire was right.

CptCool

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20606 on: July 31, 2018, 10:35:41 AM »
Quote
Suppose that by the year 2020 your income has doubled, but the prices of all of the things you buy have also doubled. In 2020, will you be able to buy more than today, exactly the same as today, or less than today with your income?

Since the "things I buy" are only 20% of my income, I can buy a lot more then. But I dont think a "more" would be counted as correct right?

The most important think for any questionaire are the questions, and they seldom are good.

This was a poorly worded question. The correct answer is supposed to be 'exactly the same', but it assumes you spend 100% of your income.

$100k income, buy $50k stuff --> $200k income, buy $100k stuff. Doubling income and expenses still allows for double the amount of stuff I could buy. That's the way I thought of it too, so I guess I'm financially illiterate according to that article's definition

Say a widget costs $10. I make $1000 a month and choose to spend $200 a month on widgets, or 20 widgets per month. That leaves me with an extra $800, enough to buy another 80 widgets if I so choose.

By 2020, my income has doubled to $2000 a month, but the cost of widgets has increased to $20. I still want my 20 widgets per month, so I now spend $400 each month on widgets, leaving me with $1600 left over, enough to buy another 80 widgets if I so choose.

So it seems that the correct answer is, in fact, exactly the same. In absolute terms, I have more money left over, but the purchasing power has decreased.

Am I missing something? Perhaps I am financially illiterate, but it seems to me that the questionnaire was right.

You interpreted it correctly, or at least how the survey was intended. I misinterpreted it because I instinctively assumed there was savings involved. They say "all of the things you buy" have doubled, rather than saying "all of the things you could buy" or something similar. They're implying that you spend 100% of income, which is what tripped me up. Just a MPP I guess

dragoncar

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20607 on: July 31, 2018, 11:34:45 AM »
Quote
Suppose that by the year 2020 your income has doubled, but the prices of all of the things you buy have also doubled. In 2020, will you be able to buy more than today, exactly the same as today, or less than today with your income?

Since the "things I buy" are only 20% of my income, I can buy a lot more then. But I dont think a "more" would be counted as correct right?

The most important think for any questionaire are the questions, and they seldom are good.

This was a poorly worded question. The correct answer is supposed to be 'exactly the same', but it assumes you spend 100% of your income.

$100k income, buy $50k stuff --> $200k income, buy $100k stuff. Doubling income and expenses still allows for double the amount of stuff I could buy. That's the way I thought of it too, so I guess I'm financially illiterate according to that article's definition

Say a widget costs $10. I make $1000 a month and choose to spend $200 a month on widgets, or 20 widgets per month. That leaves me with an extra $800, enough to buy another 80 widgets if I so choose.

By 2020, my income has doubled to $2000 a month, but the cost of widgets has increased to $20. I still want my 20 widgets per month, so I now spend $400 each month on widgets, leaving me with $1600 left over, enough to buy another 80 widgets if I so choose.

So it seems that the correct answer is, in fact, exactly the same. In absolute terms, I have more money left over, but the purchasing power has decreased.

Am I missing something? Perhaps I am financially illiterate, but it seems to me that the questionnaire was right.

You interpreted it correctly, or at least how the survey was intended. I misinterpreted it because I instinctively assumed there was savings involved. They say "all of the things you buy" have doubled, rather than saying "all of the things you could buy" or something similar. They're implying that you spend 100% of income, which is what tripped me up. Just a MPP I guess

I agree it could be worded better, but I don’t think they assume you spend 100% of income.  They are asking about your purchasing power, what you are able to purchase, which does not increase.  It’s right in the question: “will you be able to buy more”.  No, you will not be able to buy more than you are now able to (even though you are now able to buy more than you actually do, which is true regardless of inflation)
« Last Edit: July 31, 2018, 11:36:40 AM by dragoncar »

sol

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20608 on: July 31, 2018, 11:54:46 AM »
I agree it could be worded better, but I don’t think they assume you spend 100% of income.  They are asking about your purchasing power, what you are able to purchase, which does not increase.  It’s right in the question: “will you be able to buy more”.  No, you will not be able to buy more than you are now able to (even though you are now able to buy more than you actually do, which is true regardless of inflation)

From my perspective, the answer to this question is entirely dependent on your investment returns relative to inflation.

Following the above example, if I buy 20 widgets and invest the remaining $800, then as long as that investment earns more than inflation (and wage growth, here assumed to be equal to inflation), then in the future when both my income and the cost of widgets have doubled my investment will be worth more widgets than it was before.

Tis the nature of compound growth in a capitalist economy.  As long as we manage to keep inflation lower than ROI, you always get richer over time by investing, and thus you can always buy more in the future than you can today.

Of course, the real secret here is that by choosing to regularly invest and get so rich, you learn not to need those riches.  That's true prosperity.  There are lots of miserable millionaires who are so in debt they will never get to enjoy their success.

sea_saw

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20609 on: August 01, 2018, 06:27:25 AM »
From my perspective, the answer to this question is entirely dependent on your investment returns relative to inflation.

But the question has nothing to do with investment returns. For ease of reference, actual full wording of the question:
Quote
5. Suppose that by the year 2020 your income has doubled, but the prices of all of the things you buy have also doubled. In 2020, will you be able to buy more than today, exactly the same as today, or less than today with your income?

It's not a trick question about whether by 2020 you're likely to have saved and invested enough to be better off than you are now. It's testing basic financial literacy, asking whether you understand that if your pay doubles and in the same period all your costs double, that's not the same thing as you getting double your pay today, even though the numbers look big and shiny.

It's similar to question 2, which is checking whether you understand that if your savings interest rate is below inflation, the value of those savings is actually going down even though the numbers are going up.

The first three questions are based on standard(ish) ones that have been used in many studies around the world (I'm used to seeing them as multiple choice, like this: http://gflec.org/education/3-questions-that-indicate-financial-literacy/). The last two I don't remember seeing before and the wording is less well thought out (especially IMO Q4), but I can see what they're trying to get at.

dragoncar

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20610 on: August 01, 2018, 10:28:15 AM »
From my perspective, the answer to this question is entirely dependent on your investment returns relative to inflation.

But the question has nothing to do with investment returns. For ease of reference, actual full wording of the question:
Quote
5. Suppose that by the year 2020 your income has doubled, but the prices of all of the things you buy have also doubled. In 2020, will you be able to buy more than today, exactly the same as today, or less than today with your income?

It's not a trick question about whether by 2020 you're likely to have saved and invested enough to be better off than you are now. It's testing basic financial literacy, asking whether you understand that if your pay doubles and in the same period all your costs double, that's not the same thing as you getting double your pay today, even though the numbers look big and shiny.

It's similar to question 2, which is checking whether you understand that if your savings interest rate is below inflation, the value of those savings is actually going down even though the numbers are going up.

The first three questions are based on standard(ish) ones that have been used in many studies around the world (I'm used to seeing them as multiple choice, like this: http://gflec.org/education/3-questions-that-indicate-financial-literacy/). The last two I don't remember seeing before and the wording is less well thought out (especially IMO Q4), but I can see what they're trying to get at.

I feel like this is a prime test-taking skill.  You have to know enough about the subject to understand what the intent of the question is.  Even if you could interpret it both ways, it should be obvious which answer they are looking for.

wbranch

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20611 on: August 01, 2018, 11:19:14 AM »
From my perspective, the answer to this question is entirely dependent on your investment returns relative to inflation.

But the question has nothing to do with investment returns. For ease of reference, actual full wording of the question:
Quote
5. Suppose that by the year 2020 your income has doubled, but the prices of all of the things you buy have also doubled. In 2020, will you be able to buy more than today, exactly the same as today, or less than today with your income?

It's not a trick question about whether by 2020 you're likely to have saved and invested enough to be better off than you are now. It's testing basic financial literacy, asking whether you understand that if your pay doubles and in the same period all your costs double, that's not the same thing as you getting double your pay today, even though the numbers look big and shiny.

It's similar to question 2, which is checking whether you understand that if your savings interest rate is below inflation, the value of those savings is actually going down even though the numbers are going up.

The first three questions are based on standard(ish) ones that have been used in many studies around the world (I'm used to seeing them as multiple choice, like this: http://gflec.org/education/3-questions-that-indicate-financial-literacy/). The last two I don't remember seeing before and the wording is less well thought out (especially IMO Q4), but I can see what they're trying to get at.

I want to know how many people pick "refuse to answer" in those studies.

Siebrie

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20612 on: August 03, 2018, 05:10:33 AM »
We had a student for a month to help out with menial tasks; he is moving to London soon for Uni. I told him about all the cheap and free things he can do there, while my boss and a colleague warned him about how expensive London is, while looking at me with great eyes, completely disbelieving me.

This came up during his farewell sushi lunch (delivered to the office for 60euros/4 people). My boss suggested it wouldn't be enough, because she and her 3 kids (10, 10 and 7) ate that much every time they ordered sushi, which she then volunteered was at least once a week. It's my grocery budget for a week, for 2 adults and 2 kids :D

Boss is otherwise doing well, she saw the stranglehold she could have on Management, being the only suitable person for the job (and performing well), and almost doubled her salary to >400k/annum within 6 months after starting.

Stash Engineer

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20613 on: August 03, 2018, 03:13:54 PM »
I have a coworker who just bought a brand new BMW M2.  He stated that he wanted to “keep my car payment under $800/month”.  He already owns two other cars that I know of - a BMW 5 series and one of the collector model Supras.  That payment must be getting to him because he was overheard on the phone negotiating the sale of one of his guitars.  I would estimate his salary at around $80k. 

RWD

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20614 on: August 03, 2018, 03:28:25 PM »
I have a coworker who just bought a brand new BMW M2.  He stated that he wanted to “keep my car payment under $800/month”.  He already owns two other cars that I know of - a BMW 5 series and one of the collector model Supras.  That payment must be getting to him because he was overheard on the phone negotiating the sale of one of his guitars.  I would estimate his salary at around $80k.
I bet he got at least a 7 year loan (or he's leasing it). It's pretty difficult to get a brand new M2 for under $800/month without putting a significant amount down. MSRP starts at $59k plus options.

Stash Engineer

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20615 on: August 03, 2018, 09:01:41 PM »
I didn’t get the impression that it was leased.  He very well could have done a 84+ month loan on it.  There is another guy in the department that’s the same pay grade with a new F-sport.  I love cars too, but that’s nuts. 

nnls

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20616 on: August 05, 2018, 12:25:44 AM »
Workmate just mentioned that their wife had gone and spent extra money at Coles (Australian grocery store) to get more Little Shop Collectables

They dont have kids, this is just to try and get them, apparently their freezer was already full and they have stockpiled toilet paper/ detergent ect to try and get as many of these as possible. They have also bought a collectors case

MarciaB

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20617 on: August 05, 2018, 10:45:43 AM »
Workmate just mentioned that their wife had gone and spent extra money at Coles (Australian grocery store) to get more Little Shop Collectables

They dont have kids, this is just to try and get them, apparently their freezer was already full and they have stockpiled toilet paper/ detergent ect to try and get as many of these as possible. They have also bought a collectors case

WTF?! I had to click the link to see this...little trial sized things? Toothpaste and whatnot? Are you kidding me, with a little collector case...??!! What the everliving fuck??

onlykelsey

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20618 on: August 05, 2018, 10:52:33 AM »
Quote
ey have stockpiled toilet paper/ detergent ect to try and get as many of these as possible. They have also bought a collectors case

WTF?! I had to click the link to see this...little trial sized things? Toothpaste and whatnot? Are you kidding me, with a little collector case...??!! What the everliving fuck??

I didn't click and assumed they were some sort of collectible figurine... so... this is better, I guess??

JAYSLOL

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20619 on: August 05, 2018, 11:23:56 AM »
Workmate just mentioned that their wife had gone and spent extra money at Coles (Australian grocery store) to get more Little Shop Collectables

They dont have kids, this is just to try and get them, apparently their freezer was already full and they have stockpiled toilet paper/ detergent ect to try and get as many of these as possible. They have also bought a collectors case

Wow, that's pretty dumb.  I like to avoid collecting anything labeled as a collectable ("Collectors Edition!"), it's officially not a real collectable if it's marketed as one. 

nnls

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20620 on: August 05, 2018, 04:01:46 PM »
Quote
ey have stockpiled toilet paper/ detergent ect to try and get as many of these as possible. They have also bought a collectors case

WTF?! I had to click the link to see this...little trial sized things? Toothpaste and whatnot? Are you kidding me, with a little collector case...??!! What the everliving fuck??

I didn't click and assumed they were some sort of collectible figurine... so... this is better, I guess??
They are just collectibles, they arent trials. just plastic figurines of what looks like real products

MarciaB

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20621 on: August 05, 2018, 04:13:11 PM »
Like happy meal toys but for adult shoppers I suppose. Good lord, what next?!

nnls

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20622 on: August 05, 2018, 04:40:26 PM »
Like happy meal toys but for adult shoppers I suppose. Good lord, what next?!

I usually do my grocery shopping there (its the closest when I walk) I have gotten the ones that come with my shop, and given them to my niece who has put them in her barbie house. But I certainly wouldn't be going out of my way to shop there, but I can see why kids might like them. Adults collecting them makes no sense   

(and people are selling them on ebay )

Darryl

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20623 on: August 05, 2018, 10:01:25 PM »
Workmate just mentioned that their wife had gone and spent extra money at Coles (Australian grocery store) to get more Little Shop Collectables

They dont have kids, this is just to try and get them, apparently their freezer was already full and they have stockpiled toilet paper/ detergent ect to try and get as many of these as possible. They have also bought a collectors case


It's sad that with all this talk about plastics and their effect on the environment at the moment that Coles comes up with this!!!!

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20624 on: August 05, 2018, 10:16:16 PM »
The plastics thing is a nice distraction. Some 55% of our carbon emissions come from our homes and workplaces, how we build and power them and transport ourselves around. Another 21% comes from industry - ultimately, from making the stuff we buy or use, from roads to clothes to doohickeys. That's 76% in things which have to do with our non-food consumption.

By focusing on things like plastic bags, we conveniently distract ourselves from the most important stuff. It's like the doctors working on a bruise when you have a compound fracture of the leg. But I guess it gives people warm fuzzies.

LennStar

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20625 on: August 06, 2018, 04:39:02 AM »
The plastics thing is a nice distraction. Some 55% of our carbon emissions come from our homes and workplaces, how we build and power them and transport ourselves around. Another 21% comes from industry - ultimately, from making the stuff we buy or use, from roads to clothes to doohickeys. That's 76% in things which have to do with our non-food consumption.

By focusing on things like plastic bags, we conveniently distract ourselves from the most important stuff. It's like the doctors working on a bruise when you have a compound fracture of the leg. But I guess it gives people warm fuzzies.

Plastic bags are not that big part of CO2, that is right, bit it is a part we can do without practically instantly.
More important plastic bags are a big danger to wildlife, on land, sea and even air! Animals are both suffocating and starving because of plastic bags. AND then there is the problem with microplastic.

Davnasty

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20626 on: August 06, 2018, 09:00:16 AM »
The plastics thing is a nice distraction. Some 55% of our carbon emissions come from our homes and workplaces, how we build and power them and transport ourselves around. Another 21% comes from industry - ultimately, from making the stuff we buy or use, from roads to clothes to doohickeys. That's 76% in things which have to do with our non-food consumption.

By focusing on things like plastic bags, we conveniently distract ourselves from the most important stuff. It's like the doctors working on a bruise when you have a compound fracture of the leg. But I guess it gives people warm fuzzies.

Plastic bags are not that big part of CO2, that is right, bit it is a part we can do without practically instantly.
More important plastic bags are a big danger to wildlife, on land, sea and even air! Animals are both suffocating and starving because of plastic bags. AND then there is the problem with microplastic.

Ya, why the assumption that reducing one's impact is all about carbon emissions? I do accept that climate change may be one of if not the biggest environmental issue we face, but there are lots of problems specific to plastics. Microplastic pollution, chemicals used in processing plastics, the disposable nature of many plastic products.

Not to mention, the little collectibles are a problem regardless of the material they're made of. It's a little doohickey made for the purpose of getting people to shop at their store while (apparently) encouraging some shoppers to over purchase which inevitably leads to waste.

grandep

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20627 on: August 06, 2018, 03:30:23 PM »
I agree with the two above posters that plastic bags are super easy to just stop using, so why not? But I think Kyle's point was that all of this political capital and willpower is being spent on changes that really don't have a large impact because it's become a pet issue to some people.

Plastic straws and plastic bags make up a tiny fraction of global plastic waste, and yet they receive a disproportionate amount of attention from environmental campaigns. So politicians can implement a straw/bag ban and say they are "green"/"environment friendly" without doing anything that would actually, you know, help the environment in a meaningful and long-term way (like a carbon tax).

dragoncar

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20628 on: August 06, 2018, 04:32:49 PM »
I agree with the two above posters that plastic bags are super easy to just stop using, so why not? But I think Kyle's point was that all of this political capital and willpower is being spent on changes that really don't have a large impact because it's become a pet issue to some people.

Plastic straws and plastic bags make up a tiny fraction of global plastic waste, and yet they receive a disproportionate amount of attention from environmental campaigns. So politicians can implement a straw/bag ban and say they are "green"/"environment friendly" without doing anything that would actually, you know, help the environment in a meaningful and long-term way (like a carbon tax).

Plastic bags, at least, get a disproportionate amount of attention because it was a very visible form of local trash.  Environmental measures are easier to push if you pick something that actually affects the voters on a daily basis.  Sure, all plastics end up being problems in the ocean, but people don't live in the ocean.  Except for Aquaman.

AccountingForLife

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20629 on: August 06, 2018, 06:04:35 PM »
Buying vehicles they don't need, that get less than 20 mpg, to commute 60 miles a day to work. Complaining they don't make enough money when they are actually paid competitively for their position.

AccountingForLife

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20630 on: August 06, 2018, 06:25:56 PM »
Only one IT person at the company right now, who happens to be the owner. We're going on over a month now of e-mailing back and forth, and him refusing to setup my new laptop so that I can do my job. Just recently, he was talking to another co-worker and said "I can jump on a remote connection and help you fix your computer anytime." I'm also no longer allowed to update our Accounting software, because it is a "waste of resources."

When I asked my immediate boss about it, mentioning that I need access to our Accounting software to you know, perform my job as an Accountant, he said that the owner was so busy that he doesn't have the time to grant the access. Keep in mind this is a two minute task of uploading a config file...


dragoncar

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20631 on: August 06, 2018, 06:39:17 PM »
Only one IT person at the company right now, who happens to be the owner. We're going on over a month now of e-mailing back and forth, and him refusing to setup my new laptop so that I can do my job. Just recently, he was talking to another co-worker and said "I can jump on a remote connection and help you fix your computer anytime." I'm also no longer allowed to update our Accounting software, because it is a "waste of resources."

When I asked my immediate boss about it, mentioning that I need access to our Accounting software to you know, perform my job as an Accountant, he said that the owner was so busy that he doesn't have the time to grant the access. Keep in mind this is a two minute task of uploading a config file...
Sounds like someone doesn’t want you looking too closely at the books

AccountingForLife

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20632 on: August 06, 2018, 07:46:17 PM »
Only one IT person at the company right now, who happens to be the owner. We're going on over a month now of e-mailing back and forth, and him refusing to setup my new laptop so that I can do my job. Just recently, he was talking to another co-worker and said "I can jump on a remote connection and help you fix your computer anytime." I'm also no longer allowed to update our Accounting software, because it is a "waste of resources."

When I asked my immediate boss about it, mentioning that I need access to our Accounting software to you know, perform my job as an Accountant, he said that the owner was so busy that he doesn't have the time to grant the access. Keep in mind this is a two minute task of uploading a config file...
Sounds like someone doesn’t want you looking too closely at the books

That would make sense if I wasn’t the CFO.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20633 on: August 06, 2018, 07:54:36 PM »
Ya, why the assumption that reducing one's impact is all about carbon emissions?
There's a strong correlation. The things which involve high carbon emissions generally involve other pollutants from mining and manufacturing, and fossil fuels enable us to use large amounts of other resources. For example, a holiday to Bali requires hundreds of tonnes of aluminium, plastics and other synthetics, copper and steel for the aircraft, then the buildings of the airport which must be built and then maintained and cleaned, the tarmac made of concrete (causes emissions in cement manufacture and in concrete setting after pouring, etc) or asphalt (more fossil fuels), all the many and various airport vehicles from tugs to cargo trucks to maintenance vehicles to fire trucks, then of course your hotel and...

So the emissions caused by burning the jet fuel for your flight are a good indication of a whole shitload of other emissions and pollutants and resource use and environmental impact from that trip.

The correlation is not 1:1. We can have carbon emissions without other impacts, and we can have other impacts without carbon emissions. But the correlation is good enough.

All the pieces matter, yes. But the big pieces matter more. You know the parable of the big and small stones in the jar?

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20634 on: August 07, 2018, 06:38:18 AM »
I have real difficulty with this kind of environmental accounting if the end game is creating green guilt while not really solving any actual problems.
Whereas refraining from using single-use plastic bags or buying chintzy doohickeys solves actual problems? All measures taken by an individual are, by their nature, only token measures towards wider problems. That does not mean they are worthless.

The point is not to solve national or global problems, but to not personally contribute to making them worse, because that's the right thing to do. If I refrain from using insulting speech towards Aboriginals, for example, this is not going to stop them being disproportionately charged for, convicted of and sentenced for minor crimes, and mistreated in prison. But at least I'm not contributing to the general atmosphere of casual racism, which casual racism makes police arrest them where they would not have arrested white people, which casual racism makes Crown prosecutors charge them where they would not have charged white people, which casual racism makes magistrates give them custodial sentences where they would not have done so with white people, and which makes prison officers mistreat them where they would not have mistreated white people. I didn't help things but at least I didn't make them any worse.

"It is not a man's duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support." - Thoreau


If you concern yourself with any matter of public import, consider the 80/20 rule, and focus on the most significant parts, not on the insignificant parts, even if the latter prove more useful in virtue signalling.

plainjane

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20635 on: August 07, 2018, 09:14:19 AM »
If you concern yourself with any matter of public import, consider the 80/20 rule, and focus on the most significant parts, not on the insignificant parts, even if the latter prove more useful in virtue signalling.

But if I care about the environment, it may be easier to convince people to stop using so many plastic bags than it is to get them to get rid of their car.

I don't get why certain words are suddenly bad. I'd prefer that organizations tell me what their stance is on things that are important to me. Is it sufficient to ban plastic bags? No. But charging people to use them so that it's clear that they aren't actually free (in cost or consequence)? Again, not enough, but it makes sense to be part of a larger plan.

Virtue signalling that you think that protecting and restoring the environment is good. Refraining from insulting speech is a great first step. But you can do more than just not make something worse. You could make a comment back 'not cool man', 'wow', 'that's an interesting comment', for not much more effort and actually make a difference. Because you've signalled what you think is virtuous behaviour and thus told them their behaviour is crap.

Being a hypocrite is bad. But if we just say everything is 'virtue signalling' as a shorthand for some kind of thing you don't like? How about - by showing people what we think, we normalize it, make them think that it isn't that hard for them to do it, and then perhaps take even bigger steps?

Why is it that the group of people who think that fighting for social justice is bad also don't think that it is good to be virtuous?

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. (Matthew 5:15)

Prairie Stash

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20636 on: August 07, 2018, 10:16:12 AM »
The plastics thing is a nice distraction. Some 55% of our carbon emissions come from our homes and workplaces, how we build and power them and transport ourselves around. Another 21% comes from industry - ultimately, from making the stuff we buy or use, from roads to clothes to doohickeys. That's 76% in things which have to do with our non-food consumption.

By focusing on things like plastic bags, we conveniently distract ourselves from the most important stuff. It's like the doctors working on a bruise when you have a compound fracture of the leg. But I guess it gives people warm fuzzies.
What is your solution instead? Should we ignore all problems and not fix the ones we can?

If you have a meaningful way that I can reduce my environmental impact, feel free to share. Please, don't bother to list industrial, I deal with that in my work life, we (I get to see and meet many people working on different issues) already have many plans and solutions going; some of them are already adding up. What is missing is the personal side, we already have plans underway to fix the 76%, we can use help on the remainder though from regular folks like yourself. 

Since I became employed I've had the opportunity to work with two very large industrial programs. One has already reduced GHG by several hundred thousand tonnes/year the industrial sector, I do the part of the audit, another was focused on an entirely seperate concern and I was involved in the low level validation.  My latest project is focusing on reducing GHG, I'm on a team spanning many companies and countries, I have no idea how many people are involved. Its focus is to reduce GHG by tens of milions, but I still use reusable bags.

It would by hypocritical to spend all my time on the big stuff and use that as validation to skip the small stuff.

mm1970

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20637 on: August 07, 2018, 12:09:47 PM »
If you concern yourself with any matter of public import, consider the 80/20 rule, and focus on the most significant parts, not on the insignificant parts, even if the latter prove more useful in virtue signalling.

But if I care about the environment, it may be easier to convince people to stop using so many plastic bags than it is to get them to get rid of their car.

I don't get why certain words are suddenly bad. I'd prefer that organizations tell me what their stance is on things that are important to me. Is it sufficient to ban plastic bags? No. But charging people to use them so that it's clear that they aren't actually free (in cost or consequence)? Again, not enough, but it makes sense to be part of a larger plan.

Virtue signalling that you think that protecting and restoring the environment is good. Refraining from insulting speech is a great first step. But you can do more than just not make something worse. You could make a comment back 'not cool man', 'wow', 'that's an interesting comment', for not much more effort and actually make a difference. Because you've signalled what you think is virtuous behaviour and thus told them their behaviour is crap.

Being a hypocrite is bad. But if we just say everything is 'virtue signalling' as a shorthand for some kind of thing you don't like? How about - by showing people what we think, we normalize it, make them think that it isn't that hard for them to do it, and then perhaps take even bigger steps?

Why is it that the group of people who think that fighting for social justice is bad also don't think that it is good to be virtuous?

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. (Matthew 5:15)

Yes, and I think that it helps for many many people to do baby steps, as much as we like to talk about face punches here.

Honestly, I think for many people, the thought processes can be like this:
recycle
wait, I have to pay for plastic bags?  Okay, I'll reuse my bags
That's not too bad.
Hm...maybe I shouldn't buy sparkling water and recycle the bottles, I could make my own and reuse the bottles
I should take a fork and spoon and coffee cup to work so that I don't have to use plastic
Huh, it's not so hard to wash cloth napkins
Geez, why does all this produce come wrapped in plastic?
Little Johnny just showed me a pic of a turtle with a straw in its beak from a field trip.  Crap.
Do I really need to drive to the store today?
Oh, man, that mini-SUV would be so nice, but it doesn't get any better gas mileage than my 12 year old Corolla
Look at all these people on their summer vacations in Europe and Hawaii!  A 2-hour drive and a camping trip isn't so bad for the environment.  We should maybe stick to one flight per year.
Gosh this drought is lasting forever.  Let's get a bucket to collect shower water and take navy showers.
It's gonna be a hot one.  Have to remember to close the curtains on the south facing window during the day.  Should probably cook dinner in the instant pot instead of turning on the oven.
That was a cold winter - let's see how much it costs to insulate the floor and replace the old windows with dual pane.

etc etc etc

shelivesthedream

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20638 on: August 07, 2018, 02:23:39 PM »
The Wheaton Scale has been a very helpful concept for me: https://paulwheaton12.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/the-wheaton-eco-scale/

Hirondelle

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20639 on: August 07, 2018, 02:29:15 PM »
The Wheaton Scale has been a very helpful concept for me: https://paulwheaton12.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/the-wheaton-eco-scale/

Even though I like his way of thinking, I'm put off by the fact how he calls 5 billion people level zero and continuous by mentioning measures that many of these 5 billion probably have never heard of while doing way less harm than the people 2-3 levels above them buying organic food.

He should've just included the western world population cause his list of examples isn't relevant in most of the world.

Jouer

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20640 on: August 07, 2018, 02:41:45 PM »
I agree with the two above posters that plastic bags are super easy to just stop using, so why not? But I think Kyle's point was that all of this political capital and willpower is being spent on changes that really don't have a large impact because it's become a pet issue to some people.

Plastic straws and plastic bags make up a tiny fraction of global plastic waste, and yet they receive a disproportionate amount of attention from environmental campaigns. So politicians can implement a straw/bag ban and say they are "green"/"environment friendly" without doing anything that would actually, you know, help the environment in a meaningful and long-term way (like a carbon tax).

Plastic bags, at least, get a disproportionate amount of attention because it was a very visible form of local trash.  Environmental measures are easier to push if you pick something that actually affects the voters on a daily basis.  Sure, all plastics end up being problems in the ocean, but people don't live in the ocean.  Except for Aquaman.

Exactly.

Plastic straws/bags are to the environment as lattes are to personal finance. Ya gotta start somewhere. And that somewhere has to be something people understand and/or see.

Doing something is better than doing nothing. Sometimes it's about getting the ball rolling...easing people into the issue. Don't let perfect be the enemy of good (and other such buzz-phrases).

Davnasty

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20641 on: August 07, 2018, 03:05:55 PM »
I agree with the two above posters that plastic bags are super easy to just stop using, so why not? But I think Kyle's point was that all of this political capital and willpower is being spent on changes that really don't have a large impact because it's become a pet issue to some people.

Plastic straws and plastic bags make up a tiny fraction of global plastic waste, and yet they receive a disproportionate amount of attention from environmental campaigns. So politicians can implement a straw/bag ban and say they are "green"/"environment friendly" without doing anything that would actually, you know, help the environment in a meaningful and long-term way (like a carbon tax).

Plastic bags, at least, get a disproportionate amount of attention because it was a very visible form of local trash.  Environmental measures are easier to push if you pick something that actually affects the voters on a daily basis.  Sure, all plastics end up being problems in the ocean, but people don't live in the ocean.  Except for Aquaman.

Exactly.

Plastic straws/bags are to the environment as lattes are to personal finance. Ya gotta start somewhere. And that somewhere has to be something people understand and/or see.

Doing something is better than doing nothing. Sometimes it's about getting the ball rolling...easing people into the issue. Don't let perfect be the enemy of good (and other such buzz-phrases).

And the lattes come in disposable cups. Overlapping analogy.

js82

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20642 on: August 07, 2018, 04:37:54 PM »
The Wheaton Scale has been a very helpful concept for me: https://paulwheaton12.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/the-wheaton-eco-scale/

Even though I like his way of thinking, I'm put off by the fact how he calls 5 billion people level zero and continuous by mentioning measures that many of these 5 billion probably have never heard of while doing way less harm than the people 2-3 levels above them buying organic food.

He should've just included the western world population cause his list of examples isn't relevant in most of the world.

I agree, and I think there's one other big miss in the article here: Not enough emphasis on impact.  We gain a lot more as a society from reining in the worst problems than we do from poking at people because their produce isn't organic.  Push for a switch from Coal to other sources of power, and convince the guy driving a massive, 12 MPG SUV to switch to a newer vehicle that gets 30 and you've done a lot more than shaming a Prius owner into bike commuting or getting someone to spend tens of thousands on rooftop solar.

It takes a lot of vegetable gardens to offset one dude who decides he needs a big-ass SUV.

plainjane

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20643 on: August 08, 2018, 04:24:04 AM »
We gain a lot more as a society from reining in the worst problems than we do from poking at people because their produce isn't organic.  Push for a switch from Coal to other sources of power, and convince the guy driving a massive, 12 MPG SUV to switch to a newer vehicle that gets 30 and you've done a lot more than shaming a Prius owner into bike commuting or getting someone to spend tens of thousands on rooftop solar.

It takes a lot of vegetable gardens to offset one dude who decides he needs a big-ass SUV.

wrt coal - how much of that was the horrible smog days and literally seeing statues start dissolving vs. the flight of so much manufacturing? I am old enough to remember the multi-day smog alerts in Toronto, but not the full narrative of what actually happened. I'm pretty happy that the recent Toronto heat wave has just been muggy, and not that yellow/green sky colour.

And to be fair, some owners of big-ass SUVs _also_ have gardens, because people are complex. I don't have a car, but I also fly to New Zealand every 2 years.

js82

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20644 on: August 08, 2018, 04:50:04 AM »
We gain a lot more as a society from reining in the worst problems than we do from poking at people because their produce isn't organic.  Push for a switch from Coal to other sources of power, and convince the guy driving a massive, 12 MPG SUV to switch to a newer vehicle that gets 30 and you've done a lot more than shaming a Prius owner into bike commuting or getting someone to spend tens of thousands on rooftop solar.

It takes a lot of vegetable gardens to offset one dude who decides he needs a big-ass SUV.

wrt coal - how much of that was the horrible smog days and literally seeing statues start dissolving vs. the flight of so much manufacturing? I am old enough to remember the multi-day smog alerts in Toronto, but not the full narrative of what actually happened. I'm pretty happy that the recent Toronto heat wave has just been muggy, and not that yellow/green sky colour.

And to be fair, some owners of big-ass SUVs _also_ have gardens, because people are complex. I don't have a car, but I also fly to New Zealand every 2 years.

1. Re: Coal - we're better at controlling particulate emissions now, but it still sucks compared to other sources - both in terms of CO2 per energy unit, and in terms of other impurities that end up in the atmosphere - it's still the filthiest power source there is.

2. I agree re: people being complex - and that was kind of my point, though I may have articulated it poorly.  My intended point was that we should focus on behaviors that are both high-impact, and that we actually have a chance of changing.  This is why things like cost-effective, more-efficient (not necessarily even electric) vehicles are a big, big deal.  The changes we have the best odds of adopting over the long run are ones that minimize inconvenience - this is why investing developing low-cost renewable energy solutions for our power grid and building affordable EV's are such a big deal - the technology merely has to reach the point of cost-competitiveness, and it will be adopted in droves.

onlykelsey

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20645 on: August 08, 2018, 04:57:02 AM »
I was chatting with a co worker after we got ~10k bonuses on top of our generous salaries last month, and he confessed that he still wasn’t on track to max his 401(k)!  We have no match, but still!!!

grandep

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20646 on: August 08, 2018, 08:25:50 AM »
The Ecomodernist Manifesto is a good read for intelligent, environmentally-minded folks like most Mustachians. I recommend reading it if you haven't already.

The Wheaton Scale has been a very helpful concept for me: https://paulwheaton12.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/the-wheaton-eco-scale/

Organic produce is not the environmental panacea that the author believes it is:
Quote
Despite strong public perception of organic agriculture producing better environmental outcomes, we show that conventional agriculture often performs better on environmental measures including land use, greenhouse gas emissions, and pollution of water bodies. There are, however, some contexts where organic agriculture may be considered appropriate.

Source: https://ourworldindata.org/is-organic-agriculture-better-for-the-environment
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 08:39:58 AM by grandep »

thesis

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20647 on: August 08, 2018, 11:11:22 AM »
These aren't so much things I've overheard at work as they are quirks of my company's retirement portal.

1. any change in 401k contribution is sent to the employee via snail mail. There's no way I have found to stop this. It seems changes are so extremely important that they must be sent by mail because who checks the 401k portal?

2. I'm fairly certain I just over-contributed to my 401k a little thanks to only being able to specify %, but the system did not stop me from doing this. It's as if the company who wrote this software decided that people actually reaching the contribution limit was an edge-case that happened so rarely it wasn't worth building the product to stop contributions at specified amounts by year.

3. After dropping my contributions to 0% because I hit the limit, I immediately got a message suggesting I enroll in the program that does an automatic 1% increase every year up to 10%.

4. This is more about benefits than retirement, but there is no ability to front-load HSA contributions; I can only do equal monthly contributions. Email doesn't communicate emotions well, but the benefits department seemed a bit confused when I asked about this. Ya know, why would anybody want to do that? Maybe HSAs are only designed to work this way, I'm too lazy to research law, but it's still annoying.

:headsmack:

:)

momcpa

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20648 on: August 08, 2018, 11:27:56 AM »
Re 'over contributing' to a 401k:   The last paycheck of the year had a different, higher net amount.  I looked at all the deductions and the 401k contribution was lower ???  I asked payroll about it.  They said that I had hit the limit.  I said NO, I was old enough to qualify for the additional amount allowed.  Their excuse was that the computerized system probably didn't know how old I was.  What?!  It's computerized.  It has all of my information.....most importantly, it has my birthdate.  So I voiced all of that to payroll.  They said that probably I was the first and only person to hit the limit in our organization.  I knew that we were a small company, not a lot of employees, but there are people that make substantially more than I do.  How could I be the first? 

Tells me a little about 'who' contributes, and 'how much'.

thesis

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #20649 on: August 08, 2018, 11:42:14 AM »
Re 'over contributing' to a 401k:   The last paycheck of the year had a different, higher net amount.  I looked at all the deductions and the 401k contribution was lower ???  I asked payroll about it.  They said that I had hit the limit.  I said NO, I was old enough to qualify for the additional amount allowed.  Their excuse was that the computerized system probably didn't know how old I was.  What?!  It's computerized.  It has all of my information.....most importantly, it has my birthdate.  So I voiced all of that to payroll.  They said that probably I was the first and only person to hit the limit in our organization.  I knew that we were a small company, not a lot of employees, but there are people that make substantially more than I do.  How could I be the first? 

Tells me a little about 'who' contributes, and 'how much'.

Awesome. XD